Monday, December 13, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: No Good About Goodbye by CT Liotta

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for No Good About Goodbye by CT Liotta. This book tour was organized by Pump Up Your Book. On my stop, I am spotlighting the book, and the author stops by to discuss the inspiration behind the book in a fascinating guest post. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: No Good About Goodbye
Author: CT Liotta
Publisher: Rot Gut Pulp
Publication Date: November 24th 2021
Print Length: 308 pages
Genre: LGBTQ+ Young Adult Coming of Age Adventure
Fifteen-year-old Ian Racalmuto’s life is in ruins after an embassy raid in Algiers. His mother, a vodka-drunk spy, is dead. His brother, a diplomat, has vanished. And, he's lost a cremation urn containing a smartphone that could destroy the world.

Forced to live with his cantankerous grandfather in Philadelphia, Ian has seven days to find his brother and secure the phone—all while adjusting to life in a troubled urban school and dodging assassins sent to kill him.

Ian finds an ally in William Xiang, an undocumented immigrant grappling with poverty, a strict family, and abusive classmates. They make a formidable team, but when Ian's feelings toward Will grow, bombs, bullets and crazed bounty hunters don't hold a candle to his fear of his friend finding out. Will it wreck their relationship, roll up their mission, and derail a heist they’ve planned at the State Department?

Like a dime store pulp adventure of the past, No Good About Goodbye is an incautious, funny, coming-of-age tale for mature teens and adult readers.

"So many treats are in store for the discerning reader of CT Liotta's brilliant YA novel NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE. There's a diverse array of multi-racial/cultural characters, organized criminals with complex political goals underway, and keystone-cop humor/blunders often sparking from the evergreen enchantment of a push-pull romance between two young people, neither of whom have yet decided to identify as 'gay.' Rich with often realistically crude boy lingo, NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE is an utterly charming teenage LGBTQ falling-in-love adventure while simultaneously rocking an international crime storyline." - C.S. Holmes, IndieReader

★★★★★ "Sharply observed and sarcastic as hell, CT Liotta's debut is the gay teenage spy thriller we have long needed." -Matt Harry, author of Superkid and Sorcery for Beginners.

★★★★★ I found this YA spy novel to be an utter delight! Fast-paced and witty, we traverse the globe with Ian, who just lost his mother and is charged with stopping a war with China. All the while he's 15, enrolled in a High School from hell in Philadelphia and struggling with his identity. The author offers his own particular take on the importance of friendship and found family. He also very cleverly features different viewpoints, so the reading experience never feels stale. Honestly, I did not know what to expect going into this story - I however finished it converted into a fan! - Thomas S., Netgalley
CT Liotta was born and raised in West Virginia before moving to Ohio for college, where he majored in Biology. He now uses Philadelphia as his base of operations. You can find him backpacking all over the world.

Liotta takes interest in writing, travel, personal finance, and sociology. He likes vintage airlines and aircraft, politics, news, foreign affairs, '40s pulp and film noir. He doesn't fear math or science, and is always up for Indian food. His favorite candy bar used to be Snickers, but lately it's been 3 Musketeers. He isn't sure why.

No Good About Goodbye is his latest book.

The Inspiration Behind No Good About Goodbye
By CT Liotta

A teen & young adult spy story with LGBT characters was never high on my list of things to write. Cynical GenX writers do not fill YA bookshelves, and literary agents don’t read queries from people like me and say “guys like this who write LGBTQ+ YA books are hot in the genre right now.”

I was born and raised in West Virginia, but my parents valued exposure to a world outside of coal country. When I was 10, I took my first trip across the Atlantic to the UK. I don’t remember Buckingham Palace, but I fondly remember an excursion to a cinema in Manchester to see Timothy Dalton debut as James Bond in The Living Daylights. Back then, people could smoke and drink beer in UK cinemas, and there was even an intermission. In all my travels, those details—not the tourist sights—paint my memories.

My mom considered James Bond too violent and inappropriate for children, but by age 9, I had already seen the 14 other Bond films multiple times. My parents did not grasp the power of the VCR as an after-school babysitter and underestimated my ability to pirate videos. I adored Bond for a few reasons:

• He is unmarried. Even before I knew I was gay, I had an innate sense I would not be marry a woman or have kids. So, along with other unencumbered middle-aged men—Captain Kirk, Captain Picard, Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes—I could identify with the protagonist. A 9-year-old boy doesn’t watch Bond for the women and the sex as much as for the car chases, guns and gadgets, anyway.

• Bond is competent as he moves through the world. Whether he lands in India or Thailand, the Americas or Japan, he never has difficulty getting around. Villains may be scary, but the world is not. He has friends and allies everywhere. The two B’s, Bond and Bourdain, are most responsible for my fearless world travel as an adult—travel I’ll detail, past and present, in my new blog and newsletter.

• He can do everything and operate anything. James Bond is the reason I made sure my first car was a stick shift, and one reason I was flying Cessnas before my senior year of high school. He made me want to know how to do things.

In 2015, during a period of heartbreak, I looked back at my childhood and young adulthood—the books I read, the media I consumed, and the heroes that made me feel better about life—and set out to write a story to my 14-year-old self who was no stranger to the fear of eternal loneliness.

NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE is about a worldly 15-year-old adventure hero, Ian (on-the-nose, I know), and his opposite, a 15-year-old undocumented Chinese-American named Will. One has been everywhere, the other nowhere. They both fight to stay alive for different reasons, and ultimately save each other’s lives. They also fall in love without fully understanding or acknowledging what their feelings are. When Ian at last grapples with the fact he’s gay, it terrifies him worse than the grown assassins out to kill him.

Had I considered the potential audience for such a book, or the mood of the industry, or respected YA Twitter or the writers of other mm ya books, I would not have written it. I always spent my time on the side of the playground opposite the mean girls who made the rules, so I’m glad I followed my bliss.

Young Adult spy novels with boy heroes are difficult to find. Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Robin Benway, and Ally Carter write the best YA spy/mystery novels on the market—all with young female protagonists. Books and shows like Code Name Verity and HANNA lead the genre.

Alex Rider, CHERUB, and Agent 21 target mid-grade “reluctant readers.” In spy lingo, that’s a code word for “boys who will give up reading for video games by grade 9.” But, let’s be real: straight boys who play Gears of War aren’t begging for young adult espionage adventures doubling as YA LGBT books. Women and girls may be interested in the gay boy element but not the crude boy lingo, the Clive Cussler-like opening pages, and the homophobia and racism that decorate the book as they do real-life South Philadelphia. And gay boys? The ones I know lean toward Netflix series and graphic novels like Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper, not books that take their cues from old works of pulp fiction.

No Good About Goodbye is not Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Librarians won’t decorate it with awards. I’m more likely to be told I’m far outside my lane and ought not to have written it.

That’s okay. It doesn’t have to be for everyone. It doesn’t have to be loved by parents or librarians or sensitive teens on Twitter, grown men or industry mandarins or straight boys with their PlayStations. It’s for the kid in Peoria or Duluth or Buckhannon, West Virginia who’s sick of the national dialogue, watching Casino Royale, and thinking, “Eva Green is beautiful and all, but I wish I had an Aston Martin so the cute guy in trig class would want to ride with me to the homecoming game at 200 miles an hour.”

If I sell only two copies and one goes to him, I’ve done my job.

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