Felipe Fagundes, a Brazilian author known for his humorous stories with a hint of drama, released his first book, entitled “Gay de Família”. The work, published by Editora Paralela, promises to captivate readers with an engaging comedy that addresses topics such as family, complicated friendships and relationships in general.
Born in 1991 and raised in Nova Iguaçu, Rio de Janeiro, Felipe Fagundes settled in Rio de Janeiro alongside his husband. Writing since 2010, the author has found comedy to be a unique way of expressing himself, using humor as a means of exploring more serious subjects without offending his audience. He believes that his humorous stories are actually dramas in disguise, where the humor sets the stage for scenes that tug at readers’ hearts.
In “Gay de Família”, Felipe Fagundes presents the story of Diego, a character who decides to be gay far away from his problematic family. However, everything changes when his brother makes him an unexpected request: that Diego babysit his three nephews for a weekend. What seemed like a simple task becomes a challenge when he discovers that the children are peculiar and that he will have to deal with unusual situations, including a demonic cat, an imaginary friend and a potentially sadistic doorman.
“Gay de Família” is a comedy that promises to make readers laugh while involving them in an exciting plot. Felipe Fagundes is dedicated to portraying LGBT+ adult characters, exploring their experiences at work, in marriage and in lasting friendships. The book is a fun and captivating portrait of the lives of these characters, with a hint of fantasy at times. Check out the interview!
‘Gay de Família’ is a work that mixes romance and comedy, capturing the reader with fun situations. What were your inspirations for writing the book and how did you develop the story and characters?
I’ve always leaned towards the side of comedy in the books I’ve read, so it was very natural for me to write Gay de Família the way he is. I love comic stories and have always loved the cliché of the big man who suddenly finds himself having to take care of several children (happens a lot in movies, like Training Daddy, Day Care, Kindergarten Cop, etc). Gay de Família is my version of this cliché with a gay man as the protagonist of the plot.
You’ve mentioned that you prefer to write about LGBT+ adult characters in your books. What is your opinion on the importance of LGBT+ representation in literature and the media in general and how literature can contribute to the inclusion and visibility of the LGBT+ community?
We can only identify with what we know exists. It is characters like Diego de Gay de Família who will sometimes be a point of hope for readers or even the only contact a person has with the LGBT+ community. The more people who understand that LGBT+ people are not seven-headed monsters or mythical beings, the more people understand that we are people like everyone else, the less barriers we will have between us.
His book “Gay de Família” tackles serious topics like family relationships and LGBT+ issues, but it’s also a comedy. How did you balance humor with the seriousness of the topics covered?
A lot of people associate humor with lack of depth or empty entertainment, but it’s actually an excellent tool when we want to address painful topics. Gay de Familia is a comedy, yes, but it is by making the reader laugh and feel comfortable with the characters that I have the opportunity to touch some wounds. It is the person who reads that opens the door for me to enter deeper into the dramas.
In addition to being a writer, you are a great reading enthusiast. Who are your favorite authors and which books would you recommend for someone who wants to get started in LGBT+ literature?
Sophie Kinsella’s books (“Becky Bloom’s Consumer Delusions”, among others) are my safe haven, places where I know I can return and be happy. Vitor Martins’ books are not far behind. I highly recommend “Quinze Dias” by Vitor and “Marketing do Amor” by Renato Ritto for those who haven’t read LGBT+ books yet.
You’ve been writing stories for the internet since 2010, on your personal blogs and on Wattpad, before publishing your first book. How has the online writing experience helped shape your writing career?
Writing is practice. Gay de Família is my first book published in a traditional way and because of that I am considered a debut author, but the luggage I carry with me as a writer is from years ago. Before Gay de Família I wrote two other novels, some soap operas and short stories, I participated in some collections. Writing is not something new for me. Taking this path before getting where I am today is what made me know how to deal with readers, feedback and the anxiety of putting a story out there in the world.
What do you hope readers take away from your book “Gay de Família”? Is there a message you’d like to convey through the story of Diego and his nephews?
It is impossible for an author to know how our book is going to get across to our readers. I just hope the book delivers laughter and the certainty that family is an empty word if there’s no one really there for you.
How does the character Diego feel about his sexual identity and how does this influence his relationships with his family?
Diego is past the stage of having to accept himself and come out to the world, the book starts with a proudly gay Diego. It’s not something he thinks about anymore, he just is. Of course, this certainly triggered several disagreements in his family. The parents don’t accept him, the brother doesn’t know how to deal with him, the nephews hardly know that the uncle exists. It is even a very common scenario among gays and lesbians, unfortunately.
How does the book address issues related to sexual diversity and LGBTQ+ representation in Brazilian literature?
Gay de Família deviates from focusing the story on a novel, the main theme of the LGBT+ stories that we have today in the national and international market. I love novels, but in this book I preferred to show this facet of the gay community, the way we relate to our families and especially living with children, a relationship that is still very little represented in fiction.
Are there any rituals or “routines” that you follow to improve your creative process before writing your books?
I never stop reading. Books from my niche, from outside my niche, national, international, what I like to read and sometimes books from outside my comfort zone. It helps me understand how good stories are written. Before I start writing my books, I always try to figure out what the heart of the story is and where it’s going. I only really start writing when I already have the first paragraph in my head. I care a lot about the first words of stories.
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