Today we are chatting with Bryan T. Clark author of Diego’s Secret. Bryan writes M/M Romance with an emphasis on moral dilemma. His multicultural characters and riveting plots embody real life, filled with challenges, personal growth, and, of course, what we all desire—love.
Tell us a little about Diego’s Secret, your recent release.
This is a book about two opposite personalities. Winston Makena, age 32, is rich and successful, but finds no joy in life after the death of his beloved husband Parker LeBlanc. Seeking solace in the gardens that Parker designed to surround their estate, he finds a new love interest in Diego Castillo, the 25-year-old gardener mentored by Parker to maintain the lavish property. However, Diego has a secret life; he is not just a closeted gay man, he is also an illegal Mexican immigrant. The two men meet by chance in Parker’s garden and share their memories of Parker. It is a story about falling in love when you least expect it.
How long did it take to write Diego’s Secret?
I wrote this book in about three months. It unfolded pretty fast, faster than normal for me. I consider myself a slow writer. I only write when the story is there for me. You will never find me attempting to push through what they call ‘Writer’s Block’. I just don’t write. I have so many stories in the fire that a character from another book is always trying to get my attention. Like monkeys in a circus, they are all over the place!
In Diego’s Secret, you touch on a number of serious issues in America: cultural differences, the stigma of discrimination, the struggle of illegal immigration, those seeking a more sustainable life, social views on homosexuality, and blended families. With all of these controversial issues, how is Diego’s Secret a romance novel?
I think a great romance is one that allows you to see the dance that two people do when getting to know one another; from the butterflies in their bellies with just the thought of the other person, to the fear of rejection and distorted thinking. In real life, you don’t get to read the other person’s mind, but in a novel, you do. As the reader, you are let in on the secrets that only you and that character know. We all have baggage. Life is rough, but isn’t it grand when love prevails!
Where did the idea or concept come from for these two very diverse characters?
It is real life. We are living and seeing it every day whenever you turn on the news. But, the news is often one sided. In Diego’s Secret, you get to see cultural differences and ideology from both sides. Nobody ever thinks they are wrong, but love has a way of opening your eyes and allowing you to see things from an empathetic point of view. The power of love is amazing!
In a couple of scenes early in the book, Diego reacts strongly to some of the things Winston says to him that puts Diego on the defensive. For Diego, those statements were drawing a line between him and Winston and threatening the possibility of any kind of relationship between them. How central were these scenes to the development of their story?
They were essential. We all have things that we don’t necessarily like about someone else. Depending on who that someone else is, we grade how much importance we’ll give it. When it is something that strikes at the core of who you are, and feelings and love are involved, it becomes much more difficult to navigate through. This is what happened to both Winston and Diego. They thought they had life all figured out but they didn’t know, what they didn’t know.
Let’s talk for a minute about the dialect in the book. Diego is primarily Spanish speaking with a primitive grasp of English. Winston is a natural and sophisticated English speaker. And yet, these two were able to communicate with one another and fall in love. How were you able to make this language difference work for the reader?
Come on now, it wasn’t that primitive. You make him sound like Mr. Ed, the talking horse! English is overrated anyways. Love is the real language. We are equipped with many senses; sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. You know when a person is looking at you with affection, you know a gentle touch; the mind is sensitive and powerful and words become less important.
The major characters in each of your novels are always faced with a moral dilemma surrounding their relationship with one another. Why is the concept of moral dilemma so central to all of your novels?
It’s my brand; it is the one consistent thing in all of my books. It is that delicate mixture of romance and suspense. You can’t help but root for my characters when they struggle with the dilemma that they each face in order to overcome the major obstacles and hurdles in finding true love. And, when the last page is turned, and the book is closed, you feel as if you were a part of something special, the birth of a beautiful love story.
Speaking of Characters, Ann and Mayra are kind of like sounding boards for Winston and Diego, respectively, as each man deals with the major events in his life. Why are they so important to their story?
Really, you have to ask? I think woman are the backbone to everything. They are amazingly strong in the eye of any storm. Ann and Mayra are completely different individuals, and yet they both operate from the heart. Despite religion or economic status, it always boils down to the heart. They are able to see the faults and cracks in Winston and Diego and guide them without the need to be in control or to fix anything.
Thank you for sharing a little about your latest book, Diego’s Secret. Where can we buy it?
You can find all my books, as well as lots of extra offerings, on my website, www.btclark.com. Or, you can just go straight (no pun intended) to the Amazon or B&N websites and order it in paperback, or for your E-reader.