Sunday, May 28, 2023

Q&A with Erik J. Brown



Erik J. Brown is the author of the new young adult novel Lose You to Find Me. He also has written the YA novel All That's Left in the World. He is based in Philadelphia.


Q: What inspired you to write Lose You to Find Me, and how did you create your characters Tommy and Gabe?


A: I always wanted to write a book that takes place in a retirement community because it was my after-school job during high school.


It wasn't until 2020 that I realized what the story would be: teens in their last year of high school trying to figure out their future. With the pandemic, everything was up in the air and no one had a clue what our future would look like, so I took that unsure future and turned it into high schoolers figuring out their lives.


Tommy and Gabe are both a combination of me from high school, making silly mistakes and being very slow learners. Thankfully they grow a lot faster than I did!


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


A: The original title was In the Weeds, referencing restaurant slang for a server being in over their heads. But Lose You to Find Me came about because of the Selena Gomez song "Lose You to Love Me."


The book does deal with romance, but it's more about figuring yourself out. And sometimes we do need to lose someone to find out who we truly are. I think that's why so many people connect with the lyrics for that song. 


Q: The writer Jason June said of the book, "Erik J. Brown perfectly captures how heart-warming and cringey falling in love for the first time can be." What do you think of that description?


A: It's a billion percent correct, unlike my math skills.


You know those nights when you're having trouble sleeping and all of a sudden a cringey memory from your past pops into your head and you just marinate on it in the dark and can't believe you did that? That's most of the choices the characters in this book make for a good 7/8ths of the book.


They all have main character energy and think things are going to work out for them, so they make the worst decisions thinking they're the best. And that's what falling in love is. You make very dumb out-of-character decisions because you're blinded by your romantic fantasies.  


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


A: Things don't always work out, but that doesn't mean your hopes and dreams are over. My friend, Erika Gabriel, is a psychic medium who says the universe conspires to help all of us, and I actually believe that.


Even when things don't go our way, maybe it means we are still chasing our purpose in life, but we'd fail miserably at it if we got everything right away. Sometimes working for it along the journey is more important to who we are than where we end up. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I'm writing the sequel to my debut, All That's Left in the World! It should be out next year... as long as I hit my deadlines. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Yes! Be kind. Also, butter and eggs should be room temperature if you're going to bake with them and flour should be spooned into your measuring cup and leveled off. 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment