Genre: contemporary, young-adult
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: December 11, 2014
Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky (https://curiosityquills.com/team/)
Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago. Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby.
The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.
By now you will have seen images of this book popping up in your social media feeds, or at least I hope you have, that was the plan.
See, this isn’t Kevin’s first “go round”. He has published several great books in the past, but this one just seems like the first one all over again.
Like me, Kevin isn’t one for self-promotion. He is uncomfortable with praise and equally uncomfortable when people ask for his book. It is these reasons that I am promoting it for him. That and the fact that he is a great writer and a great guy.
So when Kevin asked me if I could blog his cover and after I picked my jaw off the floor, I said “Seriously dude??” He nodded like Scooby-Doo looking for a Scooby Snack. Well, that’s not really how it went, but it is funnier than “Yes” and “thank-you”.
But here was my stipulation, I had free rein to put The Author’s Voice spin on it and he had to answer my questions.
I had to tackle him as he tried to run away.
TAV: Why the big push for this when you have other books published? It has a first book published kind of feel to it.
KC: It does feel like a bigger push with this one, but I don’t know why. I feel like I worked just as hard on the other three novels. It IS a bigger publisher this time around, and the book will have bookstore distribution. But that’s not it. I have more support. I guess people are reading my stuff.
TAV: I know you don’t like to push your own writing, I totally get that and am of the same mind, so when you have this huge group of colleagues, scratch that, friends – because we are more than colleagues – does the promotion still feel awkward?
KC: The promotion feels blindingly awkward. I just push ahead full steam and my heart bleeds a little every time I click SEND, TWEET, POST, or whatever it happens to be I’m sending it to. I die a little with each push. But I know it’s something I have to do. I love writing. That’s the push for me. The other side of that coin is readers. When I hear that someone is actually reading one of my books, I feel sick inside. I want to apologize to them in advance. (-: I LOVE that my friends support me so wholeheartedly. That’s validation…huge validation.
TAV: How does it feel that so many people want to help you do this?
KC: I get speechless. I get teary-eyed. I get goosebumps. I can’t imagine this. And yet there it is…it’s happening. I’m so over-the-top grateful, I can’t even put it into words. I am living an extremely blessed life right now and I take NOTHING for granted.
TAV: I know I struggle with the whole “writer” label and you do too. And I know fame will never go to your head, but is there a sense of legitimacy with this book?
KC: There is! And it’s not because it sold to a publisher. It’s not because my amazing agent believed in it. It’s the feeling I got when I first completed it at the Muskoka Novel Marathon. I thought, “THIS IS IT!” It just hit so deep to the bone that it left me speechless and breathless at the end. Don’t get me wrong, I thought there was SO MUCH WRONG WITH IT (naturally…that’s my go-to thought with my writing). I actually thought it would never sell. I thought the subject covered was too taboo, too many No-nos that writers shouldn’t do, too much swearing…there was just so many reasons. I thought I just wrote this fantastic story that will never see the light of day. At every turn I thought someone would say, “WE CAN’T USE THIS!” And at every turn I was pleasantly surprised. The legitimacy I felt with this book was that I was writing it as a more authentic person than I used to be. I allowed myself to cover issues that scared me. I broke that wall that some writers never penetrate. Even if this sat on my shelf forever, never to be read by another living soul, it would have given me the same sense of legitimacy.
TAV: Finally, and I’ll let you up after this, why should people buy this book? I don’t want a “you’ll like it”, “It’ll make me pant-loads of money”, or “I know people that will make you read it” kind of answer. 😉
KC: I’ll go with telling you what the dedication says as a lead-in to why you (the general YOU) should read this book. The second part of my dedication, after the personal one, says, “…and for all the boys and girls the world over who ever, even for a moment felt bullied and/or marginalized. You are beautiful. You matter.” Your question was, “Why should people buy this book?” I won’t go there. I’ll answer why people should READ this book. Because everybody BELONGS. When you’re a teenager you don’t fully fathom that LIFE GETS BETTER. If you’re being bullied, you think THIS IS MY LIFE. It’s a terrifying and depressing place to be. If you’re a bully…you’re suffering just as greatly, I’m sure. But whatever roles we live in high school are not life roles. People – the bully and the bullied – can rise above. I like to write about the downtrodden…but in a way that ultimately gives them hope for redemption and improvement. Read this book if you were ever bullied or a bully. Read it if you think nobody will ever love you because of your flaws and faults. Read it if you were ever a teenager in pain, love, bliss or anger. I hope that answers your question.
TAV: Answered my question and left me speechless.
So there you have it.
About The Author:
Kevin Craig is the author of three previous novels; Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, and The Reasons. He is a 4-time winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Novel Award. Kevin is also a playwright and has had eight 10-minute plays produced. His poetry, short stories, memoir and articles have been published internationally. Kevin was a founding member of the Ontario Writers’ Conference and a long-time member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR). He is represented by literary agent Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group.
Find Kevin Craig Online:
Website (http://kevintcraig.wordpress.com/) | Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/KT-Craig-Author-Playwright/325130504188846?ref_type=bookmark) | Twitter (https://twitter.com/KevinTCraig)| Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/785432.Kevin_Craig)
To find out what other people are saying about Kevin, here are some blogs;
Cold Lake Cathy-Red Hot and Coming Soon
Tobin Elliott-Cover Reveal: Burn Baby Burn
Caroline Wissing-Cover Reveal for Burn Baby Burn by Kevin Craig
Thank-you Kevin and thank-you readers. Make sure you get your copy while they last and while you are at it, buy his other books too. Blue Heron Books has some of his older books and will get more if you ask nicely.
This is The Author’s Voice signing off. Keep you pen on the page and your head in the clouds.