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    New Game

    michelleMichele Karlsberg: How did you come up with the title of your book? 

    Gary Levinson: My novel is a gay love story based on “The Books of Samuel,” a portion of the Old Testament in which the story of Jonathan and David is told. In creating a fictional narrative based on it, I adapted the title, The Books of Jonathan, from its biblical source.

    When I first read the Samuel books, I was struck by the connection between two central characters: Jonathan, the eldest son of Saul, first king of the united monarchy of Judah and Israel; and David, the future great king of Israel. They meet after the slaying of the giant Goliath and in becoming bound to one another, to my mind, there is an unstated love between the two. I became intrigued by how that relationship might have existed in that period.

    namegameIn the bible, as Saul descends into madness, David’s rise to power is foretold and his destiny to be king is fulfilled. I wanted to explore Jonathan’s struggle of how he could reconcile his love of David, his loyalty to family and his devotion to God amid the turbulent times of Israel’s battle for nationhood. Ultimately, it is about searching to understand the nature of God and how one accepts the mysterious complexity of God’s will.

    Gary Levinson, a composer whose musical works include the off-Broadway productions of “Modigliani” and “Dorian Gray,” lived in San Francisco and Palm Springs. “The Books of Jonathan” is his first novel. 

    Bridget Birdsall: Double Exposure is a young adult novel about an intersex teen athlete. The title conveys the confining complexity of one teen’s struggle to define herself and stand in the truth of her personhood in a world that wants to put people in clearly defined gender boxes.

    Alyx Atlas was born with ambiguous genitalia and raised as a boy, but at age fifteen, to honor herself and curb the bullying she’s been subjected to, she changes gender identification. Like many actual intersex people, Alyx would prefer to keep her condition and personal struggles private. So she and her mom move across the country, where Alyx gets a fresh start, makes the girls’ basketball team, and for the first time in her life actually feels like she fits in. That is until Alyx’s prowess on the court proves too much for the hotheaded Pepper Pitmani.

    namegame2Jealousy compels Pepper to dig into Alyx’s past, and set up her brother, Peter, a gentle camera-toting artistic type with a crush on Alyx, to expose Alyx’s former male identity. Pepper’s jealousy, Peter’s camera obsession, and their father’s security technology that can track “face prints” serve as metaphorical mirrors for how the world sees Alyx and how she sees herself in the world. Just as any person is more than their gender or genitalia, sometimes we need to see things from more than one angle, through more than one lens, to get the full picture.

    Bridget Birdsall is a multidisciplinary artist who overcame dyslexic challenges and made a mid-life decision to pursue her dream of writing. Her young adult novel “Double Exposure” is being released by Sky Pony Press this month.

    Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBT community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates twenty-five years of successful book campaigns.