Love, Labels, and YA Literature for Queer Kids: Annameekee Hesik and Jeremy Jordan King Sound Off

In this exclusive author conversation, two out authors with new young adult books reflect on the important queer literature and real-life scenarios that inspired them.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

October 19 2012 3:00 AM ET

Annameekee Hesik and Jeremy Jordan King probably would have gotten along as kids. Hesik has been obsessed with rainbows since she came out at 15, and a young King’s primary life goal was to become a mermaid. Although the two authors reside on opposite coasts today — Hesik in California and King in New York — both have new young adult books for queer youth hitting bookstores in the next month, and both publish under Bold Strokes Books. 

King’s In Stone is his first novel, a fantasy about a 22-year-old recent college grad and his interactions with a stone-faced monster. In Stone kicks off the forthcoming fantasy series Immortal Testimonies and arrives November 2012. 

Hesik teaches high school English and mentors new teachers in Santa Cruz, Calif., likely collecting inspiration for the first book in her forthcoming series, The You Know Who Girls. The first installment of that series, The You Know Who Girls: Freshman Year hit bookstores on October 16. In this exclusive conversation, the two authors talk about love, labels, and LGBT literature.

Jeremy Jordan King: OK, Annameekee, we both have young adult titles coming out this fall from Soliloquy, the young adult imprint of Bold Strokes Books. Exciting, right?

Annameekee Hesik: I'm so excited that gay and lesbian presses are seeing the importance of providing novels to YA readers. What makes me doubly excited is that I get to be a part of it.

King: Totally.

Hesik: Where did you find good gay lit when you were growing up?

King: Honestly, I didn't read my first gay lit until I was a freshman in college. Back then, I think the age to start reading this kind of literature was older. Now, kids are identifying as LGBT earlier, and eager to start reading about themselves at a younger age.

Hesik: My first lesbian book was something terrible like Lesbians and Homosexuality — a sort of brain study on how lesbians became so lesbian-esque.

King: Ah... cringe. But I'm sure it was super exciting.

Hesik: I bought it at a used bookstore, hid it under my bed for a few weeks and then tried to read it — looking for answers — while in the bath. 

King: Haha!

Hesik: I got through three pages and realized, "This is so not going to help me get a girlfriend." I tossed it in the garbage because that's where I felt it belonged.

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