My nephew just had his novella published. I’m proud of him. He’s a strange one, and I like him that way. I know he grew up, in what I would characterize as, a strict conservative-values home, and yet he has always managed to color just a little outside the lines.
For as long as I can remember, he has been “a kid”. I know that he is married, has kids, a job, and all the responsibilities of adulthood–but he’s still “a kid”; a geek, a “Techie”, and a writer. Though living as the son of an Air Force pilot and living in a vast array of “Air Force-towns” from Minot, North Dakota to Spokane, Washington to now living in Southhaven, Mississippi as an adult–He never lost any of it, and I have always admired him for that.
Ask any writer about their current projects, and they will invariably bring up a project more than ten years old, that they are meticulously editing, working on, or thinking about. Sean McKissack is like that. Since high school, he has been compiling stories, novels, plays, and movie scripts. He reincarnates events from his adolescence, and life in high school to the page in a way that when we read it; we see his childhood angst and our own. In many ways, Sean never left high school and his “not-so-glory” days and he is able to put that on paper and a Kindle screen.
His newest published work surprises me. It’s a subject, that for the life of me, I can’t fathom his inspiration for the story, nor how he came to write it. I can, however, certainly believe the sensitivity that he exhibits in telling the story.
“James Kane could be summed up in one word: loser. He silently lived as a ghost amongst his parents and he had zero friends at school…unless you count his cousin who had to defend him against the abusive Matt Tracker.
When his parents divorce, James moves to Montana and stays with his grandmother, where he makes an extreme adjustment to his life-becoming a different someone named Jennifer. The transition comes with frightening issues Jennifer never thought of. After two years of recovery, she returns to her old high school to start over but she meets up with her past tormentor and gets caught in a web of secrets as she finds herself falling in love.
Her conscience gets the best of her as she tries to be truthful to Matt about who she once was, but will he accept her as his girlfriend when she tells him about their past?”
I decided to interview Sean through email about his latest work and his writing.
With the latest transgender debate, and with the celebrityhood of transgender Caitlyn Jenner. Do you expect any kind of response from the LGBT community? Was this idea way before the latest events happening now?
“The story was created in 2001 as a script. I started the revision to novella in 2014 so it predates a lot of the current transgender issues in the news these days. That being said I know that I will be under the microscope at how I handle the subject matter, not being transgender myself. It was imperative to treat Jennifer (the main character in “To Be A Different Someone”) as a real person and not a caricature or stereotype. I would hope the community would see her as someone who goes out there and lives her life.”
How long would you say you have been seriously writing, or wanted to be a writer.
“Since third grade when I met the author, Marc Brown, (of “Arthur” fame) at a young author’s convention.”
Song titles and lyrics play a part in your writing style, were these just easy prompts for you and is there a reason you use them.
“I write in a film style with an emphasis on Japanese anime. Certain songs fit the scene and are deliberately mentioned or used for that reason. I would never use something just because its popular which is why I hate most movie soundtracks. The song title sets the mood for the chapter and usually helps me to storyboard everything in my head. A song holds a different meaning to me afterwards.”
Why Young Adult Fiction? What attracts you to write in that genre
“I guess I’m trapped in the 1990s. I started writing a lot of things as a teenager so I stayed in the genre. I do have a few adult-oriented storylines that are in the bits and pieces stages.”
Who are your Writing Influences? Favorite Author?
Any thoughts about the book, you’d like to add?
“I’ve had a lot of help with the editing from script to book (usually, it’s the other way around) and I would like to thank everyone who has listened to my scene enactments, music treatments and just off the wall topics about the book. Really, if I didn’t have them, it would never would have gone anywhere.”
“To Be A Different Someone” is available on Kindle at Torquere Press, offering “the best in LGBT romance and at Amazon. You can also order it here at OTRWD in my sidebar and at the end of this article.
I’m not saying buy it. But…Go Buy It. Read it. Then I’m sure, Sean would not mind you reviewing it at his Amazon page. Or, come back here, and tell me what you thought about it.