'Nearlywed' - Love, Laughter, and Lobsters

"Nearlywed" by Nicolas Didomizio.

Nicolas Didomizio drew a lot of inspiration from his own life when he wrote "Nearlywed," a book that follows an engaged couple with practically nothing in common.

What was your inspiration behind your most recent book?

"Nearlywed" follows an engaged couple with pretty much nothing in common as they embark on an early honeymoon that puts their relationship to the test, so I was of course inspired by all things beach vacation and wedding culture. The main character is a writer who used to work at a trashy clickbait website — and I’m a writer who used to work at a trashy clickbait website — so it’s no secret I drew much inspiration from my real life as well. (There’s a scene in chapter one involving a bird and a fake olive three that was lifted pretty much verbatim from an experience my partner and I had a couple of years ago.)

Other inspirations include Lilith Fair, gay shame, Bruce Springsteen, social media, "Ally McBeal," and commercial lobster fishing — all of which will make more sense once you read the book.

What does Reading Rainbow mean to you? Why do you feel that reading stories from different backgrounds and experiences is extremely important?

I think Reading Rainbow means giving yourself the freedom to choose any story that appeals to you, regardless of how others may perceive your taste and/or whether or not you are the “target audience” for any given book. The beauty of books is that they allow us to get inside the minds of people we’d otherwise never cross paths with and realize that we’re not as singularly unique as we think we are. There is always someone in a book who feels the same way you do or has been through an experience similar to yours, and pretty much all of us are motivated by the same basic needs at the end of the day.

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so crucial when it comes to writing books?

Reading about people from other walks of life helps you realize just how alike we all are, despite all the divisiveness of modern life. "Nearlywed," for instance, might be largely about two gay men of certain ages, but it’s really a universal story about long-term romantic partnership and how every human being in the world longs to be seen, loved, and understood (which is why the book features perspectives from several other couples at the resort, as well).

Tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it.

I really wanted to write about the generational differences between gay men like myself (an oversharing millennial who blogged about my life all through my teens and 20s) and my Gen X partner (who is much more private and has never looked to social media for validation). I also sought to explore how the legalization of gay marriage didn’t magically cure the gay shame that was instilled in so many of us who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but instead complicated it — especially for men who have chosen to exercise the right to marry, which requires you to celebrate those parts of yourself that you’ve always been conditioned to be ashamed of. Themes from the classic psych/self-help book "The Velvet Rage" by Alan Downs are explored through the lens of a very realistic relationship in which both partners must overcome their respective forms of baggage for the sake of their relationship, wedding, and overall happiness.

Despite all of that heaviness, I promise the book is mostly fun and joyful and not at all a downer! My number one goal was to write an entertaining beach read set in a New England resort town. To that end, I was inspired by books like "People We Meet on Vacation" by Emily Henry and Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2000 novel "Stern Men," about a woman working in the world of commercial lobstering, which led me to create the fictional lobstering community of Seabrook and the character of Ray’s older sister, Stef.

What can fans expect from your book?

Lots of love, laughter, and lobsters.

What's up next for you in the bookish world?

A slightly extreme pivot! I recently finished writing a dark psychological thriller that I’m extremely proud of, and I hope to find the perfect home for it soon. I also hope to eventually have the opportunity to publish more summer novels like "Nearlywed" and (my last one) "The Gay Best Friend" — there’s nothing I love more than a book set at the beach!


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