As you listen to Wyatt O’Brian Evans talk about SHATTERED!, the latest book in the Nothing Can Tear Us Apart series, it’s crystal clear that he’s excited about the project. As he should be this, “gay/same gender loving. It’s ethnic. It’s a psychological thriller. There’s erotica in there, which is the icing on the cake,” he said. And it does not hurt that SHATTERED! has received strong and solid reviews.
Wyatt O. Evans is a self-described “quintessential Renaissance man.” Mr. Evans is an author, journalist, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur.
Evans is the founder, CEO, and President of Nair’BoUniversal, the publishing and production house that releases the popular Nothing Can Tear Us Apart (NCTUA) series (gay/ethnic).
NCTUA is the compelling and exciting saga of Wesley and Antonio, two masculine men of color who confront daunting struggles and obstacles which throw their monogamous relationship in dire jeopardy.
PrideIndex recently enjoyed an enlightening and lively conversation with Wyatt. In addition to bringing us into the world of two upwardly mobile men of color, complete with husband material vibes, he shared his writing journey and advice for breaking the cycle of abusive relationships.
PrideIndex (PI): Introduce yourself and briefly describe your projects.
Wyatt O’Brian Evans (WE): I’m Wyatt O’Brian Evans. I am a journalist and have written for print and online media, including the Washington Post, The Advocate, The Huffington Post, and my website, Wyattevans.com. I’m a radio personality: my podcast is titled “WYATT!” on YouTube and Spotify. I’m a voiceover artist and instructor. I’m also an author; my newest release is Nothing Can Tear Us Apart – SHATTERED! We’ll get into that a little bit later. I’m also a subject matter expert regarding intimate partner violence and abuse (IPV/A). That’s domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ+ community.
PI: I want to discuss the book, but first I’d like to start understanding your writing journey. When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?
WE: As a little kid, I wrote poems. I was always politically and socially aware, reading newspapers and all of that. I attended the George Washington University in the Washington Metro area and earned two BA degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Most of my jobs after college have been writing assignments for newspapers, companies, organizations, etc. My writer’s journey began when I was a little kid; I have always been very observant and enjoyed putting my thoughts down on paper.
I began the Nothing Can Tear Us Apart series of novels eight years ago. The series is about two upwardly mobile men of color. You’ve got Wesley, who’s a wealthy, black entrepreneur and celebrity. And there’s ‘Tonio, Wes’ deliciously muscular Latino chief of security, and intimate partner. They’re fighting to keep their monogamous relationship alive and thriving. SHATTERED! is the evolution of the characters in the Nothing Can Tear Us Apart series. ‘Tonio and Wes must deal with the aftermath of intimate partner violence, abuse, and mental instability. Because of emotional trauma, Wes splits into an alternate personality that is his polar opposite. This alternate personality is cray-cray and deadly. Then, Wes discovers he has a son he never knew existed. There’s a backstory there that covers the son, who’s a raging homophobe. The son believes that Wes abandoned his mother when she was carrying him, which isn’t true. He’ll find the truth later but is hell-bent on destroying the couple. So, you’ve got all these different obstacles in their way.
PI: Wow, that is a fascinating, and I’m trying to learn it. This is book number eight in the series.
WE: No, actually, this is book number four.
PI: Where can I find your first three books?
WE: You can find them all at Wyattevans.com and on Amazon. I’m proud and excited about SHATTERED! getting solid and strong reviews. Folks are finding that SHATTERED! resonates across the board with both LGBTQ+ and hetero audiences. Because basically, you’ve got these two people who are deeply in love. They have this abiding love for one another, and they’re fighting to keep their monogamous relationship alive and thriving. People can experience this in their lives, be they gay or same gender loving, straight, etc. You’ve got this enduring love, and you’re giving your all to protect it. And then there’s that contentious family father-son dynamic that people can relate to. SHATTERED! is getting great reviews! I’m really proud and excited about that. And I really appreciate PrideIndex for giving me an important platform to let people know about my new book.
PI: Okay, right. That’s what we’re here for. I often say I’m a boring person, and I live vicariously through my interview subjects. So, I need to jump into Wyatt’s space and be him.
WE:Well, let me tell you, my brother, there’s a lot in SHATTERED! It’s gay/same gender loving. It’s ethnic. It’s a psychological thriller. There’s erotica in there, which is the icing on the cake. There’s a lot of good, strong stuff going on, my brother.
PI: When authors say their story is based on actual events, the first thing that comes to me is self- editing. How did you decide what to share in this book?
WE: Phil, it’s such a great question because it goes to authenticity in writing. An author has to know what he’s talking about. He has to research because if he doesn’t, the reader will know what he’s writing is fake; that it doesn’t resonate, you know? One of the main themes is intimate partner violence and abuse, which I experienced many years ago. I’m a survivor. I’ve healed, and that devastating cycle of behavior will never happen to me again. As we all know, intimate partner violence and abuse is more prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community than is talked about, acknowledged, or recognized; so, to make this the Nothing Can Tear Us Apart series real, I wanted to talk about that. I wanted to discuss how two people can overcome intimate partner violence and abuse through therapy, love, and understanding. That’s one of the major themes in Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—SHATTERED!
PI: What is the one thing you’ve learned about yourself from writing this book?
WE: Hmm. Great question! What I learned was that sometimes, you can block certain things out of your mind as you’re growing up. And then later, as an adult, something makes you unearth those experiences. You’re peeling back layers. I also learned that as I open up about myself even more, I create a richer experience for readers that truly resonates. Let me say that there’s a gap of a few years between FRENZY!, my previous novel, and the new SHATTERED! So, I dug even deeper within myself during those years. I became even more open and honest. Therefore, writing the new SHATTERED! when I did was perfect timing. This was the right time to write and release it. SHATTERED! is more pointed and poignant. People are saying, “Wow, it’s intense and real!” There’s some erotica, and the sex scenes are raw. But when two people have such a deep and passionate love for one another, that’s what they do! LOL. The lovemaking scenes are natural, real, and in yo’ face. It’s the icing on the cake. But there’s so much, much more to SHATTERED! I am so excited about it all.
PI: Do you follow any rituals or things you do to put your mind in the writing zone?
WE: Before I write, I must be in a quiet place. Sometimes I listen to 90s Pop, R&B, that sort of thing to get me in the mood. A lot of times, the inspiration and the words hit me at night as I drift off to sleep so I make sure I have my A cell phone near me. That way, I can either record what I’m thinking or type it and email it to myself. My writing process works like this: I conceptualize the story in my head and then create 25 words or less elevator pitch. If an author can’t tell the story in 25 words or less, that’s a problem. For example, you might be in an interview and only have limited time to get your message across. After that, I develop a one to one-and-a-half-page synopsis that fleshes out the story. Next is the outline, which is a blueprint that takes you from point A to B to C. Once I have those tools, I begin writing; I may produce five or six drafts. Next, I present it to my reader group for feedback, which I might incorporate. Then there are the final edits. After that, the manuscript is complete and ready to publish. That’s how I work.
PI: That’s so official; I remember taking a creative writing class as an elective course in college. The writing was always challenging.
WE: I’ve always been organized. I’ve just begun the SHATTERED! book tour. When I go on tour, I tell aspiring authors that they must be disciplined, setting aside time to write at least every other day. Ideally, you have to forget the football game, etc., to write. You absolutely must be disciplined to make it a reality. Even if you write for 10 minutes daily, you must develop a daily writing habit. Because if you don’t, your book will never get done.
PI: Tell me about the SHATTERED! book tour. When and where?
WE: Well, yeah, right now, I’m doing a lot of media, such as you. I’ve got bookstore dates and other appearances I’m finalizing right now. The official SHATTERED! virtual launch event was held on April 29th, which was produced by The Bears Network and my “WYATT!” podcast. It was great! Lots of folks joined in, and it was a lot of fun! Go to the Live Section of my YouTube channel, @wyattobrianevans7694, and check it out. The SHATTERED! campaign is going to unfold over a year. I’m taking my time with it because SHATTERED! is a substantive and compelling work that I want everyone to know about. It’s deliciously entertaining but has messages without being preachy. One of the main reasons why I wrote the series was, like I said, to shine a bright light on intimate partner violence and abuse. I also wanted to show two men, two upwardly mobile, wealthy men of color, one being black, the other Latino, who can be in a monogamous relationship. We rarely see that in mainstream media. This is what makes the Nothing Can Tear Us Apart series of novels unique: I’m telling a three-dimensional and real story of two upwardly mobile, masculine men of color, who are fervently and passionately in love with one another, and who are dedicated and committed to making their monogamous relationship a success. I’m proud to say that SHATTERED! is strongly resonating across the board.
PI: What do you think about the statement “abuse people turn around and abuse others?”
WE: Well, that definitely does happen. For example, let’s say that you’re growing up and your father is beating your mother, or your father is abusing your mother mentally and emotionally, right? You can bring that into your adult intimate relationships by being the victim or the abuser. In SHATTERED!, a drug lord sets up Wes, the super wealthy black celeb, to make it look like he’s being unfaithful to his partner, ‘Tonio. As a result, ‘Tonio takes the bait and batters Wes. And as you’ll see, ‘Tonio has deep-seated issues and insecurities. Wes kicks ‘Tonio to the curb and ends their relationship. However, they do get back together: but not before there’s the acknowledgment that the abuse occurred and not before there’s intensive therapy. ‘Tonio has one-on-one therapy with a shrink. The couple has joint therapy, as well. To make it authentic, I sought the assistance of a psychiatrist; I wanted to make sure that I was writing everything correctly and real. I wanted to accurately portray the aftermath of intimate partner violence and abuse. I didn’t want to give a quick fix to what Wes and ‘Tonio went through. I wanted the aftermath of the abuse and forgiveness to make perfect sense.
PI: What advice would you offer others to break the cycle of abuse?
WE: First, you must believe that you are worthy of making your great escape. Tell someone you can trust; you need as much help as possible. Then, carefully plan your escape: avail yourself of resources, and squirrel away money. You’ve got to put your ducks in a row before you make that move. And once you do that, I’m a strong advocate and proponent of therapy. Therapy literally saved my life after I got out of my abusive relationship. Find a good therapist to help you heal and realize that you are not the problem. So, it’s a process to extricate yourself from an abusive relationship, if that makes sense.
PI: Picture this, you’re sitting in a room with a casting director at a casting call listening to several hundreds of actors read for one of the two leading roles in the movie version of this book. Quickly tell me, what is the one must-have you’re looking for in an actor to bring these characters to life?
WE: Such a great question! I like that question. First of all, I’d like for the Nothing Can Tear Us Apart series to be either a movie or, preferably, a serial, like a weekly serial, because I wrote it like a screenplay. Because if you notice, I’m very detailed about the surroundings and the characters. When reading SHATTERED!, you’re like a fly on the wall. You can taste, smell, hear. My writing style is intense, detailed, nuanced, and vibrant. So, I would say that, as far as Wes is concerned, I’m looking for a black man who has a sophisticated vibe. He’s suave and very educated. He must have those traits and masculinity. He’s got to be at least good-looking towards handsome. He’s got to have a good heart, a big heart. And the eyes! If you notice, in SHATTERED!, I write a lot about someone’s eyes. Because eyes are the windows to the soul. He’s got to have these eyes that really grab you, immerse you, and look deep into your soul. So, he’s got to have soulful eyes. He’s got to be handsome. He’s got to have a decent build. He doesn’t have to be a bodybuilder but has a decent gym build. He’s got to have sophistication. He’s got to have a sense of humor. He has to have that essence of goodness and be in control without being arrogant.
PI: What are your ultimate goals as a writer?
WE: To get the message across that you can have two gay SGL men, particularly of color, who can have a monogamous relationship that is alive and thriving. Because even today, I think too many people believe that all that gay SGL men do are jump in and out of beds and swing fun chandeliers. And that is not necessarily the case. As an author, I want to be able to entertain people in a realistic way that resonates with people. That’s important; any successful author needs to be able to create a work with authenticity and truth, a work that entertains and truly resonates with the reader. The author wants the reader to say, “That happened to me, too! And I know that it happened to somebody else, too. I can see that happening to me!”
To learn more visit Wyattevans.com