Today I am so pleased to welcome Roan Parrish to Joyfully Jay. Roan has come to talk to us about her latest release, Out of Nowhere.  Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

Rafe’s Love Affair (With Learning *wink wink*)

Soon after they first meet, Colin and Rafe have a conversation about the music habits of the kids at the youth center where Rafe works. It’s a casual chat, but it reveals an essential component of Rafe’s personality—one that Colin deeply respects. As Colin puts it, “Rafe seems interested in everything.”


Rafe shakes his head. “Yeah, he’s quiet, but if you get him talking about music, he’s all right.”

“What kind of music?”

“Not sure, exactly. I don’t usually know most of what they listen to. But I’ve heard him talk a lot with Mikal about experimental music from, I don’t know, Sweden or Iceland or something. Not really stuff I know anything about, though it sounds interesting.”

He gets a look in his eye that I take to mean he’s going to look into it. Rafe seems interested in everything. I respect it, that curiosity. Like he genuinely cares enough about some teenager to look into the music he likes so he can talk to him about it. I can’t even imagine Pop doing something like that. Or my brothers, for that matter. Well. No, Daniel would do that. Hell, Daniel did do that. He’d ask me who did a song and then ask me things about the band. Then the next time that song came on the radio, he always remembered it.

“So what kind of music do you like?” I ask.

“Honestly?” Rafe runs a hand through his hair. “I mostly end up listening to whatever radio station the kids put on: Top 40 or Hip-Hop or Alternative, usually. I think I know the words to every Taylor Swift song, but I wouldn’t know her if I fell over her.”

“Taylor Swift—I—wow.” I can’t help but laugh at the picture of Rafe singing along to Taylor Swift, but he smiles at me, not seeming embarrassed by it, really.

“What would you listen to at home, then?” I try to predict what he’s going to say; I’m usually pretty good at that, but he’s jammed every signal I have for this sort of thing and I really have no idea.

“I don’t listen to music that much,” he says. “Mostly in the car, and I don’t drive that often. I like country some. I used to listen to mostly rap and hip-hop when I was younger, but that was when I was with friends. Yeah, country. Bluesy country I like a lot. Mostly when I’m home, though, I listen to podcasts.”

“Like the news?” Just the sound of those people talking puts me to sleep.

“No. I like ones about history or politics, sometimes science. Do you listen to podcasts?”

I shake my head, my mouth full.

“They’re usually about specific topics, like… the Boxer Rebellion or black holes or how icebergs work. And then, depending on the show, they go into different levels of detail on the topic, tell stories about it, that kind of thing.”

“So, they’re like little documentaries?”

“Basically, yeah.”

Hmm. Sounds like school. But, again, he seems so interested in everything. “Black holes… I guess that’s pretty cool.”


As Out of Nowhere continues, we learn that Rafe’s curiosity and passion extend into the realm of politics and social justice as well. Rafe’s orientation to the world being one of curiosity and passion rather than judgment is pretty damned lucky for Colin, because it means Rafe is open to learning about him rather than dismissing him out of hand when many other people would. Instead, just as Rafe might listen to a podcast about black holes to try and understand them, so too is he interested in listening to Colin and trying to understand him. And, um, did I mention passion?

So, here are a few of Rafe’s favorite podcasts. Tell me yours in the comments!

Stuff You Missed In History Class is exactly what it sounds like. It covers topics large and small that don’t generally make it into the textbooks. Rafe likes how narrative it is and how the podcasters pay particular attention to telling the stories of women and people of color, but wishes their politics were a little more explicit 😉

StarTalk Radio is the podcast Rafe references in the excerpt above. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, it makes a complicated subject accessible. Rafe particularly likes the episodes where Tyson explains the physics of different superheroes or which science fiction movies are the most accurate.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is the history podcast Rafe listens to if he has hours to kill because its episodes are hella long, but he likes how much detail Carlin goes into.

99% Invisible is a podcast “about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about—the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.“ He especially likes how short the episodes are (usually between 10 and 25 minutes) because they’re the perfect length to listen to while walking to work at the Youth Alliance.


out of nowhereThe only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So do running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.


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Roan parrish bioRoan Parrish is currently wandering between Philadelphia and New Orleans. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

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