He lives, with his partner, where east London ends and becomes nine-carat-gold- highlights-and-fake-tan-west-Essex. He was born in Hampshire with two club feet (look it up, it’s not nice) and problem ears, needing grommets: this meant he was in plaster from toe to groin until he was two, and had to swim with a cap and olive oil soaked lamb’s wool over his ears - olive oil bought from a health food shop, before it was sold by supermarkets. He started writing when he was 14: sat in French lessons during a French exchange trip, for want of anything better to do, he wrote pen portraits about his French exchange’s teachers. He wrote for his school’s creative writing magazine and still writes a diary every day. He grew up on the edge of the New Forest – not in the New Forest mind, but on the edge. Now it’s a national park, it’s so much more glamorous. He went to uni in London and never really left. One evening, flicking through the channels, he stumbled across the film, Saving Private Ryan, and it took twenty minutes of not seeing Goldie Hawn in an army uniform, before he realised it wasn’t actually the film, Private Benjamin. When not writing, he also enjoys baking.
He avoided any sport at secondary school by having an orthodontist appointment between the age of 14 and 16, and when he was old enough to drive, just drove home instead of playing rugby/hockey/whatever. He is a car geek, his particular passion is old French classics, and his every day car is what is popularly referred to as a ‘hairdressers car’ a Mazda MX5 in powder blue – Muriel.
And Then That Happened, by Liam Livings
Published by Love Lane Books
Should you settle for a nearly perfect happiness or put your heart on the line for more?It’s 1999 and 28-year-old Dominic’s carefully planned suburban life with his boyfriend Luke is perfect. His job as a nurse, his best friend Matt, his relationship with his parents, everything is just right. He and Luke have been together ten years, seen each other through friends’ deaths and their parents’ ups and downs, and even had a commitment ceremony.Gabe isn’t happy with his boyfriend, but he stays with him, because, well it’s complicated.Fate throws Gabe into Dominic’s life. And then that happened. Gabe’s open relationship, impulsive nature, enthusiasm for life and straight talking advice are fascinating to Dominic. They’re friends, they click over a shared love of Goldie Hawn and Gabe shows Dominic there can be more to life than planned and safe. So why can't he take his own advice?And Then That Happened is about finding a new kind of happiness, even when what you have is already perfect. And how sometimes perfect isn’t quite what it seems.
Review by multitaskingmomma
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken, I guess everyone knows this by now for I always go to those words when I meet unexpected challenges or changes in life. I may be bold in saying this but Liam Livings, you did such a wonderful job in giving life to this favorite poem of mine in And Then That Happened.
What could be considered a diversion from the norm, the author now takes his readers to the romantic side with the story of Dominic and Gabe. The two lovers who were not. The two men who saw friends die from AIDS. The two men who took their friendship to levels their boyfriends could not understand. Heck, they did not understand it either. The point is, they met, they connected, they loved platonically and they moved on.
For Dominic, being in a ten year relationship with his one and only man, Luke, was getting to be a painful experience. Not because of abuse, not because of cheating. No, it was more like they lost their connection somewhere along the way and their roads diverged from the other and there were no side roads to link them.
For Gabe, hanging on to his relationship with boyfriend of four years, A, was painful to endure. Again, not because of abuse but because instead of moving on and doing something about life, A just stopped and expected Gabe to stop as well. Gabe is not that type of individual, he needs to work, he needs to move, he needs to live. Hanging on to someone who would deny life was not something he could bear. But bear he did and went on bearing.
When Dominic meets Gabe, they were like two drowning people who managed to somehow, save each other. No, there was no cheating but others may say their emotions cheated on their existing relationships. They became friends, too close for others' comforts. There was love, but they were of the platonic type. The difference this relationship of theirs made on their respective lives, well that is the story. Things happen, as they always do. Making something out of it, that depends on the individual. Gabe and Dominic made a move to move on, to make a difference in their lives.
Is this a romance? Is this gay fiction? I say it is both but not. It is life as from the words of an author who sees and writes about them.
This made me tear up!
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