Talk, Q & A and book signing
26th October 2018
Prince Charles Cinema, London
What If It’s Us is the anticipated lovechild of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, highly respected authors for their works within the LGBT young adult community. Becky Albertalli, author of the beloved Simon Vs., and Adam Silvera, author of They Both Die At The End, were kind enough to travel to London a week after the release of their latest novel to talk to readers about their creation and its process. Hosted by Waterstones Piccadilly and fronted by fellow LGBT YA author, Simon James Green, author of Noah Can’t Even, this was an event I just could not miss.
The event itself wasn’t particularly the most well planned, starting a little behind schedule and taking around three hours after the talk had finished to complete the signing. Personally, I don’t mind waiting to get my book signed, it usually being a good indication that the author is taking the time to have a conversation with each person they meet – something they don’t necessarily have to do. However, it was a little embarrassing having to wait down the side of a cinema aisle while people take their seats, the pre-movie advertisements playing as you’re filing slowly out the room. It wasn’t fair, for those waiting for the signing nor the people who paid extra to see a movie in an independent cinema!
Nevertheless, the event itself was full of fun-loving humour and interesting insights into the creation of the already popular novel.
Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera have known each other for years, beginning a friendship shortly after the release of their debut novels, both of which they read quickly and discussed over text their thoughts; friendship goals for any writer! However, What If It’s Us? (A confirmed title inspired by Dear Evan Hansen!) first came into light a few years back, during a time where the pair would email another dating stories, many of which featured misconnections and seeking a passing crush they’d spotted in public. This moment is what inspired the novel they began to work on, Arthur (written by Albertalli) and Ben (Silvera) soon taking forms in their mind and thus, this standalone novel was born. As they spoke about their characters, it was evident to see how much thought and love they poured into them. Although, they’re not autobiographical, there is multiple elements of them that reflected the authors selves, something I relate to in my own writing. It was wonderful to hear similar experiences from those successful in the craft, giving me hope in my own future and let me know that I’m on the right lines!
“Ben is the most me since Aaron in More Happy Than Not.”
The talk also touched on the topic of LGBT content within young adult literature, and the differences between a novel being promoted as a ‘gay love story’ in comparison to simply a ‘love story’. Silvera stated that the world was dominated by heterosexual stories, and that it was completely unnecesary to promote a novel as gay in comparison to being normalised as a romance novel. However, that also opened more problems; they want thosebwithin the LGBT community to notice the fact it was about a same sex relationship. Silvera also stated that the fact that authors themselves are treated differently, something I had never considered before, using the example of John Green’s pay in comparison to his own and the fact he wouldn’t be questioned on why he writes in the point-of-view of heterosexual women, yet Albertalli is questioned for writing about gay men. An insightful conversation, yet one that was naturally impossible to resolve.
“Always write the book that you want to be reading.”
Albertalli and Silvera bounced off another throughout the talk, it continuing throughout the signing as the pair sat and signed copies none stop from beginning until end. For an event that began at 12 and continued until around 4, it was refreshing to see that they were still as enthusitic to speak to each reader regardless of how long it took. When I finally met them, both Becky and Adam were polite and welcoming, speaking excitably about my own projects and wishing me well for the future. It was an overall wonderful event.
My review of Becky Albertalli’s Simon Vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda is available here.
My review of Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End is available here.
My review of Simon James Green’s Noah Can’t Even is available here.