Q: How did you come up with the idea for Honey Girl, and for your character Grace?
A: I come from a big fandom background, so I love tropes. Married in Vegas is a trope I’ve always loved but didn’t see a lot of with queer characters. So, I wanted to have two lesbians getting lost in each other and the intoxication of alcohol and the city.
Grace took a while to come together, but I knew she was going to have this passion for either space or the ocean. Once I decided on space, her path kind of unraveled before me of who she was and what she found important and how she related to the universe.
Q: Can you say more about why you decided to make Grace an astronomer, and how you think that career choice factors into her search for identity?
A: I love space, so once I decided to pass that on to Grace, her identify evolved from there. She thinks of herself as part of a much bigger universe, something that she has inherited in some small way.
Just like the stars and galaxies and booming supernovas, Grace Porter has a place here, too. She just needs to find it. For space, things are identified by other people. For Grace, she has to identify who she is and what she is and where she’s supposed to be for herself.
Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?
A: I very much wrote this novel without an outline, but I did know from the beginning her mother had an orange grove, and that eventually she would make her way there.
Changes were made, but nothing huge. The story very much has always been about Grace’s journey to self-discovery, but the details of it, the way her friends and family fit, were definitely sharpened and honed much later in the process.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?
A: That unconditional love exists. That you are more than the expectations put upon you. That community is crucial to our survival. That loneliness does not mean you are alone, but that you haven’t yet found the people that see you, that hear you.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Absolutely nothing, and it’s wonderful. I have multiple drafts in the works, but I’m currently on a self-imposed writing break. When I get back into it, I’m going to write some friendship-focused things, I think.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Thanks for listening!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb