Apr 16, 2011

Boyfriends With Girlfriends - Interview with Alex Sanchez

I am happy to host Alex today for an interview on the Boyfriends with Girlfriends tour. Thank you Teen Book Scene!

You were teased and called names as a gay teen, what advice do you have for teens that are being bullied because of their sexual orientation?
My heart goes out to teens going through difficult times. What I tell them is this: Keep reaching out. Never close up. Never give up. Hang in there. You will get through this.  You are a wonderful human being. Love, respect, and accept yourself for the beautiful soul you are. If they want to talk with someone, I encourage them to contact one of the organizations on my Youth Resources page. And of course I encourage them to read my books!!!

Tell us a little about how you started writing for GLBT books for teens?
I didn’t set out to write books for teens. When I wrote my first novel, Rainbow Boys, I was simply writing the book I wished I’d had available to read when I was a teen—a book that would’ve told me, “It’s okay to be who you are.” Part of who I was then was a very normal teenage boy trying to sort out love, friendship, sex, and sexuality.

I read in a previous interview that you say to "write what you're most afraid to write." That begs the question, what are you afraid of?
Just about everything. I’m pretty wussy. Writing allows me to face my fears. When I began the Rainbow books, I was scared to write about being gay. Now, no longer. When I wrote The God Box, I was scared to
write about being Christian and gay. I got through that. Bait helped me through my fears of writing about sexual abuse during boyhood. I was likewise scared to explore the topic of bisexuality, the subject of my newest book, Boyfriends with Girlfriends. Writing is a way for me to work through my fears and help others to do so, too. 

How is Boyfriends With Girlfriends different from your other GLBT titles?
The characters challenge the gay-or-straight / either-or boxes that we often try to fit into. Although I’ve touched on bisexuality in my other novels, this is the first book where I faced it more in depth.

In Boyfriends With Girlfriends, Lance has a major hangup about the concept of bi-sexuality calling it a "cop-out."  How do you respond to others who feel the same way?
My response is similar to the character Sergio: Just because you’re exclusively gay or straight, that doesn’t mean everybody is. Isn’t it a little bit arrogant for a person to pass judgment on another person’s sexual orientation?

Kimoko is a lesbian teen worried about disappointing her family and their ideals of what it means to be "happy." Was this something you and your family struggled with?
Yeah. I think my parents always wanted me to be happy, but their ideas of what would make me happy were often at odds with mine. At times, it led to arguments.

What books with gay themes do you recommend for teens? You know, besides yours. ;)
Gosh, there are sooo many great gay teen books now. I have a huge list
on my website at: http://www.alexsanchez.com/gay_teen_books.htm  

Thank you, Alex! 

Be sure to check out Alex's other books HERE