Raine O’Tierney is one of my favorite people ever. She has been there for me in good times and bad, in fact, she is one of my first friends at Dreamspinner Press. TODAY I want to welcome Raine to my blog with her new Young Adult novel, I’ll Always Miss You. Let’s find out some more about this awesome book.
I’LL ALWAYS MISS YOU by Raine O’Tierney
Pages: 256 pages
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Categories: Young Adult | Bisexual | Coming of Age |
Isa Zaman might forgive his parents for taking in a friend’s son if only he wasn’t the most boring teenager in the universe. Macklin “Mackie” Cormack’s only interests are reading and the outdoors. Yeah, right. Isa’s convinced Mackie is either a pyro or a klepto. Plus, as a white kid, Mackie looks ridiculous in the Zamans’ Arab American household. Forced to share a bedroom, the boys keep butting heads until an absurd fight finally breaks the tension between them.
Isa’s just starting to figure life out: this new houseguest, his cultural identity, school, and even girls, when the entire family is uprooted from their home for reasons Isa can’t understand. They move from their tiny city apartment to a giant, old house in a small town, hours away from everything he’s ever known. Oh, and the new house? It’s probably haunted, or so says the blank-faced ten-year-old next door. As if things weren’t weird enough, Isa’s friendship with Mackie suddenly takes a strange turn down a path Isa’s not sure he’s ready to follow. It turns out Mackie Cormack isn’t nearly as boring as Isa once imagined.
And that’s when I realized that my friends had become jerks.
I don’t know what it was, staring at their backs, that made me realize it, but they had.
And I was a jerk too.
Because I hadn’t stood up to them, and I’d put Mackie in this position again, when I knew he didn’t want to be there.
I turned immediately to go.
I knew we couldn’t abandon them, but that didn’t mean I had to stay inside to wait for them. I bumped into a couple dancing and somehow avoided the long-nailed grasp of a very drunk woman who wanted me to dance with her, and then I was near the door. I waited only until the people coming in had moved, and then I charged out of the club. I even told the bored guy with the stamp to kiss my ass.
A couple of girls near the front of the line giggled when they saw me, but I ignored them. I ignored them, and I went to find Mackie and the car.
He sat with his hands on the steering wheel, staring straight ahead. No, glaring straight ahead.
I opened the passenger side door, and I climbed in.
“That was qui—”
I didn’t let him finish his sarcastic remark. I just grabbed his shirt and I pulled him across the seat to me, and I kissed him. Long and hard and good. I was fifteen years old, and I really, really, really didn’t want to be at a bar in Kansas City.
“Let’s go see the library,” I told him.
“Okay,” he replied dumbly.
“Right now, let’s leave those idiots and go see the library.”
“Okay,” he said, putting the car in gear. “Yeah, we’ll come back for them.”
“We’ll come back for them,” I agreed. “But right now, just you and me. Let’s go. Take the car and drive.”
INTERVIEW WITH RAINE
I was lucky enough to have a chance to sit down with Raine and ask her some of the questions I have been itching to ask her.
Welcome to my blog, Raine. Tell us about your new book, I’ll Always Miss You.
Thank you SO MUCH for hosting me, Mia-Mia! ❤ I really appreciate it!
Well, I’ll Always Miss You, is a coming-of-age story about Isa Zaman. He’s your typical snarky teenager, trying not to drown in the sea of estrogen that is his household (so many sisters!), trying to figure out how to ask someone to the dance, trying to figure out his culture and himself…and then all of a sudden his parents take in the son of a family friend and Isa’s whole world is even more shaken up. Especially when he starts to notice this weird new guy, Mackie!
Why did you choose to write about an Arab American family? How did you research so that you knew you were getting the nuances of their cultural identity just right?
I felt like this was a very underrepresented group in YA lit and I wanted to explore the dynamics of a white “foster” kid in a minority household. Research was really interesting for this story. Since Isa doesn’t feel Arab enough he seeks out his culture in the same basic ways I researched his culture. Plus I got to sample a lot of Moroccan cuisine as Isa grows to love Mediterranean cooking.
Which character is the most “Raine”? Who do you identify with most? And why.
I would like to say Isa’s sister Aaliyah because she’s so creative and full of grace. She is very kind and understanding and Isa really admires her. But…I’m probably more like the overly enthusiastic little sister Layla! J
Are any of the characters based on people you know or know of in real life? Is the setting a place you’ve actually been?
Haha, I’m laughing because AJ Fisher is totally based on my boss who a) knows she’s in the book and b) approves the characterization of herself! Rainy Hill, Missouri is a composite of my town of Parkville, MO and my grandmother’s neighborhood in Bryan, TX.
You usually write adult novels, so what inspired you to write a YA novel? Is it more of a romance or would you call it fiction?
I chose to write this story as a YA because I wanted to capture the feelings I had reading YA ghost stories as a teenager. I could have done this as a nostalgic adult, but I think telling the story as Isa worked even better! I’d say this story is romantic fiction, I think? It’s definitely more coming-of-age than romance, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a delightful romance in there as the boys find each other and navigate their first awkward feelings for each other.
Did you enjoy your experience as a young adult writer? What did you find limiting, and what did you find liberating? Do you think you will write another YA novel?
I definitely enjoyed my experience as a YA writer. I got to re-explore some of the feelings I had when I was fourteen, through the eyes of an adult. It was hard, though, sharing the story with my librarian friends who specialize in J-Fic and YA literature because they were brutal.
CLOSEST TO YOUR HEART: Rank your main characters in order of how close they are to the heart of Raine O’Tierney. Please state which book the character is in, and why he/she received his ranking. (You can choose one main character from your books.)
Fun! Top five favorite YA/JF characters:
Solveig from Icefall
Tris from Divergent
Jinx from Moon Over Manifest
Lucie Babbidge from Lucie Babbidge’s House
Maggie from Behind the Attic Wall
BONUS: (And the obligatory “favorite Raine chara”) Isa Zaman from I’ll Always Miss You
Rafflecopter prizes: $25 Amazon.com giftcard and an e-copy of I’ll Always Miss You
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Raine O’Tierney loves writing about first loves and friendship. She believes the best thing we can do in this life is be kind to one another, and hopes her stories always reflect that. Raine loves encouraging people to write and has been known to repeat the phrase “I believe everyone has a story to tell” endlessly, until she breaks down even the most stubborn non-writer!
Raine lives outside of Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, fellow M/M author Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job.
Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
Thank you, Rainey, for visiting me here… it gets lonely sometimes.