About the book:When friendships are threatened, how far will you go to protect it?
Jordan Spencer is thirty-six and hasn't had a relationship that's lasted more than six months. He's cool with that, though. He's got space issues. And what difference does it make anyway? He has his two best friends Gabby and Chris for happy hours, clubs, and weekend hangouts. But Gabby is falling for a guy that Jordan doesn't like and Chris-the-sex-machine is having a phallic crisis.
Jordan thought that their friendship would last forever. But with each day, they drift further apart. Without Gabby and Chris at his side, Jordan finds himself facing his own emotional loneliness. Should he fight for the friends who have become his family? Or has the season of their friendship passed?
Jordan Spencer will learn that in a world full of swingers, lies, and drag queens, even the best of friends occasionally lie to each other. Sometimes they cry for each other. But in the end, sometimes you just gotta laugh …
Interview with Timothe DavisHow long have you been writing, and how did you start?
Wow! I don't know when I started. I've always loved words, and I've always loved writing. I can remember being eight years old and wanting to write comic books. I didn't want to be a police officer or a fireman; I wanted to write "Batman" comics.
What’s the story behind the title Sometimes Ya Gotta Laugh?
Growing up, I had more than my fair share of family dysfunction. But we managed through armed with a bit of humor. I recalled my mother saying on more than one occasion, "Sometimes ya gotta laugh, if just to keep from crying." The words have always resonated and they seemed to sum up the roller coaster ride of the book!
Which character did you most enjoy writing?
Tough question - I enjoyed writing all the characters (the good and the bad ones) primarily because they are all distinctly different. So every time I stepped into a character, I got to be someone different. But perhaps my favorites were Gabby and Gary. Gabby is a main character; Gary is what I call a major-minor character. Gabby is female; Gary is a drag queen. (I'm neither. I kinda hope that's obvious! LOL) The challenge is making these characters authentic and not stock. I enjoyed that challenge and would find myself asking, "Is this what the character would naturally do?" Honestly, I ask that question every time a character makes a decision. Hopefully, at some point, you become the character. Then the question is, "Is this what I would do?"
Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Every character has bits and piece of people I know, I've met, I've seen, I've heard about. I think that's what makes the characters relatable. I want the reader to think "I know somebody just like that!" Or "That reminds me of my friends."
Are you like any of your characters?
Ask any of my friends and they'd say Jordan. I'm the spitting... or is it splitting ... image of him. We are both sarcastic, and introverted, and we weigh words carefully. We also can tend to keep people at arm's length emotionally.
Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
*Spoiler Alert* There's a scene about halfway through the book where Gary, Gabby, and Jordan are all in Gabby's living room. Jordan has his arms around Gabby and she is recounting her life with her ex, Brad. Gary is angry, but Jordan is trying to suppress his anger and just listen. Then Gabby begins to cry, not the type of crying where silent tears run down your face, but the sobs that make your entire body heave. All the while, Jordan is trying to soothe her. It's a raw scene, and I like how it displays the strength of the friendship these people have.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
"Nature Boy" and probably the Natalie Cole version. It's an old song in which a young boy admonishes, "the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and to be loved in return." And that's what the book is about - about loving and accepting ourselves and our friends (and family) with all their glorious flaws and their beautiful strengths.
You get to decide who would read your audiobook. Who would you choose?
I'd have to have a CAST of people reading. Not just one person. I'd want different people to play each character. There are some "great voices" in Hollywood. But there is so much dialogue in the book, I'd want each character to have their own individual voice. Had you asked me, "who do you want to play the characters in a movie?" I'd could come up with a few names ...
Would you rather work in a library or a bookstore?
I'd rather work in a bookstore. Libraries require quietness while bookstores are more vibrant!
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and then to learn that prisoner was you."
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Spain! Every year I mull combining vacation time with some leave and living there for 2 months. Madrid and Barcelona are beautiful. And I began the book on my visit to Barcelona.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on my second novel. This one's entitled The Miseducation of the Zombie. And while Zombies tend to make people think of horror, this is really a tongue-in-cheek story on diversity and acceptance.
Excerpt from Sometimes Ya Gotta LaughThe knot in Gabby's stomach constricted and released, emotional pain manifesting itself as physical pain. But she resolved not to cry. At least, not again. What she would do is filter the emotion into work. As a teenager, when life wasn't good, she threw herself into her studies. As an adult, she threw herself into her work. That pattern hadn't led to many successes in the field of love but had brought her plenty of success on the job.
On the front seat beside her sat development plans for mid-level managers at the company, she planned on working on those this weekend. On the back seat sat a few groceries from Whole Food – a salmon feta burger, a bottle of Dr. Loosens Reisling, some pita chips, and few chocolate chip cookies.
As soon as she got home, she would change into something more comfortable, pour herself a glass of wine, have one of the salmon sandwiches, turn on the laptop, and dive into work.
At some point she had to talk to Jordan. She had thought about calling every day this week; Jordan was a good listener. But she didn't want to burden him. Besides what would she say?
Sunday she'd go for a long run. Or better yet, she'd curl up with half a pint of Haagen Daz, her chocolate chip cookies, and some movie on Lifetime.
She parked her car in front of her townhouse and stepped out. The day was warm. Maybe she'd change into shorts and go jog now.
“Gabrielle?” A voice behind her startled her. She froze, hoping the voice was a figment of her imagination. But it called out to her again. “Gabrielle.” She refused to turn around until it called her a third time. “Gabrielle.”
She had been too swallowed in her thoughts to notice Brad’s car parked on the street. Had she seen it, she would've kept driving, avoiding him and the resurgence of raw emotion she was struggling to keep submerged deep beneath the surface. But now he was standing almost within reach of her, arms extended in a gesture that was half helpless and half come-to-me. His dirty blond hair was tousled as if he had been running his hands through it, he was wearing his white physician's coat.
How many cards, emails, and voicemails had she gotten from him this week?
How many peers had she lied to about the reason she kept receiving flowers at work?
How many times had one of her coworkers said, “He must really love you,” and she had agreed?
He took a step closer, she took a step back.
“Gabrielle,” his shoulders sagged. “I am so sorry.” She suppressed a desire to clamp her hands over her ears. Instead, she put out a hand to stop him from coming closer. When she did, a work file slipped out her hands and the papers scattered to the ground. “What can I say?” Brad asked as he bent down to help pick up the papers. “Anything?” He took another step forward as he handed them back.
She took the file without touching him.
“I was cruel ... I know,” he continued. “I was an ass. I deserve you never speaking to me again. But believe me, I am so sorry. I was so … I guess I felt betrayed and I overreacted. But there is no excuse. None.”
He took a step closer. Gabby willed the tears back.
“Can I come in? Can we talk?”
Afraid her voice would crack, Gabby said nothing.
“You are right, I'm going to therapy.” He pulled out the card of the therapist she had called. “I went on Monday. That's one of the reasons I've been trying to call you. I wanted to let you know. I've got to learn to get control of my … my moods. For you ...”
Gabby shivered, although the sun shone brightly.
“Another chance, please. I'm begging you. Gabrielle, I'm sorry. I love you. It’s … it’s my family. There are things I’ve never told you. But … you know the problems families can have.”
Family was the one thing Gabby had held withheld from Brad. But she knew all too well the stress family could cause.
“Neither one of us is close to our family. We need each other. I need you. A second chance. That’s all I’m asking.” His eyes welled with tears and he reached out to her.
Everybody deserved a second chance. Everybody did. He was going to therapy now. So Gabby walked past him, up the stairs, through the front door, and let him in.
Brad followed her inside, humbly shut the door behind them, and begged forgiveness until she finally said, “It’s alright.”
She couldn't sleep that night, though. And she couldn't make love. Every moan and every orgasm had been faked for Brad's benefit. Hours later, as she stared at the ceiling and he slept peacefully beside her, she wondered if she should have been so forgiving. Once granted, Brad had moved around her place like they had never had an argument. She, though, had had a knot in the pit of her stomach all evening.
Quietly she slid out the bed. “Where ya going, babe?” Brad murmured. He touched her and his skin was hot on hers.
“To get a drink of water,” she replied before she kissed him on the forehead. She padded down the steps, poured herself a glass of wine, and laid across the couch.
Brad came downstairs around three am and woke her up. He asked her to come back to bed. She did. But she couldn't get back to sleep once she got there.
About the author:
You can find him wandering around his loft most times of the night. His friends say his sarcasm belies a warm heart and he's tried MATCH.com not once but twice.
Sometimes Ya Gotta Laugh is his first novel. It's a fictional story of love, friendship, acceptance, and the journey we take to make ourselves better each day. He hopes that those who purchase it will enjoy reading it as much as he enjoyed writing it.
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