Earlier this month, at the Yallwest Festival in Santa Monica, CA, we got to sit down with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda author BECKY ALBERTALLI.
Becky Albertalli, the awesome author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and the just released Leah on the Offbeat, was at the Yallwest festival, which took place in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA earlier this month, and we got to spent some time with her to talk about her collaboration with They Both Die at the End author and close friend Adam Silvera, and to share her thoughts on the movie Love, Simon, which is based on SVHSA.
What was it like collaborating with Adam Silver on “What if it’s us?”
This is my favorite topic to talk about. It was wonderful! It was… for me, my favorite writing experience ever. It was very different, I think, for both of us, from any previous experiences we’ve had writing our solo books. And a lot of that is because he and I are both really private, like during the drafting process. We do not show anybody anything in that messy first draft stage.
But for “What if it’s us,” we had to kind of. So the way that we wrote is that we outlined it pretty closely. So, we know what was happening, but there was still a lot of playing off of each other and conversations and details and leaving things in. And I think, most importantly, kind of the voice. So, especially in the beginning, not only were we each developing our own character’s voices, but I really had to get to know his character, Ben, as well as my character, Arthur, because we were writing for two-thirds of the book, these boys are in each others’ lives. There’s a period of time where they had to find each other, but I’m writing quite a lot of Ben dialogue. He’s basically, you know, he’s the love interest in my book, and Arthur’s the love interest in Adam’s book. So, you have to—and it’s a love interest where you have access to their mind. So, you just have to nail that voice, and that requires so much back and forth. It’s just so much more a collaborative process than I thought.
I don’t know if it’s always like that for co-writing, but for me and Adam it was. And I think, for me, that was the joy of the whole process. It was so much fun.
Emailing or chatting?
Both. It was everything. I mean, we were kind of talking about these characters since 2014. We’d be somewhere at a book event, sitting at a hotel room, talking about stuff, and we’d just be talking about it and it would be one of those things where we’re like, “wait, we should type this up. These are good ideas.” Like, we’d be texting each other, and be like, “Save that! Save that! Put that in the file.” And some of those end up in the book. There’s a lot of emailing, there’s a lot of phone calls. A lotta, lotta phone time.
I think we’re both going through withdrawal. The other day, I think he just finished a draft, and I was addressing postcards, and he and I talked on the phone for four hours! I don’t even remember what we were talking about, but we missed talking on the phone for that long.
What can we expect to find in a book by Becky and Adam?
That’s the big question. People want to know, is it a happy ending or is it a…sad and death ending?
(laughs) I didn’t want to lead up to that, but yeah.
I’ll say it’s very much a Becky and Adam book with a Becky and Adam ending, which is super not helpful to people, but after you read it, you’ll be like, “Yeah, that’s a Becky and Adam ending.”
How much did the movie Love, Simon impact you personally?
I think I’m still sitting with that. It’s one of those things where it hasn’t sunk in at all. I don’t even think I fully understand the kind of impact it’s had on me, but it’s been really special seeing the way people have reacted to it. It’s hard to remember that I have any involvement in it, because I love it so much. Imagine waking up one day and finding that your favorite movie, whatever it is, and be like… that’s your movie! You have some degree of ownership over it. It’s hard to wrap my head around.
Now that you’ve collaborated with Adam, who else would you be interested in collaborating with?
I have an answer for that, but I don’t want to say it, but it’s something that I have been talking to one of my friends about, and we have… a thing.
Well, well, well… another book to look forward to! We can’t wait to find out who Becky will be collaborating with next! Until then…
About What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.
Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?
Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.
Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.
But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?
What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?
What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?
But what if it is?
Expected publish date: October 9, 2018