BOOK TOUR GUEST POST: Finding Mia by Rachel K. Burke
by Rachel K. Burke
Intelligent and fiercely independent, sixteen-year-old Mia Marchette has never had a childhood. After her father’s disappearance when she was six, she has alone borne the burden of her mother’s bipolar disorder.
When her mother is institutionalized after a failed suicide attempt, Mia is abruptly forced to live with the estranged father she has not known for ten years. She is shocked to discover that he has created a new, picture-perfect life for himself, and is now living with a stepmother and a half-sister Mia never knew she had. Together, Mia and her new family must face the bitterness, mistakes, and long-hidden secrets that threaten to destroy their precarious happiness.
Finding Mia follows Mia’s journey as she searches to find the unanswered questions from her past, leading to her own self-discovery.
Ultimately, this is a story of confronting pain and finding freedom, of letting go and learning to search for love in unexpected places.
Ten Facts about Finding Mia
1. Both towns where “Finding Mia” takes place – Duxbury and Hingham – are actual towns where I grew up in south shore Massachusetts.
2. Most of the teacher/student names in the book are a mash up of my own high school teacher/classmate names.
3. I came up with the concept for “Finding Mia” after I read Jennifer Weiner’s novel “In Her Shoes.” In Weiner’s novel, the main character’s mother suffered from depression and committed suicide when she was young. I found myself wondering what would have happened to the young girl had her father not been in the picture, and thought it would make an interesting story. Thus, “Finding Mia” was born.
4. Having no personal experience with bipolar disorder, I conducted extensive medical research for this book. I interviewed nurses from McLean Hospital, who were kind enough to send me additional articles and links to their in-house treatment programs. My mother, also being a nurse, helped with the medical research as well.
5. I was inspired to write this novel while reading “White Oleander” by Janet Fitch. I loved the mother-daughter relationship in her book, as well as her writing language. She was a huge influence to my writing style while I completed the novel. I’d highly recommend her book to anyone who enjoys “Finding Mia.”
6. Suzanne’s character was greatly influenced by my stepmother, Susan. Being a strong yet loving English teacher also, Susan treated my sister and me as her own after marrying my father, and I really needed a strong character similar to her for the story to work.
7. Evan’s character was influenced by my childhood love and close friend. Without giving away any spoilers, his issues and final outcome were also the same as Evan’s. Because it was such an unfortunate experience, it really helped to reflect and write about it years later.
8. If I had to select an actress to play Gretchen, it would be AnnaLynne McCord, because her role as Naomi in 90210 fits Gretchen’s character perfectly.
9. If I had to choose an actress to play Denise, it would be Michelle Pfeiffer, because her role as Ingrid in “White Oleander” fits the beautiful blonde bohemian image that encompasses Denise’s character.
10. I did, in fact, name Mia after my favorite Aerosmith song.
About the Author
Rachel was born and raised in Boston, MA. She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
She graduated from Bridgewater University in 2011 with a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies.
Rachel’s work has appeared in Prevention Magazine, Worcester Magazine and Starpulse News Entertainment.