The BOYSTOWN Experience
Writing the BOYSTOWN series has been one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. From the moment the idea came to me in the Spring of 2013 until now, 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 June of 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 made it a priority to respond to every email that I received not only because I valued 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.
Several dedicated fans voluntarily created online BOYSTOWN book tours simply because they loved the books and wanted to bring the series to the attention of others. Some readers have allowed me to post BOYSTOWN promotional materials on their websites and blogs, and others have contacted me to see how they can become involved with BOYSTOWN.
When I held a nation-wide photo contest looking for "models" whose images we could use in the BOYSTOWN promotional materials, the response was overwhelming. People from all over America submitted their photos in the hope of becoming one of the "faces" of BOYSTOWN. I ended up selecting five winners for that contest because I wanted to include as many people as possible. Even after the contest was over, people continued to submit their photos asking to be a part of the BOYSTOWN team and I have welcomed several more of them on board.
I met my new BOYSTOWN Director of Art, Design & Advertising, Michael Vargas, and my new BOYSTOWN Director of Social Media, Patrick Murphy, because they were fans of the books. They contacted me on Facebook, we chatted and got to know each other, and now they are running all the promotional and advertising campaigns for the BOYSTOWN series.
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. Many fans want Derek to stay with his wife Joyelle. Finally, I was really taken aback by people's reactions to Justin, who only appeared on the BOYSTOWN landscape at the end of "Season One." Readers really found him appealing and interesting - and wanted to know everything about him: his sexuality, his motives, his plan. Those fans will be happy to know that Justin is a central character in "Season Two."
People often ask me how many books the BOYSTOWN series will have. I simple tell them this: as long as the fans are interested in the series, I will keep it going. "Season Three" is already in the works and, if the fans want more, "Season Four" will be right behind it. I hope fans will continue to reach out to me and let me know their thoughts and ideas. BOYSTOWN truly belongs to the fans!
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Jake Biondi fell in love with "The Windy City" at an early age. He left the Chicago area for four years to attend the University of Notre Dame and, upon graduation, returned to Chicago. He has been living in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood for over 20 years.