Today’s post features Co-Host Shenwei’s interview with author Emery Lee. Eir traditional published YA debut, Meet Cute Diary released on May 4th!
About Meet Cute Diary
Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships.
Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.
When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.
In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.
About the Author:
Emery Lee is a kidlit author, artist, and You-Tuber hailing from a mixed-racial background. After graduating with a degree in creative writing, e’s gone on to author novels, short stories, and web comics. When away from reading and writing, you’ll most likely find em engaged in art or snuggling cute dogs.
Visit Emery at: https://www.emeryleebooks.com/
Follow em on Twitter: www.twitter.com/emeryleewho
Follow em on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emeryleebooks/
Q: Meet Cute Diary is a romcom brimming with love and humor whose central focus isn’t on The Coming Out ExperienceTM, but it also doesn’t shy away from portraying some of the tougher experiences of being trans in a world that’s hostile to trans people. How did you strike the balance between keeping the focus on the lighter aspects and acknowledging those struggles on page?
A: I went into the book knowing that I wanted it to be first and foremost “happy”, so it ultimately came down to only including those things that I thought would add to the happiness instead of detract from it. In real life, we’re all a combination of good and bad experiences, and I’ve always thought that bad experiences are what make the good feel that much better. So I definitely still wanted to address that those bad things can and do happen because I think they inform the way we approach life and they impact Noah’s perception of what happiness should look like and why that might be harder for him to achieve as a marginalized person, but I only wanted to really include those things that were largely in the past or had some level of distance so that they would provide context to that happiness without dimming it.
Q: An ice cream shop meet cute was one of the first meet cutes in the story. If you were to describe Noah, Drew, Becca, and Devin as ice cream flavors, which would you choose for each of them?
A: Noah would be coffee, Drew would be mint chocolate chip, Becca would be cinnamon, and Devin would be lavender.
Q: Which of the different meet cute scenes (whether ones that actually happened to Noah or ones he made up for his MCD blog) was your favorite to write, and why?
A: Oddly enough, I think the funniest one to write was the one he actually didn’t include on the blog which was the “coffee shop” meet-cute where he thought he would fall in love with the barista. Just going through the harsh comparisons between what Noah hoped would happen and what actually happened was really fun and I cackled the whole time I wrote it LOL.
Q: If you were to pick a “theme song” for Meet Cute Diary, what would it be?
A: It’s so hard for me to narrow down one song because I tend to use different songs to embody different parts of the story. But I guess if I were making a TV show and needed an opening song, I’d probably go with “Young For The Summer” by Dales because that was a song I used a lot to get me in the mood to write the book.
Q: Boku no Hero Academia/My Hero Academia gets a mention in Meet Cute Diary. I have yet to watch it myself, but it’s on my list. If Noah were a character in BNHA, what would his special ability (or “Quirk,” as I believe they’re called) be?
A: Ah, yes, Noah’s quirk. I feel like it would be something related to storytelling, like where he crafts a story and then can make it real? Or maybe something where he’s just really good at tricking people into thinking it’s real? Something where he can craft things from nothing and people just have to deal with the chaos.
Q: Are there any meet cute scenes that you cut for plot/pacing reasons?
A: There was actually one meet cute scene at the end that we ended up cutting. It was supposed to be one of the blog submissions after the blog actually opened up to submissions, and it was a model UN meet cute where this trans girl accidentally grabbed somebody else’s drink at a café because they had the same order. It was really cute, but ultimately, we decided it ended the story on the wrong note so we cut it.