Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I have author Andy V. Roamer in the interview chair.  We’re discussing his latest series release The Pizza Chronicles, a young adult LGBTQ+ fiction title.

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1. Hi, Andy. First off, readers have an idea of the writer you, but what about the everyday you? Can you share about your personal life?

Andy: I have a pretty quiet life. I go swimming at the local pool three times a week to keep in shape. Plus I like biking and light hiking. In the afternoons, I write for a few hours. The evenings are spent reading or having dinner with a friend. I see my partner over the weekends. We go to movies or plays or a nice dinner out occasionally. Otherwise just snuggling in front of the TV is wonderful.

2. I’ve been perusing your Goodreads page and see you are drawn to young adult fiction. Why this genre?

Andy: I just had to tell the story of my adolescence – in fiction form, so it’s not an autobiography. But a story of a teenager struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and his immigrant upbringing, which was very conservative. Writing YA seemed like the natural place to do this. I hope other teens struggling with similar issues will find these books and find comfort and joy in reading them.

3. Your latest series is The Pizza Chronicles. Can you tell me what inspired you to create this series?

Andy: See above. The Pizza Chronicles YA titles are my attempt to explore what really goes on in the mind of a teenager dealing with sexuality, trying to date, being the son of immigrants, and growing up in a conservative culture. After all these struggles, in the end my main character grows emotionally and finds more confidence in who he is. In the end, I want anyone who reads this series to come away with this positive message.

4. What inspired the title of each book? I’m very curious about where the idea of “pizza” came from.

Andy: LOL. I struggled with the title for a long time. As a friend said, “Just keep writing your story and the title will come to you.” And then one day I remembered how my family used to go to a favorite pizza parlor in Brockton, Mass, which was about a forty-five minute drive from where we lived in Boston. We used to love that pizza parlor. Going there was always a special treat. The pizza was delicious! Despite some difficult issues my family might be dealing with (lack of money, loss of work and other stress for my parents), when we were at the pizza parlor, life was good. So I took that memory and used it in my book for my main character.

5. Let’s talk about the main character for The Pizza Chronicles. What do you love most about RV and what makes you want to shake him?

Andy: What I love about RV: HE NEVER GIVES UP trying, despite screwing up (as he sees it), or being faced with difficult issues about dating, friendships, and the pressures to succeed at school.

What makes me want to shake him? Hmmm… to STOP WORRYING ABOUT HIMSELF and WHAT THE REST OF THE WORLD THINKS OF HIM. I love his questions and doubts and fears. One minute I want to hug him to tell him all will be fine. The next I want to shake him when he still doesn’t seem to get it.

6. What makes The Pizza Chronicles different from other LGBTQ+ young adult fiction?

Andy: It’s about a kid of immigrants from Eastern Europe. Not too many of those I see in print. He’s not a “cool” kid, but more of a nerd, scared and unsure of himself.

7. If a reader asked you why they should read The Pizza Chronicles, what would you tell them?

Andy: By reading the books in the series, you can better understand what goes on in the mind of a teen as he’s trying to come to terms with all the issues we’ve discussed.

If you’re a teen, I hope you find comfort. And if you’re an adult, I’ll share a quick story: A friend of mine gave the first book, Why Can’t Life Be Like Pizza?, to friends of hers, grandparents of a boy who was wrestling with his sexuality. I didn’t know these people at all, but my friend told me they told her that after they read the book they understood their grandson more fully and felt closer to him. To know my book had this effect on total strangers, I felt on cloud 9. That’s why I write these books!

8. Which of the five from The Pizza Chronicles is your personal favourite, and why?

Andy: I wish I could answer that honestly, but I love different aspects of all of them. Okay, okay, if that’s a copout, I’ll say the first one, just because it got me started on this road to writing this series. Also, being accepted by a publisher gave me confidence that other people could enjoy my writing and perhaps get something valuable from it.

9. What are you currently working on? Care to share about your latest WIP?

Andy: I think there’s one more book in the series. It will take place when my main character, RV, is a senior in high school. No plot yet. Right now various ideas are still percolating in my mind as I try let myself work out what I want to say and how I want to say it. Plus, I have to come to terms with how I want to say goodbye to RV. Now that I say this, I’m starting to miss him already!

10. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:

  • What’s your favourite movie?
    The Sound of Music. Corny, wonderful scenery, and I fell in love with Julie Andrews when I was ten years old. I never get tired of seeing the movie.
  • What book is currently in your e-reader?
    Jar City, a mystery set in Iceland. I want to travel there someday soon, so am reading to get a better sense of the country.
  • Who’s your favourite musical group?
    Don’t have one. One of the weird things about me. I was never much into music that way other teens were. I spent my time writing fantasy stories and making up new lives for myself.
  • What song puts a smile on your face?
    Never identified with music. (What’s wrong with me?! Another book about this?)

11. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Andy: I was always shy and never felt like I could reach people very easily. Especially in a group. Partly I think it was my personality, and partly because English was my second language—I didn’t know any English when I started kindergarten. Luckily I was good with languages and to my mind picked up English fairly quickly despite a few bloopers. But now that I’ve started to write and am published, I’m discovering I can reach people. It feels wonderful. And I never want to stop.

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The books in the Pizza Chronicles series follow the main character, RV, through his high school years, as he tries to answer his many questions about life, God, prayer, sexuality, being the son of immigrants, and staying loyal to his heritage while carving out his own life and relationships.
The stories should be read in order.
Book #1: Why Can’t Life Be Like Pizza?
Book #2: Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza?
Book #3: Why Can’t Relationships Be Like Pizza?
Book #4: Why Can’t Sophomore Summer Be Like Pizza?
Book #5: Why Can’t Dating Be Like Pizza?
Overall Heat Rating for the series: 1 flame

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Title: Why Can’t Dating Be Like Pizza?
Series: The Pizza Chronicles, Book Five
Author: Andy V. Roamer
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Trope: Gay Romance
Themes: Dating, films, art, bullying, gay suicide, finding one’s passion, surviving break-ups
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 52 000 words
Release Date: August 20, 2022
Publisher: Nine Star Press

Sixteen year-old RV negotiates the ups and down of junior year of high school, filled with pressure, new romance, and unexpected discoveries. 

Blurb:  RV is now a junior in Book #5, Why Can’t Dating Be Like Pizza?. It’s the most important year of high school, as his guidance counselor makes clear. He pushes RV to improve his grades, get more active socially, and show colleges why they should accept him over other candidates. But RV has other things on his mind.  He has met Luke, freshly arrived in Boston from Los Angeles. Luke shows him a whole new world of romance, movie making, and fun.  RV’s friends and family pull him in other directions though.  There’s the responsibility of earning money.  His longtime friend Carole pulls him into politics, asking him to direct her campaign running for the student council.  His old crush Bobby isn’t around much, and RV has to accept that he and Bobby are no longer an item, though he still has some feelings for him.   But when Luke makes an unexpected announcement, RV really has to accept that dating has painful downs as well as joyful ups.

Note:  This story is a continuation of Book #1-4  with the same characters and does not end on a cliffhanger. It is best to read the books in order.

Add on Goodreads

Purchase at:

NineStar Press  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

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Title: Why Can’t Life Be Like Pizza?
Series: The Pizza Chronicles, Book One
Author: Andy V. Roamer
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Trope: Son of Immigrants
Themes: Coming Out
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 55 100 words/ 208 pages
Release Date: March 30, 2020
Publisher: Nine Star Press

RV begins freshman year at demanding Boston Latin School, doing his best to keep up and fit in while wrestling with his immigrant heritage and his sexuality.  

Blurb:  Wrestling with his sexuality, along with a lot of other things, RV thinks all is okay when he starts going out with Carole.  But things get more complicated when RV develops a crush on Bobby, a football player in his class, who admits he may have gay feelings, too.  Bobby is African American and facing his own pressures.  Luckily, RV develops a friendship with Mr. Aniso, his Latin teacher, who is gay and always there to talk to when the pressure becomes overwhelming.

Note:  It is a standalone story. 

Add on Goodreads

Purchase at:

NineStar Press  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

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Title: Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza?
Series: The Pizza Chronicles, Book Two
Author: Andy V. Roamer
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Trope: Summer Vacation
Themes: Obstacles to exploring sexuality and enjoying summer
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 50 200 words/196 pages
Release Date: June 1, 2020
Publisher: Nine Star Press

RV and Bobby have survived freshman year and are looking forward to spending a wonderful summer together. But life has other plans.  

Blurb:  RV and Bobby’s summer is not what they wish for.  They hardly have time to spend with each other.  Bobby is busy at football camp and working at a job his father has pressured him into taking. RV is busy with a summer job, too, and also has to help his parents pass their U.S. citizenship test. His friend Carole jumps at the chance to spend her summer in Paris. As always, Mr. Aniso, RV’s Latin teacher is there to talk to when RV gets too lonely. He’s also there when RV inadvertently spills one of Bobby’s secrets, and Bobby is so angry at him RV is afraid he’s ready to cut off the friendship.

Note: This story is a continuation of Book #1 with the same characters 

Add on Goodreads

Purchase at:

Nine Star Press  |   Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

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Title: Why Can’t Relationships Be Like Pizza?
Series: The Pizza Chronicles, Book Three
Author: Andy V. Roamer
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Trope: Forming relationships
Themes: Maintaining relationships through difficulties/helping friend through tragedy
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 52 000 words
Release Date: March 15, 2021
Publisher: Nine Star Press

RV begins sophomore year in high school, though his relationships create more questions than answers.

Blurb:RV is trying to maintain his newfound friendship with Bobby, but it’s becoming harder and harder. Bobby seems a different, more distant, person. RV’s friend Carole is distracted with the ups and downs in her relationships with the French boyfriends she met during her summer in Paris. RV’s new friend Mark is focused on his family’s troubles.  School is a mixed bag.  But Mr. Aniso, RV’s former teacher and mentor, is there to lean on, especially when near tragedy strikes and RV needs Mr. Aniso’s counsel to stay strong and provide help where it’s needed most.

Note:  This is a continuation of Book #2 of The Pizza Chronicles

Add on Goodreads

Purchase at:

Nine Star Press  |  Amazon US  |   Amazon UK

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Title: Why Can’t Sophomore Summer Be Like Pizza?
Series: The Pizza Chronicles, Book Four
Author: Andy V. Roamer
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Trope: Summer vacation between freshman & sophomore years of high school
Themes: Teenage steps toward maturity: ups & downs of romance, driving lessons, coming out to family
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 52 000 words
Release Date: August 23, 2021
Publisher: Nine Star Press

RV’s summer after sophomore year of high school isn’t all fun and games as he navigates a budding new relationship, struggles with driving lessons, copes with the ups and downs of his summer job in a movie theatre, and tries to be patient with his traditional family that doesn’t want to deal with his sexuality. 

Blurb:  It’s the summer after sophomore year and RV enjoys new adventures and faces new challenges having finished two years of high school.  Since he loves movies, he’s happy to get a job as an usher at a movie multiplex, but learns the realities of dealing with job stresses and unruly customers. It’s time for him to start learning how to drive, and his father is eager to give him lessons.  But he’s not the most patient of teachers and RV is not the most capable of drivers. Bobby is still around, but he’s doing the hard job of recovering from his injury so doesn’t have time for much else. RV tries to open himself up to a new relationship and is happy when he meets Matteo, who works at the multiplex also.  It looks like the start of a budding romance – until it isn’t.  And then there is RV’s family, loving but traditional, not ready or willing to discuss issues of sexuality. Luckily, as always, there is Mr. Aniso, RV’s freshmen-year teacher, who has become a friend and is always there to talk over anything that might be bothering RV. But he’s away for the summer, helping his partner’s family, so there’s only so much time and attention he can give RV.

Note:  It is a standalone story, with the same characters from books 1-3.  The books have frequent references to previous titles in the series, so better if they are read in order.

Add on Goodreads

Purchase at:

NineStar Press  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

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Andy V. Roamer grew up in the Boston area and moved to New York City after college. He worked in book publishing for many years, starting out in the children’s and YA books division and then wearing many other hats. This is his first novel about RV, the teenage son of immigrants from Lithuania in Eastern Europe, as RV tries to negotiate his demanding high school, his budding sexuality, and new relationships. He has written an adult novel, Confessions of a Gay Curmudgeon, under the pen name Andy V. Ambrose. To relax, Andy loves to ride his bike, read, watch foreign and independent movies, and travel.

Follow Andy:  Blog/Website | Facebook | Instagram

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