Fall Through Spring
by Amy Lane
A Winter Ball Novel
As far as Clay Carpenter is concerned, his abusive relationship with food is the best thing he’s got going. When a good friend starts kicking his ass into gear, Clay is forced to reexamine everything he learned about food and love—and that’s right when he meets troubled graduate student, Dane Hayes.
Dane Hayes doesn’t do the whole monogamy thing, but the minute he meets Clay Carpenter, he’s doing the friend thing in spades. The snarky, scruffy bastard not only gets Dane's wacky sense of humor, he also accepts the things Dane can’t control—like the bipolar disorder Dane has been trying to manage for the past six years.
Dane is hoping for more than friendship, and Clay is looking at him with longing that isn't platonic. They’re both positive they’re bad at relationships, but with the help of forbidden desserts and new medication regimens, they prove outstanding at being with each other. But can they turn their friendship into the love neither of them has dared to hope for?
Talking about weight and mental health are two things nobody likes to do. My husband hasn't known how much I've weighed for years, and there are things I may never tell my kids about growing up surrounded by mental illness.
These things are raw and personal and hard--and as much as I think they need to be spoken about, writing about them is difficult.
Which is why fiction is such a glorious way to deal.
Clay has both the successful relationship and the victory over his weight. Dane has a support system, and by the end of the book, he's got some hope of independence--and he has Clay.
The conflicts in this book aren't external--not a whole lot of family drama, no bad guys, no, "Are they going to break up." Part of that was that the timeline of this book was established in Summer Lessons, and unless I was going to drop a squid on their heads in October, there was really not much I could do.
But that made it absolutely necessary that all of the conflict be internal--and that made me really explore these guys.
Clay's weight problems are something I'm intimately acquainted with, like an old enemy, and I've seen the fallout of mental health difficulties like Dane's and it's not pretty. We don't need squids from the sky, bad bosses, dead horses or porn to make their struggles to overcome their inner demons poignantly real.
In an era where representation is so important, and the media is working hard to improve the view of our narrative, giving everybody a chance to see a hero and say, "It me!" the overweight and the mentally ill are still underserved. I wanted to write a story where people who aren't toned and beautiful could say, "Oh, look--it's me." I wanted to write a story in which someone with a wicked sense of humor and a treacherous brain chemistry could say, "Look--I can be happy."
I figured those struggles didn't need a bad guy or squids or dead horses or porn. They just needed two guys, working shit out, doing the best they can.
That's sort of been the focus of the entire Rec League Soccer series, actually. Skip and Richie are only mini-gods on the soccer field--but them, working shit out captured our attention. Mason and Terry were two very different guys--and the only person who didn't see Mason's flaws was Terry and vice versa. They were uniquely suited for each other, no falling squids necessary.
And Clay and Dane are hopefully--and painfully--real to us. These are guys we could know. They are not perfect--not inside, not out. (Dane, for instance, is a terrible snob. Clay has troubles standing up for himself in the worst way.) But for all their flaws, they still--like all of us--deserve a chance at happy.
Fall Through Spring is about falling through a hole in life we didn't mean to dig for ourselves--and coming out to the beauty on the other side.
I hope you love it.