The author behind the gay fiction darlings, The Fallen Angels of Karnataka, Willem of the Tafel and Living The Rainbow: A Gay Family Triptych, returns this summer with SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow. This latest collection from Hans M Hirschi is a tapestry of the LGBT experience, featuring stories that span the wide spectrum of personalities that together, make up the fabric of the LGBTQ community. There is a dried up spinster, a Navajo dyke, a completely unfiltered twink, and more; all meant to show the humanity of the LGBTQ community and how, like heterosexuals, queer people struggle with self-esteem, fall in love, help others and fight to survive even the harshest of realities. ”The funny thing is that you could take literally take any of the characters and completely remove the mention of their sexuality and they’d still be compelling and inspirational,” says Hirschi. SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow will be available Saturday, July 9, 2016, digitally and in softcover, on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble (Nook),Apple’s iBookstore, Smashwords, and at select local bookstores, via Beaten Track Publishing.
“Growing up, a boyfriend was my life’s goal,” recalls Hans M. Hirschi from his home in Sweden that he shares with husband Alex and three-year-old son, Sascha. “Living with a man was a stretch goal and never would I have imagined being able to get married and have children with him. Never! I realize how extremely fortunate I am due to the strength and perseverance of the LGBTQ heroes that came before me. I feel an obligation to give back a little, to bring hope to those who have none, with stories of love that depict a bright future for the next generations of LGBTQ people.”
Each story in SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow carries a special and unique message. From “The Kiss”, which recounts a Somali refugee who experiences his first same-sex kiss to “The Loner”, a reflection of how the gay community looks at middle aged men (not a pretty picture); every story manages to look at LGBTQ life from a different angle and perspective.
Alex, a story about a trans doctor who rescues the life of an adolescent, aims to encourage readers to remove labels of he or she. “Trans is a very broad concept and it’s easy to get lost with pronouns and identities,” says Hirschi. “It’s been my experience that transgendered individuals simply want to be viewedas people, not by their sexuality. And honestly, isn’t that what we all want?”
“The Slasher” bears an eerie similarity to the Orlando shooting. It involves a gay club with multiple murders, the mention of ISIS, terrorism…
Hirschi explains, “When I wrote ‘The Slasher’, the idea was to portray pure evil. The killer is a closeted gay man himself and even that may share commonality with the Orlando attacker. We don’t quite know yet. But what we do know is that very often the greatest homophobes are oppressing their own self-hate.”
For the first time, The Queen of Unconventional Happy Endings writes several stories with not-so-happy endings. Yes, it’s true, not all stories in SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow end happily. But thestories remain, as a whole, very hopeful, which is why Hirschi chose the book’s title.
“The rainbow is a powerful symbol for our community,” he says. “It’s the promise of sunshine after a storm. I saw one just the other day, a few days after Orlando, and it made me smile for the first time since the horrific tragedy. I can’t help but find it a very optimistic sign, and a symbol of love and sibling-hood, not just within the LGBT community but among all of humankind.
SHORTS: Stories From Beneath the Rainbow by Hans M. Hirschi will be available digitally and in softcover Saturday, July 9, 2016 on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple’s iBookstore, Smashwords, and at selected local bookstores via Beaten Track Publishing.