Virtual Tour ~ The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick ~ (Review, Guest Post, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: Mia Kerick
Book Name: The Art of Hero Worship
Release Date: February 14, 2016
Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots, as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross drapes his massive body on top of Jason, sheltering the younger man from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.
As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. And added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade away into the darkness from which it emerged.
Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.
The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.
Pages or Words:212 pages
Categories:Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Gay Fiction,
No, I’m not even remotely safe. But thankfully I play dead far better than my dog did when I taught him that trick at the age of seven.
The shots are earsplitting and getting louder because the shooter’s heading our way. I’m so fucking scared I’m trembling violently, but I promised the guy lying on top of me that I’d stay still. I concentrate on taking short shallow breaths, one after another, in my effort to stop trembling. To stay frozen—like I’ve been since I pulled Ginny to the floor and promptly let go of her hand so I could curl up into a tight fetal ball.
Somebody near me sits up, scrambles to his knees, and impulsively crawls toward the far aisle.
“Bang, bang… you’re dead.” The voice comes from directly above me; it’s blank and monotone and controlled. The weird snicker that follows is chilling. I want nothing more than to throw the big guy off my back and run like hell toward the double doors, but I just keep on going with the short breaths and stay as still as I’ve ever been in my life. Even in my terrified state, I know that the guy on top of me is totally exposed and I can’t move because I’ll cheat him out of his life, for sure. Which is so not cool when he’s trying to save mine.
I smell blood. Never noticed the smell of blood before. It reminds me of Grandma’s penny collection… if it got spilled onto the sticky floor of the theater. The scent of old copper is everywhere… like wet pennies strewn all around me on the floor.
Shooter’s right above us now. Don’t move… don’t move… don’t move….
“Dear God, help us!” This request seems to catch the shooter’s attention and he turns around and steps away from us. I curse myself for feeling as relieved, and maybe even glad, as I do.
We wait and it seems like forever. We wait as voices beg and plead and pray and he shuts them up with bullets. We wait as the sound of shots moves to the front left near the exit, where I figure he’s shooting at anyone who tries to get out through the double doors.
And then, for a second, it’s quiet.
“Now….” The big guy’s voice is whispering but it seems to blast into my left ear. “We have to make our move now.” Before I agree, the heaviness of his body lifts and I feel cold and exposed. “This is our chance to get outta here….”
His hand is attached to the back of my wrist, clutching me so hard that I know I’ll have fingerprint bruises for a wee
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*copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
We all know that tragedy can change a person, but Jason and Liam never expected surviving a mass shooting together at a college theater to draw two seemingly straight young men romantically to one another like magnets. After Liam saves Jason's life, twice, Jason can't explain why he is sexually attracted to Liam or why he finds himself falling for him anymore than Liam can explain why he feels the same about Jason. He tries to run, but Liam is determined to have what he feels belongs to him, Jason.
This was a powerful and emotional story. We have all read about or watched news reports about these crazed mass shootings at schools and movie theaters. This has touched most of our lives in one way or another. I loved this story. Mia is just such a talented writer. Her words are like poetry. The story is well written and pulls you in and holds on until the final sentence. I loved the characters and thought they were well developed. I liked the dynamic of their relationship and progression of their relationship felt authentic. These men dealt with their attraction to each other very realistically. What I thought the story was missing at times was a chemistry between the characters. I didn't find it was always present between Jason and Liam, but his was still a riveting story.
This was an emotional and enjoyable read. Highly recommended!!
Author Guest Post
Talk about the events that inspired this story and how you felt emotionally while writing this story.
Hello Bayou Book Junkies, and thank you for hosting me today in my release of The Art of Hero Worship.
We all watch the news. My favorite station for current events is CNN. (I really like Anderson Cooper.) In fact, I would call myself a bit of a news junkie. Even when I want to say, “This is depressing—I’ve had enough” and turn it off, I just keep watching the tube.
In particular, I’m drawn to the mass shooting news stories. Something about the horror, the helplessness, the heroic acts, and the similarity between many of the gunmen, compels me to watch, so that I can understand. It is very difficult to realize that in many circumstances, mental illness and personality disorders are at the root of the shootings. And even after I learn the details of the story, understanding remains out of my grasp.
I think a lot about the emotions of the victims and survivors of these events. I ask myself what I would do in their shoes. I pray that my own children are never caught in this type of a circumstance. This intense consideration of the victims’ experiences led to my decision to write The Art of Hero Worship.
We rarely actually see what happens in the theaters or the cafeterias or libraries where mass shootings often occur. We hear about what happened after-the-fact from those who endured the horror and survived. I wanted to take the readers into that dark theater—to allow them to experience the terror through a survivor’s eyes and ears. And then to walk a mile in the survivor’s shoes, after the event has ended.
This is what I did with Jason Tripp, the narrator in The Art of Hero Worship. Through Jason, we experience the violence, we emerge from the theater as changed people, we adapt to our new selves.
Liam is also a survivor, but he is one who is compelled to be a hero. In my research, I read a guide about how to survive a mass shooting. It described the types of reactions to a life- threatening situation like this, and one of them was to be a hero. Liam feels compelled to fill this role due to past tragedy in his life. But being a hero is not easy and Liam is very critical of his own actions. He suffers a different kind of pain than Jason.
Romance is always a motivating factor for me in every book I write, as I truly believe that the power of love can be healing. Liam and Jason, with their unique survival experiences, are able to offer each other the kind of passion and understanding that the other needs to heal. I was motivated by my desire to explore the topic of whether enduring a powerful, life-changing experience together is sufficient to cause two heterosexual men to fall in love. I am not stating in The Art of Hero Worship that this unconventional love would develop in every situation, but in Jason and Liam’s, a bond is forged that cannot be broken.
Meet the author:
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 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 men and their relationships, and she believes that sex 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 CoolDudes Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of 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.
Where to find the author:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mia.kerick
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Mia-KerickAuthor-231404220346244/
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