Rewriting the rules of humor

BTL Staff
By | 2008-07-31T09:00:00-05:00 July 31st, 2008|Entertainment|

By Cornelius A. Fortune

When author Kage Alan first heard the suggestion that his second book be called “Lord of the Loins,” he hated the idea – and not just because he thought it slightly suggestive.
His original title was “Andy Stevenson vs. The Lord of the Loins,” but his publisher preferred the shortened version. Alan’s first book was called “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation.”
“I’m like: ‘Did you see the first book? Apparently I like long titles,'” says Alan. “They were going to cash in on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. I’m like, ‘OK, so now I’m a hack?'” Alan will host a book launch on from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 2 at Just 4 Us in Ferndale. The name of the book was changed back just in time for publication, but the truth is, “Lord of the Loins” had already generated some interest from various media outlets.
“Now that I sent this book out, they think it’s porn: I’ve had 12 places contact me,” he says. “How do you live up to that expectation? I’m like, ‘Do you people realize I’m writing comedy?’ My parents read this stuff. I can’t write porn. My mother would sit there and go, ‘Oh, God, that’s where you put it?'”
Alan, a Harrison Township native, has always used humor as a way to communicate. His first book delved into his journey in discovering his sexuality. What made the book fulfilling, in his opinion, was the way it lived in both worlds – quite literally.
“Straight people have mentioned that they could identify with some of what the character was going through,” Alan says. “It was very universal. Neither side was insulted by what was going on in the story. The straight readers didn’t feel I crossed the line, and the gay readers didn’t feel as if I sold out to a straight audience.”
The second book picks up where the last one left off, and Alan assures readers that they needn’t read the first one to enjoy the sequel. “In the first two pages, I kind of summarize a bit of what happens in the first book. By the end of the two pages, you’re all caught up,” he says. “I don’t think anyone would have any difficulty at all following what’s going on.”
Like most fiction that’s partly autobiographical, the character Andy Stevenson is a lot like Alan, but certainly not a direct copy.
“The character Andy could be me if it was me in those specific circumstances. He reacts like me, he’s got my musical tastes, he’s got my film tastes – he’s got my snarky little personality,” he says. “What I ended up doing was pulling from my own life (and saying), ‘Wow, that would be funny if it went this way instead.'”
The most fun he’s actually had is playing with the “voice” of his partner of 13 years, Ralph.
“So much of him is in this character, and I loved writing it because I could have fun with it,” Alan says. “We’ve got a lot of witty banter between the two of us, which keeps things fresh. It’s an incredible thing when you meet that person you want to irritate for the rest of your life.”
The title “Andy Stevenson vs. The Lord of the Loins” is a play off of the Bruce Campbell movie “Army of Darkness,” where in the credits, it reads, “Bruce Campbell vs. The Army of Darkness.”
“I love language. I play with language a lot more with this book,” he adds. “I had (a) blast with it. I said, ‘What could I do to this poor guy and make it so pathetic that it’s fun, because it’s happening to him and not you?’ I love humor. I make fun of myself in the book. I love making fun of other people. I love being the prankster.”

Kage Alan
1-4 p.m. Aug. 2
Just 4 Us, Ferndale
TBA, Sept. 20
Common Language Bookstore, Ann Arbor
http://www.kagealan.com

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.