Posted in 2022, Author Interview, Felicia

Kings of B’more | Author Interview | Pride Month

It’s June and that means it’s time for another year of Pride Month spotlights! I’m so excited to spotlight Kings of B’more by R. Eric Thomas and share the interview with the author!

INTERVIEW

Welcome Eric! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?

My name is R. Eric Thomas, he/him/his pronouns. I go by Eric. I’m a writer–most recently of the YA novel Kings of B’more and the play Crying on Television. I’ve written two other books–a biography of Rep. Maxine Waters and a memoir-in-essays, plus about a dozen plays, and a number of television projects. 

How would you describe Kings of B’more in one sentence?

Kings of B’more is a summer romp about two best friends spending their last day together before one moves away and hoping to make sure their connection last forever.

Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Kings of B’more?

Harrison is our perspective character for most of the novel. He’s a little introverted, a theater kid who is happy in the chorus and desperately afraid of being extra. Linus, Harrison’s best friend, is more extroverted, a history buff with a melancholy streak. 

What representation will readers find in Kings of B’more?

The characters represent a huge cross section of the population of Baltimore. It’s a really joyous celebration of the vibrancy of a city.

Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?

I do a lot of plotting in advance so I do tend to know how things are going to end up. But while I map out the general neighborhood, the characters show me which house to stop at.

Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?

There’s a scene late in the book where they go to a queer house party and it was such an exciting sequence to write because it was all dazzle and excitement and a mix of visual and visceral impulses.

What is something readers will find in Kings of B’more that they may not realize based on the synopsis?

There’s a lot of comedy in the book. I like to think of the cast of characters as Muppets, with real human stakes. It’s a very funny book.

What’s something you hope readers will take away from Kings of B’more?

I’d love readers to think about the platonic love in their lives, the friends who mean a lot to them, and the ability for friendships to evolve and grow over time.

What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Kings of B’more?

A grab bag: Phil Stamper’s Golden Boys, Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, and The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

What’s next for you? Anything you can share?

I’m working on a couple new books right now and I also have a play opening in Baltimore the same day as Kings of B’more comes out called Crying on Television, about the trials and tribulations of making friends as an adult.

ABOUT THE BOOK

TITLE: Kings of B’more
AUTHOR: R. Eric Thomas
RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2022

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Synopsis:

Two Black, queer best friends face their last day together with an epic journey through Baltimore in this magnetic YA debut by celebrated cultural critic and bestselling Here For It author R. Eric Thomas.

With junior year starting in the fall, Harrison feels like he’s on the precipice of, well, everything. Standardized testing, college, and the terrifying unknowns and looming pressures of adulthood after that–it’s like the future wants to eat him alive. Which is why Harrison is grateful that he and his best friend Linus will face these things together. But at the end of a shift at their summer job, Linus invites Harrison to their special spot overlooking the city to deliver devastating news: he’s moving out of state at the end of the week.

To keep from completely losing it–and partially inspired by a cheesy movie-night pick by his Dad–Harrison plans a send-off à la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that’s worthy of his favorite person. If they won’t be having all the life-expanding experiences they thought they would, Harrison will squeeze them all into their last day. They end up on a mini road trip, their first Pride, and a rooftop dance party, all while keeping their respective parents, who track them on a family location app, off their trail. Harrison and Linus make a pact to do all the things–big and small–they’ve been too scared to do. But nothing feels scarier than saying goodbye to someone you love.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

R. Eric Thomas is the bestselling author of Here for Itor How to Save Your Soul in America, a Read with Jenna book club pick featured on Today and a Lambda Literary Award finalist. He is the co-author of Reclaiming Her Time, a biography of Rep. Maxine Waters. He is also a television writer (AppleTV+’s Dickinson, FX’s Better Things), a playwright, and the long-running host of The Moth in Philadelphia and D.C. For four years, he was a senior staff writer at Elle.com where he wrote “Eric Reads the News.” Kings of B’more is his YA debut. Learn more at rericthomas.com.

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