Today I’m utterly thrilled to welcome C.B. Lee to Queer YA to talk about her fantastic new book Not Your Sidekick! Tune in later this week for my review of the book!
Hi C.B., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hello! Thank you for interviewing me today. I’m C.B., I’m from California and I have a passion for writing, hiking, and traveling. I’m a first generation Asian American and I’m quite excited to be introducing some characters whose backgrounds resemble my own. My current novel is Not Your Sidekick, an action-adventure YA novel where Jess and her crush Abby uncover an unsettling secret about their world.
Tell us something about your character’s friends.
Jess’ two best friends are Bells and Emma, and they’ve all been friends since middle school and are incredibly close. None of them are particularly popular at school, but they have their particular interests, with Emma playing on the school volleyball team and Bells’ art. They’re incredibly supportive of Jess, especially with her crush, and there’s lots of fond teasing involved with that. There’s a bit of tension involving some secrets Bells has been keeping, but we’ll find out more about that in the novel.
There is a lot of food chat in Not Your Sidekick! What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food?
Jess’ favorite meal is bánh xèo, a Vietnamese savory crepe cooked with plenty of herbs and spices, bean sprouts, pork belly, and shrimp. It’s eaten wrapped in lettuce and dipped in fish sauce, and in the Not Your Sidekick universe, a particular treat due to the lack of resources. Her favorite dessert is Thai tea and cake, and her favorite snacks are potato chips.
What activity does your character absolutely hate?
Organized sports. Jess hates PE in school, never excelled in any sports. She likes hiking, but to her that’s as easy as taking a walk, and she also gets to enjoy scenery.
What other author’s book do you think your character would be good in?
I think it would be really fun to have Jess and her friends in The Star Host by FT Lukens. While the Not Your Sidekick universe is capable of space travel, the disasters that devastated the planet’s resources made everyone focus on terraforming their own planet and making it liveable. However, it’s entirely plausible for Ren and Asher and their worlds to exist in the same universe! I think it would be fun if they all met and then got to talk and collaborate with their various gifts.
What skills do you think a writer needs?
Practice and determination. I think practicing by doing is the best way to learn, reading others’ work and trying their hand at it. Striving to do one’s best is and not giving up is an important skill for not just writing but many traits in life, but I think it is particularly important to keep going. It’s a road with a lot of discouragements, so definitely the ability to keep going and pursuing that dream is so important.
Thank you so much for answering our question C.B.!
About Not Your Sidekick:
Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, whom Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.
About C.B. Lee:
C.B. Lee is a bisexual writer, rock climber, and pinniped enthusiast from Southern California. A first-generation Asian American, she is passionate about working in communities of color and empowering youth to be inspired to write characters and stories of their own. Lee’s debut novel Seven Tears at High Tide was published by Duet Books in 2015 and named a finalist in the Bisexual Books Awards. This summer, C.B. was named to Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices.
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Thank you to Duet Books | Interlude Press for the book!