'Big Gay Wedding'

"Big Gay Wedding" by Byron Lane.

Byron Lane didn't have a big gay wedding when he married his now-husband Steven Rowley, so he wanted to write a story about one.

What was your inspiration behind your most recent book?

I had a “little gay wedding” with my now husband, author Steven Rowley. It was in the thick of COVID in April 2021, so we couldn’t really have a big wedding. And we were ready! So, we had a small ceremony with only us and one of our best friends as an officiant in our hometown of Palm Springs. When it came time to write my second novel, the wedding was on my mind and I wondered “What could have been?” I grew up in a rural part of Louisiana and imagined having a big gay wedding there. And 300 pages later, the book was a real thing!

What does "Reading Rainbow" mean to you?

Everything! I once heard someone say "pride" is the opposite of "shame." And for me, reading with pride means connecting unashamedly with characters and topics that reflect real life and my community, which includes all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds and interests and sexual orientations. It's a celebration of diversity of humanity and of thought. It's a party, an education, and can be an imaginative gathering place of chosen family. Reading Rainbow... there's no better way! 

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

Reading is travel and it unites us. Reading can take us to new places--new dimensions, new galaxies, new families, new towns. It can take us to new states of mind, being, thought. It can take all these new experiences, broaden our horizons, and at the same time show us what we have in common, from a basic foundation like language to a deeper level like emotion. It can be revelatory and connecting. It's essential to show the world as it is--with multitudes, and we are all linked.

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

This story is really about a mother having a sort of "coming out" as accepting that her son is gay and engaged and wants to get married on her small town rescue farm. The Louisiana angle was helpful because I grew up there. All the locations and characters are crafted from people I’ve known or met or heard about or saw on the news or had as a server in a restaurant. My hope is that having that perspective helps bring the characters to life in a way that’s interesting and authentic. I have many happy memories from growing up in Louisiana, but also some hard ones. It was tough being gay in the south. I’m so grateful things have changed, at least a little bit. And I enjoy the rich history of New Orleans whenever I go home to visit. This book tries to unite dynamic characters with tough viewpoints, and to do so with humor and heart.

What can fans expect from your book?

I hope my writing is hilarious and heartwarming. I try to find humor in hardship. I used to work for Carrie Fisher and she would always say, "Take your broken heart and go make art." And that's my aim. In Big Gay Wedding, we're exploring the relationship between a mother and son. She runs a rescue ranch for misfit animals and has to find it in her heart to realize her son--as a gay man in her conservative world--he is, in his own way, a misfit. She has to learn to love him for who he is. And he's a man who wants to love his mom despite her views which are distorted by religion and politics. I hope the metaphorical "marriage" of these two universes can be both comical and sentimental. Let's laugh and cry together!

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

I’m kicking around ideas for book number 3! And in the meantime, I’m working on developing Big Gay Wedding into a film. I’m also developing my first novel, A Star Is Bored, for television. Please cross all your fingers and toes for me!


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