Ramblings on Stubborn Heart: A Little More About Trevor & Mark

Written by Ken Murphy

One of my goals with my blog is to tell those interested a little more about what motivates me, both as a reader, and a writer. First off, I love people. Both intellectually and emotionally. Those who know me will tell you that I’m a very touchy-feely, come give me a hug, kind of guy. But I also want to know what makes a person tick. What happened to make us who we are today? We are all the sum of our histories, and oftentimes, even those who came before us. One of the challenges for me, and I expect for all writers, is getting the characters from my mind to the written page in a way that lets the reader get to know them, about how they got to where they are at the time of the story. Of course we hope these characters will become as special to you, the reader, as they are to us, the writers.

I had a lot of fun writing Stubborn Heart, first getting to know the characters, and then watching them grow. The moment the idea for the story popped into my head, Mark Smith and Trevor Hayes started talking to me, and those boys haven’t really shut up since. Of course, they’re not really boys. When they meet, Mark is already in his early thirties, and Trevor in his late twenties. That was the kind of story I wanted it to be, two people who’d been around the block a time or two. You know, folks with some baggage. While some people do meet the love of their lives early in life, many of us have to wait a little longer. I wanted Mark and Trevor to be everyday, ordinary people. But, as I’ll explain, they come from very different backgrounds.

Mark hasn’t had the easiest of lives. He grew up in inner city Atlanta with no family except his parents. For reasons undisclosed, his mother and father were estranged from their families. They met out west, but married and moved east. As far as we know, they had no contact with their families after relocating to Atlanta. So Mark grows up in a very small nuclear family with no extended relatives. When Mark was a teenager, his mother became terminally ill, and he had to help his father care for her. That was when Mark decided he wanted to become a nurse. His father also dies at a fairly young age, leaving Mark on his own.

Mark’s luck isn’t any better at love. In the beginning of Stubborn Heart, we find Mark walking in on his boyfriend, who just happens to have brought home a trick for the night. And it hasn’t’ been the first time David has been unfaithful. This had been the trend of all Mark’s relationships in the past. Lovers either cheated, or in some other way managed to break his heart. Most of us can relate to Mark on some level; we’ve all been hurt before. So Mark has given up on love. It’s not that he doesn’t want love, he just doesn’t believe it’s in his cards.

Enter Trevor Hayes. He is the typical golden-haired (or in this case, ginger-haired) boy. The gene pool gods smacked him twice on the ass; he’s tall, muscular, smart, and affectionate. He grew up in Boise as the youngest child, and only son, of two doting parents. Trevor has two older sisters who are quick to remind him that he is the baby of the family. Literally, the world has been handed to him on a silver platter. His tight-knit, nurturing family are very accepting and supportive of his sexuality. Even after he goes off to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a surgeon, he stays close to his kin. He maintains close ties with them all, especially his sisters and their children.

When Trevor sees Mark in the orientation class, he immediately applies his charms. It might not be love, but it is at least lust at first site. He wants to find out more about the sexy blond nurse. Mark’s hesitation confuses him. And why not, Trevor has generally gotten what he wants. Even when the sex part didn’t work out with Derrick in college, the two men became best friends. Mark’s reticence spurs Trevor to double his efforts.

I got a fair amount of flak about Trevor and his emotions. During the times when they argued, more than once, Trevor burst into tears. Masculine, twenty-something men don’t show their emotions. Or do they? Remember, Trevor is the baby boy, raised in a house with a lot of estrogen. He is very accustomed to showing his emotions. That, and he really doesn’t understand why you can’t have what you want, if you want it badly enough.

Other readers also gave me grief because they believed Mark gave in too quickly. Seriously, folks, Mark is jaded, but he’s still a gay man. And let’s face it, his sex life had been going through a drought. Trevor is one great big old red-headed teddy bear. The issue was never that Mark wasn’t attracted to Trevor. The problem was that Mark didn’t believe they could have a future together. Early on, Mark decides that while their affair is time-limited, he intends to enjoy every minutes with this hot, dreamy hunk that he can before Trevor rides off into the sunset.

So the stage is set. Mark needs to let his heart heal, and learn that he can love again. Trevor will have to mature a little more. If he wants to get Mark, it will take persistence, and a whole lot of patience. If both men can grow, they just might have a chance. Of course, life is never that easy. I threw in enough hurdles to keep both our boys on their toes. And there are plenty of funny parts as well.

Anyway, there have been a few cynics and critics, but truly not that many. The overall reception for Stubborn Heart has been positive. I received a lot of five-star ratings and some well-written, very complimentary reviews. I am so pleased that so many readers enjoyed Mark’s and Trevor’s story as much as I did. Stubborn Heart is a story of hope. It is about finding love. In future I hope to get to tell more of their story. So it’s no big surprise that Trevor and Mark manage to work it all out in the end. In other posts, I’ve mentioned I am working on sequels. But hey, if you haven’t read Stubborn Heart yet, there’s still a lot I didn’t tell you. After all, the fun stuff in life, and love, is in the journey.

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