Today on my blog I’m interviewing the fabulous J.A. Rock. J.A.’s new book The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker is out June 4 from Loose Id. You guys should remember Jayk and Amon from last year’s hilarious Wacky Wednesday. Well, this time around, the boys are getting married! But, being Jayk and Amon, I’m sure things won’t exactly go to plan…
J.A., last time I interviewed you, you were some sort of backwoods recluse. Now you’re a globetrotter! Where are you now, and what are you up to?
This is the view from my house’s patio.
It was so fun! They’re the easiest characters to work with, because they have this momentum where it feels like I’m not even the one telling the story. I hadn’t planned on a sequel, but suddenly last summer I knew I wanted to do one. I got a draft down and sent it to my editor…who told me LI was going to do a wedding submission call and asked if I wanted to release the book as part of that. So I’ve been sitting on this one for almost a year. Which is awesome, because I got to take a long break from it before revising.
What’s the craziest wedding that you’ve ever been to? There has to be a drunken uncle or inappropriate best man story somewhere in your history.
I went to my first wedding last September, after I wrote the book. It was great for fact checking. Actually, I think I went to a couple of weddings as a child, but I don’t remember them. My best friend got married, and I got to be a bridesmaid. I, um, didn’t want to pay for shoes at the bridal shop and have them dyed, so I bought $7 flats at WalMart and painted them. With oil paint. As a longtime oil painter, you’d think I would know that oil paint can take anywhere from two weeks to six months to dry. I did the shoes the week before the wedding. Tracked green paint everywhere—my car, the driveway, the reception hall. Thank god the wedding was outside. But my shoes did match the dress better than those of the bridesmaids who had them dyed! (Until all the paint rubbed off). Other than that, nothing too crazy happened at the wedding, except that I got to see all my best friends in one convenient location. Ooh, and the photographer was almost killed during the post-ceremony hayride. Forgot about that. We hit a rut in the field.
Not that I wish anything bad had happened to the photographer, but that would be a wedding people would always remember, wouldn’t it? None of this rubbish about how pretty the table decorations were, or what colour the flowers were. “Hey, remember David and Anita’s wedding? I’d never seen so much blood before.” I mean, nobody’s going to top that.
So, let’s talk marriage equity. This is something you only have in a few states in the US, I believe, but I can’t judge since we don’t have it here in Australia yet… taps foot and looks at watch…we’re waiting, government, we’re waiting… What issues did this cause for you in planning Jayk and Amon’s big day?
Good question. I didn’t want politics to be the focus of the story, but I was curious about how the political atmosphere could force Jayk and Amon to explore their more personal issues regarding marriage. There’s the added pressure of “Are we trying to prove something?” and “Do people see this as a wedding or as a novelty?” That stress makes them snap quicker when the personal concerns start cropping up.
I was briefly furious when I realized gay marriage isn’t legal in Michigan, where the book is set. Then I remembered there’s a body swap in the book. I’ve already taken poetic license with, you know, reality.
I can’t wait to see them start to snap under the pressure!
Jayk and Amon have been together a while. What should I buy them for a wedding gift? Is The Stockroom off limits?
The Stockroom in infinitely preferable to Bed Bath & Beyond. But Jayk does mention wanting a Jet Ski shaped like a dolphin, if you don’t want to go the sex sling route.
I would go the sex sling route, except I’ll bet the boys already have one stashed away somewhere. I’m scared of dolphins now. I think it was you who told me they’re the rapists of the sea.
In The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker, do we get to see the proposal?
We do, briefly, in a flashback. Amon puts a ring on it while it’s tied to the headboard.
So now that song's stuck in my head...
And now give me three alternatives proposal scenarios, please.
1. The ring is in a Wendy’s bag waiting on top of Jayk’s car. (I stole that one from my sister’s life).
2. Jayk shaves “Will you marry me?” into Allen Ginspurr’s fur, but before Amon can see it, Ginspurr commits suicide from the shame. But as they’re burying him, Amon notices the question and says yes.
Okay, that’s horrible. I should never be allowed to propose to anyone.
3. They’re on vacation in Australia. They’ve flown there on an aeroplane. De-sexed pets everywhere, bottle shops lining the streets, possums on the rooftops. They’re sitting in a car park near a harbour, wearing sand shoes and drinking flat whites and eating biscuits and lime jelly and admiring the colour of the sky. Suddenly Jayk realises that dosens of saltwater crocodiles are moving slowly toward them, and each croc has a letter painted on its back. The crocs arrange themselves to spell WILL YOU MARYR ME? (two of them got confused). Analysing the situation, Jayk realises Amon must have organised it all. He is honoured, and he promises if they can get out of the car park full of crocs alive, he’ll marry him.
And now one with all these elements: Lycra shorts, Halloween, a lost credit card, someone called Francine, and a Winnie the Pooh reference. Your time starts now…go!
Jayk’s on a quest for the perfect pair of yellow lycra shorts and a Brando cap to complete his naughty Winnie the Pooh costume for Halloween. He finally finds what he’s looking for in a place called Francine’s Lycra Land and Adult Emporium. But when he goes to pay, he realizes he’s lost his credit card. He asks Amon, who’s dressing as slutty Tigger, if he’s seen it, but Amon plays dumb. A month later, Jayk receives his credit card statement, which shows an exorbitant purchase made at Kay Jewelers. That’s when Amon surprises him with the news that nobody actually stole Jayk’s identity—they’re just getting married. And Amon used Jayk’s card to pay for the engagement ring. Surpriiiiiiiise…
Is it too late for me to rewrite the proposal scene in the book?
You know, I have never had the slightest interest in getting married, so I never had a dream wedding. I think there was a brief period in my teens where I told my parents I’d consent to get married if I could have a Medieval-themed wedding with actual jousting.
Oh my god! Can I come? I’ll sit up the back and be quiet, I promise? It won’t at all be like that time at the local Mediaeval Players night where I hurt the jester’s feelings by giving it back to him. (He started it.) You know what? Let’s not even bother with the wedding. Let’s just organise some jousting!
Thanks so much for being here today, J.A. I can’t wait to catch up with Jayk and Amon and all that body-swapping craziness!
I know I will!
And here is the blurb for The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker:
A year after the body swap that let brat Jayk and his dom, Amon, experience each other’s lives for a day, the pair is ready to be married in a small, stress-free ceremony. Things are going smoothly until they meet Jennifer and Ron Gaines-Brake—a quarrelsome couple with a laundry list of troubles whose wedding is at the same venue. When Jayk and Amon are drawn into the other couple’s drama, their own doubts and fears about marriage start to surface. And when they accidentally switch bodies with Jennifer and Ron the day before the wedding, their simple, stress-free celebration starts looking more and more like a nightmare.
As the couples attempt to deal with each other’s families, secrets, and last minute wedding preparations, things spiral out of control. Add to the mix a missing cat, a vigilant police officer, an intimidating dildo, and a cake like no other, and it’s anybody’s guess whether the weekend will end in bells or bedlam.