Notes from the Cutting Room Floor – Confessions of What I Cut Out
by Kilby Blades
Q: First things first: how close is Adam Bomb to the original story you envisioned?
A: Actually, the original story was very different. It was a pure coming out story in which two best friends—one gay, one straight—had their friendship tested when the straight one came out as gay. In my early vision, the gay one had always felt overshadowed and outclassed by the straight one, and being part of the gay community was the only thing he really had to himself. Then, the straight one announces he’s gay and the gay one kind of flips his shit. There was going to be a fair bit of angst around that.
Q: Wow. Why didn’t you write that one? It sounds good LOL!
A: I realized that a story with those bones had two possible directions: one path was really funny and the other path was really dark. Adam Bomb went in the direction of funny. The stakes were so much lower that it gave them space to explore underlying issues in their friendship sooner and in a more lighthearted way. In Adam Bomb, Adam is bi (a fact known for years) so instead of coming out, he comes out “big” the second time—he’s just become a visible public figure and decides to do some press from a desire to be open about his identity. He enlists Levi’s help with the press campaign, but Levi is concurrently scheming to keep Adam away from his new friends, lest Adam overshadow him again. Hilarity ensues.
Q: Did you cut a lot out as you were writing the book? If so, what did you cut?
A: I tend to like really drawn-out epilogues. I don’t just want a paragraph or three—I want a few good chapters of happily ever after. This book was tough because I had to come in under a certain number of words. I do love the ending (and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from readers about how satisfying the epilogue chapter was) but if I’d had about another 10,000 words to work with, I would have drawn a far more elaborate description of the ending I’d dreamed for them in my mind.
Q: Now a less comfortable question: were you asked or persuaded by someone else to remove anything from the book?
A: For some reason, mentioning exes in romance novels, or bringing past hookups onto the page is still considered pretty taboo. I kind of get it—romance readers are so eager to see sparks and feel heat, that you don’t want to give the wrong impression (that the lovable ex is the love interest). But I can’t say that I love pretending my heroes have never been with anyone in the past. For me, it has problematic undertones of normalizing monogamy and it leaves authors (and readers) with characters with a very narrow set of dating backstories. If I had my ‘druthers, I’d give my heroes more complex relationship histories. As it stands now, most mentions of past relationships in romance novels are of vilified or deceased exes. But most people’s exes aren’t villains—they’re regular people who weren’t the right person for the protagonist.