Thursday, April 7, 2022

Kern Carter Interview - Boys and Girls Screaming

Photo Content from Kern Carter

Kern Carter is a full-time freelance writer and author who has written and self-published two novels — Thoughts of a Fractured Soul (novella) and Beauty Scars. Kern also has writing credits in Forbes, the New York Times, Global Citizen, Elle Magazine and, along with having ghostwritten several books. When he's not penning novels or ghostwriting, Kern is curating stories through CRY, his online publication that creates space for artists to navigate through the emotions of their creative journey. He lives in downtown Toronto with his 18-year-old daughter.


Greatest thing you learned in school.
An English teacher told me never be afraid to be myself.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Just the fact that it was a dream and then a goal that I actually accomplished. It made me feel powerful once I signed that contract.

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first book in third grade. I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Don’t be afraid to get critiqued. The best thing any writer can do for themselves is to allow themselves to be edited and edited harshly. Also, I would say take the time to study the craft of writing. Novel writing, in particular, is so technical. As beautiful as the final product looks, if you don’t understand the skill and techniques it takes to get there, it’s going to be hard to create something special.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Umm that’s a tough one. I’m working on two new novels right now, one is in the contract phase with a dream publisher. The other one is this magical story that my agent instantly loved and is excited about pitching. And when my agent gets excited, that’s always a good thing.

In your newest book; BOYS AND GIRLS SCREAMING, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
Boys and girls are screaming every day. They try to express themselves as best they can and when they feel like no one is listening, they either scream louder or take matters into their own hands. My novel is about what happens when boys and girls take matters into their own hands. The plot follows a group of teenagers who form their own support group to help them deal with the trauma that each of them has endured. No parents, no teachers, no adults at all. Just them. Maybe it’s the right thing to do, maybe it isn’t. But that’s what beautiful about this book; teenagers get to make up the rules as they go.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
This novel is about a group of teenagers who believe they don’t need anyone but each other to solve their problems. There’s a rebellious spirit that I hope I captured and I want readers to see themselves in the characters and understand themselves just a little bit more after reading this book. I also want readers to be entertained, but it’s just as important to me that they understand the lessons that underline this novel.

What part of your characters did you enjoy writing the most?
Not sure I understand this question, but my favourite character to write was Candace. She was the first character I created and the one that came most naturally. The most challenging character to write was probably Ever. She’s this outgoing, ambitious, tough girl but there are parts of her that are so sensitive. Trying to find that balance was difficult, but I know she’s the character that most readers will connect with most.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing BOYS AND GIRLS SCREAMING?
Finding Ever as a character. There was no story before discovering her. I was a few chapters into writing Candace when I casually mentioned her friend named Ever. As soon as I mentioned her name, it changed everything. Even though Ever was the last of the main characters that I found, I rewrote the story to make her the centre of everything. It’s like once I found her, she leapt off the page. Nothing was going to stop her from being the focal point of the story.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
There’s a book created by Kobe Bryant and written by Eva Clarke called Geese Are Never Swans. The main character is named Gus, who I would introduce to Ever in my novel. Both of them have electric energy so I would love to see what would happen if they connected.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
The craziest thing I’m comfortable speaking about is turning down becoming a teacher and deciding to pursue my career as a writer instead. And that’s second to being a teenage parent. Nothing tops that.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Travel alone.

Best date you've ever had?
I took someone on a car ride to all the homes I ever lived in. It was like a biography to my life. Then we drove past the houses that I said I would live in one day. We ate dessert outside in the park at night and it was beautiful.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
My grandfather teaching me to tie my shoe.

How far away from your birthplace do you live now?
I was born in Trinidad and I live in Toronto, so really far.

What were you doing at midnight last night?
Watching YouTube videos.

  • My home is your home, Candace
  • We all have a Julia, princess.
  • My sister’s name pointed to an endless existence while mine depicted a historic past. In our names alone, our mother created her own epic.
  • Guess there’s no more alone time
  • Are you happy mom is alive?
  • Mom, I go horseback riding. My life is fine
  • We’re all here because we’re dealing with something fucked up in our lives. Or maybe we’re not dealing with it. And maybe that’s what this is for; helping us all find a way to deal. But…um, I think if we can share our stories, then we can all at least feel connected in some way. And I think connection is important. And screaming is important. So let it loose and know that we’re all here with you.
  • The kind you shouldn’t try your first time
  • I don’t know, Candace. I don’t know what I’m doing here.
  • She must be a real bitch.
Journey is the appropriate word. It took two years to write Boys And Girls Screaming. The first time I really let anyone see it was at a conference in New York City. I pitched the concept to about six agents and five of them requested the manuscript. None of them made me an offer, but one of them gave me some pretty harsh feedback. That feedback angered me, then humbled me, then motivated me to register for a full-semester novel writing course. That course improved my writing more sharply than at any other point in my life. I deleted more than half of the original manuscript and created this version of Boys And Girls Screaming. That same year, I secured my agent. A few months later, I signed my first publishing deal.

When Ever’s father passes away suddenly, she is devastated. Not long after that, her mom has a stroke and Ever’s anguish becomes almost too much for her to handle. That’s when she gets the idea to form a group she calls Boys and Girls Screaming. Along with her brother, Jericho, and her best friend, Candace, Ever wants to bring together kids from their school who have suffered trauma so they can share their stories and begin to heal.

Although the other teens find solace in the group, Ever tumbles further into depression until she reaches a breaking point. As the group learns the true source of Ever’s pain, they jump into action to help her find a way out.​

Boys and Girls Screaming tells the story of a generation of teens finding the support they need to process their trauma in their own ways.

You can purchase Boys and Girls Screaming at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KERN CARTER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Boys and Girls Screaming by Kern Carter.