2021 Debut Author Interview: Isaac Fitzsimons!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and to spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun for years to come! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2021 debuts and chat with them about their writing process and what it's like to be a new author. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats, and more!

At the end of 2020, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Isaac Fitzsimons and his novel THE PASSING PLAYBOOK, and we have been interested in it ever since! We are so excited to have Isaac on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Isaac Fitzsimons grew up in the DC suburbs but spent his summers in England and France. When not writing young adult fiction, he enjoys trying out new recipes, supporting his soccer team, Manchester City, and butchering songs on the banjo, piano, and ukulele.

Keep up with Isaac: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?

Isaac: Thank you! Honestly, I fluctuate between excitement about my book being in the hands of readers and anxiety that people are actually going to be reading it. It’s been over two years since it was sold so it feels great to finally be able to say that it’s coming out this year.

The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?

Isaac: I live for the magical moments during revision when I solve a plotting issue, especially when the solution already exists in the manuscript and it’s like past me has subconsciously left a trail of breadcrumbs for present me to find. The hardest part is being several revisions in and having to incorporate newly written scenes into a polished chapter. I’ve learned to draft the new scenes in a separate document and then devote a whole stage of revisions to integrating the new scenes into the old manuscript. I call it knitting the sections together.

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the idea for THE PASSING PLAYBOOK?

Isaac: I was listening to a program on the BBC World Service where people shared how the song “Plaisir D’Amour” impacted their lives. There was one story in particular about a boy at a military school teaching another boy how to play Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (which shares a similar tune) on guitar that really stuck with me. I couldn’t get that image out of my head and knew I had to write about it. Instead of a military school setting, I chose a soccer team because I love soccer, and then the characters came from there. While the story has changed significantly, that scene has always remained in the book.

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?

Isaac: My favorite character to write was probably Spencer’s little brother, Theo. He tells it like it is and has the funniest one-liners in the book, in my opinion. The most difficult was Justice, who is the love interest. It was tough keeping track of how he felt about Spencer, my main character, so in one scene he’d be angry at him and the next he’d be blushing at something he said, which my editor correctly described as whiplash. To solve this I made a timeline for him so I knew exactly where he was, what he was doing, and how he was feeling at any point in the book.

The Book Bratz: Are there any other books or authors who give you inspiration for your own writing?

Isaac: So many! First comes to mind is Becky Albertalli. I love how you just know you’re in a Becky Albertalli book because of her voice. Angie Thomas, again, her voice is incredible because it’s so real. Outside of YA, I love Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley for their tightly plotted mysteries. And Yaa Gyasi who explores complicated families so beautifully. Any time I read a book I keep track of what works and what doesn’t and try to apply those lessons to what I’m writing.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from THE PASSING PLAYBOOK? 

Isaac: The story is really about finding the courage to perform acts of kindness, even when doing so is risky. I want readers to feel empowered to choose kindness in their own lives. One person can make a huge difference, but many people doing the work lightens the load for everybody.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of THE PASSING PLAYBOOK in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?

Isaac: Oh, I don’t know! I think it would be fun to check back in with Spencer at some point. With the deluge of anti-trans laws targeting kids across the country right now it feels like Spencer's story is just beginning. I can’t say much about my next project right now but I refer to those characters as my yee-haw gays, so there’s that.

Title: The Passing Playbook
Author: Isaac Fitzsimons
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: June 1st, 2021

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He's also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio. At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy's soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans - he's passing. So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer's coach to bench him after he discovers the 'F' on Spencer's birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone - including the guy he's falling for.

Thank you so much to Isaac for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about THE PASSING PLAYBOOK and can't wait for it to be out in the world on June 1st

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

No comments

Please note that if your comment doesn’t appear right away, it’s because we have to approve it. Make sure to click the Notify Me box so you can check back once your comment has been approved! ❤️