Jeffrey Ricker’s first novel, Detours, was published in 2011 by Bold Strokes Books. His second novel, The Unwanted, will be published by Bold Strokes in 2014. His writing has appeared in the anthologies Paws and Reflect, Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction, Blood Sacraments, Men of the Mean Streets, Speaking Out, Raising Hell, The Dirty Diner, Night Shadows: Queer Horror, and others. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he is pursuing an MFA at the University of British Columbia.
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Jamie Thomas has enough trouble on his hands trying to get through junior year of high school without being pulverized by Billy Stratton, his bully and tormentor. But the mother he was always told was dead is actually alive—and she’s an Amazon!
Sixteen years after she left him on his father’s doorstep, she’s back and needs Jamie’s help. A curse has caused the ancient tribe of warrior women to give birth to nothing but boys, dooming them to extinction—until prophecy reveals that salvation lies with one of the offspring they abandoned.
Putting his life on the line, Jamie must find the courage to confront the wrath of an angry god to save a society that rejected him.
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
A number of things. I’ve been interested in Amazons ever since I picked up my first copy of the Wonder Woman comic book and saw the TV show starring Lynda Carter. Of course, I don’t think the Amazons in my book resemble the Amazons of Paradise Island. Specifically though (or at least as well as I can remember), I think I was scrolling through the schedule on the DVR one evening when I noticed a showing of My Stepmother Is An Alien. My mind changed that to “my stepmother is an Amazon” and I began to wonder, hmm, what would that story be like? And off I went.
Lastly, when I was a teenager, there wasn’t a lot in the way of YA novels that featured gay characters in any fashion, positive or otherwise. I moved on to adult gay novels fairly quickly, writers like Armistead Maupin and Alan Hollinghurst, but the stories in those (which were wonderful) dealt with problems and concerns that were outside of my own experience. (That said, read books about characters with problems and concerns outside of your own experience.) I kind of missed seeing myself represented in the books I was reading. So I guess on some level, I wanted to write something that I might have enjoyed reading as a teenager.
Q) How long did it take you to write?
About two years.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
This question immediately brought to mind that Dorothy Parker quote, “I hate writing, I love having written.” When you’re doing it, writing can be painfully difficult—not digging ditches in the middle of summer difficult, but my brain is going to melt difficult. That said, nothing quite matches the first time you see your book cover, or the first time you hold a final printed copy. It’s pretty awesome.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Not being more disciplined. This is something I always have to work on. I am perhaps the world’s best procrastinator. In fact, my friends and I came up with a word to describe that level of productivity you achieve on other projects when you’re putting off writing: procrastiductivity.
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
J.W. Rowling. I figure in one day I could figure out how to get a fraction of her bank balance into my own account....
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
There is a block of cheese that I chucked in the freezer before it could go off. I think it’s about two months old. I don’t keep a lot in the fridge.
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
The unexpected! Okay, seriously, I’m working on a science fiction novel, a follow-up to The Unwanted, and a noir detective/vampire novel. And more short stories than I can keep track of.
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