The secret came out a few years ago: Parker Knight is gay. Now Parker is sixteen, and everyone has either embraced it, does not care, or has forgotten—everyone except for Dylan Baker. He is determined to make Parker’s life miserable. Parker really thought killing himself would make everything better. If he was dead, he would not have to get kicked around by Dylan and his friends anymore. He would be free. Now, after a failed suicide attempt, Parker just wants to get through the last few months of tenth grade and stay as far away from Dylan as possible. What’s worse is Parker is secretly in love with his best friend, Liam Eriksson. But luckily, Liam doesn’t know this. Parker does not want to risk losing the friendship by telling him his true feelings. But as a tragedy overshadows his already complicated life, Parker soon discovers that the truth has a habit of surfacing in unexpected ways. Parker is the poignant story of one boy’s struggle for acceptance as he reaches out for hope, life, forgiveness and Liam.
|Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
Parker is the story of a 16-year-old boy being bullied at school by an old friend Dylan because he’s gay. He faces torment and hate every day and that eventually led to attempting suicide. Parker is deeply in love with his best Liam, but must keep it a secret so he doesn’t lose him. Parker is a coming of age about a boy who learns to be strong.
|How did you come up with the idea?
I didn’t intend to write Parker, it just sort of happened one night at 2 in the morning. But I wrote down the first thought that Parker ever said in my head to me, which is still the first line of the book, and then I just took it from there.
|What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?
Not a lot of research had to be done. I think the only thing I did research was about comas. I’ve been the introverted, scared kid who doesn’t feel like they belong or fit in anywhere. That was the easy part.
|Can you give us a short excerpt?
This excerpt comes from when the Knights and Liam visit Parker’s grandparents in Kelowna. Parker is feeling overwhelmed by not being out as gay to his grandparents, and continuing to hide his feelings from Liam.
When I walk back into the room, Liam is sitting on the bed. I sit down beside him. “I’m sorry about before,” he says.
I look down at the floor. “I’m sorry, too.”
“It’s just that we don’t really talk about it.”
“What’s there to talk about?”
“I don’t know. You never talk about anyone you like, or stuff like that.”
“That’s because there is no one.”
“Okay, well if you ever want to, you can.”
I want to. I love you. I dream about you when I’m awake and sleeping. I watch you from the corner of my eye. I need you. When you’re gone, I miss you. I want to touch you. I want you to touch me. You’re the only one. I can’t breathe around you. I can’t speak around you. I can’t think around you. You captivate me. You thrill me. You fascinate me. Love me back. Don’t leave me. You make me feel alive when I’m dying. You save me.
I don’t say any of these things.
I hate lying to him. I want to tell him it’s him and it’s been him forever. But I want him to feel the same way, and that is a dead dream. I might as well save myself the humiliation and awkwardness and hope that I just get over him.
“I’m gonna take a shower,” he says, standing up and grabbing his bag.
ABOUT STEPHANIE MACNEIL
Stephanie Macneil was born in Ottawa, Ontario, but now lives in Edmonton, Alberta. Her goal is to become a screenwriter. Parker is her first book.