About the Book
Author: Neeny Boucher
Title: Back of Beyond
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Date published: March 20, 2016
Dina Martin and Nicholas Riley are total opposites. She's the good girl with the perfect grades and he's the bad boy with a reputation. Growing up together with close family ties, they have been at war as long as they can remember. When the unthinkable happens, neither of them wants it. Set in a small town at the turn of the millennium, this story is about family and friendship, the love of music and how sometimes who you don't want, is exactly who you need.
Chapter One: Teenage Dirtbag
“Prissy. What are you doing here?”
Dina Martin’s heart sinks. Nicholas Riley’s unnerving green cat eyes measure her and find her wanting. Pretentiously called by his last name, Riley lounges on the door of her family garage with one leg up behind him. Dressed for the river with a towel wrapped around his neck, his long dark hair is tied up on his head.
Avoidance competes with irritation. “I live here,” Dina sighs. “What are you doing here?”
Peeling his lanky frame off the garage, Riley stands in front of her. “Waiting for Johnny, your cool brother. You didn’t think we were here for you?”
His words leech confidence, but Dina’s mind focuses on the plural. Cars are parked on the side of the road, filled with the beautiful people from high school. She shrinks.
Lighting a cigarette, Riley blows smoke at her through his pouty, sullen lips.
“Um, health,” Dina snaps. She waves a hand, but the smoke keeps billowing. “You look like a blowfish.”
Riley laughs, a real one. Her internal alarm rings. Narrowing his eyes, he jabs a finger. “There’s something different about you.”
Dina does a quick tally. She’s gotten taller and is nearly fifteen. Her opinion of Riley is low, but he isn’t stupid, and his powers of observation are acute, albeit cruel. “Really?”
“Yeah,” Riley grins. He points at her chest. “It looks like your boobies finally came in.”
Heat bursts on Dina’s face and her palms go sweaty. Puberty was monstrous. One moment she was as flat as a board and the next, “C” cups sprouted like giant fungi. She cried and tried binding them in the hope they’d go away, but Mom made her stop.
Dina’s mind shies away from the next scarring encounter. The one where she was marched shame faced and head down to be poked and prodded by old ladies. When she returned home with bras, no one was allowed to mention it.
Defensively folding her arms across her chest draws a derisive snort from Riley. Tears start at the corners of Dina’s eyes, but she blinks them away. “Snitched on anyone lately?”
Riley’s mouth quirks up at the corners. “Are you still pissed about this summer? I saved your life.” He winks, tapping her on the arm. “You can thank me later.”
Dina’s hand tingles as Riley bats his eyes at her. “Pissed? I’m not sure that fully encompasses the depth of my annoyance and your hypocrisy.”
“Oh,” Riley mocks. “You’re a little grudge holder, aren’t you? Was it the grounding?”
Very bad words are on the tip of Dina’s tongue, but she swallows the obscenities. Her father is strict on matters of propriety and she is in enough trouble as it is. “Ironic, isn’t it? You, the juvenile delinquent. The worst behaved person I know, snitched on us. Shouldn’t you be getting ready for juvie right now? Does it have semesters, or does it go all year round?”
Riley’s eyes narrow. He bites his bottom lip. “I didn’t get you grounded for the other stuff. Who are you going to blame for that?”
Dina’s head rocks up and their eyes lock. Her heart beats a steady drum against her ribcage. The urge to somehow hurt him dances in her mind.
“Back off my sister, Riley,” Johnny warns, hitting Riley on the arm. Lithe, unruly, black hair with a Celtic cross tattoo that got him grounded, her big brother is one of her favorite people in the world. He’s also Riley’s best friend.
“And, you.” Johnny grins, wagging a finger at Dina. “Stop picking fights.”
He charges down the driveway, but Riley loiters, walking backward. His cat eyes glitter and he drops his index fingers. “See ya. Wouldn’t want to be ya.”
Dina glares. His words hurt. She doesn’t want to be her either.
Oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip?
Chocolate chip - all the way. Big ones. With Big Pieces.
(I literally gagged while formatting that answer -J)
Who is your favorite author?
Ugh. That's hard. It's like picking who's your favourite aunt or uncle. [Was going to say something, but stopped. They might be reading] Who do I automatic buy and hang out for? George RR Martin. I'm still waiting for the next one, George. Still. Waiting.
Batman or Superman?
Why is diversity important to you, as a writer?
It represents the world I live in. I think it's important the world people live in is represented in all spaces.
Would you ever consider putting a platypire in one of your books?
Yes. I'd have them fall in love with a dugong and go on a quest.
These come specifically from Sofia (they're okay, but not as good as mine):
Do you wear flannel with chucks or with vans?
Vans. Vans, baby!
Will black lip-liner make a comeback?
As far as I'm aware, it never went out of fashion.
How many seconds would it take you to drop your panties for "Jordan Catalano"?
Favorite boy band from the 90s?
I blanked for a minute, but I'm going to say Nirvana. They were a boy band. Well, they were all full of boys.
Jncos or parachute pants?
Parachute pants. I confess to living in overalls and ripped jeans through most of the 90's.
About the Author
My own employment history is varied and ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous. All of those experiences and encounters, however, have allowed me to collect amazing stories, which now form the basis of my writings.
I have always loved the weird, the outcast and those on the margins of society because they see the world in a different way. These are the people my characters are based around.
I have a BA Hons (English and Pacific Studies) and a PhD in Sociology/Indigenous Studies.
Presently, I am working on the Complicated Love Series. Book One, Back of Beyond, book two, Lost in Flight, and book three, Ties that Bind.