Inside the Book:
Title: You Are Here
Author: Chris Delyani
An aspiring painter, Peter scratches out a pauper’s living in San Francisco, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. Instead, he finds himself getting involved with not one but two very different men.
Like Peter, getting involved with another man is the last thing on Nick Katsaris’s mind. Smart, handsome, and good-humored, Nick’s done more than just survive—he’s positively thriving in San Francisco. But when he meets Peter, what begins as fun and games quickly turns into a game he can’t control.
Miles Bettencourt’s days are filled with longing. For him, San Francisco is haunted by Stuart, his missing ex-lover. Desperate to win him back, Miles wanders the streets in the hope of running into Stuart again. Instead, he runs into Peter—the one man who might hold the key to what Miles is looking for.
These three gay men soon form one very unlikely love triangle. Sometimes, when people break apart and then come together, they learn that discovering that where you are is the key to knowing who you are.
Question1- Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
My book is the story of Peter Bankston, a young gay painter who moves to San Francisco from his hometown near Chicago to escape a family tragedy. Against his will he winds up becoming involved with two other men, who in turn find themselves more and more intrigued by Peter. I had recently moved to San Francisco myself when I began writing it. I wrote the story as something of a love letter to the city, for being such a lovely place to live out my twenties.
Question2- What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?
The biggest challenge, for me, was simply to make the time to write it. I had started writing it without realizing what a big and complex job writing a novel is—a job that can’t be finished without a steady focus on finishing it. I spent most of the latter half of the 1990s writing the first draft, put it in a drawer for several years, and then picked it up again in 2009 and didn’t publish it until 2012. That’s way too long to finish a novel.
Question3- Do you plan subsequent books?
I’ve just finished work on my third novel, entitled “Best Man.” Like “You Are Here,” all the major characters in “Best Man” are gay men, but I think of both these books as more mainstream fiction. I work to write about experiences and emotions that anyone, gay or straight, can appreciate.
I’m currently working on the manuscript for a fourth novel, this one featuring both male and female major characters. I recently made a public pledge to have a first draft of this new novel completed by September 15, or else I will donate $100 to the National Rifle Association, an organization I detest. If I had made a similar pledge when writing “You Are Here,” I’m sure I would’ve finished my work a lot more quickly.
Question4- When and why did you begin writing?
I couldn’t tell exactly when I wrote my first story, but it must have happened a long time ago, probably when I was eight or nine. I never asked why I began writing—it was just something I did. I have always enjoyed the feeling of a word flowing from my pen.
Question5- What is your greatest strength as an author?
I’ve always had a vivid imagination that never seems to rest. That’s not the greatest quality to have in real life, always imagining crazy scenarios that distract me from the truth in front of my face, but that definitely helps when I’m facing a blank page. But my greatest strength is probably my determination to see the project to the end. If I hadn’t made the commitment years ago to get out of bed at 5:30 a.m. every day to write before going to work, then I would never have finished anything.
Question6- Did writing this book teach you anything?
Writing a book means trying to act and think like many different characters, each of them following his or her own truth. The one skill I needed to do that was to cultivate compassion for them. To put aside my own ego and step into the shoes of this person who is not myself and really see the world in the way this person would see the world. I would much rather achieve this skill than the fattest book contract in the world.
Meet the Author: