A Brief Interview With Author Jake Biondi
1. What inspired you to write the BOYSTOWN series?
I have always been a fan of continuing, serialized dramas, whether they be classics such as the novels of Charles Dickens (which were released in magazines in installments, each of which ended with a cliffhanger to keep readers coming back for more) or more contemporary such as Dallas, Dynasty, and Revenge. I thought it was finally time for a well-written, intriguing drama that had gay characters at its core. And after living in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood for twenty years, I thought to myself, “What better place to inspire a continuing drama?” Thus, BOYSTOWN story was born. BOYSTOWN has a very interesting history. I began writing BOYSTOWN as an online story and intended to release one “episode” online per month, each ending in a cliffhanger. The story became so popular -- and the online reading audience grew so quickly -- that people from all over the country began to email me demanding to know what happened to their favorite characters and wanting the episodes to be released faster. They also had suggestions for future storylines!
2. How do you develop your characters?
Every good saga has a family at its core. BOYSTOWN has two -- the Mancinis and the Ciancios. Everyone in the book is somehow connected to them. I have to admit that some of the characters have taken on a life all their own. Officer Michael Martinez is one example. I created him simply because I needed a police officer for a brief scene and then, all of a sudden, came up with a huge idea and now he is one of BOYSTOWN’s main and most liked characters. I have also been intrigued by the fans’ responses to certain couples in the series. For example, I never anticipated that so many people would be fans of “Kemmett” (Keith and Emmett). Fans are very vocal about what I did to that couple at the end of “Season One” and provided many ideas for how I should write those characters in “Season Two.” Fans of “Dole” (Derek and Cole) are also very vocal. While most readers like and connect with the character of Cole, some like him with Derek and others don’t. Finally, I was really taken aback by people's reactions to Justin, who appears on the BOYSTOWN landscape toward the end of “Season One.” Readers really find him appealing and interesting -- and want to know everything about him: his sexuality, his motives, his plan. And then there are the Ciancio twins, who are introduced in “Season Two”...
3. What’s the best thing about being the author of BOYSTOWN?
Writing the BOYSTOWN series has been one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. I have enjoyed every moment of the writing and marketing process. But what I have really enjoyed the most about the entire experience has been the interaction with the BOYSTOWN readers. BOYSTOWN fans are, quite simply, the best. I have been so touched and humbled by the outpouring of kindness and support I have received from BOYSTOWN readers since the moment the first episode hit the internet in 2013. People began to email me from all over the country, and beyond, to share with me their thoughts and ideas about the BOYSTOWN characters and story lines. I make it a priority to respond to every email that I receive not only because I value the readers’ feedback but also because I want my readers to understand that I want them to reach out to me. I want to hear from them -- their ideas, their suggestions, their reviews, their feedback. In fact, their comments and ideas actually can and do impact the future of the series because I have written some of their suggestions into the series. In short, by contacting me, the readers can actually impact what happens to their favorite characters.
4. Do you have a favorite character in your series?
I think every author incorporates his personal experiences into his writing. While the characters in BOYSTOWN are fictitious, my experiences with friends and family have certainly influenced them. We all know many people like the characters in BOYSTOWN. I enjoy writing all of the BOYSTOWN characters because they are all so unique and different. And the fans’ responses to certain characters often surprise and motivate me as well. For example, the character of Justin Mancini was never meant to be a main character. I only intended to use him in a few chapters; however, the fans’ response to him was so overwhelming that I had to develop Justin more and keep him around. The same is true for Michael Martinez. I created him simply because I needed a police officer for a certain plotline, but he seemed to take on a life all his own, so I kept him. Of course, I love writing Derek and Cole because they are at the center of so much of the action. And Emmett is probably the most like me, so I love writing him, too.
5. Where can people purchase the BOYSTOWN books and how do readers contact you?
BOYSTOWN is available in paperback, audio book, and all e-book formats through my website BoystownTheSeries.com as well as amazon.com, bn.com, and itunes. Autographed copies of the books are available through my site as well. I encourage readers and fans to contact me. They may do so by emailing me at BoystownTheSeries@yahoo.com, through the websites JakeBiondi.com and BoystownTheSeries.com, and on Facebook and Twitter (@boystown_series).
BOYSTOWN SERIES OVERVIEW
The Story BOYSTOWN is the continuing story of several couples living in Chicago's famed Boystown neighborhood.
The Mancini brothers -- as well as their friends and significant others -- are at the core of BOYSTOWN. Emmett Mancini, the youngest of the brothers, is a bright, caring guy whose boyfriend Keith Colgan has a past Emmett knows little about . . . yet. Derek Mancini, and his wife Joyelle, are BOYSTOWN's straight couple . . . but a recent encounter with hunky Cole O'Brien could have life-altering consequences for Derek. And when Justin Mancini, the oldest brother, arrives in BOYSTOWN, he brings with him a family history that both Emmett and Derek were hoping to forget: a bitter feud with the powerful Ciancio family.
Interracial couple Logan Pryce and Max Taylor have been together have survived the ups and downs that are common in most long-term relationships; however, they must now face a crisis that neither of them ever expected. A chance encounter with an old flame sends Max on a mission to discover a secret buried long ago . . . and tests the strength of his commitment to Logan.
One of the most diverse and lively neighborhoods in the country, Chicago's Boystown has something for everyone. So it's no wonder that roommates Jesse Morgan and Cole O'Brien chose to live there upon graduating from college. Ready to begin the next phase of their lives in an exciting new city, Jesse and Cole quickly find themselves at the center of the drama and intrigue that makes up this adult playground. Against the backdrop of the vibrant Chicago skyline, some couples are brought together while others are torn apart, once-buried family vendettas are resurrected, and friends unite to face the challenges that life throws their way.
Family. Love. Deception. Romance. Power. Revenge. Passion. Betrayal. Welcome to BOYSTOWN!
BOYSTOWN has a very interesting history. In Spring of 2013, I started to toss around in my head the idea of writing a continuing drama that focused on gay characters. I considered some ideas for characters and storylines. Then I finally began actually writing BOYSTOWN in June of 2013 as an online story and intended to release one "episode" online per month, each ending in a cliffhanger. The story became so popular -- and the online reading audience grew so quickly -- that people from all over the country began to email me demanding to know what happened to their favorite characters and wanting the episodes to be released faster. They also had suggestions for future storylines! I was surprised and excited by the readers' response to BOYSTOWN and began to write and release installments more quickly. By November, 2013, I had released 10 episodes and the reading audience had expanded well beyond the borders of America.
Because of BOYSTOWN's huge success online and the serialized nature of my writing, readers from all over the globe were able to correspond with me and influence the storylines of the BOYSTOWN saga as I wrote it. It is really exciting to interact with fans in this way. I think it's something very unique to BOYSTOWN.
Readers also suggested that I publish the first ten episodes as a book rather than leaving them online. I took their advice -- and BOYSTOWN Season One was published in late November, 2013. The book sold well and I continued to write additional episodes. Episodes 11 - 20 were released in July, 2014 as BOYSTOWN Season Two. BOYSTOWN Season Three was released on May 1, 2015, BOYSTOWN Season Four was released on November 13, 2015, BOYSTOWN Season Five was released on June 1, 2016, BOYSTOWN Season Six was released on December 16, 2016, BOYSTOWN Season Seven was released on July 7, 2017, and BOYSTOWN Season Eight was released on February 14, 2018.
I think readers really like that BOYSTOWN is written like a TV series. It moves quickly and keeps people on the edges of their seats! And now the BOYSTOWN team is working to bring BOYSTOWN to television.
Interest in the series is high -- the future of BOYSTOWN, both in print and on screen, will surely be a bright one.
BOYSTOWN series named “Best of 2017”
Book series named “best” for second consecutive year, maintains Amazon.com’s highest ratings
“One of the most addictive reads you’ll ever pick up.”
“I’m grateful and flattered,” author Jake Biondi said about his BOYSTOWN book series being included in the BookLikes.com “Best of 2017” book list. This is the second consecutive year the series has been named BookLikes.com’s “best.”
With an average customer rating of five stars, the BOYSTOWN series also continues to receive the highest possible rating onAmazon.com as well.
“I must say that this series just gets better and better,” wrote Marco Manganiello, founder of BookLikes.com. “I have been glued to my Kindle all week. Jake Biondi can’t write the next book fast enough.”
The BOYSTOWN series currently contains seven books with the eighth book in the series scheduled to be released on February 14, 2018. “The eighth book is a very special one, so a Valentine’s Day release date seemed appropriate,” Biondi told fans of his BOYSTOWN book series. “Because of the success of the series, fans from all over the world have been asking me when book eight will be available. The ending to BOYSTOWN Season Seven foreshadowed the deaths of two main characters, including a member of the Mancini family, and readers tell me they are longing to know who died.”
“Being included in Marco Manganiello’s list of the best books of 2017 is tremendous honor and a great way to end a year that has been very good for BOYSTOWN,” Biondi added.
“Jake Biondi is one of the most masterful writers of fiction of our time,” said Roger Ward in his review of the BOYSTOWN series. “The saga is told masterfully through several subplots which include unforeseen twists and turns that will leave the reader stunned and speechless.”
BOYSTOWN recently introduced the series’ first transgender character. Musician and YouTube sensation Skylar Kergil, who appears inBOYSTOWN Season Six, said, “Jake Biondi's inclusion of a trans masculine character, Ethan, puts this book on a ground-breaking level. The inclusion of alternative gender identities and diverse bodies allows us, the readers, to also explore our own thoughts about these sweeping, universal issues we all experience: love, identity, and passion.”
“I regularly receive notes from fans who connect with the characters and want to know what the future holds for them. The broad appeal of the BOYSTOWN series is incredible. BOYSTOWN has a really diverse audience and an equally diverse cast of characters,” Biondi said.
“Jake Biondi has a way of writing a story that sucks you in from the first word on the page to the last word on the last one. I would put his writing abilities against any screenwriter of any soap opera that’s on TV today and still call him the best. His characters are extremely engaging, his storylines are superb, and the cliffhangers will leave you breathless and waiting in eager anticipation to see what happens next. This series is not just a good read, it’s an amazing read and one that I would highly recommend,” wrote Love Bytes Reviews.
Engraved: All Things Writing wrote, “Make no mistake: Jake Biondi’s BOYSTOWN series is one of the most addictive reads you'll ever pick up."
“BOYSTOWN is a must-read series filled with twists and turns that everyone will love,” said BOYSTOWN model Cory Zwierzynski, who will be featured on the cover of BOYSTOWN Season Eight. “I was so grateful when Jake Biondi asked me to join the BOYSTOWN team. I have watched the BOYSTOWN audience grow with the release of each installment of the series.” About Biondi, Zwierzynski said, “Working with Jake has been awesome. Over the past few years, we have gotten to know each other well and have become good friends. He knows how to tell a great story and keep the audience engaged from the very first page of each book. I am grateful to be one of the faces of BOYSTOWN.”
The BOYSTOWN series has a fascinating history. It began as an online story released in installments, each ending with a cliffhanger that left readers wondering what would happen to their favorite characters. Enthusiastic BOYSTOWN fans from all over the world petitioned Biondi to release the installments more quickly; they simply couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. Overwhelmed by and grateful for the fans’ responses to the series, Biondi began to write more quickly and also began to publish the series in book format.
The BOYSTOWN series is available at bookstores across the country as well at online at Amazon.com, bn.com, Google Play, and iTunes. The series is available in paperback, audio book, and all e-book formats. Readers may order autographed paperback copies of the books directly from BoystownTheSeries.com.