A Hard Day’s Night Blog Tour and Giveaway—An Interview With Mia Kerick
Today I’m excited to bring you an Interview with Mia Kerick. I’m a fan of her writing and a big fan of Mia as a person. She’s been an unabashed supporter for everyone’s rights and is using her platform as a best selling author to portray various gender situations in positive ways. So, please take a moment to read the interview and then enter the giveaway for a really cool and different prize.
An Interview With Mia Kerick
Welcome Mia! Since this the first time I’ve had a chance to interview you, tell readers about yourself.
Hi Andrew, and readers! I’m thrilled to be here today in promotion of my new release “A Hard Day’s Night”. So, who am I? In a nutshell, I’m an at-home mom with an imagination that works overtime. My top priority is raising my four kids—from my oldest, a senior at Georgetown University, to my second, a dancer at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, to my third, a senior in high school, and finally, my youngest and only son, a sophomore in high school. And then there’s my husband. I’m not raising him, but I try to give him some attention, too. But my hobby and my career are one and the same; to write LGBTQ romance.
One more important Mia Kerick fact: I am a major proponent of size acceptance. My fear is that once we, as social activists, rid the world of most of the other stereotypes and prejudices and inequality, we will be left with one. It will be a judgment against fat people, because fat people supposedly brought the discrimination upon themselves through laziness, poor eating habits, and lack of self-discipline. I firmly believe that people come in all colors, sexualities, and sizes. I also want to widen the rigid notion of what is perceived as beautiful, especially in terms of size.
My first Mia Kerick book was, Beggars and Choosers—which I very much enjoyed. What was the first book you wrote?
Beggars and Choosers was actually the first book I wrote, Andrew. And it may have been published when I was in my late forties (age spoiler alert!) but I wrote it first when I was a teenager. All of the main characters were members of the band Queen, and I of course, was Cory, the character I most identified with. (I was a fan of big hair bands and rock opera.) In junior high and high school, I used to sit on my bed at night and write stories in spiral bound notebooks, and the storyline of Beggars and Choosers was the first I came up with and it stuck with me.
So how did it go from a M/F with a female lead character to an MM romance?
I never really thought about it that way, Andrew. One of the two main characters involved in the romance was me, and I’m female, but before I wrote the book I had been reading only MM romance and had been thinking a lot about the issue of gay marriage, and so my character became Cory, the boy, instead of Cory, who was me, the girl.
You’ve written books in a wide range of sub-genre’s. Talk about those for a minute.
I have written a wide array of romance dealing with the LGBTQ spectrum. My philosophy may seem simple—love is love—but to me this premise is indescribably important. I truly believe in the right to love who you want to love with no rules about who that person should be, unless it is hurting someone (by this I mean legal adults with legal adults or young adults with young adults). Before marital equality was law in this country, it bothered me to no end knowing that if I had fallen in love with a woman, in many states I would not be able to marry her. And practically speaking, I wouldn’t be able to be placed on her insurance plan, as I would if we were a conventional couple. So when it was time to start a family, I’d be forced to work outside the home if I wanted to receive health benefits, when I truly wanted to stay home and raise my kids. Knowing this type of situation exists I deemed it important to write romantic stories of same-sex couples, to show that their love is as valid as any M/F couple’s love.
Within the LGBTQ spectrum, I have written YA novels- f/f- Come to My Window, m/m- Intervention, Not Broken, Just Bent, The Red Sheet, Inclination, m/m/m- Us Three, gender fluid- Love Spell, and I am currently working on a transgender teen story. My new release, “A Hard Day’s Night” is a YA m/m novella, which is a first for me.
And I have written what is considered New Adult, m/m- Here Without You, Beggars and Choosers, Unfinished Business, Out of Hiding, and an m/m…f (with a very significant female character) called A Package Deal.
I have even written an m/m adult called Random Acts.
I like to cover a lot of bases, but all of my stories are contemporary romances (my web site theme is “Love is what I See”) dealing with current societal issues.
Do you have a favorite? Or one you’ve not explored but want to?
I’m currently doing research on experiences of transgender teens and on the medical aspects of transition because I’m planning to write a story about a transgender teen. I’m not rushing this research, as I want my story to be authentic.
How do you keep the voice of your YA characters current?
I have several secret methods of keeping current… First, having three teenagers and a twenty-one-year-old who all Facebook message me, text me pictures of their outfits, and call or sit down in the living room with me to discuss their challenges, keeps me up to date on teen issues and language, as well as what is cool and not so cool. My second way of staying current is… that I’m an inner fifteen-year-old. This is the secret part of the answer, so please don’t mention it to anybody. I like what teenagers like—the shows on TV, the music, the clothes. One of my daughters recently commented on my attire—an oversized button down army shirt, a rainbow tank that reads Vampire Weekend, black Doc Martens boots, and seriously ripped boyfriend jeans—saying she has the only mother in town who looks like a badass Indie grunge band member. I can also be very preppy when I want to be, for the record.
Do you let your children read your books before you publish them to check to see if your voice is accurate?
One of my daughters has read almost all of my books and she coaches me on current language, popular culture, and even clothing. I have dedicated a few of my books to her!
Recently I saw an article that said despite far more people coming out earlier, the number of homeless LGBT teens has skyrocketed. Do you think we paint too rosy a picture in our YA novels?
I don’t think that I do, and I do not see an overly rosy picture portrayed in the type of YA novel that I read. In my YA novels, I deal with a lot of the hard stuff that kids are faced with. In my YA and New Adult novels, I have looked at sexual abuse, neglect, body image issues, religious conflict, bullying, death of a parent, depression, gender questioning and more. I have a book that is due to be released in December that deals with teen drug and alcohol abuse. I use humor in many of my books with serious topics, as I believe that it is most effective to get people to really think about what you are saying as an author when you speak to them in a style to which they can comfortably listen. Humor feels comfortable for many people.
Before we get to your latest book, I want to ask about Love Spell. There aren’t many gender fluid books, YA or otherwise. What inspired you to write Love Spell.
I attended a National Honor Society induction of a relative and was very intrigued by a boy who wore a beautiful sleek suit and very high black pumps for the occasion. I asked my young relative about this boy, who is gender fluid, and how the other students and teachers at school reacted to him, and the answer further inspired me. That is when Chance César, with all of his haughty attitude and creative vocabulary and fabulous view of life, was born. But on a more serious note, I feel that every child (teen) should be able to go to the bookshelf at a local library or to Amazon.com and find books that he/she can truly relate to. Kids whose gender identity is unclear or unconventional deserve to be able to find themselves in books. I am working on making that happen.
Can you share and feedback you’ve received as a result of your work? Anyone contact you to say thanks?
Interestingly, when I first started writing I established my firstname.lastname@example.org address and put it in the back of my first few books. And then I promptly forgot all about it. In fact, I didn’t check it for months and months and when I finally checked it, there was a lot of fan mail that I had essentially ignored. (I did get back to these readers and I apologized for my huge oversight. But I will admit it was shocking to actually have fan mail!) And some of my beta readers are actually readers who have reached out to me to let me know how much they enjoyed my work. They have become friends and I consider them mentors.
Let’s talk A Hard Day’s Night. Tell us about that.
I fell in love with each member of the Beatles, individually, when I was in high school. My biggest crush was on John Lennon. I wanted to write a book that remembers the awesomeness of the Beatles, and in particular, the worldview of John Lennon. And I wanted to attack this book as a twenty-four hour slice of life—reminiscent of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. And so Lennon and Fin together experience a journey of sorts: a very hard day, capped off by an even harder night.
“A Hard Day’s Night” is a book about exploring and accepting one’s identity. Lennon, the main character in whose perspective the story I told, has long found his identity in the persona of John Lennon. He goes so far as to wear his hair long and shaggy like his idol, and of course, wears round, wire-rimmed glasses. But Lennon has come to believe that he is gay, and to complicate this, he is fairly sure that he has fallen in love with his best friend, Fin. Fin (Beaumont Finely Danforth ll) has a different kind of identity to nurture. Former prep school student, preppy as a summer day is long, from a wealthy and successful family, he is somewhat trapped by high expectations.
As I stated, “A Hard Day’s Night” is a story about identity, and relating to this, there is an important lesson that the two boys learn, and it is about stereotypes. The boys think that in order to be gay, you have to be a gay stereotype. And so they explore many of these stereotypes close up. They learn a lot about a gay man’s identity in the process.
Where did you get the premise for spending twenty-four hours being gay?
I was enchanted by the book Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. It was raw, it was real, and it honestly displayed the insecurities and inner feelings of teenagers. And it started and ended in a set time and space, like a trip.
I also think a lot about stereotypes. And I am fairly certain that teenagers do, too. Stereotypes scare teens, as they are nothing but exaggerated caricatures of people, and they are not designed to flatter. So why not have my two main characters take a trip, a one day trip (Day Tripper, yeah) like Nick and Norah did, to explore the truth of the stereotype that scares them and intrigues them most—a day long trip that will lead Lennon and Fin to the truth of their identities.
What part of the book was the most fun to write and why?
The hair salon scene was Fun. Capital F. I laughed out loud when I created the stylist, “Chard”, when I decided upon the name of the salon, “The Best Little Hair House in Westfield”, and when I created the boys’ reactions to being beautified. However, later in the scene there is a touching moment, which enhances the earlier humor. In my humble opinion.
What part made you struggle the most?
Choosing which Beatles songs to include was very difficult for me, as I love so much of their music and so many of their songs deal with the topics relating to the themes of “A Hard Day’s Night” such as understanding your identity, falling in love, and dealing with emotional angst. All are perfect subjects to enhance a teenage romance.
Maybe a series that uses different Beatles songs?
That is a fantastic idea. If I use it, I will credit you!
Tell us something interesting that is not in the blurb?
I wish I included more about the fact that sometimes it isn’t a huge step from friends to lovers when you allow yourself to open your mind, because Lennon and Fin are so made for each other, and they couldn’t embrace it because it wasn’t what they expected of each other.
Since there is always another story to tell, what are you working on now?
I am exploring the idea that two people can fall in love regardless of their sexual orientation. I am not crazy about the expression “gay for you” but the book I’m working on will take a look at two college men who helped one another through a difficult time in their lives and find that they do not want to live without each other. And they want to be committed to each other as a couple, not just in a close friendship. So, in essence, the book asks the question, can deep love and true need and a profound bond produce romantic love?
I also have a YA transgender story for which I am doing research.
If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Remember I said I was an inner fifteen-year-old? Well, I meant it. I would love to meet Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer and ask her to please complete Midnight Sun, the Twilight story she was writing from Edward Cullen’s perspective.
Besides reading and writing, what else do you enjoy?
(My kids and my husband, and every thing they do.)
And true crime on the Investigation Discovery Channel. Can’t forget that.
And the Boston Red Sox. (But more so when we’re not in last place.)
High school senior Kalin (Lennon) Macready knows several facts for certain: John Lennon is his hero. Beaumont Finley Danforth (Fin) is his best friend. And—this is the complicated one—he feels more for Fin than mere friendship.
For weeks, Lennon pesters Fin, who like Lennon admits to questioning his sexual orientation, for a commitment to spend twenty-four hours together exploring “the gay side of life.” Fin reluctantly agrees. Each boy will seek to answer the daunting question, Am I gay? Lennon pre-plans the day, filling the hours with what he assumes “gay life” is all about: shopping for fashionable clothing, indulging in lavish dessert crepes, boogying to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and yes, listening to show tunes.
However, Lennon quickly realizes that in creating his plan he has succumbed to the most common and distorted of gay stereotypes. Can he be gay and not fit them? And more importantly, is it possible that spending one very hard day and night together will help Fin accept that he’s gay, too? If so, maybe Lennon has a shot at winning the heart of the boy of his dreams.
“A Hard Day’s Night” is an amusing young adult contemporary romance about two boys who seek to discover if they must fulfill stereotypes to be together.
In the end, maybe all you need is love.
Publisher: YoungDudes Publishing
Publication Date: 1st September, 2015
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris
About the Author:
Ms. Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five non-pedigreed cats—all 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 CoolDudes Publishing, 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, which is now the law of the land in the United States—woot! woot! 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.
Where to Find Her:
Tour Dates & Stops:
Mia is running two different contest in conjunction with her book tour:
- Each stop on the tour will give away a free eCopy of A Hard Day’s Night. To enter, leave a comment. (Also, for more changes to win be sure to stop by the different stops on the tour)
- There is one Grand Prize: Three Beatles memorabilia jigsaw puzzles. The winner will be chosen from all comments on all stops. The winner will be chosen using giveawaytools.com.