Sometimes novels happen by accident. I was sitting in a dentist’s outer-office, trying to kill time while my wife was having her teeth cleaned. I picked up one of the national news magazines, the kind I rarely get a chance to see. Thumbing through the pages, I came across a story of a young man who felt like he needed to go to school dressed as a female, because that’s who he believed he was on the inside. Well, it wasn’t too long before another student couldn’t take the idea of it anymore, and acted out violently against this young man. I was very much moved by the story and wanted to write about it. I understood completely that I didn’t know a thing about wanting to dress as a female, and probably couldn’t do justice to the teen. But something inside of me couldn’t let it go. So I began to play with the concept in my mind. From what viewpoint was I qualified to tell this story? After a few minutes, I had the voice of Adonis (a macho football player) in my head. The cross-dressing teen, the only boy in the high school fashion club, would be his sister’s best friend. That meant the teen would probably spend time at Adonis’ house, and maybe stay over for dinner sometimes. Adonis would have to explain all of this to his football buddies. He would have to wear two faces—one to appease his parents and sister, and another to satisfy his less than understanding friends. Hence, Crossing Lines (I had the title before I’d written a single word of the novel) was born. Over the next several months, as I wrote the heart of the story, I was moved by a seemingly endless stream of school-bullying stories in the media. Some of those stories influenced the tone and color of this work. I firmly believe that Crossing Lines is my best and most meaningful novel to date. I hope you will give this novel’s not-so-politically-correct narrator (Adonis) the opportunity to mature before your very eyes—Paul Volponi    

 



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