{Interview} with Jerkbait author Mia Siegert (with Top 10 Playlist)

Debut Authors Bash 2016

Jerkbait has been at the top of our most anticipated reads ever since we heard about it, so when Nichole sent out the list of authors for the Debut Author Bash this year, we jumped at the chance to feature Mia Siegert. Mia sat down and chatted with us today and provided her Top 10 Songs She Listens to While Writing. We’ve also got the 411 on Jerkbait for you, too. But first, we’ll get right to what Mia had to say when she stopped by.


Thanks for stopping by today, Mia. Jerkbait has been at the top of our most-coveted books this year. Tell us a little about Jerkbait. What was your favorite part to write?

Oh wow. Thank you so much! Jerkbait revolves around estranged identical twins Tristan and Robbie, gay teen suicide, online predators, and bullying. Originally they have nothing in common with Robbie being an incredibly talented hockey player destined for the NHL while Tristan is only average, constantly compared to Robbie, and dreams of doing musical theatre instead. Tristan is forced to play caretaker after Robbie attempts suicide and, as the story unfolds, realizes the root of Robbie’s depression ties around being a closeted gay hockey player.

My favorite part to write was the cafeteria scene. I can’t say more than that, but if anyone reads it, they’ll know when it happens.

It was one of our favorites, too. What kind of research did you have to do to make the story seem believable?

So, there are a few parts to this question.

I’ve been a fan of hockey for many, many years. In 1997, I actually received a letter from Martin Brodeur, my favorite player of all time. To further my research, I became a Devils season ticket holder for two seasons and talked with a bunch of sports reporters who now are good friends.

My background in musical theatre is something I’ve only had for maybe twelve years, since a little after the birth of Avenue Q. I became particularly obsessed with Cats, made costumes for the show that I’d wear, and, in staying at the stage door, and ended up becoming friends with many of the performers on the National Tour.

And the main reason–the novel started out as semi-autobiographical. Heather was a real person, and I did meet an online predator who is now a convicted sex offender (although the role was different than mine).

So interesting! How do you build your characters? Do you know every single detail of their lives?

This is going to sound really weird, but the characters are real people to me. I don’t “create” characters; they come to me. Sure, I think of a name, and usually a general age, appearance, or loose personality, but then I let the characters talk. By allowing the characters to speak on their own, to be that organic, has helped me immensely. I don’t think I’ve ever created a character consciously. For example, there’s a character Raiden who literally came into my head in between revisions with my editor, McKelle George. I emailed her, and I think the extent was, “Just so you know, Robbie has a best friend named Raiden Holden and they’re called the Railroad Line and they’re obsessed with dumb movies.” If it wasn’t for me letting the characters share who they are and speak, I don’t think I could have “created” Raiden, and he’s one of my favorites.

Not weird at all. How would you introduce Tristan to readers?

Tristan is the unsung hero. He’s so used to being in Robbie’s shadow that he allows himself to be subject to toxic relationships. He’s not even aware of how unhealthy they are; he just is thrilled to have someone that will talk with him who isn’t only speaking to him because of Robbie (who everyone loves). He might not be as tragic as Robbie, and he might do some awful things, but he exists.

Tell us about Robbie. We want to know all the things!

Minus the anxiety and depression revolving his coming out and the questions of acceptance as an LGBTQ+ pro athlete, Robbie’s a really funny guy. He’s definitely one of the pranksters on the team. If he makes fun of someone, it’s because he respects them immensely (which I’m sure Tristan would misinterpret). He’s also a very angry character, and the stress he faces really changes the way he sees things. He’d also be a really good boyfriend if he dated a guy who was pretty even-tempered to mellow him out.

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

I’ve thought a LOT about this. I’d love Tristan to be connected to Mercedes from Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. I can’t say much more because spoiler, but I think he could easily fit in that universe, and Laurie once said she thinks that Mercedes probably would think Tristan’s pretty swoony. Another option would be Tristan and Simon doing a musical together in college. I think I told Becky Albertalli that I’m pretty sure they’d be Clyde and Buck and do Bonnie & Clyde together. We had a good laugh over that.

I’m not so sure with Robbie. Despite his personality, I think he’d have a harder time meeting and fitting in with others. I’m hoping some fanfic authors can change this though!

haha We love fanfiction. Also, we totally think Tristan and Mercedes would be glorious. How would you describe yourself in three words?

Intense, ethical, diligent.

So awesome. What advice can you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Ever. Take advice and don’t make excuses. It’s a really tough industry.

Great advice. What’s your favorite genre to read?

I love staggeringly beautiful literary fiction such as Jaimy Gordon’s Lord of Misrule or Douglas A. Martin’s Once You Go Back. I’m also really liking some of the high concept thriller/suspense stuff, like Gillian Flynn’s or Eric Rickstad’s.

For YA, if it’s really dark and contemporary, usually I like it. Especially if it’s VERY gritty.

Do you have any current or future projects you can tell us about?

I’m actually not sure if I can talk without jinxing myself but I’d say keep an eye out over the next few months for possible (hopeful) announcements.

We can’t wait! Is there ever anything that you always wish someone would ask you, but they never do?

“Are you okay?” or “Is there anything I can do?” I probably wouldn’t be able to answer but it’s comforting to know someone might be there.

Such great questions. We’re always there for you, girl! Thanks again for coming by, Mia. We can’t wait for everyone to get their ::grabbyhands:: on Jerkbait!

*** Top 10 Songs Mia Siegert Listens to While Writing***

This is REALLY hard… I make different soundtracks for everything I write but these creep in.

  1. “Untitled 8” – Sigur Rós (Actually, anything by this band, really)

  1. “Quiet” – This Will Destroy You (there’s a mash up with this a Childish Gambino song that’s incredible)

  1. “Siren” – Tori Amos

  1. “Remember Me as a Time of Day” – Explosions in the Sky

  1. “Missing” – Everything but the Girl

  1. “Kiss the Rain” – Billie Myers

  1. “Restless” – UNKLE

  1. “Skym” – Underworld

  1. “Cupid Boy” – Kylie Minogue

  1. “Only (EL-P Mix)” – NIN

***About Mia Siegert***

Author Mia SiegertMia Siegert received her MFA from Goddard College and her BA from Montclair State University where she won Honorable Mention in the 2009 English Department Awards for fiction. Her debut JERKBAIT made Goodreads Best YA of May 2016. Siegert has been published in Clapboard House, Word Riot, The Limn Literary & Arts Journal, as well as a few other small presses.

Siegert currently works as an adjunct professor and a costume designer. She enjoys training horses and watching hockey.

Find Mia Here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***About Jerkbait***

{Interview} with Jerkbait author Mia Siegert (with Top 10 Playlist)Jerkbait by Mia Siegert
Published by Jolly Fish Press on May 10, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT
Pages: 350
Goodreads Buy the Book

Even though they're identical, Tristan isn't close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself.

Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other's lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can't escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world. Robbie's future in the NHL is plagued by anxiety and the mounting pressure from their dad, coach, and scouts, while Tristan desperately fights to create his own future, not as a hockey player but a musical theatre performer.

As their season progresses and friends turn out to be enemies, Robbie finds solace in an online stranger known only as “Jimmy2416.” Between keeping Robbie's secret and saving him from taking his life, Tristan is given the final call: sacrifice his dream for a brother he barely knows, or pursue his own path. How far is Robbie willing to go—and more importantly, how far is Tristan willing to go to help him?

Good luck and don’t forget to check out the other stops on the YA Debut Authors Bash!


  1. I need this book ASAP.

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