So! I finished a book!
A while ago, actually, and it's my fifth completed novel, in fact. I totally forgot to blog about this. It's called FOR THOSE WHO LISTEN. It's a YA kissing book—er, contemporary. It's got lots of drama and intrigue and cheese. And I love it, and I'm going to interview myself about it.
Interview yourself? you ask.
Yes. Well. Some of us are not famous enough to have someone else interview us and are also mildly solipsistic, so. Get over it. This is a fun new thing I'm gonna be doing every time I complete a manuscript instead of blogging about said manuscript when I get the idea for it. Which, if you know anything about me or read my blog archives, know doesn't work. (Hi, REVERIE.)
So, without further ado:
MARK I HEARD YOU WROTE A BOOK.
I did! Well, I've written five. But you're probably referring to my new one, right? FOR THOSE WHO LISTEN?
I dunno, dude. They just pay me to look pretty.
Um, is that a...profitable line of business?
YES SHUT UP. Anyway, what's it about?!
FOR THOSE WHO LISTEN is about kissing. And also I guess about trust, trust falls, the trusty ol' irresistible force paradox, sad indie rock music, change, cityscapes, bridges (and other things to burn), and the definition of love. More specifically, it's a YA contemporary with a side of romance about three teens trying to throw themselves off the same bridge on Christmas Eve who find themselves stuck in a supermarket. Also: hijinks! Goat cheese debates! Bread product fights! Lobsters! All this and more, and I'm pitching it as Ned Vizzini's IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY meets The Breakfast Club.
Do you actually think so or are you just saying this because you wrote that?
Who are the main characters and why should I care about them?
Aidan: straight-edge guy with a slight anger issue and a big heart. Has depression and a pretty extensive arsenal of non-curse words ("Tonka-truckin'" for "mother****ing," anyone?). Ally. Friend. Awesome dude. Prickly edged.
Chris: fifteen-year-old transgender dude with a thing for video games and awkward pauses in conversations and similarly has some amazing curse words if I do say so myself ("Twinkle, twinkle, little sh*t." "For he's a jolly good little motherf**k." If that doesn't make you want to read this book, I don't want to know you).
Mara: feminist LGBTQ+ ally non-Catholic-but-still-kind-of-Catholic. Irrational, illogical, bold. Both a lover and a fighter. Impulsive. Strong. Enduring. Good with words. Convincing. Probably among my favorite of my characters.
Oh, and one of them still wants to die after they get inside the supermarket. Did I forget to mention that?
What's on the playlist?
The obligatory Taylor Swift ("All Too Well"), not to mention Ed Sheeran ("Photograph"; "Kiss Me"), The Fray ("Hold My Hand"), Daughter ("Youth"), Hunter Hayes ("Invisible"), P!nk ("Who Knew"), Sara Bareilles ("Bright Lights and Cityscapes"; "Gravity"), and then a smattering of indie rock bands.
I'm confused: is this a happy book or a sad book?
Well, I'm a writer, so I'm not going to answer this one way or the other. (This is what we do.) I will, however, say that FOR THOSE WHO LISTEN has both lighthearted elements and darker themes. There are hijinks and fun and laughter, but there's also, you know, the theme of adolescent suicide.
Why did you write this book?
So I don't really make it a secret that I was suicidal two years ago. That's a big reason why I write a lot about suicide—I don't know what it's like for every suicidal teen, but I do know the foundation of that experience firsthand. Also, I kind of wanted to show how suicide could touch three very different adolescents struggling with different demons. Also also, I wanted to explore the dark mind of a person who doesn't like goat cheese.
What does the title mean?
Well, if I just up and told you, it'd ruin the eventual reading experience, wouldn't it? But I will say that FOR THOSE WHO LISTEN is not a product of my mind; it's exactly half of a quote. You can actually Google "for those who listen" and the first result is the quote, but hey. Shhh. No one has to know.
Thank me for having me, me!