Wednesday, May 22, 2019

{Blog Tour} HOLD MY HAND by Michael Barakiva—Author Interview + Giveaway

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Hold My Hand
by Michael Barakiva


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.

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Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Add the book on Goodreads!
Purchase: Amazon / B&NKobo / TBD / IndieBound

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with Michael Barakiva


LM: What inspired you to write Hold My Hand?

Michael: I was betrayed by the person I loved most in the world. Later, as I was reflecting on said betrayal, I asked myself, “I wonder what it would be like if Alek or Ethan betrayed the other?”

LM: Tell us a little bit about your main character—Alek—who is he?

Michael: He is a queer Armenian American teenager living in the suburbs of New Jersey, which is very different from my story, as I was a queer Israeli Armenian American teenager living in the suburbs of New Jersey.

LM: What was the most challenging part of writing Hold My Hand?

Michael: The process of forgiveness – of actually digging deep down inside, of admitting how you’ve hurt and been hurt and sorting through that messy octopus of emotions was a difficult place to spend time as I was writing this book. It brought back all the feelings – of being betrayed, of betraying others.

Also, like, all writing is hard.

LM: Can you give us a behind-the-scenes story about this book?

Michael: Not without re-breaking my heart.

LM: Can you share one of your favorite quotes or scenes from Hold My Hand?

Michael: OMG yes – the heart of this book is the scene in the middle (spoiler, sort of) where Alek and Ethan are trying to figure out how to have sex for the first time. The fumbling, the awkwardness, the hilarity of it all – it was something that I really wanted to write about, and my editor (the inimitable Joy Peskin) was great about getting this scene out of me.

There’s another quote that I sort of paraphrase late in the book, about how honesty without kindness is a kind of brutality – that was also a big part of the book for me.

LM: If this book had a theme song, what would it be?

Michael: Well, “Hold My Hand” is a GORGEOUS song by Brandy Clark, which inspired the book in many ways.

Also, “Seventeen” by Troye Sivan is going to play in the opening credits, once the movie is made. Not that the options have been obtained or anything – I’m just sure it’s going to happen, and when it does, “Seventeen” will be played and I will understand cosmic fulfillment.

LM: What do you enjoy doing when you aren't writing?

Michael: I have the best day job in the world – as the artistic director of the Hangar Theatre and as a freelance director of plays. I love theatre – its intimacy, its immediacy. I also run a theatre company in NYC, called The Upstart Creatures (Www.upstartcreatures.com), which produces play readings with gourmet home made food, all for free.

I also love playing soccer, board games, I’m learning how to knit, and I’m binging on Netflix like it’s going out of style, which it is clearly anything but.

LM: Tell us three random facts about yourself!

Michael: I am born on my father’s birthday.

I hate eggplant.

I was flat-footed but after years of (Iyengar) yoga my feet are transforming to non-flat footed and it feels like a kind of miracle

LM: Thank you so much for answering my questions today! Is there anything you'd like to add; anything you'd like to say to your readers?

Michael: Thank you for reading! Reading is the best. Reading will save the world.

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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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Huge thanks to Michael for answering my questions so thoughtfully today! ♥

Readers, please continue on for giveaway details! ~


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Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Reading!

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