Shawn and Alex have been friends since first grade.
Alex, the rock star quarterback, appears to be basking in the limelight of his success and his new romance with Pam. But appearances can be deceiving.
Shawn is the key man in the football team’s solid defense. He’s also the senior class’ most eligible bachelor. But Shawn has no time to get involved with a girl—at least, that’s what he tells his friends.
In reality, he does have a love interest… Tony Valito.
Side-by-side, the relationships between the two couples blossom. One in the open. The other in secret. That is, until Shawn’s world erupts when the rumor that he’s gay gathers momentum.
In trying to find Shawn, perhaps his friends will end up finding themselves. And everyone will discover how dangerous are the lives of high school athletes.
Alex makes a fist with his free hand and brings it to his mouth. He blows hard into it. He’s holding back a tidal wave of emotion.
Coach Roberts sits down next to Alex. “Why don’t you go home and get some sleep? You look like hell.”
“I can’t,” Alex mutters.
“Sure you can, Alex. We can take it from here.”
Alex slams his feet firmly on the floor. “Sure you can. I can’t. But you can.”
The coach is confused. “What are you saying, Alex?”
It’s been eating at him for hours. He blurts it out. “My best friend was lying on the floor, bleeding to death, and I couldn’t do anything. Not a damn thing. And I didn’t stop Peter and Dan when I had the chance. And now Shawn is in there and you want me to go home and go to bed. This sucks. I suck.”
Joe goes over and kneels down in front of Alex. “Don’t do this to yourself, Alex. There’s plenty of guilt to go around. Right now we need to be strong. We need to be strong for Shawn. And for Pam. And for Julia. There’ll be plenty of time to point fingers. But not now.”
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Laying Down the Tracks to Finding Shawn
Finding Shawn started out as a simple story that I wanted to tell, about the bullying of a gay teen by a high school athlete. But along the way the two primary characters, Alex and Shawn took on lives of their own. And as I started exploring their friendship the characters just sort of exploded. It happened when I tried to understand their relationship. Why were they best friends? What bridge existed between them?
Enter Pam, Shawn’s sister and confidant. How would she handle having a gay brother under the claw of an overbearing cop father? And how would keeping Shawn’s secret from Alex, her boyfriend, effect their new romance?
How did Shawn meet his love interest, Tony, and was Tony worth jeopardizing his reputation and potential athletic scholarships? And how would a macho group of football players destined for greatness handle the outing of one of their own? As I began to answer these questions the book suddenly became so much more fun and exciting. It was like weaving together a road map into the unknown.
Along the way, I pondered how the story would develop and how people would react in different parts of the country. There was no doubt that this story and the way these characters responded might be different if this had happened in the deep south or in a very rural conservative community. Utica, NY is a mix of inner city and backwoods. There are night clubs and bars that host a punk band one night and country western the next night. Utica also has a very depressed economy. The 2008 depression hit Utica back in 1998. It’s number one industry is tearing down abandoned buildings.
So it was a perfect setting for a sports centric community that revered its winners while it ignored their flaws. Of course sitting in the spectator seats is not the same as showering with a guy. What would his teammates do?
After the first few chapters, the book started to write itself. Scene after scene just flowed out. Shawn, Alex, Tony and Pam were real people with their own personalities and skeletons in their closet. And what they did, how they reacted to the fast paced events was dictated by those personalities and experiences.
So please, jump in and meet my friends Shawn, Alex, Tony and Pam. They’re all great people. I hope you get to like them as much as I do. And I hope that Finding Shawn will touch you in many ways. I look forward to your feedback and questions.
About the Author:
PHIL MARCELLO started writing as a boy in the sixties. Growing up in the projects wasn’t easy, but reading and writing were a couple of healthy vices he picked up along the way. Life happened, but Phil never entirely lost his interest and over the years, he started, but never finished, over a dozen stories.
Fortunately, he saved them all and now has the time and desire to complete them. Phil knows it will take years, but as he enjoys writing and views it as his art form it’s a labor of love he gladly undertakes.
PHIL MARCELLO can be found at: