What would you do if you were a homosexual in a country where being gay is severely frowned upon and considered a taboo? What is the ultimate price to pay if you were different, gay?
Lagos playboy, son of an ex-beauty Queen; and sole heir to the Johnson fortune, Henry Johnson, is facing a stunning controversy because of his sexual orientation . . . He loves men, yet the thought disgusts him and throws him into turmoil, that is, until he encounters Phoenix, a bisexual male stripper and prostitute who is wildly ambitious and will do anything to climb the social ladder. Phoenix is the one man that opens his eyes to the taste of the forbidden fruit, to what it feels like to hold another man, to kiss another man, and to bed another man.
One taste of the forbidden gay fruit and Henry knows he’s trapped. Trapped between Society’s expectations, his duty to his family, and his hidden love of men. Set against the backdrop of a sprawling, decadent Lagos City, and from there to the outer edges of Eastern Nigeria, where being gay is unimaginable, a gay romance unthinkable, the consequences of being caught frighteningly debilitating and cripplingly suicidal, Behind Closed Doors is a story of hidden passions that take hold in the dark where same sex love thrives.
Henry will be forced to look deep within himself to unearth the man beneath, to make the toughest decisions of his life as it concerns Phoenix, a young man whose destiny becomes irremovably entwined in his. He will have to question everything he holds dear, everything Society has taught him. He will be forced to question his very existence.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am Nigerian. I live and work in Nigeria. I have seen effeminate men hated upon in Nigeria and misrepresented in the media. I am a feminine guy myself, and I felt the need to tell a long story from the perspective of a feminine man living in Nigeria. I wanted people to see what it means for someone to be a feminine man in Nigeria and perceived as gay and how that can affect every facet of that person's character. So Behind Closed Doors was born.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I just had them in my head: who they are and how I needed to present them for the narrative in the novel and I went with that.
As the years swept by, Henry Johnson continued to slip silently but surely into the deep pit of despair that had been dug for him the moment he drew away from Phoenix. He was alone in this, not that his family would have noticed, for Rosalie was interested in nothing else except keeping her stunning self more stunning and fresh, and she went at this with a sacred dedication; there was no fitness routine that she was alien to, no beauty secret she wasn’t privy to, and no antics she didn’t employ just to deceive the world as to her age, even going as far as demanding that her grandchildren called her by her name.
As for Fiona, she had gotten admission into the University of Lagos in 2005 to study accounting, so she lived in a one-bedroom flat at Akoka, Yaba, close to the campus five days a week, while she was always home during the weekends to be with the family. Her first set of twins were left in the care of the faithful Mrs. Oyono, the woman who had raised even Henry himself. Two years later, when she felt that the younger twins were old enough to be away from her, she left them too, and then she pursued her studies with zeal, and why won’t she? She had little troubles because she was never short for cash.
Henry felt all that was happening around him like a spectator, and he was desperately dying inside. He had thought that the thing he’d had with Phoenix was nothing more than a phase in his life, but it had turned out to be much more, and it was killing him. He missed his lover with each passing minute, each passing day. Every stunning male face he met reminded him of Phoenix, every light brown skin he saw made him to remember that firm skin and the taut muscles, and he then knew the meaning of heartbreak. He now understood what it really meant when someone was said to have died of heartbreak. He had been mourning the loss of his lover from that moment he had walked away at that police station, and there seemed to be no end in sight for him.
There were ways he could have tried to get back into the game, for Phoenix had taught him. ‘It’s all in the eyes and in the body language,’ Phoenix had told him once. ‘You should know when a guy is interested in you. It doesn’t matter how masculine he is, or how much he tries to tell the world that he hates homos; it always shows. The eyes will always betray them; it shows in the look, in that knowing look he gives to you maybe when you pass him on the street, or when you’re together. Or it could be when you’re shopping in the market, but it is that look that will always betray him.
‘Then there is the body language, the way he prunes and displays his maleness when you’re around him. He may not even understand what is happening to him, but the point is that you can always know a homo when you see him. That is the essence of it. You will have to learn to know them, but please know that being a feminine guy doesn’t make a man gay.’
And they had laughed about it then, but he knew that Phoenix was right with what he had said and how he had said it. And the stab of desire he’d always felt, particularly with Fiona away, made him wish he could just go out and cruise for men to fuck.
One day, he researched on the gay issue with his latest camera phone, and then he called a Dr. Stevens, an American psychologist who had a lot of interest in human sexuality and who was currently staying at the Eko Hotel and Suites for a conference. He had already emailed the doctor about the issue of his sexuality using an untraceable Hotmail address, and the man had responded, telling him to call.
‘Ah, yes, Mr. Brown,’ the doctor said in a crisp American accent. ‘Your email interested me no end. So you’re gay.’
‘Yes. I don’t know what or who triggered it, or why, but I feel very attracted to men; I always have been.’
‘Let me ask you a very simple question, and please give an honest answer. When you were still growing up, did you ever have any encounter with men or other boys?’
‘No man ever had any sexual contact with me when I was growing up; I mean, nobody could dare to try such with me.’
‘Have you acted on those tendencies of yours, Mr. Brown?’
Henry could not prevent a small laugh from bursting forth from his lips. ‘Why, yes; many times. There was this guy I hit it off with perfectly, and I had sex with him a lot. I even think I love him very much.’
‘How old are you, Mr. Brown?’
‘I turned thirty a few months ago. Before you ask any further questions, let me tell you something about my life. I am married, and I have four kids－ two sets of twins; I love all the things that a man is supposed to love, and I do all that a man is supposed to do in his spare time like watch football or play tennis and lift weights with my friends. But in spite of all these, I am gay. Why am I gay, Doctor?’
There was a short pause at the other end of the line, and then the Doctor said coolly, ‘What you have is a case of what we in the medical profession call congenital homosexuality. In some cases, a man’s homosexuality may be determined by environmental factors, but in your own case, you were born gay. And you would like to stop being gay; that is why you wanted to talk to me, isn’t it?’
Henry sighed at the accuracy of the man’s thoughts. ‘Yes.’
‘Mr. Brown, please allow me to tell you this, and I wish to emphasize this to you very well. Homosexuality is not a disease, neither is it a disorder; that much any researcher can tell you of. For you to wish to cure yourself of it is something you may find very hard to do; in fact, it is impossible. Why do some people like vanilla ice cream and others like chocolate? Why do some men like only blond women and some women prefer only feminine men? Why are some men and women attracted to only those of the same sex? There are no straight answers, Mr. Brown; I want you to know that.’
They talked for some moments more, and then Henry hung up. And it was after that conversation with the man that Henry became alive again. That was when he learnt to enjoy the day and also to appreciate the beauty of VI which he had always taken for granted. He now knew that he was not a freak of nature, that there was nothing for him to do about who and what he was. He was a normal young man, and the only difference between him and the others lay in the fact that they liked pussy and he liked cock, so there was nothing to be done about it.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Buy Behind Closed Doors Print Edition at Amazon
Buy Behind Closed Doors Print Edition at Barnes and Noble
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought! All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.