Exclusive interview with Australian author Melisa Quigley tells us a little bit of the story behind her young adult coming-of-age book, what inspired her to write it, and her future projects.
How long did it take you to write The Complexities of Love?
It took me five years to write The Complexities of Love.
What is your story about?
The Complexities of Love is a coming-of-age story about Mark as he confronts the truth about his family and his identity, and it is set in Australia. It’s about Mark, a thirteen-year-old closeted gay male who tries to navigate his way through life hoping his family won’t find out he is gay. His best friend, Dave, disappeared when they were teenagers and Dave wrote Mark a letter saying he wanted to ask him a question. Dave returns ten years later in the ’70s, and Mark can’t wait to see him. Dave’s parents are having a welcome home party for him, and Mark wants to know if Dave still has feelings for him. Dave reveals a secret that he has kept since childhood, which leads to a terrible misunderstanding that will have grave consequences for Mark and his family. All Mark yearns for is for Dave to return his love, but will that happen, or will he find someone else?
Why is your book titled "The Complexities of Love"?
Anyone who has been in a relationship knows how complex it can be. It’s not just about the person we love, it encompasses so much more like race, religion, and what other family members think about our boyfriend/girlfriend. My novel is not your typical boy meets girl/boy romance where they fall in love and live happily ever after. This book is about family bonds, complex sibling relationships, and Mark’s family history.
Anyone who has been in a relationship knows how complex it can be.
What inspired you to write a gay romance?
I was inspired to write the book because I have three gay relatives, one of which used to confide in me about he felt and what he was going through in the ’70s and beyond. I was the only person in my family (and our relatives) who accepted him. I wanted the world to know what it was like being gay in the ’60s and ’70s. In Australia, gay marriage has been legal since December 2017, but in many countries, there is still a stigma about gay people, and they can’t marry. Imagine how it would feel if you loved someone and society didn’t accept you because you were of the same sex and you couldn’t marry? I would be devastated if that happened to me.
When I was querying The Complexities of Love, I thought the world wasn’t interested in people from the LGBT community and what they’ve been through in life up until now. I want people who read my novel to feel that they are not alone and that there are people in the world just like them who are going through the same thing. Everyone deserves to love and be loved regardless of who they choose, and they should be allowed to get married.
Are you writing anything new?
I am currently writing a novel about abuse. Many people suffer in silence and say nothing. I know several people who are victims of abuse and have said nothing. Some women and men over the past years are starting to have the courage to speak out. Something needs to be done to make people feel safe wherever they are and whatever they’re doing. I hope that the novel I’m writing will give readers the courage to report it and walk away.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Victoria, Australia, and have an Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. My work has been published in anthologies in America, Australia, India, the UK, and the Philippines.
When I’m not writing I love to meditate, do yoga, cook or do gardening and go for long walks with my husband and two dogs. If you’re interested in my novel and me, you can find me on Twitter @MQuigley1963. I also post about my life and my books on Instagram using the same handle.
I believe everyone has a story in them to tell. What’s your story?