Joey Mills Presents His New Novel at NYC’s Strand Bookstore
“Electric Soul” is a coming-of-age novel that chronicles Helix Studios model Joey Mills before he was famous.
Written by former middle school teacher Taylor Saracen, the YA book tells the tale of a reckless, brazen and unapologetically outspoken young Mills, who—for reasons he can’t explain—chooses to hide a key part of his true self from the world. It is a journey in self-discovery, as well as an unconventionally heartwarming story of the relationship between a troubled teen and his mother.
“Electric Soul” releases to select bookstores, Amazon and most e-book retailers worldwide on February 21. Mills and author Taylor are currently on a nationwide book tour to promote “Electric Soul.” The tour stops at Strand Bookstore in NYC on February 25. We spoke with Mills from his LA home.
How does it feel to be the subject of a book? It’s a weird feeling, something I definitely never thought I would get to experience or accomplish. I’m excited to share it, but it does make me feel vulnerable, because it touches on raw subjects that people don’t know about me.
You’re 20 years old! Isn’t that a little young for a story about your life? I’ve lived a lot of life in my 20 years! When you read the book, you’ll see what I mean. Physically, I feel like I’m 30 or 40. Mentally I’m, like, 10, because I still have yet to get my shit together.
“Electric Soul” is a view at teenage life that isn’t necessarily what parents or educators want to believe is true in America today. Exactly, and it’s important for people to understand that this is a real story from the point of view of a real kid growing up in Midwest America. I think many people may have a preconceived idea of who Joey Mills is based on the movies they’ve seen, but I hope they will dive into this book without judgement.
The book is listed as a YA novel. Is it really appropriate for gay youth to read? Yes. I learn from the mistakes I make in the novel. It doesn’t lead readers to follow in my footsteps; it simply touches on the struggles most teenagers deal with. I think it will help a lot of people.
Why did you struggle with telling people about your sexuality? I think most young people struggle with it. I came from a really small town, and I expected it to be way more homophobic. Luckily, it wasn’t what I’d expected at all.
How did your relationship with your mom impact your coming-out process? It definitely helped, because she told me beforehand that she wouldn’t care if I was gay. I had to do it on my own time, though.
How would you describe that mom/son relationship, and what contributed to it? At the time the novel takes place, we were very close, but it was more love/hate. I think that’s how it is for most teenagers. I was always a mama’s boy. I still am.
How did your early experiences lead to a career in adult film? I am a huge fan of more money for less work. [laughs] It seemed like a good fit for my goals.
What are your biggest regrets from youth? I regret fucking everything up in high school. It would have changed my life for the better if I had taken it more seriously. Or maybe it wouldn’t have. It would be interesting to know.
What are you most proud of today? I made it out of my hometown. That was an accomplishment. I still visit and love it, but I’m happy to have expanded my horizons. I’m proud to say I live a life that many people could only dream of.
What advice would you give your young self today? Save money. Don’t buy that red piece of shit car. And most of all, don’t do drugs before heading off to school. It never ends well.
“Electric Soul” by Taylor Saracen will be available in select bookstores, Amazon and most e-book retailers worldwide on February 21, through 13 Red Media. Meet Joey Mills and Taylor Saracen in person at Strand Bookstore (828 Broadway, NYC) on February 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m