I have a treat for you today.
I was lucky enough to do a Q&A with Zack Smedley, author of Deposing Nathan. I want to thank Zack again for agreeing to this Q&A and I hope all my readers enjoy it.
Thank you again and without further ado….
Zack Smedley Q&A
Q: How did you think up the idea for Deposing Nathan?
A: Basically, I glued two ideas together…these being, i) “I want to write a legal drama similar to the SOCIAL NETWORK, but with higher stakes,” and ii) “I want to discuss bisexuality, Catholicism, and the messy collision of the two.” Thus, the idea for DEPOSING NATHAN was born: a religious teen boy, Nathan, is legally forced to recap how he met his best friend (Cam), the complex friendship that followed, and what led to the night where Cam ultimately stabbed him. As Nate tells their story, he’ll have to decide how much to truly reveal…and in doing so, risk tearing his and Cam’s lives apart.
Q: What made you want to be an author?
A: It’s the way I best know to help people.
Q: What has been your favorite moment as a new author so far?
A: The first time I received a monologue from a reader. There are fan emails, and then there are monologues. Emails that start with someone thanking me for the book I’ve written, then describing their own coming out journey/personal struggles, then telling me how DEPOSING NATHAN helped them make peace with their own sexuality, or their kid’s sexuality, or their journey to reconcile religion with queerness. The first time I got one of these monologues, it reduced me to messy sobs…I couldn’t believe someone had written a multi-page email about how my book had literally changed their life. That was on March 29th. Since then, I’ve received at least 2 or 3 monologues every week on top of the regular fan mail. I print out every one of them for my wall. My book being praised by the New York Times? That was nice. But the wall of monologues is what I look at when I need a reminder to keep writing.
Q: Deposing Nathan discusses religion a lot. What made you want to tackle religion and dealing with sexuality and religion?
A: Quite simply, there wasn’t a book in YA that satisfactorily covered it. There are a few that tackle the struggle of religion vs. sexuality, but these all treat religion as a complex obstacle to escape from. I saw a whole group of teens–Christians who also identified as LGBT–getting left behind by the lack of representation in the YA community. There wasn’t a book they could look to and say, “Oh! So it IS possible to be both and here’s why.” I wanted to write a book that fiercely makes that point, while also covering topics like how to navigate toxic friendships, the importance of self-care, and how to be yourself while under the thumb of controlling parents.
Q: Did you see yourself relating to Nathan or Cam? Both? Neither? Or was there another character in the book you especially related to.
A: Certain parts of both. Cam’s sharp, rapid-fire sarcasm is definitely borrowed from my own personality. I relate less so to Nate–which is ironic since he’s the narrator–but underneath his deeply Catholic background is a carefree, gleefully profane teenager aching to be himself and experience the world without anyone to control him. I feel like all of us experienced that at least a little during our own teenage years.
Q: Deposing Nathan also deals with a present day deposition hearing and a large amount of court/law discussions. Did you know a large amount about these topics before Deposing Nathan? If not, how did you go about learning about the subjects for your book?
A: I knew none of it. Once I’d decided which state the story took place in (West Virginia), I spent about two months immersed in legal research, learning bylaws that I could probably still quote to this day. It was very important to me that even the most stringent lawyer could dissect this and go, “yeah, that’s pretty much how this part would work.” I watched many, many hours of real depositions, which are a lot less interesting than this. There are obviously a few liberties taken–for example, there’s no court reporter present, as I didn’t want any more characters cluttering up the background–but these are small & deliberate.
Q: What is your daily writing process usually like?
A: At the risk of being boring–it’s nothing fancy! I sit down with my mechanical keyboard (which I got due to how fast I type), and put on some form of music…this could be anything from Tchaikovsky to coding music to the High School Musical 2 soundtrack. Then I just…crank out what I need to crank out. It really is as simple as that.
Q: What do you hope that readers will take away from your book after reading it?
A: I think the central theme of the book can be best summarized by the most-quoted line from it, in which Nate reaches a realization about God as well as his abusive family: “If you think you need to earn enough points on someone’s rubric for them to accept you, then either you’re wrong to assume they won’t love you for who you are, or they never loved you in the first place.”
Q: Are you working on a next project and if so could you maybe give us a hint to what it is?
A: All I can say for now is it won’t be a sequel to DEPOSING NATHAN 🙂
I want to thank Zack again for his participation in the Q&A.
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Until next time dear readers.