Interview with David Levithan about Hold Me Closer

Hi everyone,

I’m delighted to welcome David Levithan to the blog today to talk about his new book Hold Me Closer which was published last month!

David Levithan is a bestselling and critically-acclaimed writer of young adult novels including Boy Meets Boy, Two Boys Kissing, Every Day and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green).

His new book, Hold Me Closer, is the script of Tiny Cooper’s musical, first introduced to readers in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Filled with humour, pain, and ‘big, lively, belty’ musical numbers, readers will finally learn the full story of Tiny Cooper from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen ex-boyfriends.

David Levithan pic

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Hi David!

What inspired you to create Tiny Cooper’s character when you were writing Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green?

Ah, you’re starting with a trick question!  I didn’t actually create Tiny’s character – John did.  But from the minute he showed up in John’s opening lines, I knew that I’d want him to make his way to my chapters, too.

Did you always know you would write Hold Me Closer after finishing Will Grayson, Will Grayson or were you inspired to write it by something else?

Writing the chapters of WG,WG that included Tiny and his musical was one of the most fun parts of writing the book.  So I think it was natural for me to want to write more of it.  And certainly seeing the fans’ reaction to Tiny was encouraging.  I’ve been going to see musicals for as long as I can remember, so it was kismet to suddenly have a musical project to write.

The book deals with many topics including homophobia but also mental health – how important is it for you for YA books to reflect the entire spectrum of the teenage experience?

I think it’s important for authors to write about what matters to them, and I think as a group, YA authors are really dedicated to exploring the teen experience and to staying emotionally true.

The book is written in the style of a musical – did you have to do any research to write it?

Scarily, no.

None? You must have seen many musicals to be able to write Hold Me Closer!! What is your favourite?

Into the Woods.

If you could meet one of the characters from your books, who would it be and what would you say/do?

I mean, whenever I have out-of-town guests, I take them to see a Broadway show.  So if Tiny Cooper were to visit me, I’m sure we’d go see a show.  Probably Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Have you read any amazing books recently that have wowed you? Also, do you have great US LGBT* YA to recommend?

Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places and Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep wowed me, and I loved Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime – although now I’m the one who feels cursed, because I have to wait a year for the final book in the trilogy!

As for great US LGBT* YA – the great thing is that there’s no way to encompass them all in the answer to a single question.  But among my favorites are A. S. King’s Ask the Passengers, Nick Burd’s The Vast Fields of Ordinary, Bill Konigsberg’s Openly Straight, Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle, Julie Ann Peters’ books, and Francesca Lia Block’s Baby Be-Bop.  (That’s a very incomplete list.)

Thank you so much for answering my questions! I loved both Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Hold Me Closer and I’m hoping we get to hear of many many schools organising Hold Me Closer shows!

Me too!

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And the winners of the Hold Me Closer giveaway are below, drop me a line with your address!

Cynthia @ Afterwritten

Shelumiel

Michelle @ Fluttering Butterflies

Rhys @ Thirst for Fiction

Fionnuala