Saturday, June 6, 2015

Saturday Author Spotlight: Mia Kerick #Interview #Giveaway

It's a great pleasure to have Mia Kerick as my spotlight author this Saturday. She's written amazing stories such as The Red Sheet, Us Three, and Out of Hiding. Her newest book, Love Spell is already getting rave reviews!!! We will take a look at some of her books, I'll share the interview we did, and of course you'll be able to enter the terrific giveaway. Let's begin.


In his junior year at a public high school, sweet, bright Casey Minton’s biggest worry isn’t being gay. Keeping from being too badly bullied by his so-called friends, a group of girls called the Queen Bees, is more pressing. Nate De Marco has no friends, his tough home life having taken its toll on his reputation, but he’s determined to get through high school. Zander Zane’s story is different: he’s popular, a jock. Zander knows he’s gay, but fellow students don’t, and he’d like to keep it that way.

No one expects much when these three are grouped together for a class project, yet in the process the boys discover each other’s talents and traits, and a new bond forms. But what if Nate, Zander, and Casey fall in love—each with the other and all three together? Not only gay but also a threesome, for them high school becomes infinitely more complicated and maybe even dangerous. To survive and keep their love alive, they must find their individual strengths and courage and stand together, honest and united. If they can do that, they might prevail against the Queen Bees and a student body frightened into silence—and even against their own crippling fears.


Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance C├ęsar, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.

As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”

But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.

An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.



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


Braving the start of high school, longtime childhood friends Benjamin Wells and Timmy Norton quickly realize they are entering a whole new world colored by their family responsibilities. Ben is trying to please his strict father; Timmy is taking care of his younger sisters. While their easy camaraderie is still comfortable, Ben notices Timmy growing distant and evasive, but Ben has his own problems. It’s easier to let concerns about Timmy’s home life slide, especially when Timmy changes directions and starts to get a little too close. Ben doesn’t know how to handle the new feelings Timmy’s desire for love inspires, and his continuing denial wounds Timmy deeply.

But what Timmy perceives as Ben’s greatest betrayal is yet to come, and the fallout threatens to break them apart forever. Over the next four years, the push and pull between them and the outside world twists and tears at Ben and Timmy, and they are haunted by fear and regret. However, sometimes what seems broken is just a little bent, and if they can find forgiveness within themselves, Ben and Timmy may be able to move forward together.




INTERVIEW


Thank you for being here today, Mia. You are a popular name that floats around when LGBT YA books are being discussed and it’s an honor to have you here today. I have a few questions, nothing painful I promise. Let’s begin.

Don’t worry, I’m tough and I can take it!! Hit me with your best shot!!

    Like I said above you’re popular when LGBT YA books are discussed. What made you chose YA over Adult books?

I actually started with the intention of writing Adult books because back when I started writing, all I read was Adult M/M romance. But with every book I wrote, I would receive the comment, “Your author’s voice is very young”, and I was mainly writing 18, 19, 20 year-olds. So, I decided to go ahead and write a few YA LGBTQ romance novels, and I discovered that it fit with my style and my mind so perfectly! Since then I have also done a lot of reading in YA fiction, which helps to broaden my awareness of what teens like. And I will still write an occasional Adult M/M romance, or a New Adult Romance, but my heart is mainly in YA LGBTQ fiction right now.

     You tackle serious issues in your books, sexual abuse, bullying, sexual discovery, and depression. All things LGBT youth face daily. There’s got to be a fine balance between your own experiences and, of course, research. What have you used (research, and other) to help you write such authentic characters and situations?

I have spent a huge amount of time and effort researching the topics I deal with in my YA novels. The topics are very current and very relevant, as well as very serious, and so I feel a pressure to get it right. I have read full books on topics such as gay Christianity, in order to present the facts in my book, Inclination, accurately. I have watched/listened to endless hours on YouTube to find the perfect sound and lyrics to express my main character’s point of view, for example, in Intervention. I have conducted extensive online research on topics such as sexual abuse and physical abuse, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, gender identity confusion, and bullying. I have read the facts in research articles; I have read personal accounts in online journals. I have watched videotaped interviews of LGBTQ teens. I have received personal accounts offered by individuals who have suffered. And then there are the personal aspects of my own life that contribute to my writing. I have been bullied, felt isolated, questioned my faith, used music to express myself, and sought comfort in romantic love, like my main characters. I think the balance between the facts I gain through research and the human experiences I have had, coupled with my imagination and empathy, help me to create authentic characters and situations.


   What books did you read as a teenager?

I have always been drawn to romance. And I was definitely drawn to the tortured hero. I loved a male character who had nearly been destroyed by the hardships of his life and the only hope he had to be saved from his emotional torment was by the love of a good woman. A woman who he could love with devotion.



It was difficult to find YA romance with these qualities, so as a young teenager, I started reading Adult romance novels. My main source of books was my elderly neighbor’s living room bookshelves. She was a fan of romance, among other topics, and I devoured her collection, book by book.



I wish I had the selection of YA books that today’s teens has at my fingertips. I think I would have really enjoyed the kind of romance and fiction of today’s YA.

     Growing up, who were your fictional heroes?

I very much admired Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, as she was strong enough to deny her heart the love it yearned for in order to do the right thing. I loved Alaina MacGaren, the heroine in Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s Ashes in the Wind, for she had to dress and live as a scrawny boy while her heart beat with the rhythm of a woman in love (oh, that was rather dramatic). In fact, I read all of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s historical romances, admiring the gutsiness and courage of the young heroine and the incorrigible tortured ways of the man she fell in love with.


    What books (besides yours which are naturally a go to) would you advise teenagers to read?

My advice to teens would be to go the books that scream their name and don’t stop! I have had this experience with a book recently—Blame It On The Mistletoe, which incidentally has college-age characters and might be a more New Adult read. For a long time it has been calling my name—because of the cute cover, the interesting things I know about the author, Eli Easton, and the enthusiastic comments I have read on various review sites—and its calling of my name wouldn’t stop! I get very wrapped up in writing and editing and promoting and sometimes I forget what started it all, which was reading. So, I answered the call, read the story, and enjoyed it as much as I thought I would.



If you are hooked by a book’s cover, intrigued by the bio of the author, and the reviews are not necessarily all positive, but speak to your inner quirkiness—that is the book for you!!


    You’re a wife and mother and you have a wonderful writing career. How do you balance it all, what’s your secret?

Honestly, sometimes the balancing act isn’t as stellar as I would like… but in general, my kids are 15, 17, 19, and 21 and so they need me, but not in the way that they once did, which required a great amount of daily time. Now, when they need me it is to take them to look at colleges, or go with them to NYC to have surgery, or to attend out-of-state AAU game, or to visit for a parents’ weekend because their college is far away. I’m not getting them ready for school, making lunches, driving four kids to after school activities anymore. So, I do much of my writing while they are in school and my husband is at work. I balance that with the usual stay-at-home mom things—laundry, housework, grocery shopping, the planning of four kids lives in the big picture sense. And then I am a huge night owl; I usually stay up until 2 or 3 AM. When everybody goes to bed, I break out my writing, promoting, editing, etc. and spend hours on it without feeling guilty that I’m not doing housework or paying attention to my family.



Sometimes, though, I succumb to the call of my computer when I should be hanging out and just chatting with the kids and hubby about their days. For that, I feel sufficiently guilty.


     Will you be attending any conferences or events this year?

I have nothing planned at this time. Last year, I managed to attend three—a Writers Digest Conference in NYC, a YA conference in Austin, Texas, and a romance readers get-together in Washington, DC, which were all very rewarding, but this year due to family circumstances (a sick mother, college visits, surgery with daughter in NYC, etc.) I haven’t been able to schedule one. I still hope to. They are lots of fun and I learn so much.

     You’ve co-written with Cody Kennedy (Red Sheet) will the two of you be working together in the future or would you co-write with anyone else?

Cody Kennedy actually wrote an incredibly beautiful foreword for The Red Sheet and I wrote the story on my own. I have only co-written one short story for The Kickass Anthology, with my friend, author Michael Bowler. It was fun to work with Michael, but I do not think co-writing comes easily to me. I am a pleaser, by nature, so I will not stand up and say how I think a character should behave, or how a setting should be described, or the way an interaction should go, if I think my co-writer doesn’t agree. I really need to write on my own to be true to myself.

    Can you tell us about your future projects?

Right now I am about two-thirds through writing a YA LGBTQ work of fiction that is basically a romance, with the added dimension of the teens being involved with illegal substances, so much so, that one becomes addicted to alcohol and drugs. I like to set my LGBTQ stories on issues that are relevant to teens.



This summer, or likely early in the fall, I have a novella releasing from CoolDudes/YoungDudes Publishing called A Hard Day’s Night, about two teen boys’ attempt to figure out, once and for all, if they are gay. It has a slight feeling of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist crossed with a bit of the snarkiness and humor of my new release, Love Spell. And I have ideas for other novels. Interestingly, sometimes readers suggest a topic that they feel YA LGBTQ literature is lackings. I would like to explore different gender identities in future books, which has been suggested to me by readers.

  How can your readers follow you and your work: Twitter, Facebook, other?

I’m on Amazon and Goodreads, and lots of my books are on Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink press, as well as CoolDudes Publishing.
My website is www.miakerick.com. And I’m on Facebook as Mia Kerick. The other social media sites I’m on are too much of a challenge for me, so I mainly stick with my website and Facebook to communicate.

My email address is miakerick@gmail.com.

Thank you Mia so much for being here today and answering these questions. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

It was a pleasure and an honor to visit with you today!




GIVEAWAY
Mia Kerick has a pretty awesome giveaway for one winner.
If the winner is in the US you will win a Paperback & Swag pack.
If the winner happens to be outside of the US you win a PDF reader's choice ebook.
Just enter the rafflecopter below. Contest will run until  June 12th. Winner will be emailed so remember to check your spam!

I want to thank Mia for being my spotlight author this Saturday. I encourage you ALL to check out her work... And remember to review what you read. It's important!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

17 comments:

  1. So happy to be invited to be a part of Spotlight Saturday! You asked very interesting interview questions, some of which were brand new to me! I hope your readers check out the Spotlight and enter the raffle! Thank you for having me.

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  2. I have read Mia. I think I have all her books up to date. She writes great stories that are relevant for young people today. And brings adult to those issues. Look forward to what she has in store for the future.

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    1. Hi Denise! You are one of my greatest supporters and I want you to know how appreciated you are! Thank you!

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  3. I really enjoyed your interview with Mia. I have not read any of Mia's book yet although I have quite a few on my TBR list. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.

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    1. Hi ardentereader. I am so glad you have my books on your TBR list. I know how that is. You get an author's name in your mind, but somehow their books keep slipping a little bit back on the TBR list because it grows longer and longer every day!! I hope you enjoy whatever Mia Kerick book you decide to read! I'd love to know!!

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  5. I enjoyed the interview, I have read some of Mia books they were really good books with wonderful characters and I'm looking forward to reading her new books.

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    1. Hi Shirley Ann. Thank you so much for your compliment and for commenting here today. I hope you get a chance to look at Love Spell- it is funny but has a deep meaning.

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    1. Hi Jodi!! I love that you love my books. Very much!! Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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    2. I replied but I somehow lost it!! Thank you for supporting my books and me, Jodi!!

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  7. Great interview!! And you already know how much I love your books!!

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  8. Thank you, Yukari!! You are one of my best supporters!!

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  9. Great interview. I already have Us Three on my TBR list. Just have to get around to reading it. :) And I love the cover for Love Spell.

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    1. Waxapplelover- well, I think Us Three needs to be next on your reading list!! I'd love to know if you enjoyed it!

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  10. I have read Mia's book and absolutely lover her work. She is one of my favorite authors and one of my few auto buys. Thank you for this great post!

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    1. Ree Dee- this is so great to hear!! Much appreciated!

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