True Colorz is your web source for all things YA in the LGBTQ community! Our blog features new releases, featured authors, interviews, and reviews/recommended reading.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Featured Author: Jo Ramsey

Jo Ramsey
Jo Ramsey is a former special education teacher who now writes full-time. In her life she has known many teenagers who think they’re nothing special until they do something great, and those are the teens she writes about. Her first young adult novel was published in 2010. Jo lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, a pet mouse, and two cats, one of whom thinks she’s a scarf.

Q&A with Author Jo Ramsey:

  1. If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?

    Honestly, some of my characters have really rough lives. I wouldn’t want to be any of them. I guess if I had to be one for a day, it would be Chris Talberman from Dolphins in the Mud, because he fictionally lives in the real-life cottage in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where my husband and I spent our honeymoon. (In real life, the cottage belongs to my husband’s aunt.) I would spend the day walking along the beach and hoping to spot a dolphin or two.

  2. Tell us a little about your book, Fresh Meat.

    Fresh Meat is a young adult tie-in with an adult romance series called Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat. (NOT for anyone under eighteen!) In the first book of that series, the love interest reveals something about his past that I thought would make a great young adult novel. I got permission to use the character in one of my books, since I’m friends with the author of that series.

    In Fresh Meat, Tobias Rogan is fifteen and doesn’t have any ambitions other than getting out of his home, where his father and mother are constantly fighting. When he meets twenty-two-year-old Larry Denning, Tobias thinks he might have found a way out; he falls for Larry almost immediately, despite not being willing to admit he’s interested in a man. But Larry isn’t what he seems, and his betrayal of Tobias changes Tobias’s life forever.

  3. Which of your Young Adult books has been the most difficult to write? The least difficult?

    I think Fresh Meat was the hardest to write, because I had to stick to the world established in the series I took the idea from and because of what happens to Tobias in the story. I was abused when I was younger and have post-traumatic stress disorder because of it; while writing Fresh Meat, particularly when writing the scene where Tobias is changed into a werewolf, I triggered myself and cried quite a bit.

    The easiest book I’ve written was The Black Bridge, the first novel in my series The Dark Lines. The idea had been gelling in my brain for over fifteen years, planted by something a friend of mine told me about an old railroad bridge in the town where I grew up, and once I had the characters to go with the plot, the story almost wrote itself.

  4. What are you currently working on?

    I just had another YA book release from Featherweight Press on April 22. Strong Spirit is the sixth book in my Reality Shift series. None of the characters in the book are identified as GLBT, but a couple of them are. (It would have been revealed in later books in the series, but the series has been cancelled after this book.)

    On June 21, the Pan imprint of Musa Publishing will release my novel Where No One Knows. Kellan McKee is sixteen, female-to-male transgender—and can set fires with his mind. When he accidentally sets fire to a friend of his stepfather’s as the man is trying to sexually assault him, Kellan’s mother sends him out on his own. With the help of people he encounters on the road, Kellan finds his way to Massachusetts, where he’s taken in by a group that helps teenagers with psychic powers.

    In August or September of this year (I don’t have the firm date yet), Harmony Ink Press will release my novel Nail Polish and Feathers. Sixteen-year-old Evan Granger wants to be a drag queen, and he won’t let bullies, parents, or a worried boyfriend stand in his way.

    Featherweight Press has two additional novels of mine under contract with no set release dates yet: Time of Darkness is book four of my series The Dark Lines, and Opening Up is a sequel to my novel Cluing In; Opening Up is about V.J. Josephson’s coming to terms with his sexuality, finding his first boyfriend, and coming out to his family who are still reeling in the aftermath of his cousin Jamey’s ex-girlfriend’s suicide and V.J.’s mother’s chronic depression.

  5. What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?

    I want my readers to understand that they are not defined by the events in their lives. No matter what has been done to them or what they have done, they are good people who can do great things. My tagline, “Anyone can be a hero,” is exactly what I believe; all my readers have the power to be heroes, whether it’s to others or just in their own lives.

Now Available from Jo Ramsey:

Fresh Meat Fifteen-year-old Tobias Rogan wanted to leave home, but he never planned on doing so as a werewolf.

Tired of constant fighting at home, fifteen-year-old Tobias Rogan dreams of getting out. The. he meets twenty-two-year-old Larry Denning and believes he's found his chance. Although he hasn't decided completely whether he's straight, gay, or bi, Tobias can't deny his attraction to Larry, and Larry's interest in him is clear.

Then in one afternoon, Tobias's life is turned upside-down. Larry assaults him, turning him into a werewolf in the process. Tobias ends up at the home of the local pack's Alpha. As he attempts to adjust to his new life, Tobias learns that Larry is victimizing other boys. When Larry changes another boy and dumps him at the Alpha's home as a warning to Tobias, Tobias knows he must stop Larry from harming anyone else. But how?

Life Skills Brian Monahan thinks his school's new community service requirement is ridiculous. Especially when he's told that since he didn't submit his own community service proposal, he's been assigned to volunteer in his school's Life Skills class. But despite himself, he begins to enjoy working there and likes helping the kids.

When he sees one of the Life Skills students being bullied in the school cafeteria, Brian intervenes. He's been bullied enough himself because of his sexuality, and he refuses to let it happen to anyone else. Using his experience in coordinating his school's Day of Silence, supporting GLBT students, he decides to organize a "Spread the Word to End the Word" rally at his school, using the national campaign against the "R-word." But can Brian pull it off?

Dolphins in the Mud When Chris Talberman's family moved to Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Chris left behind his boyfriend and friends. Six months later, Chris still feels alone.

When a pod of dolphins strand themselves on the cove outside Chris's house, his autistic younger sister, Cece, runs out to see them. A boy named Noah Silver helps catch Cece before she gets hurt. Noah is even more alone than Chris, and he's just as eager to find a friend.

Then everything goes downhill -- Chris's mother leaves, putting Chris's workaholic father in charge. With no one else to talk to, Chris turns to Noah, and their relationship deepens. But Noah has problems he isn't willing to share.

Accepting Me Sixteen-year-old Shane's friends are constantly talking about their boyfriends or girlfriends, and about sex. His parents keep asking him why he doesn't date. Shane isn't interested in romantic relationships at all and can't see what the fuss is all about. All he wants is for his family and friends to understand and accept him the way he is.
Listening Skills For a while now, Brian Monahan's girlfriend Trista has been unhappy with their relationship. And Brian's boyfriend Javier hasn't seemed too pleased with their relationship either. Although they're both free to see other people as well, neither of them is doing so. When Trista asks to break up and Javier asks Brian to meet his family, Brian realizes he isn't being fair to either of them. It's time to listen to what they both have to say, even if he doesn't like what he hears.

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