Title: Here Without You (One Voice #2 – Standalone)
Author Name: Mia Kerick
Publication Date: February 2015 – 216 pgs
With all of his scratched and dented heart, Nate DeMarco wants to be two places at once, but he’s been forced to make an unbearable choice. Having barely survived high school, Nate and his boyfriends, Casey Minton and Zander Zane, are ready to move forward in life. Casey and Zander have left home to attend Boston City College. Nate remains in New Hampshire to protect his volatile younger sister from their increasingly violent, alcoholic uncle. Nate suffers with anger, resentment, and loneliness as he battles what he wants against what he feels he must do.
Now separated, the young men fight to stay in contact. However, they’re each faced with their own separate issues. Casey must cope with residual fear from having been bullied in high school. Zander obsesses over the establishment of One Voice, the new gay-straight alliance at Boston City College. Nate fights for his sister’s very survival. Meanwhile, the intensity of the boys’ relationship increases, both sexually and emotionally, as happens in long distance relationships.
Nate’s futile effort to live two lives leads to tragedy, which blasts Nate, Casey, and Zander apart. Can the three young men find their way back to a united path before it’s too late?
2 NATE’S DIARY
August 23 (they only been gone about half a week now)
SO MAYBE this is a bit fucked up, but I’m gonna put it down on paper in black and white, and maybe when I read it back to myself, it’ll seem more normal.
Here’s the thing. Like Casey says, us three is a throuple. Three dudes in love. Whatever. Cuz I sure as shit love them guys, and nothin’s gonna change that. So, yeah. There’s two dudes in place A and one dude, alone, in place B. I just figured them two would be gettin’ busy in bed in their fancy dorm room whenever they had a chance—cuz that’s what guys do, right?
Well, apparently not so much. Last night they Skyped me. There them two were, sittin’ all cozy on Casey’s rainbow-colored bedspread. The floppy stuffed unicorn that me and Zander gave him for Christmas junior year was propped up behind ’em, starin’ at the computer, like it was lookin’ right at yours truly. I felt real alone and a little like a loser (fucked-up fact is they only been gone a couple days), but I leaned back on my bed and acted like I didn’t give a shit.
Casey said, in this adorable proper voice, “Nate, there’s a topic Zander and I feel it’s imperative we discuss. It’s a matter of great importance.” He already sounds like a doctor, and he’s only a freshman in college.
Zander was just starin’ into the computer at me, sorta studyin’ my I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-nothin’ expression.
“What’s such a big friggin’ deal, babe? Lay it on me.” That was pretty cool soundin’, I thought.
“Well, Zander and I want to have a discussion about…. Nate, we want to discuss physical intimacy. In that….”
Even on Skype I could see that two spots on Casey’s cheeks had turned bright pink. Looked like he was having trouble spittin’ this out. And he was the talker in our throuple.
“Zander and I are here together, without you, and we’ve talked about this—”
“I expect you two’ve been goin’ to town on each other every night since you got to college and are prob’ly itchin’ to strip each other down right now.” Both of my guys’ eyes popped open wide when I said that.
“Actually, Nate.” Zander spoke up cuz it seemed that Casey was suddenly at a loss for words. “We haven’t, and we’re not gonna.”
“Huh?” That just kinda flew outta my mouth. “Come again, guy?”
Casey found his voice. “We aren’t going to sleep together unless you’re with us. We discussed it, and neither of us think it would feel right.” He glanced at Zander, and them two nodded at each other. “We aren’t going to do anything in bed together until you’re here for a visit.”
- Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
It is strange, but although I have an office, I do not use it for writing my books. I feel too distant from the rest of the family when I’m in there. But I have two places I do most of my writing. I find myself shifting back and forth from place to place.
The first place is the island/bar in my kitchen. It is made of old barn board, so it is not really level. It’s bumpy everywhere. I will admit I am not a fan of glossy finish, but before we got it we couldn’t keep the island clean. And we got a lot of splinters. So, as I write, my computer teeters on a slippery and bumpy surface. I’m used to it. My kitchen is a very busy place, as I have a husband, four kids, and five cats, and someone always wants something from Mom. But here, I feel like I am part of the action in my family life as well as in my characters’ lives.
I also do a lot of my writing in the Red Sox room. Yes, this is a family room totally dedicated to The Boston Red Sox. We have signed shirts and baseballs, Fenway Park banners, and even a leather Red Sox chair signed by Jim Rice. There is a full wall mural of Fenway Park and historical photographs of many of the old time teams and players. When I write in there, I put music on the TV (a pop music TV station) sit on my severely saggy couch, which is to be replaced any day now and hope for a few minutes of alone time. But cats, kids, and hubby can easily find me here, as well.
- Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
I relate to several of my characters, Cory from Beggars and Choosers, Tristan from A Package Deal, and Timmy from Not Broken, Just Bent, among them. But probably the one who is closest to me is Philippe from Out of Hiding. He is a damaged soul who lost his mom when he was too young, and it affected him deeply. He is sensitive and a bit insecure and sometimes afraid to trust, as he has been hurt before and doesn’t want to go there again. He is a good person, kind and loving and sweet, but doesn’t recognize himself as such, as he is busy hiding the truth of who he is.
I may not seem to be these things when you first meet me, but the inside of me is a lot like the inside of him.
- If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
Interesting question, and I’d have to say that I already did the other things I might now want to do, as far as careers go. I was a middle school teacher for ten years and I loved it. The kids were great, and writing lesson plans—incredibly creative Geography lesson plans—was my passion. After I taught for ten years, I became a mom, and I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my four children for the next eighteen years. I put the same creative energy into their birthday parties and play dates as I put into my lesson plans. When the youngest of the four was in middle school, I picked up writing, which allows me to be creative, while being flexible with my time so I can spend as much time as I want to with my family. SO I have had a chance to live out my various career dreams, and right now I am happy being an author.
- Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
I have learned a few hard lessons since I started writing as a career, but probably being WAY TOO TRUSTING is one of the hardest lessons I learned. But that isn’t the writing process, is it?
Hmmm…. About writing. I’m not sure if this is in regard to the writing process, but, yeah, I’ve learned a few things about writing since my Beggars and Choosers days.
*the more often you rewrite the story, the tighter and better it becomes
*reading aloud is a good way to check if dialogue sounds realistic
*always ask yourself- “Do I really want to use this dialect?” (Dialects can be distracting to y’all so it is best to consider if it is vital.)
*very often less is more- less commas, less ellipses, less exclamation points, less words, etc. Okay…. Okay? Hey…I’m talking to you!!!!!!
*do not constantly talk to the reader—it is distracting (don’t ya think?)
*do not over explain things because when you over explain it can drag the….here I go, doing it again!
*do not use song lyrics in your text or they will be removed by the editor and you will be left feeling like you have been robbed
There are more lessons about writing, but as I said above, less is more. So I’ll stop here.
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, 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.