As much as any character in I’ll Always Miss You—Rainy Hill has its own distinct personality. This fictional town is a composite of my Granny’s old neighborhood in Bryan Texas, a winding, tree-lined place with 50’s style ranch houses and sidewalk-less streets, the verdant, small-town of Parkville, Missouri where I live now, and an old (probably haunted) park .
The main character, Isa Zaman, is a city boy and always has been. When his parents tell him that he’s moving to small-town Missouri, he considers this a punishment worse than death. (I had to chuckle at his angst the whole time I was writing him given that I love not only the town I live in, but especially the town I made up.)
Wandering walks and long drives around the town made up the bulk of the research for the living, breathing landscape. Daydreams and fuzzy memories made up the rest. In the end, I think I came up with something good.
I hope you’ll love it—after all, Isa learns to!
I’LL ALWAYS MISS YOU
Isa Zaman might forgive his parents for taking in a friend’s son if only he wasn’t the most boring teenager in the universe. Macklin “Mackie” Cormack’s only interests are reading and the outdoors. Yeah, right. Isa’s convinced Mackie is either a pyro or a klepto. Plus, as a white kid, Mackie looks ridiculous in the Zamans’ Arab American household. Forced to share a bedroom, the boys keep butting heads until an absurd fight finally breaks the tension between them.
Isa’s just starting to figure life out: this new houseguest, his cultural identity, school, and even girls, when the entire family is uprooted from their home for reasons Isa can’t understand. They move from their tiny city apartment to a giant, old house in a small town, hours away from everything he’s ever known. Oh, and the new house? It’s probably haunted, or so says the blank-faced ten-year-old next door. As if things weren’t weird enough, Isa’s friendship with Mackie suddenly takes a strange turn down a path Isa’s not sure he’s ready to follow. It turns out Mackie Cormack isn’t nearly as boring as Isa once imagined.
He took a deep breath. “That’s sort of the thing. I don’t like anything about her.”
“She asked me out.” Mackie shrugged. “But I don’t really like her all that much either.”
I couldn’t wrap my head around it. We’d been ignoring each other for all that time over a girl he didn’t even like? Bullshit. Complete and total bullshit.
“Are you for real?”
“So why are you going out with her, then?” And then I remembered what he’d said in my room that day, that he was dating her just because…. Because why? If we were ever going to be friends again, then I needed to know. “Why are you going out with her?”
“I really don’t want to talk about that, Isa.”
“C’mon, Mackie. It’s been driving me nuts. Why would you date someone you didn’t even like? Or do you like kissing her?”
“Not… really,” he said. “That’s kind of the thing. I thought I would. But… I don’t.”
“Okay, then stop.” I shrugged. “We’re supposed to start working at Rashid’s, and we could hang out again, and there’s only like a week left of school. We could be friends.”
“I don’t… think that’s… a good idea.”
“You don’t want to be my friend?” I demanded. “What? ’Cause of Katy? ’Cause I was a jerk? That’s stupid, Mackie! It was your fault too! I don’t understand you at all.”
He was quiet for a really long time.
“I’m screwed no matter what I do,” he finally said on a low sigh.
“You think?” I asked, not knowing what he meant. I rolled Dad’s nine iron with my palm.
“Jesus H, Isa. You’re going to make me do this, aren’t you?”
“Yup,” I told him dryly. “Yup, I’m going to make you do this, whatever the hell ‘this’ is.”
He turned his face and stared at me. He stared at me so hard and for so long, I started to get uncomfortable. And then he leaned in, and I thought he was going to whisper it. Whatever the big secret was, whatever he’d been hiding from me, his reasons for dating a girl he didn’t even like, his reasons for not wanting to be my friend, all of it. Instead, he kissed me.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Raine O’Tierney lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either asleep or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers! Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on M/M) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
LGBT Author Interviews: http://raineotierneyhatparty.blogspot.com/