I feel you know you’ve made it when your book has a map on the end papers. I’ve also worked for a newspaper—I know that when you are writing a newspaper story, you just simplify, simplify, simplify.

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But it still feels weird because sometimes I feel like people expect me to be thinking of my teen audience at every step, like I came to town and said, “I’m here to serve you, teenagers. I just wrote it thinking, What book do I want to write? read more wholeheartedly and more openly and more passionately. Not just compared to the rest of the book world, but to the rest of the entertainment world. ” I think when you try to write realistically, you end up with more diverse books because the world is full of people who come from different places who look different. A., what do you make of a straight white guy like John Green being considered the king of the section? and more people reading female authors and more people reading period.

But in some ways teens have more time, so they give themselves wholeheartedly. I’m much more conscious about it now, but when I started, I just wanted to write worlds that felt real to me and characters that felt real to me. At the beginning, it was just this, “What does this world look like? Does his dominance crowd out other more diverse voices?

I intentionally added a couple love songs yesterday because I realized that Baz’s playlist is all love songs, and Simon had hardly any, and I think it’s because he’s all about saving the world. I do think in our culture there was a time when this had to be subtext, but I don’t think that time is now.

I was also fond of the song if it said “carry on” in it, so the Kansas song and then some Styx.

I think it’s probably no secret that there is a romance between two young men in this book. No, this is not some cheesy, will-they-won’t-they, subtext-y thing. I’m definitely not the first person to write a gay Y.

He said, “You know, Mom, you’re an author, but John Green’s a teacher . He’s not all about writing love poetry or mooning or yearning. People kept saying, ‘I can’t wait for the subtext,’ and I have such a negative reaction to that. I decided to spoil their romance always, every time I talked about it.

was heaped with unanimous critical praise and mountains of awards, and landed her an army of loyal fans that include the kind of disenfranchised teens she covered so sensitively and realistically in her breakout hit.

Unbelievably, Rowell, 42, has released three books since, including —have shared the same uncanny ability to reach out and grab the reader by the heart and squeeze. Rowell’s books are rarely aimed at the same audience, cover the same topic, or adhere to any formulaic genre tropes that dog so many stories that are equally popular with teens.

Is this project aimed at a certain age group in any way? Yeah, I just listed my character playlist on Spotify.

Comic books, even more than fiction, seem to be aimed at age groups. My favorite books I think are difficult to shelve; like ?

A day before I interviewed Randy Rainbow, I was sitting in a Starbucks in my neighborhood enjoying a venti dark roast coffee with three pumps of pumpkin spice.