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INTERVIEW: Kevin Van Whye Tells Us All About Nate Plus One And His Upcoming Projects!

INTERVIEW: Kevin Van Whye Tells Us All About Nate Plus One And His Upcoming Projects!

We think we made it pretty clear that we absolutely adore Kevin Van Whye’s second book Nate Plus One. But that does not hinder us from stopping to keep screaming and crying about it though! So if you haven’t read our review of the book yet, make sure you do right here

Image Source: GIPHY

Good with that out of the way, let us get into the most exciting part of our appearance on your screen today! We got the opportunity to ask Kevin a couple of questions about Nate Plus One, future projects, and the role of music in his book. We had the best time getting all these insights, and invite you to keep scrolling and dive into our exclusive interview with this talented writer! 

Kevin Van Whye interview
Image Source: Penguin Random House

We absolutely loved reading about Nate and his family! How much is the story behind Nate Plus One inspired by your own life?
A lot of it, actually. For example, Ouma Lettie was directly inspired by my great-grandmother and her story. I also spent some of my childhood on a farm and so Nate’s experiences were shaped by my own, I too, was chased by a goose. Of course, the extremely wealthy family members were 100% fictional! 

We found it really refreshing to see Nate Plus One mostly taking place in South Africa and Johannesburg, which is where you come from and live now. What is your favorite place in Johannesburg? Does it appear in the novel?
I love amusement parks and so Gold Reef City is a favorite of mine. Before moving to Johannesburg, I lived in a city nicknamed “the sleepy hollow” because nothing ever happens there. But once a year there would be a festival and a part of that had some rides. Sort of like a mini amusement park. And I always loved going with my friends but of course, the chances were limited. And so, when I moved to Johannesburg one of the first things I did was visit there. Whenever I go there, I always have a blast and so  I was so happy I got to incorporate it into the book.

In your acknowledgments, you mention having a hard time writing this second book during the pandemic. What kept you motivated to finish this story? What do you do when you run into writer’s block?
Writing during the pandemic was tough because, usually when I hit writer’s block, I would stop writing and do other things—like hang out with friends or just spend time outdoors. But of course, during lockdown that was impossible.

I think what really kept me writing this book is the fact that I personally relate so much to Nate as a character and the fact that I was so excited to share South Africa with the readers. So I kept pushing through the writer’s blocks and am so happy I did because I’m thrilled with how Nate Plus One turned out.  

Nate Plus One has a heavy focus on music which we absolutely loved. How different is writing prose from writing lyrics? Did you get help from an expert?
All I can say is I’m so thankful for the internet. I spent numerous hours learning about songwriting online. For me, there was a massive difference between writing prose and lyrics, and writing lyrics felt ten times harder for some reason. I really struggled with them, but I’m glad it all worked out in the end. 

Since Nate is a talented singer and Jai is great at the guitar which instruments do you play or would you like to play?
I am not musically inclined in the least! So, I play no instruments and I am a terrible singer too. But if I could, I would love to learn how to play the piano. 

We love the big rom-com grand gesture that appears towards the end of Nate Plus One. What is a grand gesture you’d love to experience or have you done any before for someone special?
I am a lover of rom-coms, but in real life, I am much more subtle. So when it comes to grand gestures I would prefer something more low-key. That being said I recently rewatched Bridget Jones’ Diary and when Colin Firth showed up at the end of the movie with a new journal for her. I remembered just how much I loved that scene and what it meant. That in her diary it would be the start of their new story now. A gesture like that is one I would love to experience— something subtle, supportive, and understanding. 

We don’t get enough great books with the best friends to lovers trope and we are obsessed with how well it is done in your book. What is one of your favorite tropes? Which would you like to try in your next book?
Thank you so much. Best friends to lovers is a trope I enjoy too! I’m also a sucker for enemies to lovers. But in my next book, the trope I explore is actually falling for the best friend’s sibling—and of course, I put a gay spin on it. 

The ending of Nate Plus One is satisfying yet it is still pretty open. What happened next? Do you want readers to make up their own endings? Did Infinite Sorrow win Ready2Rock?
Yes, my intention was to have the readers make up their own endings. To me, and to Nate, in that moment winning or losing didn’t matter as much. It was just about him being on stage with Jai and sharing that moment. I guess I felt that for Nate Plus One the journey was more important than the destination. Of course, I couldn’t leave readers totally in the dark and so Infinite Sorrow is mentioned briefly in my next book. In it, you will get a small update on the band! 

Speaking of our new favorite band: Infinite Sorrow. Where did the inspiration for the name come from? Who is your favorite band or musical artist?
The name actually came when I sat down and thought, what could be the most teen angst-esque name possible? And Infinite Sorrow just popped into my head. I was on the fence about it for a while, but my editor loved it too, so we went with it. 
When it comes to music I have a long list of favorites: Lorde, Coldplay, Nicki Minaj, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Blackpink, Seventeen, Big Bang, Onewe, Willow, and the list goes on.  

We love the portrayal of the female characters in your book. We absolutely adore Gemma and want to know more about her! What’s on Gemma’s playlist?
Gemma is a personal favorite of mine too. Olivia Rodrigo would definitely be on her playlist Dua Lipa seems a perfect choice for background music while she works on her designs. And I think she’d definitely be into some Blackpink, because those girls serve some looks, and that would be right up Gemma’s alley. 

See Also

Speaking of great female characters who inspired Ouma Lettie and Nate’s Mom? They really are the grandma and mom we always wanted and we think any LGBTQ+ person can only hope for!
These characters were shaped by aspects of my own Mother and Grandmother. From the get-go, I knew that I wanted Nate to be surrounded by love and support, so it was my intention to have characters who were loving and totally supportive. 

It is pretty obvious that we loved Nate Plus One and your debut novel Date Me Mr. Bryson is a hit too. Can you give us a teaser of what’s next for Kevin Van Whye?
Thank you so much. I’m so glad you loved it. I’ve been hard at work on my next book which follows a boy named Love, who doesn’t believe in love but finds himself falling in love for the first time.

We cannot wait for the next book by Kevin Van Whye! How excited are you for Nate Plus One to finally drop? What do you hope Kevin Vane Whye writes next? We want to know, so leave a comment below or find us on Twitter @TheHoneyPop. And you can always reach us on Facebook and Instagram!

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