Guest Interview with Kevin - Fellow YA lover and Upcoming Author

Christy here! I had the pleasure of meeting fellow YA lover, Kevin Savoie, at YallWest, where he was my line-mate for Rainbow Rowell. We bonded over Kindred Spirits and our TBRs (we collectively have over 600 books that we will get to, eventually, some day...maybe). We got to spend some time the week after at another author event and his enthusiasm for YA just awed me. He's here today to talk about his experience as a gay writer and lover of YA!


Tell us about you, Kevin. 

I am currently located in Los Angeles, California. Though I've lived in three states now, so it wouldn't surprise me if I added a fourth eventually. For fun I like to read and write (obviously), but besides that I love to go on road trips and try new foods. I'm a huge foodie and love trying new restaurants and foods. (The best cheesecake I've ever had is a food truck in DC.) I also love to travel around the country, and hopefully one day internationally! I've been to the Hemingway museum in Oak Park, Illinois, the Edgar Allan Poe museum in Richmond, Virginia, and the "theme park of food" (Jungle Jim's) in Fairfield, Ohio. Favorite food would be poutine, pizza, sushi, tacos, guacamole, and SO many other things. I could talk about food and books for DAYS. My favorite TV shows varies quite a bit. Charmed, The Office, Parks and Rec, American Horror Story, Broad City, Love, Big Love, Young and Hungry. Obviously shows are another thing I can talk quite a bit about. I also LOVE to go to book signings and meet other people in the YA community.

Readers want to know...What are you currently reading and what are some of your favorite reads?


So I'm currently reading Becky Albertalli's new book, The Upside of Unrequited, and it's absolutely amazing! Everyone should go preorder it now. (It's set in DC, which is one of my favorite places!) Answering my favorite book, though, is like almost impossible. So I'll just throw out a few. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, the ENTIRE Harry Potter series, and many, many more.  As you can tell by the books, and TV shows, I like, I'm a hopeless romantic. However, I also like books and shows about murder and 
sci-fi and thrillers and... I have a wide variety of taste. I also love graphic novels and comics! (I will forever ship Archie and Jughead. Thanks to Christy for getting me on this Archie bandwagon.) I once took a class in college that focused on reading graphic novels and comics as literature, and it completely changed the way I look at them.


What does being part of the LGBTQ+ community mean to you?

Being a part of the LGBTQ+ to me means always having a place or person to turn to if you need it. We're a strong, resilient community, and we always have each other's backs. When I was younger, I never felt like I was part of the community. I felt disconnected. However, as I've gotten older, I've learned that many LGBTQ+ people feel that. The truth is, we're all a part of it. Even if we feel like we aren't. So being a part of the LGBTQ+ community means having a home to turn to in hard times and knowing no matter how alone you feel, there are other people out there who are there for you to listen and help. The LGBTQ+ community means love and acceptance. 

When was the first time you saw yourself in a book? Tell us about that experience.


To this day, I still see myself in books every single day. (I am literally the main character in Becky Albertalli's new book. Ask her. She'll tell you how Molly I am.) But the first time I think I ever saw myself in a book, or one of the first time's as I've been reading a long time and have read lots of books so sometimes it's hard to remember, was in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Patrick was one of the first gay characters I think I ever read about. When I read it, I remember not knowing if I was gay or bi or whatever, but I felt connected to Patrick. Then (SPOILERS) when there's the whole unrequited love/like thing that happens and I remember reading it and thinking THAT IS ME. I have had so many unrequited love/likes in my life I could write a whole post about it. It was fun, though, seeing myself in a book. A more confident version of myself that sounded way hotter than me.

A little birdie named Becky Albertalli told us you're writing a book...

Becky Albertalli is quite the little birdie. I am working on a manuscript. I was actually just offered representation on it, but as it's not technically official, I can't say anything. Be watching my Twitter for that announcement! But seeing as nothing with the book is official yet either, I can't really say much. However, Becky described it as "The gay rom com of your dreams," if that helps at all. :P







Educating on and offering diverse perspectives is really important. How can we continue to bring LGBTQ+ issues and perspectives to kids and teens?


I think the best way to bring LGBTQ+ issues and perspectives to kids and teens is to continue publishing books that have them, creating TV shows and movies that have gay characters, and having them in the mainstream media. More video games, comics, books, movies, everything! Everyone wants to see themselves in these things, and when they don't it makes them feel other. By representing LGBTQ+ people and their issues, it helps LGBTQ+ not feel alone and like their problems matter and most importantly that you don't have to be a stereotype if you're in the community. There are lots of different kinds of gays, lesbians, trans, anything. All different types need to be shown, also. If you're the community and don't see what you'd like, write, draw, create whatever and show what you want to be shown.

This month is designated to honor the community but has been rough considering the shooting in Orlando and the public response. How have you been impacted and what advice would you have for others who are scared?


I woke up to a text from a good friend (Mrs. Albertalli) telling me what happened in Orlando. She felt like I should hear from a friend instead of a online. It was 4:45am, and I wasn't really digesting what happened. I didn't understand the magnitude of what was going on. When it really hit me a couple of hours later, I cried in a bathroom stall at work so my coworkers wouldn't see me. Our community was attacked, specifically the Latinx gay community, and I was terrified. I remembered going into the Holocaust museum in DC years and staring at the wall of portraits of LGBTQ+ people that were killed for being who they were and feeling how lucky I was to be alive in a generation that didn't have to worry about that. Except now I did. I was scared and sad and felt hopeless. While I'm still sad, devastated, I'm no longer hopeless or scared. Seeing all the people that have come forward to support the community and try to help anyway they could. The GoFundMe page for the victims of the massacre has broken a record, receiving over 5 million dollars. People waited in line for hours to donate blood. Adele cried as she dedicated her concert and Florence Welch had a moment of silence and danced with a rainbow flag. The outpouring of support, even now just thinking about me, chokes me up. The hope and love that these people have brought forth in the wake of a tragedy is overwhelming good, and it's times like these that remind you of the good in the world, even among such a dark time. If you're out there, and you're scared, just remember that we are strong. The LGBTQ+ community will not be forced back into closets. We will hold hands and kiss because we love who we love and no one can change that. Not a man with a gun or a politician with an agenda. Don't be scared. Be brave and proud and love who you love. Every day and every moment is precious.

This interview is part of our #PrideMonth #ReadProudListenProud coverage. Be sure to visit us throughout the week for reviews, recaps, links, and interviews to celebrate our LGBTQ+ friends, family, and loved ones. Feel free to ask Kevin questions in the comments or share with us the first time you saw yourself represented in a book!

2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed The Hobbit when I first read it many years ago even though I found the rest of the series pretty hard to get through. Thanks for the chance to win.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great interview, Kevin and Christy! #bepraveandproud

    ReplyDelete

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