Title: WALLAÇONIA (woll-uh-SO-nee-uh)
Publisher: Beautiful Dreamer Press, 309 Cross Street, Nevada City, CA 95959
Release Date: April, 2017
Available for Purchase at
Beautiful Dreamer Press
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have David Pratt back again to talk about his latest novel, Wallaçonia, and the inspiration behind it. Welcome, David.
“Who Is Michael?” by David Pratt
I dedicated Wallaçonia “to Michael, with my greatest appreciation.” I’d like to tell you about Michael.
One of the curious features of Wallaçonia is that it’s eighteen-year-old hero feels bullied and excluded, he actually turns out to have done some bullying of his own. Early in the book, he confesses to picking on a smaller, weaker, odder kid when they were both in middle school. He wishes he could see that kid again and make it right. For a long time I had that wish myself. I don’t remember when I decided to include this part of my young life in Wallaçonia. I just felt I had to. I had to confess, as it were. When I was a confused, put-upon middle schooler, I picked on Michael. In the book I call him Nate.
I have tried to find Michael online. Unfortunately his name is quite common. He wanted to be a rabbi, but even when I add “rabbi,” there are still lots of men with his name. One in particular is kind of a local hero in Oregon. Like Jim in Wallaçonia, I was irritated by chubby, effeminate, chatty Michael’s attempts to engage me over and over, to associate me with his weakness. I was also probably irritated that I responded. The cool kids, the masculine boys simply ignored him. As though he didn’t exist. I was drawn to him. And repulsed by him. The association with him was a sign of my fate, and I hated that and found opportunities to insult him or push him away.
I was never, ever violent with Michael, but, egged on by me, a classmate once took aggression against Michael too far. I stood there shocked as this boy gripped Michael around the neck and pushed his head back against a wall. I watched Michael’s face go red, his face in shock. This had not been my intention. I had tried to feel big and masculine by picking on Michael, but an even bigger, more real, more dangerous masculinity now asserted itself. Something we both feared. Something I had never meant to happen.
Of course, years more of being the weak one and the outsider, and I finally came to appreciate what Michael endured at my hands and the hands of us all. Michael could not disguise his effeminacy or his nerdiness. At the same time, he could not escape the clutches of an overbearing mother (in our one encounter she threatened to call the cops on me) and a father, himself a rabbi, who clearly had single-minded expectations. I wonder how the expectations and the effeminacy eventually sorted out. Did he become a rabbi, while everyone turned a blind eye? Or did he rebel? Move away? Keep secrets?
In Wallaçonia we eventually find out how “Nate” grows up. The necessities of fiction made me give Nate a future Michael very likely could not have. So while I appreciate what Michael went through, I really did not give him his due. (I am not saying just what I gave grown-up Nate that Michael could not have, because it would involve spoilers aplenty!) I still would like to apologize to Michael, if he could hear what I have to say. If there would not be a communication gap because I would be talking “gay,” and he would by now be far beyond closeted, going through the motions for a lifetime, to the point that he would actually be the motions. That would be a new level of Michael to appreciate. A communication we can never have. A person he can never be, never conceive. A book that I might like to write, but that perhaps can never be written.
“Sharp, focused, super-intense, and special. It’s rare to find a novel with such a beautifully rendered friendship between a young gay man and an older mentor. I’ll remember the relationship between Jim and Pat for a long, long time.”
—Bill Konigsberg, author of Openly Straight and The Porcupine of Truth
“My name is James Howard Wallace, and I always wanted to be normal.” Every young man should have a mentor. Jim Wallace is about to prove for good and all how “normal” he is when he finds himself getting close to Pat Baxter, his neighbor next door. Pat befriends Jim, reveals to him his own heartbreaking story, and in the end helps him know who he really is and where he wants to go with his life. Along the way, Jim must decide what to tell his parents and his girlfriend, Liz, and he must confront an old acquaintance who unexpectedly comes back into his life.
Price: $13.95 – see sales links above
Trim Size: 5.5” x 8.5”, 270 pages
Audience: LGBT, Young Adult, Family Life
Trailer on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/211172226
About the Author
is the author of three published novels: Bob the Book (Chelsea Station Editions), which won a 2011 Lambda Literary Award; Looking After Joey, soon to be re-released by Lethe Press; and Wallaçonia, a young adult novel released March 25, 2017 by Beautiful Dreamer Press. Several of his short stories are collected in the volume My Movie (Chelsea Station); three of these stories are being adapted as a film by San Francisco-based director Joseph Graham.
David Pratt won a 2011 Lambda Literary Award for his novel Bob the Book. He published a collection of stories, My Movie, in 2012, and another novel, Looking After Joey, in 2014. Praise for David Pratt’s Work:
For Bob the Book: “Sure to make you laugh…highly recommended.”—After Elton; “A rare and extraordinary accomplishment.”—Lambda Literary
For My Movie: “Character-driven narratives that cannily encapsulate small personal revelations and lead to gratifying endings.”—Lambda Literary; “An important voice in LGBT literature.”—Examiner.com
For Looking After Joey: “The laughs never stop coming; neither do the deep truths this tender book reveals on every page.”—Joel Derfner, author of Swish
National print and media campaign.
National tour: NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Ann Arbor, Milwaukee, New Orleans, SF Bay Area
Free advance reading copies.
Advertising in IBPA, Lambda Literary.
Social media: Facebook, dedicated web page at BeautifulDreamerPress.com.
For more information or to book a reading, contact Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management at firstname.lastname@example.org.