Continuing my spotlight of LGBTQ+ books, I want to spotlight The Key to You and Me by Jaye Robin Brown and was really excited to be able to do an interview as well!
Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
I’m Jaye Robin Brown, the author of YA contemporary novels, NO PLACE TO FALL, GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT, THE MEANING OF BIRDS, and my most recent release, THE KEY TO YOU AND ME. I live with my wife, two dogs, two cats, and two horses on a small farm in North Carolina horse country.
How would you describe The Key to You and Me in one sentence?
A sweet and sassy summer romance about figuring out who you are, chasing your dreams, and falling in love.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of The Key to You and Me?
I’d love to! Piper Kitts is an aspiring Olympic equestrian from outside of Boston. When her trainer quits due to health reasons, she flies to North Carolina for the summer to live with her former professional equestrian grandmother and train with a top rider. She’s confident about being a lesbian and confident on top of a horse, but she’s terrified of driving a car.
Kat Pearson is a local North Carolina girl. Her parents are divorced and she’s the oldest of four siblings (they live with their dad). She knows she’s not straight, but she’s not sure what she is. And even if she knew, she isn’t ready to divulge anything to anyone in her small town. Kat has an entrepreneurial spirit and loves her family. She’s loyal, funny, and less vanilla than she thinks. She’s also an excellent driving instructor. 😉
What representation will readers find in The Key to You and Me?
Piper is a lesbian. Kat is questioning but discovers she definitely likes girls. Kat’s first cousin Elliot is gay. There are side characters who fall into lesbian, pan, straight, and bisexual labels. One of the things I liked about Kat is that she kept trying on labels to see what might fit, and ultimately what she finds out fits, for now, is kissing girls. I think that’s such a big part of discovering who you are. You try things on, talk your way through them, and eventually land on the identity, however jumbled it is, that works for you.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I usually know the feeling I’m going for. When you write romance the goal is typically a Happy For Now or Happily Ever After. For me, with my young adult novels, I think I aim more for the Happy For Now with the hope for Happily Ever After. But that said, each book is different with different threads to connect and hopefully stitch together in a way that satisfies readers.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
Probably my favorite scene in THE KEY TO YOU AND ME happens at a party mid-way through the book. I can’t really tell you about it because it would contain all sorts of spoilers. But, Kat gets drunk and spews some truths to Piper. It made me laugh every time I read it during edits.
One of my favorite quotes is from Kat’s dad – they’re having a heart to heart about small town life and he says to her:
“Community is a double-edged sword. It’s the best thing but it can also feel like the most confining thing. In general, people don’t like change. They like the status quo and the way things feel comfortable to them. Sometimes they forget that what other people do isn’t a mirror of themselves but a window to a wider world. That part does feel small and frustrating.
“But people here also forgive each other. They live, they let live, they may run their mouths some, but mostly they only care if you’re good people. They learn to accept and the love never stops even as they adjust.” He puts his hand on my hand. “We’re good people.”
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed The Key to You and Me?
You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson
The Falling In Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland
All three have swoony romance and expanded casts of characters where setting plays a role in the story. I loved all three of them.
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
Nothing to share yet as to next releases, but hopefully very soon! In the meantime, I’ve been playing with a new genre, adult lesbian romance, and having an absolute ball.
Thanks so much for inviting me to guest post!
A sweet and funny #ownvoices LGBTQ+ romance perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Julie Murphy, from the critically acclaimed author of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit!
Piper Kitts is spending the summer living with her grandmother, training at the barn of a former Olympic horseback rider, and trying to get over her ex-girlfriend. Much to Piper’s dismay, her grandmother is making her face her fear of driving head-on by taking lessons from a girl in town.
Kat Pearson has always suspected that she likes girls but fears her North Carolina town is too small to color outside the lines. But when Piper’s grandmother hires Kat to give her driving lessons, everything changes.
Piper’s not sure if she’s ready to let go of her ex. Kat’s navigating uncharted territory with her new crush. With the summer running out, will they be able to unlock a future together?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jaye Robin Brown, or JRo to her friends, has been many things in her life–jeweler, mediator, high school art teacher–but now writes full-time. She lives with her wife, dogs, cats, and horses in a sweet house in NC horse country where she hopes to live happily ever after. She is the author of NO PLACE TO FALL, WILL’S STORY, GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT, THE MEANING OF BIRDS, and THE KEY TO YOU AND ME.