Name Mia Kerick
Where are you from?
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
As the middle child of three, surrounded by a genius older sister and a terror younger brother, I grew up in a small town in MA that was actually listed in The Preppy Handbook as one of the preppiest towns you could live in. I attended Boston College, where I discovered my love of history, and majored in it. I used all of my elective courses to pursue a certification to teach high school social studies and returned to school to become middle school certified. Teaching was my career until I became an at-home mother for many years. I am the mother of four awesome children and a wife of 23 years. I have been an author for over three years and have 15 books to my credit, both YA and adult LGBTQ romance.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am waiting eagerly for December 1st, which is the release date of Clean, a YA LGBTQ Contemporary romance that deals with two teen boys’ use of alcohol and drugs to help them avoid their harsh realities. I am also looking forward to publishing my first book under a new, only-adult pen name. Watch for a new book from CoolDudes Publishing on Valentine’s Day!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have written for my own pleasure since I was a child, as it was a creative release for me. However, my sister has long been the main role model in my life, and she wrote a book, so naturally her little sister wrote one as well. I have since written 15 books.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It took a while to feel like a “writer” more than a lucky person who managed to get a book published. I felt a glimmer of author-ish-ness after Beggars and Choosers, my first book, released by Dreamspinner Press, was published, and with each book I felt more and more like an author. Having fifteen books under my belt I am fairly secure in my status as a writer, but sometimes it is still hard to believe.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have long been inspired by the tortured hero in romance, and after reading the entire Twilight series, I was completely enamored with Edward Cullen. I wanted to create my own “ultimate tormented soul” and so I crafted Brett in Beggars and Choosers.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I do not know if there is a terms for it other than writing from the awareness of my narrator. This includes the use of long sentences, separated by commas, followed by short incomplete sentences. I have used stream of consciousness to enhance a reader’s sense of living through the character’s thoughts and actions. The honest and vivid expression of each individual narrator’s voice is my priority, and if that makes for a style, I do not know its name.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I have written fifteen novels, so I will discuss my most recent release, Clean. The entire time I was working on the novel, I knew its title would be Clean. The story deals with two boys’ struggle to be clean and sober, as well as “clean” of mind and soul and body. But just prior to completing my final edits, I read a blog post from a young man who said that he found the term “clean” for a person who did not have STDs insulting as it implied that someone who had an STD was “dirty” and I totally agreed with him. So, I made it clear by creating a subtitle for the book, Only by coming clean did they learn that they were always clean, that I reject the notion that a person with any kind of STD is in any way dirty. I went through the book looking for each occasion I used the word clean, to make sure that there was nothing that could offend someone.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I do not think that I need to include a direct message when creating a book like Clean. Clean describes a situation: it tells of two boys who are alienated from their families and are dealing with pain that they should not have to face, and it shows how they use drugs and alcohol to cope with their pain. It shows how they reach rock bottom. It illustrates what happens after they cannot go any lower. I really think any preaching, on my part, would have been unnecessary. The message is in the reader’s emotional reaction to, and interpretation of, the story.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I am the mother of four, from 16 to 21 years old, and I have seen them through many contemporary issues such as the one that Clean deals with. So the situation that happened in this story is not based on anyone I know personally, but it is based in reality.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I wish I’d written down all of the books that I loved. I will say that I first loved the books of Kathleen Woodiwiss, as she created strong heroines and a tortured heroes I could fall in love with.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m just about to start on Aisling Mancy and Shira Kennedy’s A Solitary Man. I am very excited about this!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
My sister is an author and I spend time critiquing her work. She hasn’t published yet because she spends a great deal of time on perfecting every detail. Her writing is witty and clever and filled with pop culture references that make it interesting.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My upcoming release, December 1st, is called Clean and it is a YA LGBTQ Contemporary romance that deals with two teens who abuse substances to help them deal with the difficult circumstances in their lives. I have also completed another title, an adult LGBTQ Contemporary New Adult romance, that I plan to publish under a new pen name, and it will be released from CoolDudes Publishing on Valentine’s Day. I am currently in the process of writing an adult romance with a transgender main character.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
When my children were in elementary school I spent a good amount of time volunteering, in fact, I was the party mom for all four of my kids for all of the years they were in grade school.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I definitely view writing as a career. I spend full-time hours writing and am extremely dedicated to completing books that resonate with my readers.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Clean is my latest work, and as I haven’t heard the critiques yet, I have not focused in on an area that is lacking and I would change. In Love Spell, which was my last full-length novel, I might review the language I used and make sure it wasn’t too out of control, as that is the main criticism reported on my Love Spell. As I wrote it, I laughed, and as I read it over, I laughed even more, so I am fairly certain I would leave most of the language I used intact.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think when I started writing back in grade school, it was a way of “making pretend” that I could save and relive over and over when I reread my stories. I was a child with a very vivid imagination and writing allowed me another way to express my creativity.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I will give you a brief excerpt from the story, Thousand-yard Stare.
I can’t believe I’m still here with this guy… mentally, I mean. Likely, I’m just lonely—as desperate for human contact as a man shipwrecked on a tropical island for ten years. Because I don’t think I’m gay, and I’m definitely not into whatever it is that this guy who’s decked out in lace and velvet, and wearing full makeup over his scruffy beard is into… but I’m doing this. Here I am, grabbing us a couple of beers… and I’m about to invite him into my living room.
“Come on, Vedie, let’s go sit down. You must be ready to get off your feet by now.” It sounds like I want him on his back, and that thought makes a certain one of my lower extremities feel numb. “What I mean is, we can sit down and… talk, I guess.” The thought of spending time talking to this man makes me feel almost as numb in my brain as the thought of us fucking made me feel below my belt.
Vedie rises to his feet in a ladylike manner and flashes a smile, followed by a little bit of eyelash batting, as if he’s trying to flirt. With me… Crazy Matt. “Cool. I could go for a sit-down.”
I head to the living room and am followed by Vedie, and then Jennifer and finally Charlie, all in a row, like I’m the Pied Fucking Piper. Before we even get to the couch, though, Conan and Sponge Bob go racing by all of us. My cats are apparently far more comfortable with having company than I am, but I’m still here… I’m still here.
I gesture to the couch and Vedie sits down and crosses his legs. I sit down beside him, if you count two feet away to be “beside” somebody. And now I’m expecting it to happen… any second now my head’s going to jump ship, leaving just my body bobbing aimlessly on the open water.
But the change happens in Vedie, not in me, as I expected. He sits up straight and his shoulders go back and the word sassy pops into my racing brain. “So you don’t got no questions for me?” I’m surprised by his boldness.
His eyes flash in a way that makes my consciousness briefly dim. “Questions?” I ask.
“About all of this?” He gestures to his outfit, and then he actually pulls off one of his decorative sandals and holds it high in the air. I think he might swat me with it but he simply lets go of it, allowing the sandal to drops dramatically to the floor. “And the make up… and the perfume, too.” As soon as Vedie utters the words “make up” he seems to remember the damage his crying episode likely did to his mascara. He pulls a polka-dotted zipper bag out of his backpack, and from it takes a small powder compact, which he pops open and carefully fixes his eyes.
“Not my business, I guess.”
“Not your business?” Vedie returns the bag of cosmetics to his backpack. “Mister, I’m in your house… on your couch… drinking your beer. And um… aren’t we gonna… you know… get busy tonight in your bed?”
This is when it happens… the numbness starts in my belly and quickly spreads north to my head and south to my toes, and just like that I become a mere bystander in my own living room, watching my life occur from up above, as if it’s a bad movie.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes. I find everything to do with using technology—saving information, iclouds and dropboxes and google drives—incredibly trying.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I have been to several cities to attend writing conferences, but travel has not been a major aspect of my career.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I have been fortunate to have many amazing cover designers, in particular Paul Richmond, Reese Dante and Louis C Harris. Louis C. Harris designed the cover for Clean, which I think is one of my most stunning. The colors and the close-up view of the cover photo, as well as the matte finish contribute to making Clean a book with an outstanding cover.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The most difficult aspect of writing Clean was that I had to research sexual abuse of a minor and the reactions of child victims as they grew up. The research itself was not difficult, but writing a realistic character based on what I learned was challenging as I felt I had to get it right. It is a very sensitive subject and I do not want to do a disservice to people who have suffered as Trevor did with sexual abuse.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
From researching, I learned a great deal about AA. I searched through passages of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book and I read statements about the impact of AA from members. I also wrote some questions for a young AA member and he answered them in an email. From all of these methods, I learned a lot about AA.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I think that my best piece of advice is to be true to your voice and write the story in your heart. When you try to do something that is not truly you, it rings as untrue and readers pick up on that.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my books! Thank you for the reviews and the Facebook comments and the email messages! I couldn’t be an author without you so thank you and please keep reading!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The earliest books I remember are Green Eggs and Ham and Are You My Mother? Blast from the past!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
There are a few commercials on TV that really get me going in both of these directions. (Certain insurance commercial and Glade candle commercials are among these.)
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet Freddie Mercury as I think he has the most unique and beautiful singing voice I have ever heard, and I admire the rock opera style he originated with Queen, and the lyrics of his love songs never fail to move me.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
My hobbies include anything I can do with my family—which is often going places to watch them perform in sporting events and dance shows.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am a true crime lover, as far as TV goes. There is a new station called ID (Investigation Discovery) and it is really all I watch. I do enjoy baseball, though, when I’m in the right mood. For movies, give me action and adventure.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Love chocolate in most forms, cookies, coffee, and candy corn. And frosting.
I love pop music—top forty for me!
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I was fortunate and had a rewarding ten-year career as a middle school social studies teacher after I graduated from Boston College. I then enjoyed many years of being a full-time at-home mother, and finally, now, I have my writing career.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My blog is www.miakerick.com. Stop by and see what is going on!!