Alpha Book Club Welcome’s
Santino Hassell as a Guest Blogger!!
So, I have to fan girl just a little bit and say JUST how EXCITED we are at Alpha Book Club to have Santino here with us!!
Hellz to the Yeah!!
When I proposed this column to Santino he was worried he wouldn’t know what to write about – (Silly Guy)! He should know we are literally falling all over ourselves to read whatever he writes! However, I had a question, because I am nosy like that I said well “what about why we never get to see you” and thus – I give you – September’s The NYC with Santino Hassell and just a side note – for us MAJOR fans, Santino is starting at the beginning so everyone can enjoy his cynical, lovable self!
For the past year, my tag line has been “Cynical NYer by Day, Romance Writer by Night”, which is appropriate on every level. Just about everyone who knows me in person would describe me using similar words: cynical, grumpy, sarcastic, New York as fuck. I’m also a man of few words in person (shocking given I don’t shut up on Twitter), haven’t been in a steady relationship in years and generally prefer to casually date or hook up.
So it’s common for the few people (I’m closeted at work, hence the non-selfie ;)) who know I professionally write to ask the same question: why romance?
Well… why not?
My cynicism developed over time and turned me into a bitter bisexual who’s had zero luck with love. I expect bad things to happen when everything appears to be going well. It’s not an easy way to view life or relationships… which is why I love writing romance. I’m not jaded enough to think relationships are a waste of time or to hiss at people who fall in love. I don’t roll my eyes at happy couples or romantic comedies. It’d be great to have those things. I just don’t. So why not write about other gay or bi dudes who can have it? In my youth, queer literature was full of characters who were mistreated and killed off. I’m done with that. I want some damn romance.
Don’t get me wrong, my cynicism and sarcasm is clearly reflected in my writing. My novels are often described as gritty, and they’re often full of at least one character who’s a hard case. Someone who doesn’t believe in themselves, or who doesn’t trust their heart, or who has to get past the million barriers preventing them from finding love. But by the end, they all do. Usually while having a lot of sex in the process.
The next time someone scrunches up their face and asks in confusion, and maybe some judgement, why I write romance, I’ll probably sum up this blog post. I write and read romance because it’s the opposite of my own negative experiences. Sometimes I want to take the characters and shake them, but I can always count on them navigating the complexities of dating and sex and relationships and finding their ways to a happy ending. That’s way more than I can say for real life.
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.
Five Boroughs series
Standalone books by Santino Hassell: