Hey and welcome to my stop on the YA Reads Debut Author Bash! I’m so excited to be a part of the tour and share my interview Misa Sugiura with you all.
ABOUT THE BOOKIt's Not Like It's a Secret
by Misa Sugiura
Publication Date: May 9, 2017 Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.
When Sana and her family move to California she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore anymore.
Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy… what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated.
What made you decide to write a book? Was this something that you decided recently, or something you’ve wanted to do for a while?
I’ve always loved to write, but I’m terrible at making things up, so I was surprised when I realized I wanted to try writing a novel. I was doing research on Japanese mythology at the library, reading hundred-year-old translations of fourteen-hundred-year-old texts. To give my brain and soul a break, I went to the YA section and randomly picked out a book. A few chapters in, and I thought, “I could do this.” By the time I finished, I thought, “I want to do this!” And when I realized how few books about LGBTQ kids and kids of color were out there, I thought, “I need to do this!”
Where is your favorite place to write?
I split my writing time between my kitchen table and my local Starbucks. I typically go to the Starbucks when I’m feeling less than confident (and also when the cat won’t leave me alone). Somehow being at a coffee shop makes me feel more professional and productive.
What is the most difficult part about the writing process?
For me, the most difficult part is definitely drafting. Like I said earlier, I’m terrible at making things up. It’s a slow, painful process full of self-doubt.
What books or authors inspire you?
Reading Becky Albertalli and Kim Culbertson’s books helps me remember that you don’t need a grand tragedy or a villain to make a compelling plot and characters. A.E. Kaplan, Jared Reck, Karen Fortmeyer, and Candace Granger are shining examples of sharp, incisive humor that never feels like it’s trying too hard. Kelly Loy Gilbert’s characters are marvelous in their complexity. Angie Thomas and Nic Stone remind me that it’s okay to get “political.”
What was your favorite scene to write?
The emotionally charged, high adrenaline moments, like the kissing scenes and the fight scenes—ooh, and there’s a chase scene I loved writing, too—were fun and easy to write. And really gratifying. I think writing scenes like those is a way of letting my id out to play.
Are there any other diverse books you like to recommend to readers?
So many! Anna-Marie McLemore’s books are exquisite; her latest is WILD BEAUTY. Maurene Goo’s I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE and Riley Redgate’s NOTEWORTHY are really fun Asian American contemporary reads. Sonia Belasco’s SPEAK OF ME AS I AM and Sheba Karim’s THAT THING WE CALL A HEART are tender, heart-wrenching, and poetic
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