Lisa: We’re so pleased to have author Mia Kerick with us today to celebrate the release of her latest novel, My Crunchy Life. Welcome, Mia! Let’s start by having you tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
Mia: Hi!! I’m (Mama) Mia Kerick.
And as of September 2018, I will finally have an empty nest:
My oldest daughter graduated from Georgetown University and is studying at Harvard Law School.
My second daughter is finished with SUNY Purchase Dance Conservatory and is a professional dancer living in NYC. (She calls it ADULTING)
My third daughter is studying at Boston College, my Alma Mater.
My son will leave for Syracuse University in August.
For twenty-four years, Mr. Mia and I have dedicated much of our time to raising our four kids. Come this fall, the next phase of our lives will arrive. We have big traveling plans: Martha’s Vineyard this fall and Florida this winter.
As I write this, tomorrow is high school graduation for my son. I, unlike other parents, don’t feel the urge to cry. I think when our son marches away his diploma, Mr. Mia and I will high-five each other!
Lisa: Have you ever created a character so despicable that even you hated them and can’t believe you made them up? If so, who was it and what made them so awful?
Mia: I do this all the time. I was recently editing/rewriting a book for rerelease (The Art of Hero Worship, which will be re-releasing in October 2018 from NineStar Press), and I created so many AWFUL characters in that one story! And unfortunately, they were all female. I toned them down a lot, gave them some redeeming/humorous characteristics, and learned a lesson—I don’t need to make characters pure good or pure evil. People are rarely 100% one way or the other—there are many shades of gray.
There’s a character in My Crunchy Life who is what the kids call “a bitter nerd.” Her name is Sydney and she is competing to be class valedictorian. Her meanness knows no bounds. She emotionally abuses two of the characters in the book. Sydney is a bully.
Lisa: What’s the one genre/sub-genre you haven’t written yet, but would love to? What’s kept you from it so far?
Mia: I would love to write historical romance because I love to read it so much. What keeps me from it? The research! You need to know so much about the particular historical time period to create a historical romance that rings true. You need to be aware of food and clothing and language and lifestyle at that time period. It seems overwhelming! I admire those authors who create authentic historical romance.
Lisa: Describe your ideal fantasy writing environment—the beach in Monaco, a sidewalk café in Paris, a thatched cottage in the English countryside—wherever you can dream of.
Mia: I have a major thing for palm trees. Wherever there are palm trees is my fantasy writing enviro, which I realize doesn’t narrow down the location very much. But I love the quaint beach vacation feeling! You know, sipping fruity drinks, digging my toes in the sand, and coming up with story ideas! I told Mr. Mia, if we ever move I want to be in walking distance to a beach and a cute little downtown. However, if we ever move to a place like that I may be too busy sunning myself and shopping to do much writing.
Lisa: If you could choose one of your books to be adapted for the silver screen, which would you choose? Why do you think it would translate well to film?
Mia: I would love The Red Sheet to be a movie. I think it’s funny and mysterious and important and has great characters and some perfect scenes for the big screen. The flash mob scene in the high school cafeteria is classic…
Lisa: Thanks for joining us, Mia, it’s been great visiting with you!
About the Book
Title: My Crunchy Life
Author: Mia Kerick
Release Date: 26th June 2018
Genre: LGBT, Young Adult
Blurb: John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dying his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.
After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school.
When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.
Julian, 4: 00 p.m.
On my first day back to school after the incident, Sydney Harper, a junior from the right side of the tracks, cut me off in the hallway by the gym and got up in my face. “You didn’t really wanna die. My mother said it was just some kind of pathetic cry for help.” Having made her point, she spun around on her Ugg-booted nonheel and headed for the girls’ locker room.
Then in precalc, some guy I barely knew poked me hard in the back with a Sharpie marker, and I was the lucky recipient of another dose of compassion. “You just crave attention, don’t you, girly-boy?”
Maybe, on some level, they were both right.
But on that night in October when I decided my best move in life would be to wash down the last of the Extra Strength Tylenol in our medicine cabinet with a bottle of Citrus Cooler Gatorade, I knew I couldn’t lose, however it turned out. The alternative to my clever plan to get some attention, and maybe even a measure of help, was that I’d fall asleep and never wake up— which, in my opinion, served just fine as Plan B.
If nobody heard my “cry for help” and I checked out, we’d probably all be better off. No real harm done… except to Mama. But the freaking UPS man heard my “pathetic cry,” or more accurately saw my apparently lifeless torso hanging from the tree house in the side yard, and saved me.
About the Author
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said 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 and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.
Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.
Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. 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.
Contact Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.