Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Mia Kerick for stopping by today.
Title: Love Spell
Author: Mia Kerick
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Young Adult
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 César, 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.
Hello, and thank you for inviting me to Prism Book Alliance. Today I’m going to discuss the motivation and inspiration for my main character in Love Spell, Chance César.
I first conceived the idea of Love Spell’s main character, Chance César, at a relative’s National Honor Society Induction, where I noticed a male inductee dressed in a stylish three-piece suit and four-inch black pumps. He wasn’t cowering in embarrassment because of his unlikely attire, or seeking signs of approval from others; he proudly walked across the stage to accept his honor. My interest was peeked in this unconventional and absolutely unapologetic boy.
After the ceremony, we were introduced and I found him to be smart, engaging, and direct. I learned that he was #1 in the junior class, very active in music and drama, and he hoped to attend Harvard University when he graduated high school. A YA story character began to form in my mind.
I then did a great deal of research on the topic of gender identity. I studied the many gender identities that fall beneath the trans* umbrella in an effort to understand the different places people are situated on the gender spectrum. I decided that I would create a gender fluid character who hadn’t yet labeled himself as such. I went by the definition of gender fluid I found in Urban Dictionary: Gender Fluid is a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl. A person who is Gender Fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more boy some days, and more girl other days.
Being Gender Fluid has nothing to do with which set of genitalia one has, nor their sexual orientation.
I also referred to posters like this:
Once I understood Chance’s gender identity, I then decided that he would also be gay, as gender identity is separate from sexual orientation. And part of my story would involve depicting the struggle of a gender fluid teenage boy as he falls in love for the first time.
My motivation for Chance’s personality came from other personal experiences. Having spent a great deal of time observing people in the dance world, I recognized a certain “dance culture” among the younger generation. This culture involves the use of body language, verbal language, and personal style. This community of people became my inspiration, and I came up with Chance—who walks a certain way, has a flashy, unique language, and styles himself in a manner that many may consider to be flamboyant and, at times, feminine. Chance wears shockingly bright colors, plenty of cosmetics, and sports bold political statements regarding his sexuality on his sweatshirts.
When creating characters and seeking plot lines, I read as many personal stories online as I can find of people who have struggled with the same problem as my main character. In my search for these stories, I found many devastating accounts of transgender teens who had taken their own lives as a result of family non-acceptance, religious intolerance, bullying at school, and their own personal confusion with regard to their gender identity. These accounts motivated me to show Chance’s confusion and pain in his struggle to understand his gender. Furthermore, I found interviews of celebrities like Boy George, who gave a budding mental image to my rapidly forming character of Chance.
My final step in creating Chance was to search online for a more concrete visual image of a person like him. My search somehow led me to search for “male celebrities wearing eyeliner” and the images of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow provided additional inspiration for Chance’s personal style and flamboyant behavior.
And there you have it: the crooked path that led Mia Kerick to Chance César.
Shine On, Harvest Moon
Just call me brazen.
It occurs to me that brazen—unabashedly bold and without an inkling of shame—is the perfectly appropriate word to describe moi right about now. It is, however, the only perfectly appropriate part of this evening. Which is perfectly appropriate, in my humble opinion. So get over it.
I lift my chin just enough to stop the stiff orange spikes of glitter-gelled hair from flopping forward onto my forehead. But who can blame me? These spikes are razor sharp—best they stay upright on my head where they belong—and gravity can only do so much to that end.
Okaaaayyyy… sidetracked much?
*Let’s take it from the top.
Chance César is a brazen B.
I stare ‘em down, but only after I pop the collar of the blinding “Orange Crush” tuxedo I’m rockin’ and shrug my shoulders in a sort of what-the-fuck fashion. Rule of thumb in this queen’s life—first things must always come first.
Pop, shrug, and only then is it kosher to stare.
“Eat your ginger-haired heart out, Prince Harry.” Based on the buzz of scandalized chatter blowing about in the crisp evening breeze, I’m reasonably certain that nobody in the crowd heard me speak. And although several of the girls currently gawking at me may do double backflips over my red-haired counterpart across the pond, Prince Harry of Wales, they don’t give a rat’s ass about Chance César. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that they view my atomic tangerine locks as more reminiscent of Bozo the Clown than of the sexy singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
They are, however, completely unaware that this carrot top is going to make Harvest Moon Festival history tonight.
Refusing to succumb to the impulse to duck my head, I take a single shaky step forward on the stage that’s been set up on the dusty ground beside the vast (by New England standards) cornfield. The stage doesn’t wobble, but my knees sure as shit do. Okay, so I’m a freaking honest diva and I tell it like it is. And I’m what you might call a wreck.
Nonetheless, this brazen B takes a deep breath, blows it out in a single gush, and starts to strut. I mean, this boy’s werkin’ it.
Smi-zeee!! Yeah, my smile is painted on, just like my trousers.
Chance, you are by far the edgiest Miss Harvest Moon this ramshackle town has ever had the good fortune to gaze upon.
I am a major fan of positive self-talk.
Using the feigned British accent that I’ve perfected—thanks to long hours of tedious practice in my bathroom—I dish out my next thought aloud. “I wish I’d put in a tad more practice walking in these bloody heels before going public in ‘em.” And despite one slight stumble—a close call to be sure—the clicking sound my pumps make is crisp and confident. I saunter out onto the catwalk.
#trueconfessions: Faking foreign accents is a hobby of mine. I can yammer it up in improvised French, German, Mexican, Russian, and plenty more accents, but I don’t mimic Asian languages, as it seems too close to ridicule. My plan for the rest of the night is to continue vocalizing my abundant thoughts in Standard British, with just a hint of Cockney thrown in for charm. New Hampshire is the “live free or die” state and I’ll do what I laaaa-like. Yaaasss!
“Introducing this year’s lovely… or, um, handsome Miss…ter… Harvest Moon. Let’s hear an enthusiastic round of applause for Chance César!” Mrs. Higgins always speaks using a lolling Southern twang, although I’m sure she’s lived her entire life right here in less-than-gentile, way-too-many-dirt-roads, Fiske, New Hampshire. Like, can you say “backwoods Fiske” without it sounding too much like “backwards Fiske”? But, overall, I’m pleased—it seems I’m not the only one with an affinity for a colorful accent.
The applause is—to be real—disappointingly, but not surprisingly, scattered.
“Woot!” A solitary hoot splits the night—it’s quite impossible to miss—and I recognize an undeniably shrill and nasal quality in the sound. I know without a doubt that the hooter is my best (only) friend, Emily Benson. In my not so humble opinion, Emily’s hooting for my benefit sounds as liberating as Lady Gaga bellowing “Born This Way” live on the Grammy Awards after emerging from a large egg.
My Emily is everything!! Not to be dramatic.
In any case, that single, supportive hoot is followed by mucho expected heckling.
“Chances are, Chance César is gonna moon the crowd!” That’s a girl’s voice, for sure. I do not have a large female fan base here in Fiske.
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-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 Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, 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. 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.
Stop by Mia’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind. Find Mia on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/mia.kerick?fref=ts), Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6474518.Mia.Kerick), and Amazon (http://amazon.com/Mia-Kerick/e/B009KSTG9E/ref=sr_ntt_srch_link_2?qid=1410298098&sr=8-2).
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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