Tuesday, February 25, 2014

INTERVIEW: Mia Kerick

Today we're talking with m/m rom author, Mia Kerick, who has blown up the world of m/m YA in the last two years (in the very best way!) Make sure you enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the interview <3

Mia Kerick! Thank you so much for visiting my blog today and subjecting yourself to what will surely be one of your strangest and most eclectic interviews EVER. Don your favorite hat, and let's get this party started!



I am thrilled beyond measure to be visiting the wonderful blog of my close friend and colleague, author/awesome person, Raine O'Tierney. Raine, you've trudged right beside me in the mud through some difficult times as writers, sometimes you've even hoisted me up over your shoulder and carried me. A large part of my sanity (though it is always in question, I realize) exists thanks to you.

While you’ve written adult fiction, your passion seems to be for YA! What draws you to the world of young adult LGBT fiction?
I think it is very simple, really. I have a very young voice, as a writer. But this is directly related to the youthful voice talking to me inside my head—I am young-ish as a thinker, and, in general, as a person. I played with Barbie Dolls until I left for college, while eating Oreos I still find myself daydreaming about pop singers, and I fight a strong urge to wear tights and boots with ruffled rainbow-colored overall shorts at 49 years old.  I still need Clearasil. It seems that in many ways, I never matured beyond the age of a high school sophomore.  Doesn’t it make sense that I write like/for a YA, too?

How is writing teenage MCs different than writing adult MCs?
Oh, dear… here is where one of my problems lie (or is it lay?), at least according to some of my reviewers. I don’t find it very different at all. Age is just a number. Many parts of me are as much a twelve year old, as I was, let’s see, thirty-seven years ago when I was actually twelve. So when I write someone twenty-two, how different is his actual heart than that of someone who is seventeen? Yes, certainly, one can expect a twenty-something-year old to have more life experiences from which to draw, possibly their sexual interactions could be spicier, but inside the heart, aren’t we all basically teenagers when we are falling in love? Aren’t we as vulnerable as mere children when we put our hearts on the line? Aren’t we as daring as toddlers taking their first steps when we express our feelings aloud for the first time? Aren’t we dreamers, akin to preteens, when we think of a future with the one with whom we are so fascinated?



So, truthfully, crafting a teen MC is no different than crafting an adult MC because I believe that the experience I write of most, falling in love, involves the same risking of an innocent heart at fifteen as it does a fifty, or even at ninety-five years of age.

Tell us your deepest, most hidden writing dream!
I have an urge to write of spirituality. I want to write of a person who, similar to me, truly WANTS to follow the rules as have been prescribed to him by his organized religion, but cannot find it in his heart to let his dreams of love go, which is what he would have to do if he played by the rules. I want to illustrate his struggle, his conflict as to determining what exactly constitutes right and wrong, and his questioning of how love between two consenting adults, can ever be considered wrong? I am not quite ready to write this story yet, as I still struggle with these issues.

Your thoughts on libraries: GO!
An interesting question, which kind of reminds me of how I feel about churches.  Libraries, in my opinion, are as different in feeling as the people who staff them. I have been in many libraries that are DRY.  Civilized. Not at all daring. They are not places brimming with creativity. These libraries are not inviting, to me. I have also been in libraries in which I felt free and inspired and I never wanted to leave, among them The Boston Public Library and one of the smaller libraries at Boston College. There was a sense of limitlessness within these walls- anything could happen here.

What creates these differences in atmosphere, I firmly believe, are the attitudes of those who staff the libraries. I WANT TO COME TO RAINE’S LIBRARY!!!

What story have you always wanted to try to write, but have never before had the courage to tackle?
I will answer this generally.  My stories are limited by my life experiences. For example, I’d love to write a FBI thriller, but I fear writing about such a topic, where I have had no life experience. I fear that the reader will know that I am too far out of my comfort zone to be convincing.

A giant python is standing between you and you writing. Quite. Literally. Do you fight the python? Or give up writing forever?
I am not brave. Never have been and never will be. (I’m a lover, not a fighter- Michael Jackson)My first instinct in the face of the python would be to curl up in a corner and hope like hell he hadn’t seen me. However, that would be a mere reaction to fear and it wouldn’t last long. Because one of the most difficult parts of being me is that  while I am non-confrontational, but I possess strong conviction in my beliefs and my desires. Ultimately, I feel I would sidestep my way over to the giant python, telling him with every step how much I liked the shiny glow of his snakeskin, and mentioning the impressiveness of his dominant presence. Yeah, so maybe I would try to sweet talk the python…okay? That is pretty  much exactly what I’d do. After complimenting him a bit, I’d then try to get him to see things my way. I would attempt to convince him that he needed my stories more than the next giant python to come down the lane did.  And I’d keep on trying to convince him until he became so sick of hearing from me that he’d let me pass him by.

What is your superpower? What is your Kryptonite?
My superpower is my ability to empathize, most definitely. My sensitivity allows me to get close to people’s hearts, by talking, by writing.  My Kryptonite is confrontation. I will do nearly anything to avoid an emotional confrontation- an intense negative reaction.

You have 200 words—Make. Me. Swoon. (PLEASE!)
           “But random good things can happen too.”
            I could tell by the baffled look on his face that he had no clue where I was going with this. And baffled was an unusual expression for Caleb.
            “Take this, for example: one morning I was trying to escape from the clutches of yet another babe who wasn’t right for me. In fact, the very thought of her made me cringe, right down to my toes. And on my way home, my truck fuckin’ rolled over and died.”
            Caleb nodded very slightly; I thought maybe he was catching on.
            “And before I knew it, a handsome, chivalrous dude was pushing my truck off the road, and then chatting me up in his Volvo wagon and buying me coffee.”
            I was pretty sure I saw a flicker of a smile cross those full lips of his.
            “A very random act of kindness…and it led to the strongest love I’ve ever felt.”
            His eyes suddenly filled with what had to be a gallon of water.
            “Random works both ways, babe.”
            Caleb stepped back over to the bed. “I’m going to try to get by this.”
            “I know you’re gonna try…and you’re gonna succeed. Just let me stand beside you while you do it.
            He exhaled loudly. “You can’t stay beside me. You have a job, a roommate, a family—a life.”
            I stood up so that we were pretty close to chest-to-chest. And then I looked down into his wide blue eyes. “You’ve become the biggest part of my life.” I spoke those words right into his eyes, hoping they’d find their way into his heart.  And honestly, I had no frigging idea how we were going to figure it out—I didn’t know a single thing about recovery from depression—but I did know that if he said he wanted me to try, I would do about anything in my power to stand beside him as he worked through this. “Nothing is cast in stone when it comes to us—there are no rules stating wherewe have to live or how we spend our time together or—just say that you’ll stick with me, and I know we can fix this.”
            Tentatively, Caleb reached his arms around my waist. “Stay with me, Bradley.” It was barely even a whisper, but still I’d heard it. “Stay, okay?”
            “There’s no other place I wanna be, Caleb.” Possessive, I enfolded him in my arms and I waited to see if he’d lift his face to mine for a kiss.
            He did.
(Raine's note: Mia Kerick is a rebel and refused to confine her swooning to 200 words. I let her 'cause she's cute.)

What is one writing MISTAKE you’ve made that you WOULDN’T change, and why?
I will have to go with the Brett Taylor dialect from Beggars and Choosers. I won’t say the dialect was a mistake, although I was hugely criticized  by readers and reviewers for using it. I will say that making it consistent, at the urge of the editors, was a mistake, because lazy speech isn’t completely consistent. Sometimes a lazy-speaker pronounces “ing” and sometimes it slips out as “in”. I wouldn’t change it, though, because IT WAS the essence of BRETT, and also because I learned so much from having used it. I would, however, think carefully before having a MC think and speak in dialect as Brett did.

Do you have a zombie survival plan?
I will stick close by my husband, Mr. Mia.  He is the one who I have always considered “most likely to win the Survivor TV show” of all the people I know. He just has skills, and confidence, and he LOVES ME SO MUCH. How can I go wrong with him?

What can we expect next from Mia Kerick?
The next book to come out will be in the early spring from Harmony Ink Press, another YA. It has a very controversial, for YA, theme and I am hoping that it will be well-accepted, and that readers will keep an open mind to the concept. I am currently working on an adult novel called Random Acts, about two older men, who, thanks to random acts of kindness and violence must rise to some very challenging occasions. In this one you will chuckle, and you may cry.

And finally, for THE most important question of all: what kinds of dachshunds are the BEST kinds of dachshunds.
In regard to dachshund, all I can say is that I have always been attracted to prominent noses. In men…in dogs… I will leave it at that.


One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person—helpful, generous, and chivalrous—a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn’t recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.

Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can’t hold back from retrieving kittens from tall trees, helping little old ladies cross busy streets, and defending innocence anywhere he finds it.


Shockingly, at school, he realizes he used to be a bully. He’s attracted to the former victim of his bullying, Scott Beckett, though he has no memory of Scott from before “the change.” Where he’d been lazy in academics, overly aggressive in sports, and socially insecure, he’s a new person. And although he can recall behaving egotistically, he cannot remember his motivations.

Everyone, from his mother to his teachers to his “superjock” former pals, is shocked by his dramatic transformation. However, Scott Beckett is not impressed by Bryan’s newfound virtue. And convincing Scott he’s genuinely changed and improved, hopefully gaining Scott’s trust and maybe even his love, becomes Bryan’s obsession.
With a foreword by C. Kennedy



About the Author:
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty 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 men and their relationships, and she believes that sex 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 for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of 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.

Themes: Sweetness. Unconventional love, tortured/damaged heroes--only love can save them.

Author Links:

Website
Facebook
Amazon


Enter for a chance to win prizes from Mia Kerick!
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5 comments:

  1. Hi Raine!!
    So glad I could be here today!! What a fun interview- I will admit, I never considered worrying about a Zombie Apocalypse! Or huge snakes between my books and me!! I will check back in later to see if anybody has any comments or questions- but I must go to Manchester on a fun-filled mall trip with my 16 year old!!

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    1. So glad you could make it!! :D Thank you for stopping by and chatting with me!

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  2. Loved the interview, Raine. Mia is a delight and your questions random, but fun. Mia and I tend to share many similar qualities - I do hate confrontation, but will do so if someone is being threatened or bullied, especially a child or teen. I also would consider my best strength to be empathy, so your interview really hit home for me. As to the python question, I'd stare that fool down. Ha! Thanks to you and Mia!

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    1. Michael, you should definitely attend The Hat Party sometimes. As you can see, I ask random questions of very little consequence! Plus you get to wear a hat <3

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  3. Thanks for having me over- it was so much fun! Great questions!
    Next you visit my guest room on March 27th!! YAY!!

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