Connect with Annameekee Hesik on Twitter @youknowwhogirls or visit her website: www.annameekee.com.
Q&A with Author Annameekee Hesik:
- If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?
Oh, that’s a good question. I would totally love to walk a day in Garrett’s Nikes. She oozes confidence, has great curves, and says and does what she wants. She’s super sassy and tells it like it is, and I can’t get away with that in my real life. I would have all the answers, make heads turn with my skills on the court, and eat French fries to my heart’s content! I’d probably call up Abbey to give her some sage advice and then drag her to the park to join a pick-up basketball game. Then maybe more French fries. Yes, definitely more French fries.
- Please tell us what inspired you to begin writing Young Adult? Did being a teacher factor in?
Being a teacher definitely influenced my decision to write YA books. When I first started teaching, I really wanted to stock my classroom library with books that touched on the contemporary issues that my students were experiencing. (Don’t get me wrong, I love books like Anne of Green Gables, too!) So I started reading all sorts of YA books- especially books for my LGBTQ students. There were a lot of great books for my boy students, but the selection of books for my middle and high school lesbian students was kind of small and, well, not really diverse. So, I decided one night that I should write my own book for my students. If I wanted them to see characters that were bilingual like them and imperfect and hilarious like them, then I better make up my own. I also wanted them to read a story that was uplifting and funny, despite all the drama that is a realistic part of being a teenager. Writing wasn’t new to me; I minored in creative writing at UC Davis, but I mostly wrote fiction and poetry. It was inspiring to have a very specific audience in mind while writing The You Know Who Girls. My goal was to write the kind of book I wish had been in my school library when I was coming out in high school and falling for girls. I’m so excited to finally share my work with my students and other teens (and grownups!) around the globe.
- Can you tell readers a little bit about The You Know Who Girls?
The star of The You Know Who Girls is Abbey Brooks. She’s a tall, clumsy, unsure freshman who gets love struck while ordering French fries from the very flirtatious and sexy Hot Dog on a Stick Chick at the mall. (A detect a theme of French fries in this interview!) What follows are adventures in love and friendship that Abbey could have never imagined experiencing or enjoying. Garrett and Stef, Gila High’s most vocal and recognized on-campus lesbians, act as Abbey’s guides as she discovers that she is a you-know-who-girl, too. It’s a fun, flirty, and fast-paced novel that everyone, gay or straight, who has ever fallen in love and lived to tell about it can relate to.
- Can we look forward to a sequel in the future? And if yes, when?
Yes! Abbey’s sophomore year is in the works! I wish I could give you a definite date, but since I am only on chapter 15, with 15 more to go, it’s going to be at least a year until it’s out on bookshelves. Total bummer, I know. I promise to work diligently into the wee hours to get it done as soon as possible.
- What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?
I really want my readers have a good laugh, feel like they are right there in the halls of Gila High with Abbey, and realize that even when life feels like one disaster after another, it all works out in the end. Like Harvey Milk said, “You gotta give em hope!” I want my lesbian readers feel like they are not alone- that they are not the only you-know-who-girls in the world. And I want my non-LGBTQ readers see that Abbey’s story isn’t just about coming out as a lesbian; it’s about love, and friendship, and heartaches, and surviving it all. It’s about learning who you are, figuring out what you want, and learning to laugh at yourself once in a while. If none of that sinks it, I hope at least all my readers learn that ordering French fries at the mall could change everything…in a good way!
Now Available from Annameekee Hesik:
Abbey tries to ignore the weird, happy feeling in her gut, but that proves to be as impossible as avoiding the very insistent (and—rumor has it—very lesbian) players on Gila High’s girls’ basketball team. They want freakishly long-legged Abbey to try out, and Abbey doesn’t hate the idea. But Kate made Abbey pinky swear to avoid basketball and to keep away from the you-know-who girls on the team.
Sometimes promises can’t be kept. And sometimes girls in uniform are impossible to resist.