Love can be an exciting thing, but when you're in a homosexual relationship and forced to keep it a secret from your religious parents, it can be complicated. And that's what happens in "Milo and Marcos at the End of the World" by Kevin Christopher Snipes.
What was your inspiration behind your first book?
The book is primarily inspired by my experiences as a closeted queer teenager growing up in a small town in Central Florida. High school (as I’m sure most people will agree) can be an incredibly fraught period in our lives. We’re still figuring out who we are and what we want, and we’re terrified of getting it wrong. It’s a time when every emotion is heightened. Every choice feels like it’s life or death. You think you’ll die if the person that you like doesn’t like you back. You think the world will end if anyone finds out about your secret. It’s a lot. So I wanted to write a book that captures how exciting/terrifying/earth-shattering that time of life can be for a young person — especially a young person in love who is coming to terms with his sexuality.
Tell us a little more about the book and why you decided to write it.
"Milo and Marcos at the End of the World" is about two boys who fall in love and who then have to keep that love a secret from their very religious parents and conservative community. Things get even more complicated when a series of unprecedented natural disasters strike their city whenever the boys touch. This leads the boys to consider the seemingly impossible possibility that maybe God is punishing them for being gay and that if they don’t stop seeing each other, their love might just bring about the end of the world.
As for why I wrote it… Growing up, I would often hear conservative politicians and religious leaders blaming hurricanes and other natural disasters on gay people, so I thought it would be a fun and interesting challenge to write a book where we see that idea play out (while also hopefully subverting it). Organized religion, as we all know, has a very bad track record when it comes to supporting gay rights, so in a way, this book is my attempt to hold religious leaders and their followers accountable for the emotional trauma and damage they inflict on the queer community, in particular queer children and teenagers.
Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books?
This is a question I get asked a lot as a queer writer and it always surprises me. Asking why diversity and inclusiveness are important (either in art or politics or in life in general) feels a bit like asking, “Why are honesty and kindness qualities you want in a person?” or “Why are clean air and unpolluted water a good thing for the Earth?” The answer seems obvious, and yet queer authors (as well as POC authors) are constantly asked to defend diversity and inclusiveness, as if the benefits of these ideas are somehow hard to understand or open to debate.
Instead of asking queer authors why we believe in inclusiveness, wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world where the writers, publishers, filmmakers, producers, and studios who regularly exclude queer characters and queer content from their books, TV shows, and movies are forced to answer why they don’t believe in inclusiveness. Make them justify their bigotry. Put them on the spot. Maybe then those people and companies might be forced to confront their own prejudices, and concepts like inclusiveness and diversity would become the norm in our industry instead of the exception. That’s my soapbox rant for today.
What can fans expect from your book?
I love a story that keeps the reader guessing until the very last page, so I think people reading my book should be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster. There are a lot of twists and turns and WTF moments. In fact, if I’ve done my job right, the reader will probably question their sanity at least once. So consider yourself warned!
What's up next for you in the bookish world?
Hopefully, a very long nap.