Hey! Sasha here! I’m joined today by my favorite (and fellow curly-haired) queen, Nic Stone! She wrote the bestselling Dear Martin, which was named one of our 17 Best Books Of 2017. And as amazing as Dear Martin was, her new book Odd One Out is just as much of a must-read. It’s written from three different perspectives, so it’s three times the laughter, heartache, and love. And it’s hitting bookstores this Tuesday! Let’s get on with the interview!
Sasha: Hey Nic! Thanks for chatting with me today! In your note at the end of the book, you wrote how this was the book you needed when you were younger. Why is that?
Nic: In a nutshell, when I was growing up, everyone was in the closet. Being openly anything-but-straight just wasn’t an acceptable thing. I found solace in books in a multitude of other ways, but I think one about a girl questioning her sexuality would’ve made me feel a lot less alone, and in the process, a lot bolder about accepting both who I was and who I was attracted to.
Sasha: Knowing you have a very personal connection with this novel, I could only imagine how difficult the writing process was. Second books are never easy! What motivated you to keep writing when you felt discouraged?
Nic: Honestly, this book was pretty fun to write. Very cathartic for me. I didn’t really have that whole second book struggle because 1. this is actually the fourth book I’ve ever written, and 2. I wrote it three years ago while waiting for notes on Dear Martin. Which is one of my main pieces of advice for aspiring writers: always be working on the next thing.
Sasha: You told this story from three different characters' perspectives. Which of these voices is the closest to your own?
Nic: Jupiter is alllllll me. I even got to read for her on the audiobook! #DreamsComeTrue
Sasha: I really love the way that Britain and Golly are so supportive of Jupiter, helping her even though they aren’t super close. Who are your real-life Britain and Golly?
Nic: I had a whole crew of Brit and Gollys growing up. They were this ragtag band of varsity football players who were utterly obnoxious and full of themselves, but also very sweet and high protective of me. It felt really good to write characters who were a tribute to my squadron of boneheads, lol!
Sasha: Rae and Coop share the childhood memory of Carl’s Carnival. If you went to a carnival, what would you do first?
Nic: Bahaha, I love this question so much. The first thing I do when I go to any carnival is eat the grossest thing I can find. Deep Fried Twinkies, anyone?
Sasha: Throughout this novel, multiple characters are struggling to determine a label for their sexuality. What advice would you give to your readers who feel like no label fits them?
Nic: Live it! I personally am not a fan of labels myself and I find them very restrictive. Sometimes I’ll use “bisexual” for the sake of ease, but in general, I don’t think anyone HAS to choose a label. Everyone should do what makes them most comfortable when it comes to self-identifying.
Sasha: Jupiter has a HUGE love for Queen. You even included her jam playlist! What’s your favorite Queen song?
Nic: One I didn’t put in the book: Bicycle. It’s so quirky and ridiculous.
Sasha: This entire book was like a huge hug for those struggling to understand themselves. What are some other queer YA books you'd recommend?
Nic: There are a LOT of them, but I’m going to stick to a few I read this year—Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, and Running with Lions by Julian Winters. Also, I love Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth, and one that is out this fall: This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callendar.
Sasha: Dear Martin was amazing, Odd One Out was amazing, and I have a feeling whatever comes next is going to be amazing as well. Anything you can tell us about it?
Nic: Ha! All I’m allowed to say: what Dear Martin does with racism and Odd One Out does with questioning and sexuality, my next one will do with economic inequality. Pretty excited about it.
That’s it for today’s interview with Nic. But be sure to come back again next week when James will be chatting with the wonderful Sara Farizan about her new basketball book, Here To Stay. See you then!