True Colorz is your web source for all things YA in the LGBTQ community! Our blog features new releases, featured authors, interviews, and reviews/recommended reading.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Featured Author & Giveaway: Benjamin Shepherd Quinones

Benjamin Shepherd Quinones is a 20 year old, half Puerto Rican student at Lehigh University, where he studies Psychology, Biology and Spanish. From an early age, three things interested him most: science, writing, and science fiction. Some fringe interests include the color yellow, X-Men, spicy food, Latin dancing, soccer, and any animal that is not a snake. He is also very interested in battling homophobia. With all this in mind, he wrote his first novel, The Gene Pull, during his freshman year of college in the school library as a more fun and culturally productive alternative to studying for his exams. Currently, he lives in New Jersey with his loving parents, sister and two dogs, and is unsure what he wants to do after he graduates other than write.

Connect with Benjamin Shepherd Quinones on Twitter @benjimon4427 or visit his website:

Q&A with Author Benjamin Shepherd Quinones:

  1. If you could be abducted by aliens with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to go on this adventure? Why? And what would happen to you two that day?

    Haha, I love thinking about this! Well, I guess we can weed out Chris, the homophobic ex-best friend in my novel – although I do love him! And Candy might be a bit too sassy and snappy to be around… So that leaves Noah and Jamie. Noah would be too much of a scaredy-cat – and if this adventure involves intergalactic space-travel, forget it! We’d need paper bags for him to barf in. So definitely Jamie. He’s a sucker for adventure, and a total nerd, the very definition of cute. We’d probably spend the day playing a one-sided game of hide and seek with the aliens!

  2. Tell us about your debut novel, The Gene Pull.

    Sure! In a sentence, The Gene Pull is a story centering around a gay teen who refuses to give in to the bullies at school or the aliens who want to abduct him once he develops superpowers. It involves him coming out to his best friend, being rejected, and finding new friends (and a boyfriend!) that he grows even closer once their lives are at stake. Some have called it affirming and uplifting, an “It Gets Better” themed novel that young teens can relate to and gain hope from, which brings me great joy because that was exactly what I was going for. For that reason, it was designed to be suitable for middle school children and up, focusing less on the romance between Noah and Jamie and more on the social issues that being gay brings and the action-packed adventure that having superpowers, being different, brings.

  3. What would readers be surprised to learn about you?

    That I’m gay. Just kidding. I think readers will be surprised to learn that I am just a college student, and that I originally wrote The Gene Pull when I was 18. I don’t know of many authors younger than me, though I’m sure they exist. I encourage my friends to write novels of my own, so maybe one of them will pull through someday!

  4. What are your writing goals for the future? Do we have anything look forward to being released soon?

    I plan to write more books! Being an author is great, a dream-come-true. I was a little intimidated by the idea at first, but now that I’m there I feel like I am capable of anything. Why stop now? I’m leaning towards writing a sequel, mostly because I’ve fallen in love with the characters I’ve created and want to write more about them!

  5. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    I kind of already answered this question in question 2, didn’t I? In other words, I want my readers to know that it does get better after coming out. In a predominantly heterosexual world, of course there will be hardship, but nothing is easy. Just keep your head up and keep going. You’ll be surprised how far you go. Like Noah, you may even go to space and back!

Now Available from Benjamin Shepherd Quinones:

The Gene Pull Sixteen-year-old Noah Fletcher has a lot on his mind. Not only has he finally come to terms with being gay, but he also harbors a much deeper secret. He's been abducted by aliens who, after performing who-knows-what kind of experiments on him, left him naked in a cornfield with the ability to talk to and understand all the animals on earth. Noah decides he's ready to come out, but his best friend reacts badly to the news, and before long, the whole school turns against him. He's just about to give up on having human friends when popular cheerleader Candy Bloom sticks up for him publicly. Noah is happy to have her on his side, but there's something strange about Candy. She seems to know more about him than she should. Somehow, she knows about his secret power and warns him about what's coming alien invasion.

The question is, how are they going to stop it? And who else will join them on their mission?

The Gene Pull Giveaway!

Benjamin Shepherd Quinones has generously donated a free copy of The Gene Pull for one lucky winner. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below along with your email address.


  1. This book sounds very different and should prove a very interesting read. Congrats on your debut novel.


  2. I'm so proud of and happy for you, Ben. Congratulations. Good for you!!!!


  3. please count me in for the giveaway!

  4. Please count me in. Thanks!!!


  5. Not only does the plot sound intriguing but the cover of the book is eye-catching as well! keep up the good work!

  6. You book sounds cute and amusing. Count me in please :)


  7. I would absolutely love to have a chance to read your book. (By contest or for reviewing)
    It sounds like a unique approach to dealing with a sometimes difficult subject.
    Michelle H

  8. This sounds very interesting, and I look forward to reading, win or not.


  9. I love that it's for middle school and up. Thanks so much for letting us learn more about The Gene Pull, Benjamin, and congratulations on your early publishing career!

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

  10. Great message for kids gay or not. It does get better and we can all help progress along by helping kids to see that being gay and/or different is just fine. Thanks for sending the message in a way that all kids can enjoy.

  11. This sounds an interesting read so please put my name into the hat. Thanks


  12. Please count me in!


  13. Thank you everyone for coming on and commenting. Congrats to our winner, Paul. Benjamin will be in touch with you shortly. Again thank you all for coming on by and we have another giveaway this week so be sure to comment to enter. Thanks!


  14. Awesome, this book looks great! (Pity I missed the contest, oh well, just have to pick it up myself.)