Today I am highlighting and promoting a new book from debut author, Adam Sass!
SURRENDER YOUR SONS is a debut novel from Adam Sass, and the concise two sentence summary, which hooked me, is as follows: Connor Major is heading to conversion therapy. But he’s not leaving until he takes the entire place down. Any book with this as a description will unequivocally speak to my queer rage and sky rocket to the top of the to-read pile. It is in stores today, and despite a busy schedule, Adam was kind enough to answer a few questions for the blog. So let’s dive right in!
“I’m sure this is the burning question for most people, but what drove your desire to write this book and create this story?“
SURRENDER YOUR SONS started with my love of thrilling adventure stories like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. I loved the idea of a group of kids in a desperate, isolated situation rebelling and escaping by having to rely on each other despite their differences. I saw similarities with the LGBTQ+ community, which is so vast and diverse, and I wanted to see this same adventure story with a group of queer teens trying to survive. Around that time, Showtime put out a documentary on a real life conversion therapy camp in the Dominican Republic called “Kidnapped for Christ.” It was so emotional and the two ideas collided. I wanted to see these kids fight back and have to work together so they could bring the place down.
“As a queer author, I’m curious when did you have your first experience reading a story about a queer character and what did that experience mean for you?“
It wasn’t my first ever experience with a queer character, but Alex London’s “Proxy” and Caleb Roehrig’s “Last Seen Leaving” totally blew my mind and focused my writing when I read it. It made things seem so much more possible: taut, dark thrillers with a sensitive young queer boys as the lead. Thrillers tend to favor straight, traditionally masculine people and sentimentality, so seeing this world upon us was a game changer for me. Also my love YA really began with Andrew Smith’s “Grasshopper Jungle” and of course, Becky Albertalli’s “Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.”
“Moving forward, what would you love to see more of in Queer YA and/or Adult Queer stories? And, what kinds of stories would love to write in the future?“
I’d love to keep seeing more of everything! That seems vague, but I really mean that: YA needs to keep pushing boundaries. Showing more identities, more intersectional queer stories, BlPOC queer stories, trans and NB stories, just in general, more, so that readers can see how rich and multifaceted the Queer Experience really is. As for me, I’d love to continue the work I began with SURRENDER YOUR SONS: dark, thorny stories that allow queer characters to be rough, messy, funny, and complicated.
A big thanks to Adam for taking some time to answer a few questions while in the middle of debuting his first novel!
About the author: Adam Sass began writing books in Sharpie on the backs of Starbucks pastry bags. (He’s sorry it distracted him from making your latte.) Raised in an Illinois farm town, his desire for a creative career took him to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and currently, North Carolina, where he lives with his husband and dachshunds. When he’s not dropping hot takes on Twitter, Adam is a recurring co-host on the popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast Slayerfest98. Surrender Your Sons is his first novel.
You can find Adam on Twitter at @TheAdamSass