Frequently Asked Questions
Are any of your books a series/do I need to read them in order?
Are you planning on writing sequels to any of your books?
At this point, I’m not. I love the stories I’ve told, and I love where I’ve left my characters (yes, even We Used to Be Friends!). I’m so excited to write new stories with new characters, but, of course, never say never.
Do you plan on writing more LGBTQ+ books?
I sure do! My next YA book No Boy Summer is about Lydia, a disaster bisexual, and it's out in early 2023! Also coming in early 2023 is my adult romcom debut For Her Consideration, which is extremely queer.
In the meantime, be sure to read We Used to Be Friends and The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) for some queer girl romance!
Why did you, a YA author, decide to write books for adults as well?
I've loved romcoms and romances for so long, particularly as the pandemic started and I was filled with anxiety about so many things. Romance novels were often the only thing I could focus on, and I devoured them. While I'd thought casually about writing one before, at this point the idea for the book that would become For Her Consideration came to me, and I decided to try writing it, just for fun. And all of a sudden it was finished and I truly loved it and couldn't wait to send it along to my agent.
How did you get started in writing and publishing?
I wrote since childhood, and spent many years trying to get better at it. In 2008, I began querying agents, and ended up signing with my agent by the next year. It took three more years to get a book deal!! Publishing is not for the impatient, but the good news is that it IS for people without fancy writing degrees (I have zero) or existing connections (I had zero of those at the time too).
Remember that there is no one path in to publishing, and whatever works for you will be the right one!
What’s your advice for people who want to be writers?
Read, as much as you can, as often as you can. Fill your mind with stories. Read across genres, types of stories, types of authors. Notice other forms of storytelling that set your mind on fire, whether it be film, TV, theatre, music, etc.
Think about the stories you love and gravitate toward. They may not be what you expected to write, or what people expect of you. I initially got a lot of pushback from folks who were surprised that I wanted to write romcoms; for some reason something cooler or edgier was expected from me. (Q: Are you cool or edgy? A: Absolutely not.) But when I tried to write more serious stories, they weren’t good. If I didn’t even want to read stories like that, why was I writing them? (Q: You don’t like to read serious stories? A: Actually, I do, but not overly so and not done in a thoughtless way that confuses Seriousness with Importance.)
And then just WRITE. Write for yourself! Don’t worry about the marketing plan or the agent search or the book deal. WRITE!
OK so I have written, and now I’m finished with a draft. What do I do now?
My best advice is to find a critique partner/group of other writers at around your same career/skill level (this is often where great Facebook groups or Twitter friendships can come in – I actually met other writers at a YA book club a million years ago who ended up being great critique partners and friends) to get feedback from others and revise your little heart out.
Revising can be very difficult on one’s own, so if it feels that way, it’s normal! There are a number of people (myself included) who offer freelance editing services, but I strongly advise you to first find people in your own communities (real life and virtual!) and take your manuscript as far as you can go.
If you’re finished and still don’t feel great about it, or are perhaps getting consistent rejection feedback from an agent, that may be the point to look for more guidance, but critique partners and friends can be a great deal of help! So can time away from a manuscript so you can put fresh eyes on it again.
Do you have any advice for LGBTQ+ authors?
Your stories matter, and I want them out there in the world! I have connected with so many amazing members of the community since my book The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) was published. It’s a joy writing queer books. (Q: Since you’re queer, aren’t all of your books queer books? A: Absofreakinglutely.)
I know that I have younger readers, and some of you may not be at a point in your life where you can write safely about your identity or about fictional characters who share that identity. Your safety is most important, always, but I hope you can find ways to write, to create, and to build community and chosen family. Check out the Trevor Support Center for resources that may help you!
Will you do an event in my town/at my bookstore/with my bookclub/at a certain festival?
Often, events aren’t really up to an author. (I know!) If you’d like to see me in your town, on your Zoom screen, at a particular festival, etc., please reach out to my agent Kate Testerman at KT Literary who can help you or route you to the appropriate person.
Book tours and such are often scheduled based on where the last book sold the best, so the easiest way to get your city on the map is buy my books and recommend them to your local friends! I know that buying books is not possible for everyone, so remember that library recommendations are amazing. Asking your local bookstore to carry my titles is wonderful. That stuff all adds up!
Are any of your books going to become movies?
I’d love if this would happen! This is another thing that authors have extremely little control over. If you’d like to check on the availability of option rights to any of my titles, reach out to Kim Yau at Echo Lake Entertainment.
When is your next book coming out?
Any future book announcements will be made on social media and in my newsletter.
Well, in that case, how do I sign up for your newsletter?
That’s so nice you asked! Click here to subscribe!
I’m a fan of your books; are there other authors I should be checking out too?
Firstly, yes, always yes, check out as many authors as you can! And remember that many libraries have amazing selections, both in-person and virtually, so if your book-buying budget is stretched thin, as mine often is, libraries are great. But this isn’t what you asked!
For young adult, check out Maurene Goo, Leah Johnson, Stephanie Perkins’ non-horror titles, Julie Murphy, Becky Albertalli, Sandhya Menon, Kelly Quindlen, Britta Lundin.
If you’re a middle grade reader, check out Ashley Herring Blake and Nicole Melleby for some titles that might be appealing to my YA readers.
If you also read adult fiction, you might enjoy the romcoms of Jasmine Guillory, Christina Lauren, Meryl Wilsner, and Kerry Winfrey.
(These are my picks for “If you like X, Might I Suggest Y”, and in no way a full list of books I’d recommend! I love many books that just aren’t necessarily shelf pals with mine.)