Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?
Eva: A couple years ago, Netflix announced the (now-released) Gilmore Girls revival. I was a huge fan of the original in no small part because of the mother-daughter relationship portrayed on screen. My mom was a single mom, too, and our dynamic, because we were close in age, actually somewhat resembled Rory and Lorelei. I wanted to explore that, but being me, I wanted to explore it in a way that looked more like my social circles. I call BELLY UP a diverse cross between Juno and Gilmore Girls. Queer kids struggle with pregnancy issues, too.
What character do you most relate to and why?
I’m a big fan of Mormor, to be honest. She’s a battleax. A long time ago, when I was dating my now-husband, he was locked in a room with me, my mother, and my grandmother. When we got out into the car, he looked at me and said, “How. How did you have three versions of the same person in one room. Maiden, Mother, Crone.” Mormor’s cut from the Monahan-women cloth.
Why do you feel young adult books are so popular and have such a voice right now? What’s your favorite young adult author?
Young adult isn’t pigeonholed the way adult fiction is in that genre doesn’t box it in quite so much. I love that there’s the freedom to go where the story takes you, however it takes you. I also love that YA actively works to include all kids in their stories; we live in a diverse world. Our books should look like that.
My favorite YA book changes from day to day, but the one I’ve been shoving at everyone lately is Tessa Gratton’s STRANGE GRACE for being moody and witchy and rich, like good chocolate. It’s everything I love in a gloom-book, though I can’t honestly call it horror? It has horror elements? But it’s also a fairytale/folktale? See aforementioned “YA can go anywhere it wants.” This book is a dark dream. I love it.
Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.
BELLY UP is a look at how unexpected teen pregnancy could be if everyone was supportive from the get go. It’s idealized that way, but I wanted to write a funny, warm hug of a book and I am, despite my prickly exterior, an optimist. Sara’s a questioning queer kid surrounded by other queer kids. When she finds out she’s pregnant after a one night stand, she has to deal with the fallout. Complicating it is a new school, no idea where or even who the father is, and a New Sweet Boy who curls her toes with big smiles and home cooking.
What’s next for you in the book world?
Switching gears is a thing I do a lot. After BELLY UP I finished a YA horror take on teenaged Miss Havisham for Random House under my Hillary Monahan name. It’s a dark, horrific, yet romantic look at how exactly you become a person who’s willing to sit in the same wedding dress surrounded by your failed wedding filth for a zillion years. The answer is: life’s tough.
What’s your favorite writing method that you follow for inspiration?
I don’t follow one writing method because I can’t. I battle mental illness and a chronic pain condition, and setting hard and fast rules for myself that don’t take into account the mercurial nature of my disabilities is a recipe for disaster. The closest I come to a routine is scroll Twitter a few minutes, hurl 300 – 500 words at a page, take a break, rinse repeat until book is done. I dunno how they get finished, but they do.