The second of a four-part blog series on Bridge Across the Ocean, Randy Boyd’s second novel, and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Best Small Press Title.
Twenty years ago, at the age of 26, I officially tested positive for HIV. Two months after the Test, I took off for Mexico. What happened next served as inspiration for my second novel, Bridge Across the Ocean, the story of a friendship between a black gay man with HIV/AIDS and two straight white teenage brothers during one magical summer in Cancun.
The “delicious ode to boyhood adventures” has touched many a heart. Bridge Across the Ocean has been the bestselling Randy Boyd novel to date, as well as being the one to receive the most fan mail. Turns out, Derek Mayfield, the main character, was not the only young man struggling with crossing the bridge from adolescence to manhood. Nor was he the only young man in need of a friend.
Many of the book’s fans who have written have often extended what I consider to be a great compliment to an author: they didn’t want the book to end because they wanted to spend more time with the characters. The other much appreciated compliment: the story stayed with them for some time.
As a writer, I’m grateful when anyone takes the time to read one of my books. Sometimes, I’m amazed people even find my books, considering most Americans have never heard of an author named Randy Boyd. Perhaps that’s why it’s all the more special when someone reaches out after taking a literary journey with me. Makes this little-known author feel very grateful.
But what happened to the members of the fictional Boys Club who played like boys but questioned life like men, all while getting to know one another under the hot tropical sun? Where would Derek and the two teenage bros be today, two decades after bonding on the beach?
If art continued to imitate life, the main characters in Beyond Bridge Across the Ocean would all still be alive and healthy in the modern world, and many of their deepest have come true. Derek and the boys drifted apart as their lives took them different places, but there was never a fallout. One of the boys is in touch with Derek from time to time, while one is not.
And Derek, the young black man who took off for Cancun thinking he’d be dead in a few years—my boy Derek is doing great. He even had a brief cameo in my latest novel, Walt Loves the Bearcat. Actually, Bridge Across the Ocean has a cameo in Walt Loves the Bearcat. You see, in that novel, this crazy quarterback and his cheerleader buddy buy their own Hollywood movie studio and their first project is the film version of Bridge Across the Ocean, a book by Randy Boyd, some little known author …
Derek Mayfield of Bridge Across the Ocean is doing just fine. He’s going somewhere. Derek Mayfield doesn’t know it yet, but he’s about to have a kid, more or less, in Randy Boyd’s next novel.
- The second of a four-part blog series about Bridge Across the Ocean, Randy Boyd’s second novel, and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Best Small Press Title
Bridge Across the Ocean @ 20: A four-part series
1 – Bridge Across the Ocean @ 20
2 – Bridge to somewhere: where the boys are today
3 – What is a lesbian? 1988-2008
4 – Young jock offers oral sex for magazine subscription