Mia Kerick’s Come To My Window

If you haven’t read Mia Kerick’s Come To My Window yet, please do. A YA novel with two young ladies that are both slightly broken and help each other while discovering love is possible. Absolutely beautiful. She joins me today and talks about what her idea of the perfect hero, or heroine, looks like. After Mia’s wonderful guest post, read all about the book, and an adorable excerpt that will make you want to know what happens next. At the very bottom enter for a chance to win a gift card.

The question is what is my perfect hero, and I have extended it to include heroine. I write romances, and as of Come To My Window, I write both YA gay and lesbian romances. So I will be inclusive in my answer.

Ever since I was a teen, I enjoyed reading about the selfless, totally devoted, and completely tortured hero who can only be saved by love. My next door neighbour in the town where I grew up was an elderly woman who had an entire wall stacked with M/F romances. She would let me borrow them whenever I wanted to, so I would spend hours pouring over her books, reading the blurbs on the back cover, in search of the perfectly tortured male character. And believe me, I found him. Many of him. Many similar versions of the perfectly tortured man.

It became easier to find the kind of books I wanted when I could search for “books with tortured heroes” online. And back when I read M/F romance, I only liked historical romances with seriously tortured heroes. (As I said, there are a surprisingly large number of them.) But I will say much of the historical fiction that includes tortured heroes is remarkably similar. Tall, handsome, of course, very muscular, smart, clever, emotionally distant, hiding a pain from his youth that has made him the man he is. He has a backstory that he tries to ignore, but we all know it is going to catch up with him. Incidentally, I fell rather helplessly in love with Edward Cullen of Twilight. He is tortured in just the way I like, and he even has that old-fashioned thing going on. Plus he is total eye candy.

Once I found M/M romance, I started to enjoy, and maybe even prefer, contemporary romance. But still—I love me a tortured soul!! And M/M romance is full of them. In fact, I often got two tortured heroes in one novel! Now that’s a bargain.

As much as I enjoy reading about tortured heroes, I also like writing about them. Creating them. With their own tragic back stories and their own need for love to save them. My original tortured hero is Brett Taylor of Beggars and Choosers. Tall and handsome and rugged, Brett was emotionally pained from a childhood with no love, but only pain. And Cory’s love will save him, of course. Tristan and Jamie and Philippe and more… I created them all and in their own tortured ways, they saved their men as much as their men’s more stable love saved them.

And now there are Kemina and Justine in Come To My Window. Kemina, in this book, is the more classically tortured soul, as she is forced on a daily basis to live up to the expectations of society. She is beautiful and smart and even famous, and her personality is standoffish and cold and all for good reasons. But when she opens up to Justine, she shows that she is really just an injured girl inside. In her own way, she is the heroine who provides Justine with the warmth she needs. Justine is the more classic heroine, and although she may not at first seem tortured, she has experienced a great deal of loss in her life. She is the person who encourages Kemina to leave her world of pain, and maybe can be considered a rescuer, of sorts. And Justine also displays the characteristics of quite strength, intelligence, and attractiveness, as my hero checklist requires.

Tortured heroes and heroines come in both sexes, and they are my very favourite kind of characters.

Justine Laraby and Kemina Lopez are intimate acquaintances yet they have never exchanged so much as a single word. For months, high school senior Justine, and famed model, “Kemina, the Baby Vixen” of Nightingale Lingerie, have been peering at each other across a narrow alley between brownstones in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This mutual observation soon turns into the exchange of handwritten messages on signs they hold up whenever they come to their bedroom windows. Via this “sign language,” a friendship grows, and Justine learns that Kemina is, like her, a high school senior, but with a controlling mother and a modeling career that requires her to maintain an unnaturally thin physique. And through the window, she also witnesses her new friend exercising fanatically, hoarding food, and being physically and emotionally abused by her ambitious mother.

Window messages evolve into clandestine meetings and soon a tentative romance blooms. But Justine must come to terms with her own “mommy issues,” as well as accept her gender identity and sexual orientation, before she can provide Kemina with the support she needs to survive a family life that resembles a ruthless business transaction.

Will Justine be strong enough to throw open the window so Kemina can escape society’s suffocating expectations?

But it’s not until the screen fills with the image of this baby seal, all white and fluffy with dark vulnerable eyes that we both gasp a little bit and then turn to look at each other. I can feel her breath on my lips and my nose is nearly touching hers, and, well, I don’t know about Kemina, but I’m all kinds of spellbound by this moment. She reaches up and touches my jaw, just below my ear, with this soft brush of her fingertips, and I have no choice but to lean down and kiss her. Not that I was looking too hard for another option. Cuz I wasn’t.

I kind of thought that my first kiss would be like an electric shock or the sharp poke of cupid’s dart or fireworks exploding in a dark night sky, but it’s not like any of those things. The way it feels when my lips touch Kemina’s is soft and gentle and tender. It’s a yielding of her mouth to mine, and then mine to hers. It’s an intimate moment that’s breathy and warm and sweet and just ours.

“Ummmm….” She lets out this sound that makes me think of how it feels to sink into a hot bath after a long afternoon of ice skating in frigid temperatures. “That was my first real kiss.”

“Real kiss?” I ask. Our lips are only about an inch apart. I have a strong feeling that her second real kiss is only a moment away.

About Mia:
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.
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Tour Stops:
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27-Jan: Molly Lolly, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Inked Rainbow Reads
28-Jan: Full Moon Dreaming, Bayou Book Junkie
29-Jan: Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Prism Book Alliance
30-Jan: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Cate Ashwood, Amanda C. Stone
31-Jan: Love Bytes

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1 Comment

  1. Mia Kerick says:

    Thank you so much for welcoming me to your blog!! I love all the purple!!

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