Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Interview with romance author Mia Kerick

Today’s special guest is Mia Kerick, author of Love Spell, a young adult GLBT romance.
During her virtual book tour, Mia will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn winner. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!
Bio:  
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—several named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Welcome, Mia. Please tell us about your current release.
The main character in Love Spell, Chance César, is a colorful blend of humor and sarcasm, as well as of black combat boots and ecru vintage lace. Referred to at school as “a glam (ginger) Edward Scissorhands”, he will easily engage the minds of both male and female teenage readers. Chance is out. He is proud. To school, he wears guyliner and lip gloss, as well as hot pink sweatshirts that declare, “I kissed a boy and liked it.” But despite his commitment to flamboyant originality with regard to his personal style and attitude, Chance is deeply confused. As certain as he is of his sexual identity—he is most definitely gay—Chance is completely baffled by his gender identity. Though his sex is male, he identifies almost equally with females as with males. And this perplexity torments him.

Over the course of this romantic comedy, Chance and his best friend, Emily, set out to capture the heart of Jasper (Jazz) Donahue, the boy of Chance’s dreams. They search online and find an article entitled, “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love With You” and they put this plan into action, following the specific details, from smile well, and often, to always leave him wanting more. The only items on the list that Chance and Emily decide to ignore are the ones they consider to be “lame”—always be yourself and be his friend first. The comical pair even resorts to casting love spells on the unsuspecting Jazz when their original plan seems to be failing.  Chance and Emily have a lot to learn about love.

What inspired you to write this book?
We all want to see characters like ourselves in books—with the same types of personal problems, fears, and dilemmas that we face every day. Reading books with characters that resemble us in some significant way is comforting, suggesting that we aren’t alone in what feels like an epic battle to survive the teenage years. LGBTQ kids are at a distinct disadvantage here as they don’t have an equal opportunity to find themselves in books since the books on the shelves at the library and the local bookstore and even online don’t feature enough characters of diversity. This situation is discouraging to kids in our society who are most in need of models to provide them with hope. LGBTQ teens need to be able to easily find reasons for hope and sources of inspiration in the books they read. Studies show that LGBTQ teens have higher rates of depression and more suicide attempts than students without gender or sexuality acceptance issues. The kids who are struggling with their gender identity need books like Love Spell. They need to read about Chance César—a gender fluid seventeen-year-old boy who quite often feels like a girl. They need to see him as awkward at times, and strong at other times, but always engaging and real. They need to see him make mistakes and fix them. They need to see him negotiate the circumstances of his life as a teen with a non-traditional gender identity. The kids who need to read Love Spell are my inspirations for the book.


Excerpt from Love Spell:

Prologue

Read this first, hun. 

I’ve been accused of thinking too much, which might be true, but I con-
sider that fact to be a minor blip on my personality radar. Nothing more. 
I mean, it’s not hurting anybody, is it? 
People may call the activity of my mind overthinking, and it wouldn’t 
be a monster stretch for them to call it obsessing. Then, of course, there are 
those uptight douches who’d slap a neon pink Post-It Note on my brain—
the phrase “has a few dozen screws loose” scribbled on it with a chisel tip 
purple Sharpie. 
I, however, choose to view the slightly convoluted manner in which I 
process thoughts as ingenious. And to be real, at this very moment I have 
about fifteen more ingenious adjectives, fully capable of describing the way 
I think, burning a hole in the cargo pocket of my painted-on pastel camo 
skinny jeans. But I very rarely subscribe to the concept “less is more”, and 
this is one of those extremely rare occasions. 
(SMH) Not that I’m happy about it. 
In any case, consider yourself fairly warned. 
* Hugs 
So, my fine friends, sit back on your comfy couches and listen to what 
went down last year in my cray-cray neck of the woods.


Chapter 1
Shine On, Harvest Moon

Just call me brazen.
It occurs to me that brazen—unabashedly bold and without an inkling of 
shame—is the perfectly appropriate word to describe moi right about now. 
It is, however, the only perfectly appropriate part of this evening. Which is 
perfectly appropriate, in my humble opinion. So get over it.
I lift my chin just enough to stop the stiff orange spikes of glitter-gelled 
hair from flopping forward onto my forehead. But who can blame me? 
These spikes are razor sharp—best they stay upright on my head where 
they belong—and gravity can only do so much to that end. 
Okaaaayyyy... sidetracked much?   
* Forces rebellious thoughts onto business at hand.
Chance César is a brazen B. 
I stare ‘em down, but only after I pop the collar of the blinding “Orange 
Crush” tuxedo I’m rockin’ and shrug my shoulders in a sort of what-the-
fuck fashion. Rule of thumb in this queen’s life—first things must always 
come first. 
Pop, shrug, and only then is it kosher to stare.
* Clears throat. 
“Eat your ginger-haired heart out, Prince Harry.” Based on the buzz of 
scandalized chatter blowing about in the crisp evening breeze, I’m reasona-
bly certain that nobody in the crowd heard me speak. And although several 
of the girls currently gawking at me may do double backflips over my red-
haired counterpart across the pond, Prince Harry of Wales, they don’t give a 
rat’s ass about Chance César. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that they 
view my atomic tangerine locks as more reminiscent of Bozo the Clown 
than of the sexy singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. 
They are, however, completely unaware that this carrot top is going to 
make Harvest Moon Festival history tonight.
Refusing to succumb to the impulse to duck my head, I take a single 
shaky step forward on the stage that’s been set up on the dusty ground be-
side the vast (by New England standards) cornfield. The stage doesn’t wob-
ble, but my knees sure as shit do. Okay, so I’m a freaking honest diva and I 
tell it like it is. And I’m what you might call a wreck. 
Nonetheless, this brazen B takes a deep breath, blows it out in a single 
gush, and starts to strut. I mean, this boy’s werkin’ it.
Smi-zeee!! Yeah, my smile is painted on, just like my trousers.
Chance, you are by far the edgiest Miss Harvest Moon this ramshackle 
town has ever had the good fortune to gaze upon. 
I am a major fan of positive self-talk…

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently working on a book that is NOTHING LIKE LOVE SPELL in that it is a tear jerker/heart breaker. It deals with two boys who abuse alcohol and drugs together in high school in an attempt to escape difficulties at home, as well as their forbidden attraction to each other. I have fifty thousand words written and I have put it aside to promote Love Spell, as well as to get some perspective on it, as it is an intense story to write.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Even after Beggars and Choosers was published in 2012, I thought it was kind of a fluke—all of the planets aligned and Dreamspinner Press somehow said yes to my query. I definitely didn’t consider myself an author. And then book after book came out (and yes, I had to write, edit, rewrite and break my back over each one) and I guess, very gradually, I started to feel like an author. Now there are twelve books (I think) at Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press, two books at CoolDudes Publishing, and a self-published book, as well. I have had two short stories published in anthologies. And thousands upon thousands of books sold. In summation, there was no single moment when I thought, “I’m an author now.”  I guess, at some point I could no longer deny it.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
In my crazy, so-called life, I’m a mom and wife first. Everything else I do takes second or third place to this job.

But I am majorly productive on the writing front, as well. In three years I have published and promoted fifteen books, so something is going on in the vicinity of my computer, with the essential help of my overactive mind.

WORK DAY
*WAKE UP
* FEED CATS- we have five of them- I am the crazy cat lady
*Greet the day at 9:30 AM (what? I stay up until 3AM—so don’t judge) and I respond to emails, check out Facebook to see if anyone has contacted me, and I generally always have some promotion work to do, so I get right to it.

*LAUNDRY
*EMPTY DISHWASHER
*PICK UP KIDS and HUBBY’s shoes from the entire bottom floor of the house. (Four kids and husband= lots of stray shoes.)
*FEED CATS

MAKE TEA or VERY STRONG MOCHA LATTE

It is usually about noon at this point. I sit down with my tea and WRITE. I may write a chapter or two of a story that is in the works, or blog posts like this, or edit a WIP, but it is midday that I usually write.

REALIZE IT IS 3PM and I HAVEN’T YET SHOWERED- this is when I rush to the bathroom and try to shower and get dressed before the kids get home from school and sports, and at a bare minimum, I like to be dressed before husband comes home from work.

*DRIVE KIDS AROUND TO ACTIVITIES
* SOLVE PROBLEMS of KIDS IN COLLEGE VIA Facebook Private Messages
*FEED CATS


*THINK ABOUT MAKING DINNER, but do nothing to get our family closer to actually having dinner
*Instead, I sit at the island in the kitchen and write a bit more.

*SCROUNGE UP SOMETHING TO FEED FAMILY
*CLEAN UP
*FEED CATS

*I then join my family in the living room and I make my best attempt at being sociable until 9PM when husband goes to bed and kids scatter ti their corners of the house to do homework or in my son’s case, to play video games.

*FIND SOMETHING FOR DESSERT
*SIT DOWN on COUCH and WRITE while simultaneously chatting with close author and artist friends on Facebook

*3AM time for bed
*Before I head upstairs FEED THE CATS

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have a few. (I will state them briefly.)
  1. (I enjoy using parenthesis too much for my writing health.)
  2. I LOVE CREATING DIALECT and USING SLANG. Get where I’m comin’ from dude?
  3. I tend to address my reader directly. Can’t help it. I have things I want and need to say to you. 
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I remember telling my fifth grade class, “When I grow up I want to be a writer or a magician.” As it turns out, I am both. Writing requires hard work and dedication, but every successful author knows that it also takes a little bit of magic for a book to connect with readers and catch on so the public reads it.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?

My narrator’s voice is my biggest strength as a writer, particularly in my YA novels. I have been told many times that there is a sixteen-year-old boy living inside my head! I actually begin to think like my main characters, and I will not lie—they tell me what to write. So I am not so much and amazing author as I am a typing slave to my inner voice.


Links:

Thank you, Mia!

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12 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Mia kerick said...

Thank you very much for having me on your blog today! I loved the interview questions, especially showing what my day looks like as a mother and writer. And cat owner. I never wrote it out before, so I will admit, I was a bit surprised when I read it over!

Mia kerick said...

Hi Mai T.
For my first three or so books that I published, I wrote everything longhand, then transferred it on the computer because I felt I just couldn't think as well when I typed on the computer. That got very old, very fast, and I started to type my thoughts right on the computer, which is what I do now. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the question!

Mia kerick said...

I'm flying home from NYC! I will check in later to see if there are any more comments!

Rita said...

I liked the excerpt, thank you.

patrick siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

Mia kerick said...

Hi Rita. So glad you liked the excerpt!! Glad you said hello!!

Mia kerick said...

Patrick- Gender fluidity is a very important topic especially for teen literature. Thank you for reading my post!

Ree Dee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ree Dee said...

Thank you for this book. I just attended my daughter's graduation from Brown University and while there noticed that there were quite a few gender fluid students on and around campus. After remarking on it, she said that many of her friends had transitioned to gender fluidity so that to her it is a non-occurrence but she realizes that it is still not the norm in our area of California. I am so thrilled that Brown provides such an open and accepting environment that allows our kids to feel comfortable in their own skins. Hopefully, this attitude will spread everywhere.

I am looking forward to reading this book!

patrick siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.