Bestselling author Joel Shoemaker talks about his book ‘Bacon Grief’

Joel Shoemaker. Photo Courtesy of Joel Shoemaker

Bestselling author and librarian Joel Shoemaker chatted about his book “Bacon Grief.”

Background on ‘Bacon Grief’

Charlie, a musical-theatre nerd with a deep appreciation for sprinkle-topped ice creams and other snack foods, is active in his church and comes from a family who loves and appreciates him for exactly who he is, purple pants and all.

Tim, a lover of crinkle-cut pickles, black olives, and other forgivably-disgusting crudités, belongs to a conservative Christian pastor and devout mother who moves to the rural town to staff a small church that, predictably, holds little place for Tim.

After meeting online and being given the green light to attend a youth group at another church, Tim and Charlie become fast friends with more and more in common. When they consider more than friendship, Tim is faced with his reality of him and the choice to reconcile faith and sexuality or walk away from it all. foods, he is active in his church, and comes from a family who loves and appreciates him for exactly who he is, purple pants and all.

Tim, a lover of crinkle-cut pickles, black olives, and other forgivably-disgusting crudités, belongs to a conservative Christian pastor and devout mother who moves to the rural town to staff a small church that, predictably, holds little place for Tim.

After meeting online and being given the green light to attend a youth group at another church, Tim and Charlie become fast friends with more and more in common. When they consider more than friendship, Tim is faced with his reality of him and the choice to reconcile faith and sexuality or walk away from it all.

Joel Shoemaker has been a librarian for a decade and a magician for three. He lives in central Illinois with his husband and his dog, Maximus. He consumes an inordinate amount of cheese.

Every book, has a story about its creation, what’s the story behind ‘Bacon Grief’? Also, what made you title this book ‘Bacon Grief’?

‘Bacon Grief’ is very much rooted in truth. I like to say it’s at least forty percent my life and sixty percent ridiculousness. The four characters in the book are real, for example. And the fact that it’s a work of fiction for teens that celebrates and affirms both faith and sexuality was, in fact, the point of writing it.

In my experience as a librarian and avid reader of LGBTQIA+ books for teens, I noticed a similar pattern emerging. The queer teen of faith leaves the church. And while that’s a true experience for

many people, queer and otherwise, it wasn’t my truth and I knew there were others like me. Other queer people wanted to cling to Jesus. So I wanted to write a book for us. It’s called bacon grief because of a German word: Kummerspeck. My understanding of this word is that it means grief bacon and refers to something like emotional overeating after a breakup.

So, where we maybe eat a pint of ice cream after emotional turmoil, someone in Germany eats a pound of bacon. Maybe not. But that’s the idea, I think. It’s a great word and it needed to be celebrated too.

Charlie, your protagonist is a compelling character. What or who was your inspiration for this character?

Charlie is me. Tim is my husband, Andrew. So Charlie was the easiest character to write. He looks great in purple pants and a fedora because I look great in purple pants and a fedora. I’m joking, of course. But I also might or might not have photographic evidence to prove it.

What is the most meaningful feedback you have received from a fan? What do you hope readers take away with them when they finish this groundbreaking book?

Oh my gosh, I’ve been overwhelmed with the kindest feedback. Some readers have written some great reviews and the most meaningful so far has been from a queer teen. After all, that is the target audience.

They mentioned something about feeling a bit lost in their faith until coming to a school event at which I spoke and signed books. They read it, apparently in one day, and posted the next day that they felt it really spoke to them and they felt less alone because of it. That they’d maybe be okay after all. I mean, I can’t ask for much more than that. And really, that’s what I hope readers take away, especially teens. That we are loved just the way we are. And, indeed, we are to be celebrated for it!

A good story is all about the setting, the descriptiveness, and the raw energy that captivates, all coming together to have the reader turning the pages effortlessly. Your book includes all of them, what is one of the keys that you find is critical when getting into the writing zone?

wow. Thank you! I don’t really know what to say about that except that I’m relatively new to writing, honestly. And I just write when I’m inspired to say something. So, I feel like that’s the key for me. I recently heard an author say to wait as long as possible to write. So that you just have a lot to say all at once. Something like that.

That doesn’t sound like great advice but it works for me, I think. I can write very quickly if I know what’s supposed to happen. I’ve been writing a lot of short stories that way, of late.

Since ‘Bacon Grief’ has been extremely popular with readers, do you have another book in the works you can tell us about?

I feel like I have four projects that I’m working on with little idea of ​​what many of them might become. He has! I did write a picture book with a very similar theme to bacon grief. That, I truly hope gets published in some way.

I’m also writing a short story collection just to be constantly writing. And I’m trying to write a murder mystery for teens entirely in text messages, articles, and other ephemera. It’s kind of a mess right now but I do hope that it becomes something too. I said four, but I might have meant three because I can’t think of the fourth one right now.

Apparently, you have a fascination with cheese. What is your favorite cheese and drink to celebrate with when you finish writing a book?

I love this question! I don’t have a favorite cheese. I love all non-blue, non-swiss cheeses equally. I suppose I prefer a hotter cheese, like one with habanero or jalapeno. And bourbon. I’m not exactly certain those go together but I can make an old-fashioned work with just about anything. It’s definitely how I celebrate writing; beginning, middle, and end.

“Bacon Grief” by Joel Shoemaker is available on Amazon by clicking here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.