View Discussion with Christopher Rice in New York

MARCH 25, 2008 – Tribeca Barnes and Noble

After weeks of corresponding with Christopher Rice about our adventures in the world of gay Marine fiction, I was finally able to meet this engaging, personable charming young man at his book reading discussion and signing in Manhattan’s Tribeca area. (Watch the video below and you’ll learn why “reading” is crossed out.)

I posted a review of Rice’s new novel, Blind Fall, a few weeks ago; check it out along with some cute pics and article links.

Because YouTube has a 100mb size limitation, I divided Rice’s 32 minute Q&A about the novel into 5 parts. The first is embedded below and the other 4 have descriptions and links.

PART ONE: Find out what topic Christopher Rice will not talk about! Why is the gay Marine issue so important to him? How did he become a novelist?

An exceptionally compelling quote:

I wanted to write an entertaining, suspenseful thriller that addressed the issue of gay Marines and gays in the military without condescending to people and without preaching…

By that standard (or any other) Blind Fall is a huge success!

PART TWO: Click here to see Rice describe how the book Generation Kill by Evan Wright, a journalist embedded with a Force Recon Marine unit, influenced him.

The Marines Rice met in Palm Springs were some of the Marines in Wright’s book. Read about what happened to these Marines:

Wright encounters members of the battalion from all ranks, but the “main players” can be narrowed down to just six from Bravo Company: Sergeant Brad Colbert, Corporal Harold James Trombley, Sergeant Rudy Reyes, Lieutenant Nathaniel Fick, Sergeant Antonio Espera and Corporal Josh Ray Person.

Rice also begins taking questions from the crowd at Barnes and Noble. Find out who his favorite character is from his four novels to date.

PART THREEClick here to learn the source of writer’s block for Christopher Rice?  How did the cover for Blind Fall come into being?

During my 8 years as an active duty gay Marine, I thought I’d observed every similarity between gay men and Marines.  Leave it to a civilian 10 years my junior to teach me another.   According to Rice, “Marines view mainstream society as weak” and Marines exist to stengthen and balance this deficiency.  Likewise, “gay men view society as barren and plain and in need of culture and beauty.”  We (Marines and gay men) see ourselves as “men apart.”   

PART FOURClick here to find out about Rice’s meeting with Navy SEALs.  Also learn his thoughts on writing a novel about post-Katrina New Orleans.  And why hasn’t he written a sequel to his previous novels?  Have any Marines commented about Blind Fall?  

The most frightening part of the discussion was learning that people posted death threats on Rice’s YouTube video where he discussed the novel standing in front of the Palm Springs windmills that adorn the cover.  I’m glad that Rice made a point to correct his statement that a straight Marine had posted the comment.  While possible, my guess is that only a Marine “wanna-be” would post something like this.  Real Marines understand the severity of death and while they might not agree with the subject of Blind Fall, they’re also taught to respect freedom, including freedom of speech.  After all, it’s what Marines risk their lives to protect.  Then again, maybe my memories are becoming fonder the further away I am from my time of service. 

PART FIVE: See the conclusion of Rice’s Question and Answer session.  Unfortunately, the final questions were the de rigueur (1) do you base your fiction on real people and (2) what about a movie version.  I must be becoming a jaded old writing queen because my reaction is:  BARF!  I HATE these questions for reasons I won’t go into here.  However, watch the video because although he’s undoubtedly had these inane queries hundreds of times, Rice answers them with a grace and enthusiasm I find impossible to muster. 

See a professional interview with Christopher with Josh & Josh on Towleroad.com video. 

To learn more about Christopher Rice, visit his website: christopherricebooks.com.  He’s still touring so see if he’s coming to your town and attend a reading in person.

Photo credits:  Josh McNey (top) and Michael Childers (center)

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