I am still finding it hard to process that i’ve actually met Becky and Adam. It felt like i’d been waiting years for this event, and honestly i was stunned that it happened at all. They’re such huge names in YA and even the world now after the success of Love, Simon and it was wonderful to hear them talk in Manchester.
This book event was sold as a talk and signing, which i was absolutely thrilled about when the tickets got announced. The authors are currently on tour for What If It’s Us, their collaborative novel about Arthur and Ben and their chance meeting in New York. This book has been one of my most anticipated books of the year and i was absolutely thrilled that i would be able to get my book signed by both of them.
The actual talk was incredible. They gave a lot of insight in to their books and characters and you could clearly see the work they’ve both put in to the story together. It was really lovely to see two authors who are genuinely friends connecting over characters.
There were a lot of questions from the chair of the talk and also the audience, including what had been cut from the novel either in their edits or the editorial changes, and Adam revealed that Ben was supposed to have a younger brother in the drafts, and that was something that he never actually got around to writing.
It also got revelaed that in the planning stages, although each of them had their separate characters they were very collaborative on the outline for the story and where they wanted it to go. They said they used to plan on the phone together, in car rides and even at book events they were at together. It was a long process for them to get to the point of actually writing the book, and i think you can tell from the way it’s written and how well the chapters merge together from the two separate stories. They also said that they wrote the whole thing by writing it chapter by chapter and emailing it across for the other to read and add to in the next one. I really love that idea and i would love to do that with someone some day, just to see what ends up coming out.
One of the big changes that was made during the editorial edits was that Arthur’s storyline changed from him moving to New York to visiting New York. In the novel, Arthur is working there over the summer with his mother, so is limited to the time he gets to spend with Ben and his new friends there. It puts a time pressure on the whole experience and gives it some kind of risk which i actually really like. It would have been a very different story with just Arthur moving to New York.
They also said that they went through four different endings for What If It’s Us before settling on the final one. Adam said that so many people were disappointed with the ending or didn’t think it was right – but they felt like it was perfect. I have to agree with them that i actually really enjoyed the ending and i’m happy with how they did it. Both of the authors separately write incredible books with endings and situations that aren’t perfect all the time, this book really took that to a new level for me and i absolutely loved it.
Close to the end of the talk, Becky and Adam were asked about the LGBTQ+ in the stories they’ve written and what they think about current LGBTQ+ books. Adam had a really great quite which was:
Don’t read one book about a gay character and think you’re woke.
I absolutely loved this, although had everyone laughing, i think it depicts quite well what the current YA and LGBTQ+ reading is like. There are plenty of people who suddenly think they know a lot about certain issues because they’ve read one book on something. For instance i’ve been asked my opinions in depth on the shooting of black people in America recently, all because I read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I refused to answer because that’s not something i ever have or will have experience with. There’s a lot of that attitude floating around the bookish community i thin and i’m glad an author such as Adam picked up on that and chose to talk about it publicly.
I really loved this event, and it was one of the nicest author talks i’ve ever been to. After i got my books signed and had a chat with them and they’re two of the most lovely people i’ve ever met.
On top of all this, keep an eye out on the blog for the INTERVIEW with Becky and Adam that we did before the event. Now that was extremely exciting.