Friday, September 17, 2021

Q&A with Jay Coles



Photo by Victoria Ruth Photography


Jay Coles is the author of the new young adult novel Things We Couldn't Say. He also has written the YA novel Tyler Johnson Was Here. Also a musician, he lives in Indianapolis. 



Q: What inspired you to write Things We Couldn't Say, and how did you create your character Gio?  


A: To be honest, Gio's story came to me quite easily during the period of time I was stuck in my house in quarantine this past year. I spent a lot of time thinking about Gio’s biggest desires from the world, for himself, for those people in his life and the thing he most feared: abandonment.


From there, the whole plot of the book came to me. It’s kind of magical, I know. 


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 didn’t know how the novel would end before starting it. I prefer to let the characters take me on a journey instead of me coming up with the journey ahead of time. I must say I was just as shocked by the ending as everyone else. HA! 


Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: Things We Couldn’t Say went through a few title changes, but the title for this book represents all the true things that we feel like we have to keep to ourselves because of the shame we fear we’ll bring to ourselves, to others, or to the world.


There are things that we all have that we fear sharing with other people, parts of who we are, deep desires of our heart, wounds and trauma, you name it, we all have those things we feel like we just “can’t say.”


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: I hope readers take away that it’s okay to let people go, let people stay in the past if that’s where they want to be. This is a story about the complicated dynamic of forgiveness in relationships just as much as it is about love and family. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m very busy working on a lot of different things, but I’m not quite allowed to share anything yet!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I really, really, really want to write a Marvel book! If someone out there can make it happen, DO IT! (Please!)


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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