@writervicyates named one of eight finalists for Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Debut Fiction
“Writing is not an easy process,” Victor Yates says, reflecting on his latest endeavor. The Morehouse College alum admits he had much to learn when it came to penning his new novel, A Love Like Blood.
“This was my first book and it was very difficult to write,” he says.
Yates found refuge in a writing workshop where he says he discovered how to spin his thoughts into a captivating story.
“I’m so thankful for my mentors and classmates,” he says. “They helped me understand the art and craft of writing.”
Now months later, Yates’ hard work is paying off. A Love Like Blood was recently selected as a 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalist in the LGBT Debut Fiction category.
“It’s a huge honor and I’m so excited about it,” he says just hours after receiving the news.
The competition was stiff as ever this year with 933 submissions across 24 award categories. Only a select few ended up making the short list.
“Being nominated for a Lammy is an outstanding achievement among such a crowded field of submissions and within an LGBTQ writing community rich with talent,” Lambda Literary Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela, said in a press release.
Winners of the prestigious award, open to LGBT authors since 1989, will be announced in New York City on June 6.
A Love Like Blood details a father-son relationship riddled with baggage. Set in a Detroit suburb, 17-year-old Carsten Tynes battles through a myriad of issues to gain his father’s acceptance while trying to find his own path.
“It’s about love between two people and what people will endure for love,” Yates explains. “Carsten transforms from page one to the very end.”
Yates began toying with the idea for A Love Like Blood while teaching a neighbor how to read. Incarcerated for a number of years, Yates would help the man read his mail.
“He went to jail around the age of 15 and he never learned how to read,” he says. “I wanted to write about him, but in the process of writing his story this new story developed.”
The new direction summed up all the issues important to Yates—race, religion, sexuality and immigrant life. It also tapped into personal experiences that he would use to shape the character of Carsten.
“It was difficult to be gay growing up in my household,” he says. “My mother would always give me this religious literature about being gay and what happens to gay people. Some of those feelings and emotions I put into the book.”
Despite the run-ins with his mom, Yates considers himself lucky. For many other LGBT individuals, adolescence takes a far more ghastly turn. Statistics continue to show that LGBT youth are disproportionately put out of their homes due to sexuality and gender identity. Yates hopes his book will spare at least one LGBT youth from those harsh realities.
“No matter who we are, we should feel accepted and loved by our parents,” he says. “In the book there’s an unexpected ending. I wanted that to be a wake up call to parents who have children in the LGBT community. A lot of queer people of color become homeless because they’re kicked out of their homes, and without a a big social network to fall back on. I would really love for parents to read this book and really understand what can happen to someone in this community.”
Get your copy of ‘A Love Like Blood’ today!
See Victor Yates at these upcoming book readings & events:
- April 30
- May 5
Palm Springs, CA
📷: Steve Chavarria
Keep reading for an exclusive excerpt from ‘A Love Like Blood’