An Evening with Adam Silvera

Adam Silvera is an American writer, born and raised in the Bronx, NYC. He has worked in the publishing industry on and off as a children’s bookseller, a marketing assistant for a literary development company, and a reviewer of children’s and YA novels. He has been writing since the age of 11, originally writing a lot of fan fiction including an eighth Harry Potter book. His debut novel, More Happy Than Not, was published in June 2015 by Soho Press. It received rave reviews and became a New York Times bestseller. In January 2017 his second novel, History is all You Left Me, was published in the UK, in addition to the USA, because it was picked up by Simon & Schuster. He has written a third novel, They Both Die at the End, which is set to be released on 5 September 2017.

Tragically, I had not come across Adam Silvera’s work until last week when I saw the posting for his event at Waterstones, which took place on June 8 2017 as part of his eight-day UK book tour. Reading that he was a YA author, I was interested in attending because I really enjoy YA fiction and I have just started my master’s dissertation which examines YA texts. However, because both he and his book were unknown to me, I nearly didn’t go. Thankfully, I came across a bookstagram post by @enchantedbookcase the night before, which said how excited she was to go to the event, reigniting my interest.

I didn’t have any expectations going into the event, but I was blown away by the quality of the evening. Firstly, before the event, I was completely unaware that it was the first day of Silvera’s short UK book tour, it was his first ever day in the UK, it was his birthday (!!), and it was the cover reveal of They Both Die at the End! So, I was definitely privileged to be at such a significant event.

The interview portion of the evening was incredible. The rapport developed between the host and Silvera was brilliant; it was fast paced, hilarious and felt very natural. I was surprised by Silvera’s willingness to discuss personal and intimate topics. He explained very openly how History Is All You Left Me is inspired by his own heartbreak. He experienced an incredibly difficult breakup and then had to watch as his ex-boyfriend fell in love with someone else. He also spoke about his choice to include a gay sex scene in the novel saying that it felt natural and critical to the authentic development of the characters’ relationship. He hopes that his novel and these scenes will help to normalise the depictions of gay love and intimacy.

What impressed me most about Silvera was his enthusiasm. Despite having landed in London at 6am that morning, he was bursting with energy and fit in so much information into the relatively short talk. He sincerely conveyed how happy he was to be there, and he showed a lot of respect and appreciation for the fans that turned up. During the book signing, he was completely relaxed, taking time to properly chat with each person, making no indication that he was in a hurry to finish the event. He also signed books with a bright pink pen and drew a huge smiley face, which was super cute. I tweeted after the event and Silvera responded the next day thanking me for attending, which was really kind.

Another reason I am thrilled to have discover Silvera is that I believe he is still a relatively unknown author in the UK. Therefore, he has the same charm that an indie publisher has. There is something so exciting about meeting an author in the early days of what is expected to be a very successful career. Also, he seems very down to earth, allowing the reader to build a much more intimate relationship with him as an author. You can even get a signed copy of More Happy Than Not, which can be personalised, if you buy it from the bookstore Books of Wonder in NYC. That is something that is just not feasible if the author is widely known and hugely successful.

Listening to Silvera speak and chatting with him while he signed my book gave me such enthusiasm for work. His eloquence and humour makes me certain that his novels will have throughly engaging narrative voices, and his endearing personality has made me want to do my part in supporting him throughout his writing career.

If Silvera is speaking at any events near you I would wholeheartedly recommend you attend!

(Review of History Is All You Left Me to follow soon!)


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