I’m so excited to spotlight Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee today and also share an interview I did with the author!
Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Sure! I’m Emery Lee, author of MEET CUTE DIARY. I’m an author and artist who writes a lot of diverse books and drinks a little too much boba tea.
How would you describe The Key to You and Me in one sentence?
MEET CUTE DIARY is the story of a trans boy who stages a fake relationship to save his romance blog from an internet troll only to find love in real life is very different from what he’s used to on the page.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of The Key to You and Me?
The main character is Noah, a triracial trans boy originally from Miami, Florida who’s living in Denver for the summer as his parents make the move out to California. He lives with his brother, Brian, who’s a college frat boy with a heart of gold who is a bit overzealous is his allyship. Drew is the fan Noah meets at a bookstore who agrees to fake date him in order to save the blog. Becca is Noah’s best friend from back home who’s basically the no-nonsense, put you in your place kind of friend that idealistic Noah desperately needs. And Devin is a coworker Noah meets when he takes up a job at a summer camp.
What representation will readers find in The Key to You and Me?
Noah and Brian are triracial (Afro-Puerto Rican, Japanese, and white). Noah’s bi (at the beginning of the book, he identifies as gay but ultimately moves on to the label bi) and binary trans. Drew is queer, but he doesn’t really use labels. Becca is a [brown] Cuban lesbian, and Devin is Cuban, nonbinary and ace and has Anxiety.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
It varies a lot per book. Usually, I have kind of a vague idea of how to wrap up some of the key conflicts, and then I just kind of release the characters and if things change, I’ll just roll with it. In the case of MEET CUTE DIARY, I knew from the beginning how Noah’s relationship would end up but I didn’t actually know what I was going to do about the troll or what would happen with the blog LOL.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I don’t! There are a lot of different scenes and quotes that I love for different reasons, which I know is kind of a cheat answer, but I think ultimately if I could pin down one part of the book as indisputably my favorite part, I’d actually be really disappointed in myself. Like… there’s a whole book here! If one part is so much better than the rest, I need to make the rest step up its game LOL.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed The Key to You and Me?
Okay, so for totally different reasons because they’re all dramatically different but:
If you enjoyed reading about a trans character who’s already out and mostly feeling himself where trans issues aren’t ignored but they’re not the main focus of the story, I highly recommend THE WITCH KING by H.E. Edgmon.
If you’re all about that contemporary romance life featuring queer characters of color and you really love some good corny sweetness, I definitely suggest FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES FROM THE SUN by Jonny Garza Villa, but be aware that this one has way more explorations of trauma and queer issues than MEET CUTE DIARY.
If you just love true romcoms with heart and humor where people of color (namely Black people) fall in love, I highly recommend Kristina Forest’s books especially I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE.
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
There’s one project I’ve been dancing around for a couple of months now because we’re just waiting to be able to announce it, but I can’t say much about that just yet except keep an eye out because I’ll have something dropping probably in the next month or so. I also have a short story coming out in the ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES anthology in 2022, so if you’re into queer brujos falling in love with himbo jocks, definitely keep an eye out for that one!
Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships.
Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.
When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.
In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.
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 PEmery Lee is a kidlit author, artist, and YouTuber hailing from a mixed-racial background. After graduating with a degree in creative writing, e’s gone on to author novels, short stories, and webcomics. When away from reading and writing, you’ll most likely find em engaged in art or snuggling cute dogs.