Blog Tour Author Interview with Giveaway: Hold My Hand by Michael Barakiva

May 23, 2019 giveaway 4

Book info:
TitleHold My Hand
Author:  Michael Barakiva
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication date: May 21st, 2019
Genres: Romance, Young Adult


Alek Khederian thinks about his life B.E. and A.E.: Before Ethan and After Ethan. Before Ethan, Alek was just an average Armenian-American kid with a mess of curly dark hair, grades not nearly good enough for his parents, and no idea of who he was or what he wanted. After he got together with Ethan, Alek was a new man. Stylish. Confident. (And even if he wasn’t quite marching in LGBTQ parades), Gay and Out and Proud.

With their six-month anniversary coming up, Alek and Ethan want to do something special to celebrate. Like, really special. Like, the most special thing two people in love can do with one another. But Alek’s not sure he’s ready for that. And then he learns something about Ethan that may not just change their relationship, but end it.

Alek can’t bear the thought of finding out who he’d be P.E.: Post-Ethan. But he also can’t forgive or forget what Ethan did. Luckily, his best friend Becky and madcap Armenain family are there to help him figure out whether it’s time to just let Ethan go, or reach out and hold his hand.

Hold My Hand is a funny, smart, relatable take on the joy and challenges of teenage love, the boundaries of forgiveness, and what it really means to be honest.

Author Interview:

1.  What
does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you
start?  Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants
writing)?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline,
notecards, post-it-notes, etc.?  
There is a
process of for writing musicals that I have hijacked for novel-writing
purposes.  It starts with the writing of
many many index cards – just a few words on each.  They can each stand for a character, theme,
line of dialogue, plot moment, whatever. 
All ideas are good ideas in this part. 
This will also lead me to some research, and I’ll fall through a few of
those wormholes.
After some time
doing this, I can usually figure out if the story has stuff.  If it doesn’t, I bind all the cards up and put
them in a drawer, to revisit at a later time, if/when I’ve had an epiphany
about how to make it work.  If the story
is making sense, I can usually tell at this point: If the cards are coming out
aplenty, if they’re making sense, if they’re interesting and exciting, if they
communicate with each other.  Then I
start sifting through them – removing the ones that don’t fit in anymore,
rewriting some, consolidating others. 
Once I have a stack (let’s say, 100 at this point) I’ll put them up on
my wall, using scotch tape (really, I should be using painter’s tape, but do I?
no I do not, because adulting is hard). 
Here is a
picture of what  an early non-color
coordinated attempt might look like. 
Please note the adorability of the index cards I have cut into triangles,
which indicate time stamps.
At this point,
the cards resemble something of an outline, and I’ll usually start writing
there.  Because I rarely have the luxury
of putting full days aside for writing in this moment of my life (my day job is
running the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY), when I do write, I look at the
outline for the chapter I want to write the night before I go to sleep, and
then wake up early and write write write. 
First drafts must be written in the morning, early, when I’m barely
awake, so that I don’t have the ability to filter myself.  On days that I can devote entirely to
writing, I’ll then go to the gym or make some breakfast, do some other stuff,
take a nap, and then read the morning pages. 
Often, I have no memory of having written them and that allows me to
look at them somewhat objectively, ruthlessly, the way a writer must. 
2. Do you
edit as you go, or wait till you’re finished before you edit?  How
many times would you say you go over it yourself before having another set
of eyes look it over? 
I’ll probably try
to get 50 good pages before I send them to my editor (Joy Peskin, amazing,
goddess, amazing).  This will take three
or four or five drafts.  With One Man Guy, they were the first fifty
pages.  With Hold My Hand, I tried something different based on this article by
Joss Whedon – he said something about not bothering to write in chronological
order – that instead, you should write the scenes you see most vividly
first.  So I did that, writing what we
determined was “the heart” of the book. 
I didn’t even know where it would end up, but now it’s the end of Act I
and I’m not going to say anything but I think it’s my favorite scene I’ve ever

I probably work in
50 page chunks – writing, re-writing, re-re-writing, re-re-re-writing, before
sending them to my editor for feedback, direction and spiritual sustenance.

After every 50
pages or so, I’ll also re-index card – take all the old ones down, see what I’m
actually writing and how the pages have taken shape, and write the index cards
in dialogue with the pages themselves. 
At this point, I usually start color coding the cards, which also helps
because if I’m like “Why does this section suck” or “I don’t know what should
happen next,” seeing visually that the B plot has been ignored for three
chapters or something helps.
3.  Are you
part of a writers group that gets together and helps each other with their
I only recently learned that this is
a thing, and it sounds great.  But having
never taken a class in writing, never thinking I’d be a writer, and not knowing
how things were done, I hadn’t ever really thought about joining one.  But it sounds awesome.
4.  What
tips do you have for aspiring writers?
Look at the
world, look at what is happening in the world, look at what is happening in the
world that no one is writing about, and write about that. 
  What are your favorite:

The Inheritance
by N. K. Jemisin is just about as good as writing can get.  It is my everything. 

Calculating Stars
by Mary Robinette Kowal – OMG these
two books were amazing

On a trip to Ecaudor I got A Little Life on my Kindle because it
sounded like a fun little book and although it was a book, it was certainly not
fun or little – totally, truly devastating. 

And I just finished the Earthsea
Cycle by Ursula Le Guin.  The writing is
so good, so clear, so simple, so moving. 
What a master.
Movies/TV Shows
Last night, Avengers: Endgame P2
premiered and now that I’ve seen it I feel like a major chapter of my life is

I’ve been junking out on Netflix
like it’s going out of fashion.  Which,
apparently, it’s not.  Favorites there
The Magicians (thinking about
getting some hedge witch tattoos on my forearm),
The OA (WTF with Season 2 finale!)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
all the cooking shows (especially
Salt Acid Fat Heat, or whatever the correct order is)
The Good Place (Will
Jackson Harper forever)
Agents of SHIELD
Dear White People (Justin Simien,
will you be my friend)
Sex Education

Stranger Things (natch)
Russian Doll

The 3%

Cable Girls
And Dead To Me, which is BRILLIANT
and weird and whacky and dark and funny and wonderful.
Kyle Callicott and Andrew Goldberg
are my music gurus – I direct all music questions to them
apple with sunflower seed butter.  It’s
healthy AND caloric!

Author Bio:

Michael Barakiva, author of One Man Guy, is a theater director and writer of Armenian/Israeli descent who lives in Manhattan with his husband, Rafael. He is a graduate of Vassar College and the Juilliard School, an avid cook and board-game player, and a soccer player with the New York Ramblers.


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