Torn by Mia Kerick
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Genres: LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult
About the Story
Vinny Bucci and Tommy Stecker are almost cousins—their mothers call themselves “sisters of the heart,” so that sort of makes them cousins, doesn’t it? Since childhood, they’ve shared holidays and Sunday services and their passion for soccer. But now they’re eighteen, high school seniors, and what has always been devoted friendship—the next best thing to family—has started to feel like something else. Something more….
Unfortunately, the Steckers can’t accept their son’s same-sex romance, and upon recognizing the teens’ mutual attraction, they push Tommy into dating a girl from church, then compel him to attend a Christian College far away from Vinny’s school. The Buccis and the Steckers—once a family of choice—clash over what’s right and go their separate ways.
Forced into separation, Vinny and Tommy are both devastated, but while Vinny hardens his heart to love, halfway across the country Tommy becomes emotionally and physically ill. Their passion for each other hasn’t diminished, let alone died, but they lose contact, and for the first time in their lives learn what it is to live with a broken heart.
Will Tommy and Vinny find their way back to each other, or will they accept the rules dictated by family and try to live severed lives, their love forever unfulfilled?
A Mature Young Adult Romance
Guest Post by Mia Kerick
Hello. I’m Mia Kerick, and I’m here with my first in a series of YA/NA “story ballads.” This one is called TORN.
According to Wikipedia…
New adult (NA) fiction, also rendered as new-adult fiction, is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18–30 age bracket. St. Martin’s Press first coined the term in 2009, when they held a special call for “…fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an ‘older YA’ or ‘new adult’”. New adult fiction tends to focus on issues such as leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices…
In its short life, NA fiction has had its ups and downs. Some writers/publishers don’t see it as a valid genre. Others find it to be a much-needed category. Lauren Sarner, in her article The Problem with New Adult books, states “New Adult is a label that is condescending to readers and authors alike. It implies that the books act as training wheels between Young Adult and Adult. For the New Adult books that are particularly childish, the label implies that they are a step above Young Adult—which is insulting to the Young Adult books that are far superior. For the New Adult books that are particularly sophisticated, the label implies that they are not worthy of being considered ‘adult.’ It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone.”
I think NA is an important developing, and hopefully not disappearing, genre, as there are topics, which when dealt with in full detail, are not entirely appropriate for a YA audience. There is also a difference in attitude. Teens who have are sharing their first kiss, experiencing a parental divorce, or experimenting with alcohol for the first time, have a different voice than those who are going off to live on their own to discover who they are when high school ends. In particular, there is a lot more sex in NA books, and the details are more descriptive. But this is where the genre seems to have hit a wall, in my opinion. According to my study of the Amazon Hot New Releases and Best Sellers lists, New Adult has largely turned into a genre that is centered around stories of sexual escapades. (Check out the lists and you’ll see what I mean.)
So when I wrote a novel that truly deals with more mature YA subjects and the transition from high school to college—living as “adults” for the first time—deciding upon a category is challenging. If I go with YA, I run the risk of offering more descriptive fact and detail than 13-18-year-olds need. If I choose New Adult, reader expectations have largely shifted away from “older YA” as it was originally intended, to be stories of a primarily sexual nature.
I’ve put a great deal of consideration into the choice between YA and NA, when it comes to my novella, Torn. As the story begins, Vinny and Tommy are high school seniors. The plot takes them through their final year of high school and into college. And certainly, in the novel they confirm their sexualities and experience passionate moments with each other, but that is not the only thrust of the book. The primary theme is of separating from family—not just physically, but emotionally. The young men go out into the world and develop their adult identities. They deal with being truly alone for the first time, religious conflict, and parental expectations. They make choices that adults make—ones that cause huge disruption and long-term change in their lives.
In the end, I chose to categorize the book as a Mature YA Romance. I placed this in the blurb so those who are selecting a book will realize that it isn’t about a first kiss or fitting in at their high school. The topics are a somewhat more mature, though not out of the scope of YA lit. But my main reason for choosing YA is because of the voice. The two main characters, who are the narrators, possess a YA voice for a great portion of the book.
I hope you check out my Mature YA Story Ballad, Torn, meet Vinny and Tommy, and explore the challenges they face as they journey toward love.
Q&A with Mia Kerick
Hello! I’m here today with my new release, Torn. Torn is what I call a story ballad—a long novella that makes you feel how a ballad on the car stereo does. Picture it: you’re driving down a tree-lined country road on a brilliant summer day, windows down, sunroof open wide, wind in your hair…set to the sound of a melancholy tune that is louder than your thoughts. Maybe you’ll cry. Maybe you’ll do that “awwww” thing. You might even smile, but you’ll most definitely feel something. I hope you check it out on Amazon!
You’re given the choice to bring one of your characters to life. Who and why?
I think I would most like to meet Bryan from The Red Sheet. I created him to be the epitome of everything Mia Kerick thinks and feels without restraint. So, although I don’t think I would have done the things Bryan did before or after “the change” his thought process is what I’ll call Mia-squared because he thinks like I do. Bryan’s actions, as he discovers the person he really wants to be, are actions that I admire and am in awe of. His humanity is evident, and this shows in his capacity to forgive and to seek forgiveness, to embarrass himself, to offer his heart on a silver platter to those who do not want it. I would like to meet Bryan and by doing that I would be meeting a side of myself I keep hidden.
Have you ever created a character that needed to be redeemed? Who and how did you do it?
Many of my characters need to be redeemed. Brett, Bradley, Robby, Kai… well, the list goes on and on. But I will focus on a character in my new release, Torn,for today’s redemption story.
Tommy and Vinny fall in love over the course of a childhood spent together. But where Vinny allows himself to admit and embrace it, Tommy runs and hides from this love. His reasons are many, and they are valid. His religion and his parents prohibit a same-sex relationship, and the cost of conducting a public romantic relationship with Vinny would be steep. So Tommy takes Vinny’s love and then runs and hides from him. And he does this more than once. Ultimately, Tommy needs to redeem himself in Vinny’s eyes.
In your mind what makes a character the hero? (he will be pronoun)
In my opinion, when a person takes a good look at himself, how he’s been living, sees and accepts the truth, and then makes a change for the better, he is a hero. Seeing and accepting the truth is painful and challenging, and for many people, making changes in their behavior is impossible. A person brave enough to make changes to better himself and help others is a hero in my mind.
To you what makes a character the villain? (she will be pronoun)
A villain is a person who refuses to see the truth. She refuses to take responsibility for her actions, and blames others for what has happened to her, as well as for things she does not perceive as “right” in her life. Beyond this, a villain gives in to all of her urges, no matter to the consequences to anyone. She is completely selfish.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
This is an interesting question. I think it more exhausts me, although the draw to keep writing is impossible to resist. Some days, when I have written thousands of words, I feel as if I’ve run a marathon, and I’ve actually never left my couch.
What do you find to be the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Well, I actually find it much more difficult to write girls and women than boys and men. I often wonder why. I think it’s because I feel free to be more critical of my own gender; I tend to write female characters more harshly than male ones.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I use Google searches for names—focusing on those lists of “bad-boy names” or “flower-child names” or “names for both boys and girls.” Sometimes I use random name generators—those are so much fun, but I usually get caught up in them and spend hours (wasting time) searching for name after name. When I have access to so many names, I keep thinking the next name is going to be the perfect one. Also, some names just pop into my head—I often use Jenna, Anna, and Emily for supporting characters. Not sure why.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
I would recommend that they are true to themselves, in terms of the story. Write your truth; don’t write what your editor or publisher or reader wants to read. Ultimately, anyone who reads it will sense your authenticity and that is wat will make the story enthralling. This answer echoes my answer to question number one—honesty is the best policy. (And also, get a great editor!!)
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
Readers have to believe in the story, the characters, the dialogue. It has to ring true to them.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
Expect a rerelease of Love Spell, the love story of Chance and Jazz, and of course, the BFF Emily. Kirkus Reviews calls it “A comical, thought-provoking YA novel for those who believe in the magic of love without all the hocus-pocus.” Love Spellreleases from NineStar Press August 27th. Get ready to laugh.
Available on Kindle Unlimited!
Meet the Author
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son off to Syracuse. (Yes, there is Atlantic Coast Conference rivalry within the family.) She publishes LGBTQ romances 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-five 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 the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. Now she publishes her work—it’s an alternate place to stash her stories.
Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, a First Place Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a First Place Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for YA Fiction, among others.
Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made 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 or visit at www.miakerickya.com to see what is going on in Mia’s world.
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