Did I blink? Or was it really 26 years ago, when I met the late E. Lynn Harris? It was at his first book signing in Atlanta, with his first and newly published novel, Invisible Life. Prior to that, the only other author/novelist who sat at the intersection of Black and gay, that I knew of, was James Baldwin. E. Lynn went on to become a New York Times bestselling author, and many of us were inspired by this man of warm heart and spirit.
One such author is Terrance Dean. He is the author of Hiding in Hip Hop and Mogul, both of which deal with gay men of color in the entertainment industry. My favorite of his works is The Intern, his contribution to the anthology Visible Lives, a tribute to E. Lynn Harris.
Upon reading The Intern, I would describe it as a romance novella, one of the few at the time that featured a gay, African-American couple. Chase Kennedy is a 38-year-old, vice president of production at GBS Television in New York. Burned a few times too many by other men in his quest for love, he chooses to go on a moratorium and immerse himself in work. All well and good–until he meets his new summer intern, 22-year-old Quincy Thornberry, a college senior at Stanford University by way of Brooklyn.
After months of doing without, Chase is too through. Quincy is the total package, the stuff his dreams are made of. The conflict within Chase builds as the blows to his self-esteem and office ethics war with his desire for Quincy, plus his doubts that someone like Quincy actually wants him. Of course, his free-spirited best friend Ashley doesn’t make the situation easy for him.
Once Chase chooses love with Quincy over loneliness, it’s time to “bring it on.” But not without a few little surprises along the way…
The romance novelist in me loves Terrance’s work, his writing style, and his humor. I loved the supporting character of Ashley Colby. She’s bright, quick, confident, down to earth…I can easily see why Chase valued her friendship. Since this work was a tribute to him, I appreciated the way he incorporated E. Lynn Harris as a character in the novella. Quincy was hot, adorable, and sincere. He was comfortable in his own skin as an openly gay Black man, who knew what he wanted and went after it. Chase, for all his status and successes, had to face the real challenges of his life–those from within, stemming from his own sense of self-worth.
Me? I would love to read a sequel to The Intern, to learn more about Chase and Quincy’s journey of love and a HEA. That being said, to all of you M/M romance lovers out there, give Terrance Dean his props and check him out at your local Amazon/Barnes & Noble library.