Almost a year and a half after selling None of the Above, my debut year is finally here! And I’m terrified and excited and anxious and happy and every emotion in between.
I also have a tiny bit of news. Remember when I announced my release date as April 28th?
NotA‘s official release date has been pushed up to April 7th, for absolutely the best of reasons: it’s going to be taught this spring in an English course at Illinois State University!
I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been a dream of mine for a long time. When I sold NotA, I knew that it probably wasn’t going to be blockbuster material. First of all, the YA market is incredibly saturated, with hundreds of traditionally published books coming out each year. It’s hard for a debut author to have his or her voice heard above the fray, and it may be easier to get an NFL contract than to break into the New York Times YA bestseller list.
What made me more nervous, of course, is that intersex is still fairly taboo – even invisible – and super misunderstood. That’s why Hanna the Irish Banana‘s Goodreads review of NotA is my favorite so far… because it gives me hope that even if people are initially put off by the subject matter, the book can win readers over, and more importantly, increase their understanding of intersex.
Note that I didn’t use the “t” word: Teach.
One of my biggest inner conflicts as I was writing was that I really, really didn’t want it to sound like a textbook. Yet, at the very same time, I felt a heavy responsibility to make it medically informative precisely because intersex is so poorly understood. It was so crucial that I get the details about intersex right, because even medical professionals don’t understand intersex.
But how to inform without being didactic? It’s a fine line that I hope that I managed, though I know that everyone will have their own opinion. The last thing I want is for NotA to be considered to be, I don’t know, a kind of literary cod liver oil that one has to imbibe as penance for their cotton candy beach reads. Though it’d be cool if it were a superfood, like blueberries; those are yummy and good for your heart. I hope that readers both learn from NotA and enjoy it. We shall see.
The newer launch date is also cool because it means that NotA will be available for some fabulous events that I will be attending in April, including Women’s FEST in Rehoboth, Delaware, and the Little Flower Teen Writers Festival in Philadelphia.
Even more special to me is that NotA now shares its book birthday with one of the most adorable, funny and moving books of 2015: Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Becky’s irresistible story–pitched as You’ve Got Mail starring gay teenage boys with good grammar–is a perfect companion to NotA. She’s also a clinical psychologist, so both of us also have the medical background thing going on. In other words:
So there you have it. None of the Above will be hitting bookstores in three months! In fact, if you’ve got a gift certificate burning a hole in your pocket, you even can consider pre-ordering a signed copy! Stay tuned for some more frenzied blog posts – including a love letter more of my Fearless Fifteeners friends (check out the #2015YAreads hashtag on Twitter, this week’s TTT posts, or check out their AMAZING books here).
Happy Debut Year, indeed.