Saturday, September 10, 2022

Q&A with Anna Gracia




Anna Gracia is the author of the new young adult novel Boys I Know. She has worked as a CPA and a teacher, and she lives on the West Coast.


Q: What inspired you to write Boys I Know, and how did you create your character June?


A: I really wanted to highlight what dating as a teenage girl can look like--how the relationships she has shape her and her worldview. I wrote a deeply imperfect character with the intention of showing that even if you don't know what you want yet, it's OK not to settle for what you know you don't want.


Q: The Publishers Weekly review of the book said, in part, “Gracia employs a whirlwind pace that complements June’s myriad triumphs and failures; a large, vibrant cast; and a true-to-life teen voice to explore societal gender roles, racism, and sexuality while artfully depicting one teenager’s search for herself amid cultural and familial pressures.” What do you think of that description?


A: It's...nice? I'm still adjusting to the art of receiving compliments.


I will say, I think the best thing anyone can say about my book is that it's realistic.


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: The novel went through many, many changes (for one thing, there used to be a lot more boys!), but the one thing that didn't change was the ending. I always knew what I wanted June to come out of her story with and who that (didn't) include.


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


A: I hope that readers are able to look at a character like June and whether they like her or not, realize that she deserves love and care, just as they do. And that their emotions are not frivolous or over-dramatic, but very real life experiences that help shape who they are. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I'm working on my first adult novel about a college girl who chases her ex-boyfriend to Mexico without telling the friends she drags with her and chaos ensues. It's called The Break-Up Vacation and should be out next summer from MTV Books.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I hope that readers come to this story with a lens of understanding and compassion, that June is still very much a child, figuring things out, and that mistakes are inevitable. The book is supposed to be infuriating because you're experiencing everything through her immature perspective.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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