I recently attended a in conversation event with Simon James Green and Lev Rosen, which I posted a recap of, which you can find here. Before this event began I had the chance to interview Simon and Lev.
They were both so lovely and this is easily one of my favourite interviews I have ever done. It was full of laughter and fun!
I had a lot of questions to ask Lev and Simon, here are those questions!
L: Lev, could you introduce yourself please and tell us a little bit about Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts)
LC: Hi, I’m Lev Rosen, professionally sometimes known as L.C Rosen and I wrote Jack of Hearts. Which is a novel about a 17-year-old openly gay boy in a private school in New York city who has a lot of sex with a lot of different guys and has no interest in settling down anytime soon. As his sex life is often fodder for the rumour mill, he is persuaded by his friend to write a sex advice column for her blog, which gets him an admirer whose anonymous notes generally become creepier and creepier until they are essentially trying to blackmail him back into the closet.
L: Simon, it’s good to see you again! You were the first author I ever interviewed!
SJG: Oh yeah, I was wasn’t I, back in the day!
L: Can you reintroduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you and Noah have been up to?
SJG: Yes, Simon James Green author of Noah Can’t Even and the sequel Noah Could Never. So, Noah Could Never picks up about 2 months after the first book. Noah and Harry are obviously together at this point and more mayhem ensues basically with cheese, geese, all sorts of madness.
LC: French people?
SJG: French people! Yeah, French exchange students. I have also got Penguins my short story in the Proud book which comes out in March. We are announcing my brand new book tomorrow at the Scholastic blogger event, (this is announced now and is called Alex in Wonderland and it will be out in the world on June 6th, 2019!) so look out for that!
L: You are both here for an event to discuss LQBTQ+ and intimacy issues in YA, why do you feel that it is necessary to openly discuss this?
LC: So that the LGBTQ+ kids and teenagers don’t feel as though they must hide in shame essentially. The more normalised queerness is and the more talked about it is, the more kids won’t have an issue with it within themselves. Or their peers.
SJG: I mean I think it is as simple as that really. Its getting it out there for all of them for sure.
L: What other topics and people do you feel need more representation in YA novels or in novels in general?
LC: I’d love to see more queer people of colour, more asexuality, more trans people or non-binary people. I feel like there is only, I can only think of two non-binary YA’s off the top of my head and neither of the are out yet. Also, only one, no wait two asexual YA’s too. Oh, great two and two! It would be lovely to see more of that and then queer people of colour, there aren’t very many of those either. And more from the UK!
SJG: More from the UK! That would be nice too.
LC: More internationally in general!
SJG: More international, yeah that would be great!
L: What can we as readers and bloggers do to promote these books and then get them the recognition they deserve?
SJG: Well I mean obviously you’re already doing a great job of doing what you do which is the blogs and the blogs and chatting about them on Twitter and social media. I mean that’s a big part of it isn’t it.
LC: I think so, I’ve never really understood how this part works. I know! I have no idea! I fell like yes, talking about it probably helps, literally shoving the book into the hands of random people on the street probably helps. I don’t know stealing all books from a book store that aren’t those books, that might help too. I fell like there is a lot of stuff that might help but I don’t know what’s cost effective.
SJG: I mean that’s a very good question. Now in the UK we seem to be debating the decline in YA sales.
L: Yeah that’s a big thing now.
SJG: I mean what’s the solution to that. What is needed? I’m not sure that I know. I don’t know how you sell more books.
LC: I think what bloggers need to do is just talk about what they love as much as possible. But that is what bloggers are already doing.
L: Yeah, if we like a book, we will talk about it end to end!
LC: That’s what it is. That’s how you get the stuff out there, you tell people you love it. I mean I feel like ideally you are telling literally everyone you’ve ever met. Whenever anyone’s like, oh my god I love you book what can I do. I say tell everyone you’ve ever met and ever will meet to buy it. That’s like my advice, what can I do to help get your book out there? I’ll be honest like tell every single person! That’s essentially what you are already doing!
L: What other books would you recommend to fans of both of your books? Obviously Proud is one of them!
SJG: Yes, it is!
LC: For Jack, if you are a fan of the sex education aspect there’s one in the US that just came out called The Birds, the Bees and you and me, its straight and there is an ACE character in it though and Ace people are queer too. So, I think that that’s a great book about fighting for sexual education. But if your are looking for more teen stuff, I think Running with Lions.
SJG: Oh yes, Julian’s book! Love Julian!
LC: It’s like really a queer family. Or what just came out in the US and I love this book another book about queer family, although this is contemporary but much more like heisty out there is Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig. It is about a team of drag queen thieves.
SJG: That does look fabulous! I was at the launch of Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper comic on Thursday!
L: Ooo, I love that so much!
SJG: So, if you like a bit of cute, soft boy romance, it is perfect and who doesn’t, well I say!
LC: Is Noah a soft boy?
SJG: I don’t know if Noah is a soft boy. Some elements of him I think are.
LC: I feel like Noah is way too high-strung to be soft! There is one in the states that is getting a lot of praise and its not as explicitly queer, but it is. Is Darius the Great is Not Okay, that feels very soft.
L: Last one, can you both describe your books in 5 words?
LC: 5 words! Sexy, you can put sexy down for mine. Now you do one!
SJG: Well, I’ll go for funny.
LC: Oh yeah, funny is good, I’ll put funny down for mine too!
SJG: I’ll have sexy too then!
LC: This is obscenely difficult!
LC: Yeah queer, I feel like that’s not even that important though!
SJG: Would you call it refreshingly bold?
LC: Angry, I’d call it angry. Its angry in certain ways for sure. Angry, queer, sexy, funny and educational. I don’t do this part this is your part! Did you want them to form a sentence?
SJG: That would be impossible! Sexy, funny, madcap, banana and goose!
L: What a way to end this interview! Thank you!
I had so much fun doing this interview! Thank you so much to Simon and Lev for being wonderful! Also, thanks to the wonderful Kimi from Waterstones Deansgate for setting this up!