Thanks to another inspired idea from Bob Smith, last night Peter Cameron interviewed Michael Lowenthal about his much-praised new novel The Paternity Test [Kindle]. Michael returned the favor, quizzing Peter about his marvelous Coral Glynn [Kindle]. (Both books have earned multiple mentions on Band of Thebes' queer lit poll unfurling tomorrow.) Michael said initially his novel, now about a gay couple having a baby through surrogacy, started as a book about survivor guilt, after a man's partner died in a house fire while he was away tricking. He began writing the novel in 2006, long before the gay surrogacy plot bonanza in books and on television. Peter praised Michael's panoramic first-person narration and Michael said he'd always wanted to write an omniscient or multi-narrator book and failed. They discussed sympathetic characters, flaws, potboilers, and avoiding cliches while working familiar terrain. Peter said he liked novels about characters finding out who they are and Michael wondered how much happiness in an ending today's authors could get away with.