Event Recap: You Know Me Well Launch

A photo posted by ravenousreader (@ravenousreader) on

#YouKnowMeWell - June 7th, 2016

David and Nina talked the crowd through the co-writing experience and how they came to write a book set in San Francisco. 

It was an evening of dramatic readings for the launch of You Know Me Well at NYMBC. First up was Jane B. Mason with her most recent YA novel, Without Annette. Nina joined her in reading a short excerpt. David and Nina also shared the first chapter of their fresh-off-the-press release, alternating voices the same as in the book. You can find your own dramatic reading partner and start reading with this excerpt

While Nina currently resides in the Bay Area, David does not and was quickly asked how he managed to stay true to the feel of The City. "I've been here enough times that I felt I knew the rudiments of it and when there were things like the club, I just sort-of made them up. When we got into the actual details of Pride, Nina gave me a tutorial," David shared. Nina gave David more credit, explaining that he knew all the "spots." Coincidentally, Nina met David at Books, Inc. - Opera Plaza, when he was on tour for Will Grayson, Will Grayson. From there, a writing relationship was born.


The pair spent over two years writing You Know Me Well, with the last chapter written by Nina during the 2015 Pride weekend. David happened to be in town that weekend and they met up to celebrate finishing the book. In those two years, the pair did not discuss the plot and each alternating chapter was a surprise both in timing and in content. "There's a part in chapter 2 where you'll all go 'awww' and I did, too," David told the audience, laughing. "You give up a lot of control and accept the other person's gifts," Nina shared.  

Some of the challenges in writing a story that takes place in a short period of time (the entire plot takes place during Pride Week) include conveying an emotional journey that wasn't a rollercoaster but came off as believable and how to appropriately pace events that take place over the week. "We gave them one thing to solve, which made it easier than if we had given them less defined issues," David described, "Having that set time frame was important because we knew when we needed to start wrapping things up." On the subject of moving Pride Week to earlier in June (SF Pride takes place at the end of June, when most California schools are out), Nina shared that she wrote David a frantic email, trying to solve the discrepancy. David's response? "It's fiction!" 


Nina and David shared their advice for new writers. "Honor where you are at the moment and keep moving forward. Trust that with time, practice, and perseverance, you'll get there," Nina shared. "Every author has a different way of doing things. There's only a right way and a wrong way for you," David "put on his editor hat" and shared. They also shared what it's like writing queer characters. David feels there is a lot of responsibility in writing YA-Gay Fiction. "In 2003, when I wrote Boy Meets Boy, it was about how gay teenagers were portrayed and therefore how they felt about themselves. It was literary activism," David unfolded, "Now we are all talking about a need for a wide range of voices, because there's still so much work to be done there." Nina doesn't think too much as she's writing, but shared that questions like this help her to think about it more. "An experience I had with a group of teenagers who needed a voice for them was a defining moment for me as a professional, I needed to add more positive relationships for queer teens," Nina revealed. All agreed that you have to be honest in your writing.

For those of you who couldn't make the launch but would like a copy of You Know Me Well, Books, Inc. has signed copies available for purchase online. You can find our review of You Know Me Well here (the short version? You.Need.This.Book.)

This recap is part of our #PrideMonth #ReadProudListenProud coverage. Be sure to visit us throughout the week for reviewsrecapslinks, and interviews to celebrate our LGBTQ+ friends, family, and loved ones. Tell us, have you had the chance to see David or Nina on any of their tours? What tidbits did they share with you?


2 comments:

  1. Ahhhhh I can't believe I live near SF and didn't go! It sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bummer! If you ever go to any of the events in the Bay Area, let us know. We are usually there :)

      Delete

Let's Discuss!