Author Chat with Mark Oshiro (The Insiders), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we are chatting with Mark Oshiro, author of
Read on for more about Mark, his book, and giveaway!
Meet Mark Oshiro!
Mark Oshiro is the Schneider Award-winning author of the YA books Anger Is a Gift and Each of Us a Desert. When they are not writing, they are busy trying to fulfill their lifelong goal: to pet every dog in the world. The Insiders is their middle grade debut. Visit them online at markoshiro.com [markoshiro.com]
Meet The Insiders!
Three kids who don’t belong. A room that shouldn’t exist. A year that will change everything.
Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Meg Medina, this debut middle grade novel from award-winning author Mark Oshiro is a hopeful and heartfelt coming-of-age story for anyone who’s ever felt like they didn’t fit in.
San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home, being gay didn’t mean feeling different. At Héctor’s new school, he couldn’t feel more alone.
Most days, Héctor just wishes he could disappear. And he does. Right into the janitor’s closet. (Yes, he sees the irony.) But one day, when the door closes behind him, Héctor discovers he’s stumbled into a room that shouldn’t be possible. A room that connects him with two new friends from different corners of the country—and opens the door to a life-changing year full of friendship, adventure, and just a little bit of magic.
“Sometimes hilarious, sometimes devastating, but always full of heart, The Insiders carves out a space for us all to be our true selves.” —Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I love getting to talk about this for The Insiders because the origin of the book is rooted in the VERY FIRST manuscript I ever wrote, back when I was a freshman in college. The original idea was about a gay Latinx kid who found a magical closet and SHENANIGANS HAPPENED. It was also NOT VERY GOOD. I had written short stories before, but this was my first attempt at writing a novel, and understandably, I did not know what I was doing. However, I saved that (completely rejected by everyone) manuscript all these years, and aged down the main character and gave the idea of a “magical closet” a more pointed focus.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Oh, I have so many favorites, but I gotta say: writing Taylor was a delight. I think most of us had a friend like Taylor in junior high, and I certainly did. Taylor was fun because he’s on the precipice of awareness, and so there were lots of moments where I got to write someone who truly doesn’t care what the world thinks of him.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel! However, the title for The Insiders is, to-date, the very first time I’ve given a title to a work-in progress and it stuck throughout the entire process! It was always called The Insiders.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
This is a little hard to talk about because the first three I thought of are all huge, huge spoilers. I’ll say these code phrases for those who have read the book: the panadería, the word, the stage. A non-spoilery scene I’m proud of, though, is the introduction of the Room to all three kids once they experience it together. I loved getting to mix wonder, confusion, and humor in that moment.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The colorful strangeness of it all! Helder Oliviera managed to not only capture the look of Héctor, Juliana, and Sal, but to communicate the wacky sense of time and space that’s in the book, too.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I currently have three books that have been completed and are in various stages of editing, so I’m starting my seventh novel around the time this is going to be published. You can look forward to a middle grade surprise next year, as well as another standalone to follow up The Insiders, and my next YA book, which is a slow-burn thriller about a cult.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate? There’s a scene midway through the book where one of the protagonists makes a mistake, and the ramifications of it are immediate and kinda intense. I wanted to center the bulk of it on the person harmed, but also make some space to show what happens when you unknowingly hurt another person. It went through MANY drafts to strike the balance that you’ll see in the final draft.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Actually, as personal as he is to me, Héctor Muñoz, the main character of The Insiders! One of the big challenges I had when writing this book was understanding how to write differently for a middle grade audience. I had to frequently put myself back into my twelve-year-old self to try and understand my own way of viewing the world. I am so thankful for the guidance of my editor, Stephanie Stein, who helped guide me to understand when it was best to lean in or when to lean back when it came to Héctor’s thought process.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I am going to earn the ire of half the writing community, but: revising. 100%. I’m a messy, messy drafter, and my books notoriously change a lot from the first draft to the final one. For me, drafting feels like pulling teeth. (Even though I am also a fast drafter!) I love the act of taking that “mess,” so to speak, and slowly crafting it into the book I want it to be. I love the act of collaboration that happens between my editor and myself! I find it invigorating and fascinating, and I’m so thrilled that all three of my editors are people I vibe with creatively.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Oh, in 2021, it’s been writing books. I’ve written three full manuscripts since January, rewritten one of those manuscripts in its entirety, and I have to have a fourth book done in November. I would like to give this superpower up, though, IT’S A LOT.
Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart? For The Gworls, a Black, trans-led collective based in New York: https://www.forthegworls.party/home
Author: Mark Oshiro
Publish Date: September 21st, 2021
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