If you're a huge fan of "Stranger Things," then check out a novel by A.R. Capetta that is a prequel to the third season that focuses on Robin Buckley.

What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?

I was so inspired by Maya Hawke’s whip-smart and also really warm-hearted portrayal of Robin on "Stranger Things." I wanted to know so much more about this character. And who wouldn’t be inspired by an instant, worldwide gay icon?

What does "Reading with Pride" mean to you?

To me, it means reading and supporting and sharing these books all year long — not just during Pride month (although it can be fun to see the extra boost of excitement and love during June!) It means reading intersectionally. And it means community, too. Pride is about all of us, about our collective power, and when we share stories, we feel less alone. We’re more powerful when we know that LGBT people are everywhere, and we’ve always been here. Adding representation to the canon of 80s characters feels like fighting back against some of the erasure in my own childhood.

Why do you feel representation of a variety of people is so important when it comes to writing books and characters?

Visibility fights back against erasure and isolation, but it doesn’t stop there. It also creates a big and ever-expanding sense of possibility, of what we can imagine for ourselves and our own lives.

Which character did you relate to the most and why?

I was an outsider in high school, like Robin. I was pretty much always on my own. But honestly, I found comfort and even confidence in doing things my own way. There were times when I felt frustrated or lonely, but most of the time I felt empowered by knowing that I wasn’t trying to be (or impress) anyone but myself. I saw that in Robin — and I wanted to show how she became that person. That’s the prequel story I ended up writing.

What can fans expect from your book?

A great '80s soundtrack. A first crush (or two…) A lot of banter, a lot of big coming-of-age feelings, some new characters and lots of cameos! And an upside-down approach to the “strange” element. Robin doesn’t know about the weirder parts of Hawkins yet in this prequel, but I couldn’t let this book feel totally normal, either. That just wouldn’t be "Stranger Things." (Or me, to be honest. All of my books have elements of the supernatural, magical, or mysterious!)

What's up next for you in the bookish world?

My next YA, "The Heartbreak Bakery," comes out on Oct. 10. It’s a romcom with recipes and a dash of magic. If you read this one and want even more queer love, banter, and community, it’s definitely worth checking out!


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