Kate Scelsa is the author of one of my favorites contemporary debut novel this year, Fans Of The Impossible Life. When I finished reading her book I became her #1 fan and followed her on Twitter and I told her how much I love her novel as I normally do. She’s super cool to her fans, she writes really amazing characters and heartbreaking but inspiring storylines.
Hope you enjoy this mini interview! And if you haven’t read Fans Of The Impossible Life, I command you to do it now and check my book review here.
1. What inspired you to write Fans Of The Impossible Life?
I am committed to writing queer, feminist stories. With “Fans” that meant looking at the complexities of being a queer teen and the ways in which we navigate friendships and love and sexuality at that age. As far as feminism goes, I wanted to write about complex girls who are in the middle of discovering and claiming their own identities for themselves (although see my upcoming second book for my true feminist manifesto.)
It was important to me that “Fans” explore the intensity of the friendships that we make when we’re teenagers, when we’re still figuring out who we are, when other people become clues to different possibilities about the ways we might be able to live and be. We are learning about ourselves through each other, and that’s not always an easy process.
So all of that, mixed in with my love for the book “Brideshead Revisited,” created the spark that became “Fans.”
2. Describe your book in 3 words.
Love is complicated.
3. What’s the message you want to give the readers through your book?
This is a tough one to answer, because the experience of reading a book is so personal, I wouldn’t want to dictate what someone should get from that experience. But I find it very satisfying when people tell me that they can really feel the way that these characters feel when they read “Fans.” I am intentionally writing about the kinds of characters that are often marginalized, and it is important to me to give them a full humanity, to make their stories and feelings real for any reader. The more we can get inside the heads of all different kinds of characters, the more we will be able to understand and embrace our common humanity.
Oh and I lied – there is one message I would like the readers of “Fans” to get, which is that vulnerability is not weakness.
4. Though I connected a lot with Jeremy, Mira and Sebby, my favorite character was Rose. Who was your favorite character? Why?
I love that you loved Rose! The more she developed as a character the more affection I had for her. I know you want her to have her own spinoff. It’s not a bad idea!
I can’t possibly choose a favorite character though. They all mean so much to me and I have different relationships with each of them. Mira is the closest to myself, and so I have a complicated relationship with her. I love her, but sometimes when I was writing her I would get so frustrated at the ways in which she sabotages herself. We had to hash some things out and I had to find some real compassion for her and what she’s going through in her struggle with depression.
5. What advice would you give to all the aspiring authors out there?
The most important thing that you can do as a writer is learn to understand and nurture your own relationship to your writing. You have to know why you write and what it means to you, and prioritize protecting that above all else. If you make that relationship the most important thing, then you will be able to weather all the noise of the rest of the stuff that goes along with being an author. All the times when you show your work to someone and get a disappointing response, the struggles with editing, with submitting, with rejection, with trying to stick with it in the face of a world that is really going to make you keep knocking on that door to get your words out there.
If you want to be a professional writer, you are going to need persistence. And persistence comes from good old fashioned stubbornness. But it also comes from knowing that you NEED to do this. You NEED to write. Why? Maybe it makes you feel good, it puts you in charge of your own narrative, it allows you to daydream, it helps you process your thoughts and feelings, it lets you live lives you would never be able to live. Maybe it lets you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. Maybe just the act of creating something new is joyful and exciting to you. Whatever it is, know what that thing is and honor it.
It is a serious gift to be given the spark of creativity, to care about something enough to want to sit down and just spend hours of your time alone with it. Not everyone has this. So if you have it, you need to honor it, and you need to commit yourself to it.
Thank you Kate, for agreeing on doing this interview! You are the best!