Author Of The Week: Chat with James Sie (All Kinds Of Other), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing James Sie, YABC's Author of the Week!!
JAMES SIE (pronouns he/him) is the author Still Life Las Vegas, his debut novel, which was a Lambda Literary Award nominee for Best Gay Fiction. An award-winning playwright, he has had productions performed in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (Lincoln Center Institute) and across the country. He has contributed essays to The Rumpus and The Advocate. In addition to writing, James is also a voiceover artist for many cartoons and games, including Jackie Chan Adventures, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness; Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, where his excessive love of cabbages has earned him immortal fame. James now lives in Los Angeles with his husband and son. Visit his website at www.sieworld.com.
Meet All Kinds Of Other!
Two boys are starting over at a new high school.
Jules is still figuring out what it means to be gay…and just how out he wants to be.
Jack is reeling from a fall-out with his best friend…and isn’t ready to let anyone else in just yet.
When Jules and Jack meet, the sparks are undeniable. But when a video linking Jack to a pair of popular trans vloggers is leaked to the school, the revelations thrust both boys into the spotlight they’d tried to avoid.
Suddenly Jack and Jules must face a choice: to play it safe and stay under the radar, or claim their own space in the world—together.
~ Interview ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
A Chicago friend of mine was coming to stay in Los Angeles for six months, trying his luck in the acting business. His son came along with him, a trans masculine high school student who was going to attend a semester of school without telling anyone he was trans, to see what it was like to pass, to be a boy and only a boy. I thought he was incredibly brave and self-assured, and I wondered what would happen to his plan if he made a strong relationship at school. What would happen if he... fell in love? That was the inspiration for All Kinds of Other.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Are you asking me to choose between my two children, Jules or Jack? Never! I love them both equally, worry for them both, and delight when things go their way. I will say, though, that I’ve always thought of Jules as the teenager I used to be, and Jack as the teenager I wish I were.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The original title for the novel, when I first started writing it, was Jack and Jules— I liked how it played on both Jack and Jill, and Jules and Jim. Plus, it was simple. But then, as I wrote about Jack feeling like he didn’t fit into any of the usual categories that people try to sort him into, that he’d have to check the “other” box in so many aspects of his life, the phrase “all kinds of other” kind of stuck, and I realized it was an elegant way of describing what the book was all about, for both Jack and Jules.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There are many forms of teen communication in the book— texts, Tumblr posts, YouTube video transcripts— and it was tricky getting the hang of the informal style of teen writing. At first, the lack of punctuation and grammar was maddening, but as I got into the rhythm of it, I found writing that way incredibly propulsive, and immediate. It was almost like learning a new language, or writing poetry. I think I’m pretty happy with how the Tumblr posts in particular turned out. They are heightened, but at the same time very grounded in real-speak.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
What I love most about Anke Gladnick’s illustration and Dave Curtis’s design is the deep soulfulness it conveys. Gladnick really nails the sense of longing, and anticipation, that runs through the book. The glow of the gold and purple, and the ripples, suggest that magical but ephemeral state of first love, and the possibilities that can come with it.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2020?
I really can’t crow enough about the book Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. It already feels like a modern classic, right up there with A Wrinkle in Time. I’ve never read a children’s book before that takes social justice as a baseline, and explores how life might be with that construct in place. It’s such a complete fantasy, but at the same time it’s firmly rooted in the now.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
In the audiobook, I narrated all of the Jules sections. I knew going in that there were going to be a few pivotal scenes that was going to hit me hard emotionally; I was ready for that. What I didn’t expect was to be so sideswiped by a scene that, on the page, was a pretty happy one: someone stands up for Jules in the locker room when he is starting to be bullied. Reading as Jules, I suddenly got overcome by how fearless this ally was, what a great and brave act it was to come to the rescue when I, Jules, was feeling so cornered, and alone. I actually had to stop for a moment to breathe back to normal!
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Empathy. And making a really good loaf of bread.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I’ve been working for a few years with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and I’d have to say that volunteering there every week has kept me sane during this pandemic. I’ve been mostly delivering groceries to seniors who are at risk. The Center has so many great programs, including trans resources, youth services and Models of Pride, and they really make you feel like part of a community. You can volunteer at the Center, from home, from your car! It definitely is a worthwhile group to be a part of.
All Kinds Of Other
By: James Sie
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
One winner will receive a copy of All Kinds Of Other (James Sie) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*