"My MIG29 ride page"
The Mentor; A Memoir of Friendship and Gay Identity
Reviewer: Joseph J. Hanssen "Joe" (Upstate New York)
An Enjoyable Read!
How great it would be if all young gay men just coming out could have an older person, a Mentor, help guide them through life's trials and experiences. It certainly would have helped me. Jay Quinn's personal narrative is such a honest, no holes-barred read, and so interesting. It must have been hard to put all this down for everyone to see. Through all his troubles with relationships, drugs, and depression, he manages to pull through. All with the help of his dedicated mentor, Joe Riddick.
By reading this book other gay men will relive their own similar experiences, and know that they are not alone. We are all here to experience what life has to offer us, and it would be great if the different generations could help guide each other. We should all be "Mentors." I highly recommend this book.
Reviewer: John Rice (Milwaukee, WI)
As a 23-year-old innocent from North Carolina, Jay met an engaging older man also from the South. They began a relationship that never included sex, but involved the most intimate and important times of their lives. Jay portrays his growth through drugs, relationships, family and careers along with Joe's. It is a journey that continues.
Reviewer: Harold Smith (San Francisco, CA)
The Mentor...should be required reading for every middle and high school teacher and counselor in the land.
It provides insights into more aspects of gay life than any other work I have read. How Jay Quinn was able to get so much into one book is beyond me. One thing I do know is that reading this book could help you to save the lives of our gay youth, and could make living those lives more productive.
READ IT! PASS IT ON!
Reviewer: Ed Bassilio (Boston, MA)
A Painful Past That Can Help Others.
There is a saying "You can't judge a book by its cover." This is true with Jay Quinn's THE MENTOR. I assumed the book was going to be nothing more than an easy summer read when I selected the book, judging from the young man on the cover. When I was on vacation (at the Outer Banks, no less, the setting of the book), I quickly learned this is not beach reading. The book deals with the friendship between the author and his mentor, how that relationship evolved through many difficult twists and turns, and the difference such a meaningful relationship can have in a person's life.
The author is a gay "good ole boy" which makes for an interesting twist. He's also a surfer dude which adds a bit of flair. He is a Catholic convert, but definitely Catholic on his won terms. He faces challenges, bouts of depression, difficulties with substance abuse, and a whole host of other problems, yet now his life has shape. Due in no small part to his mentor, the author has grown from the many experiences that could have destroyed other people.
When a person reads this book, memoirs that are more cathartic than anything else can come to mind, and this book does have a cathartic element to it, but if anything it helps a person relate to the author.
Reviewer: Jon Cook (New York, NY)
Jay Quinn 101: THE SEED!
The important point to be made about this book is that it is the first published work of Jay Quinn. I recommend that readers start with Quinn's mature, METES AND BONDS --the Lambda award winning novel-- and REBEL YELL anthology series,and then return to this first published work. Being the big fan, as I am, of Jay Quinn's books, I'm not overcritical when I say that this book is not quite "ripe"!! I just feel that most people will appreciate it more after they read the more finished books first. That way, you will better appreciate the dominating themes of his body of work. Why are Jay Quinn's books so important? Because Jay Quinn is not afraid to break taboos. That is #1. In the Lambda Book Report he talks openly about the roles of alcohol and in METES AND BOUNDS he writes about drugs affecting the lives of gay men. From Man-Boy love, to incest relations, he writes the truth. Jay Quinn is the most important new Southern writer today.
Getting hit by a car turned Jay Quinn into an author
For Jay Quinn, being creative is just part and parcel of who he is. It's something he has got to do, whether it is doodling on a napkin or coming up with a writing idea at a stoplight.
"With true creative people, they are going to be creative without renown, respect or being celebrated," Quinn observes.
But in his case, Quinn is doing it with renown. As the author of two books, the editor of two gay anthologies, and with another novel on the way, in a few years Quinn has made his stamp in the world of gay literature.
Quinn moved to Florida 13 years ago from his native North Carolina, settling down in South Beach.
His time was spent painting, working as a pool boy in Bal Harbour and living off money from a freelance job. After being struck by a car in a hit and run, Quinn decided to change creative direction and began writing what would eventually become a published book, "Metes and Bounds."
While looking through a literary magazine, Quinn read that Riverhead Books was looking for gay material. He got in touch with a young assistant editor who agreed to look at his manuscript, and that started Quinn's journey as an author, and eventually an editor.
"My first book had an interesting history trying to get published," Quinn recalls. "It got a great reception, but when it came down to it, every editor who looked at it left to write his own book or take another job."
In the interim of "Metes and Bounds" getting passed around from publisher to publisher, Quinn had a book proposal for a memoir accepted by Haworth Publishing. That memoir was tilted "The Mentor," and would become his first published book.
When "The Mentor" became successful, Haworth agreed to publish "Metes and Bounds," which turned out to be a hit for the small publishing company, selling 10,000 copies and being translated into Spanish and Hungarian.
From writer to editor
After his first two books were published, Quinns involvement with Haworth went beyond the role of an author.
Because of the success of "Metes and Bounds" Haworth asked Quinn to start a small imprint for gay fiction called Southern Tier Editions.
Quinn began soliciting manuscripts, meeting with authors, and turning a profit for the publisher. Some of the work he has solicited includes noteworthy books like "Huddle" by Dan Boyle and "The Big Book of Misunderstanding" by Jim Gladstone.
As an acquisitions editor, Quinn doesnt generally line edit books. But he is responsible for spotting a book not only based on its artistic worth but also it's marketing potential.
"In a sense I am asked to be a fortune teller and keep up with the zeitgeist of not only what people are reading today, but what they might be reading 14 months down the road, which is generally how long it takes for a book to make it through the production process," Quinn says.
Quinn came to the position as a dedicated reader. He reads extensively within and outside the gay genre. Some of his favorite authors are John MacGahern, Annie Proulx and Jhumpa Lahiri.
He has also managed to write his fifth novel, titled Back Where He Started, which will be published by Alyson Books in the spring of 2005.
"I wanted to grow and change with a new editor," Quinn says of his first novel with Alyson. "I don't live in a vacuum. You have to challenge yourself as an artist. Nick Street, my editor at Alyson, has done wonderful work on books Ive really liked. So I know I am going to grow as a writer after working with him."
Sun and stability
Quinn thinks living and writing in Florida works for him for a number of factors. For instance, he did not become an author until he was in his early 40s and in a very stable, domestic life.
"Where other people might come here to vacation and see it as very distracting and frenetic with all the places to party and relax, I live here," he says. "If you live in a place you have to earn a living, and living in a more settled, stable atmosphere helps."
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