{Interview} with Mary Karlik, author of Welcome to Hickville High (with Excerpt and Giveaway)

Welcome to Hickville High Mary Karlick

We were pretty pumped up when we were invited to participate in the blog tour for Welcome to Hickville High by Mary Karlik. We’ve got a great giveaway to share with you, and we got to sit down and chat with Mary about her debut book, and this is what she had to say:


Thanks for stopping by Swoony Boys Podcast today, Mary! Give us your elevator pitch about Welcome to Hickville High. Was it a fun book to write?

This is a riches to rags upside down Cinderella story with hot football player/cowboys.

I loved writing this book. It’s set in a small town in Texas. It is very much like my adopted hometown of Waxahachie, Texas. I love the characters and richness of a small town life.

We football players! What kind of research did you have to do to make the story seem believable?

It’s set in the town I lived in for 15 years so not much. I ride horses and most of the places and people resemble a mesh of people and places I knew.

Do you have more plans for the Hickville High series?

Yes! I am releasing book two, Hickville Confessions, December 1. Book three, Hickville Redemption, will be released this summer. I also have a Hickville Companion book called Horseplay, that will be released March 1. It is set in the neighboring town and is a YA romance/Equestrian sport book.

Ahhh! We can’t wait to read those! How do you build your characters? Do you know every single detail of their lives?

That is a great question. I’ve tried filling out character charts down to their most embarrassing moment, but they don’t really work for me. I get to know my character as I write. I like to get into their head. In my first draft they’re pretty much paper dolls. Somewhere toward the end of my my first draft, I begin to understand how they think. By the time I start the second draft, I’m able to get under their skin and into their head. It’s then that I breathe life into my characters and their story.

We always love learning more about authors’ process in getting to know their characters. How would you introduce Kelsey to readers? We want to know all the things!

Oh Kelsey. I love her. In the beginning she is angry at the world. In Chicago she had it all. Nordstrom credit card, Audi A4, Kate Spade everything, and a perfect hot boyfriend—or so she thought. When her dad loses his job and they move to Hillside AKA Hickville, she is pissed and blames it on everybody—especially her middle sister. But then she meets Austin. She realizes there is more to having it all than what a credit card can buy. Through Austin, she learns not only to open up to the world around her but to embrace it.

We really like her, too. Tell us about Austin. Why will our readers swoon over him?

Austin is 100% Texan. With his dry sense of humor, he teaches Kelsey how to feed the chickens, slop the hog, and clean the stalls. More importantly, he helps her find the country girl locked inside the city girl. He is hot, funny, feels deeply, and loves completely.

We really love him! If you could introduce one of your characters to another character from any other book, who would it be and why?

I would introduce Kian and elf from my fantasy to Mackenzie, Kelsey’s youngest sister. His charm and humor would scare the crap out of her at first, but I think she’d find her voice and maybe, he’d bring her out of her shyness.

We’d love to see that! How would you describe yourself in three words, Mary?

Fun, creative, driven

Great choices! What is the one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

I used to be a ski racer.

Wow, how interesting! What’s the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Give yourself permission to write bad; it can always be fixed.

That’s great advice. Which character makes you swoon the most (yours or someone else’s)?

I’m kind of crazy about Austin the hero in this book. But overall, I gotta say Jamie Fraser from Outlander. I mean come on—is there really anybody else?

You’d be surprised how many authors mention Jamie! Or, you wouldn’t be Do you have any current or future projects you can tell us about?

I am super excited about the book I’m about to turn in. It’s a paranormal romance. It has elves, fairies, dragons, and humans. Think Taken meets Tolkien.

Sounds great! We have a thing for dragons! Is there ever anything that you always wish someone would ask you, but they never do?

Not yet. These questions were great.

Thanks again for coming by. We can’t wait to get our ::grabbyhands:: on Welcome to Hickville High!

This was fun! Thanks for having me!

***About Mary Karlik***

Author Mary KarlikFollowing a career as a nursing instructor, award-winning author, Mary Karlik earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. A native Texan, Mary loves horses, dogs, cats, country music, and small town diners. Although she has recently relocated in northern New Mexico, her heart remains in the Lone Star state.

Find Mary Here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***About the Book***

{Interview} with Mary Karlik, author of Welcome to Hickville High (with Excerpt and Giveaway)Welcome to Hickville High by Mary Karlik
Series: Hickville High #1
Published by Self-Published on March 5, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 294
Goodreads Buy the Book

Senior Kelsey Quinn loses it all when her dad relocates the family to Hillside Texas, population Hick. She'll do whatever it takes to return to the good life, even if it's just for one night of dancing at a gala with the boyfriend she left behind. She trades her designer dresses for an apron to work as a dishwasher in a redneck diner. But she doesn't plan on six feet of pure Texan, Austin McCoy entering her life. He teaches her to love the farm life she's been forced into, but will he convince her that it's the farm boy that goes with that life that she really wants?


She looked at the striped land below and the farmhouses dotting the landscape. “This is beautiful. But we’re going to lose our view. It’s almost dark.”

“No. That’s when the real show begins.” He spread the blanket on the grass. “The sky is amazing out here.” He sat and stretched out his legs.

A blanket in the middle of nowhere? She told herself nothing was going to happen—she wouldn’t let it. Kelsey sat with her knees tucked under and pulled her dress over her thighs. “Don’t forget, I have to be home by eleven.”

“Not a problem. I’ll set my phone alarm.” He plinked on his phone and set it on the edge of the blanket.

They sat a few inches apart, close enough to touch, but they didn’t. Kelsey’s heart raced anyway. She stretched her legs out, crossed her ankles, and leaned back on her elbows. She dropped her head back and took a deep breath. “Smell that?”

He sniffed. “What?”

“It’s clean.”

He sniffed again. “I smell dirt. What are you talking about?”

She laughed. “Well, I’m not smelling city. It’s grass and wildflowers.” She looked at him. “And you.”

“Me?” He bumped her with his shoulder. “What about you?”

“What about me?”

“You smell like pretty things.”

“Pretty things?”

He looked into her eyes. “Yeah, like flowers and stuff.”

Kelsey laughed and dropped to her back. “Look. The stars are coming out.”

Austin lay back too, and looked up. “The sky is so clear out here it’s like you could reach up and touch them. Keep watching.”

“For what?”

“That.” Austin pointed at a bright streak screaming across the sky. It was gone almost as soon as it appeared.

“Oh my God. I’ve never seen a shooting star before. How’d you know we’d see one?”

“It’s the Perseid meteor shower. It happens every August. We learned about it in sixth grade. I come up here a lot at this time of year.”

“Aren’t you supposed to make a wish or something?” Kelsey searched the sky for another streak.

“Yeah, I think so. Go ahead, what are you going to wish for?”

“I can’t tell you. First rule of wishes—it won’t come true if you don’t keep it a secret.”

He laughed and said, “Close your eyes and make your wish.”

She squeezed her eyes shut and wished time would slow just a bit. When she opened them, Austin was propped on an elbow looking at her. “What?”

“Nothing. It’s just—I like seeing my world for the first time.”


“Everything is so new to you, it makes me appreciate what I take for granted.”

She reached up and glided her fingers through his hair. She hadn’t intended to pull him toward her and she wasn’t really sure she had, but he lowered his mouth to hers and stars burst in her head.

They kissed long and slow. When the kiss broke, she turned on her side to face him. Their gazes locked and she felt eagerness mixed with hesitation and fear. Guilt lingered somewhere in the distance. Not now. She wasn’t going to deal with that now. She tilted her chin just enough to reach his lips.

As they kissed, he pulled her against him and ran his hand down her spine to just below the small of her back.

She rolled back, bringing him with her. He broke the kiss and supported his weight on his forearms. “Kelsey…”

She stared into his eyes, breathing so hard and fast her head was spinning. She couldn’t think.

He kissed her softly and said, “I promise I won’t…”

She nodded.

He kissed her again and she wrapped her arms around his waist and pulled him tight. His kisses were harder this time. Then he trailed soft kisses up her neck until he captured her mouth again. His hand drifted to the hem of her dress, but instead of plunging beneath it, he smoothed it over her thigh.

Every second he was with her, she wanted more. More kisses, more touches, more everything.

He pulled away and stroked her hair. “You are so beautiful—we have to stop—or we’re not going to be able to stop.”

She nodded and barely squeaked, “Yeah.”

He rolled on his back and scooted so close their shoulders touched.

She tried to watch for more meteors, but then he turned his head to look at her and she couldn’t resist tasting one more kiss. As soon as her lips touched his, she was gone again—kissing and touching him—losing her mind.

And then, his phone alarm sounded.

She broke the kiss. “I have to go.”


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