Ten Terrifying Questions with Lin Thompson!

by |May 12, 2022
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Lin Thompson (they/them) grew up playing pretend games in the backyard and basement of their home in Kentucky. Now they get to write pretend stories in the backyard and basement of their home in Iowa, where they live with their wife and cat. Lin is a Lambda Literary Fellow of 2018, and The Best Liars in Riverview is their debut novel.

Today, to celebrate the recent release of their middle grade novel The Best Liars in Riverview, Lin Thompson is on the blog to take on our Ten Terrifying Questions! Read on …

Lin Thompson

Lin Thompson

1. To begin with, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, which I like to describe as a city that thinks it’s a small town. I moved to Boston, Massachusetts, for college when I was eighteen, which was a big culture shock! I stayed in Boston for almost a decade, until my wife and I moved to Iowa a little over a year ago.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

The boring but honest truth: at twelve, I wanted to be a writer. At eighteen, I still wanted to be a writer. I’m thirty now, and I’m thrilled to be doing the thing I’ve dreamed of doing for as long as I can remember!

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you don’t have now?

When I was eighteen, I didn’t really believe that I deserved to be happy—I’d internalized so much homophobia and transphobia that, even though I hadn’t started really exploring my own queer journey, I thought the best I could hope for was to live a life that at least looked happy from the outside.

Now, I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful that I’m getting to live truly and honestly as myself, inside and out, and I’m happier than I ever thought I could be.

4. What are three works of art – this could be a book, painting, piece of music, film, etc – that influenced your development as a writer?

I’ve always been a re-reader—I’ve learned so much about storytelling through reading the books I love over and over and trying to figure out how their authors created them. When I was a kid, I was hugely influenced by my many rereads of Sharon Creech’s books. Now, Erin Entrada Kelly and Rebecca Stead are two of the authors I pick up when I get stuck and have forgotten how words or stories work.

5. Considering the many artistic forms out there, what appeals to you about writing a children’s book?

I probably read more books when I was 10-13 years old than I did at any other point in my life. Those years were such a formative time for me, when I was starting to understand for the first time that other people’s lives were just as real and complex as mine. The books I read back then were absolutely crucial to that understanding, and I love getting to write books for young readers now, who are so perceptive and thoughtful and goofy and eager to absorb as much as they can about this world we’re all living in.

‘I’ve always been a re-reader—I’ve learned so much about storytelling through reading the books I love over and over and trying to figure out how their authors created them.’

6. Please tell us about your latest book!

The Best Liars in Riverview is about Aubrey and their best friend Joel, who have both been coping with a rough first year of middle school by imagining running away from their hometown. They’ve been building a raft for this imaginary escape plan, but then Joel and the raft both disappear, and Aubrey sets out through the woods to find him. Along the way, they’re unpacking some hard truths about everything that’s led them all up to this point, and Aubrey is also finding space, away from the assumptions and expectations at home, where they can start questioning their gender in a more conscious way.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope that LGBTQ+ readers or questioning readers can see parts of themselves reflected in the story, and I hope that, like Aubrey, all readers can come away a little more focused on the world outside themselves and a little more understanding of the people around them.

8. Who do you most admire in the writing world and why?

There are so many amazing middle-grade authors who are pushing open the doors for the kinds of stories that LGBTQ+ kids can see themselves in now: Kacen Callender, Kyle Lukoff, and Alex Gino, to name just a handful.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I have so many different stories I want to tell in so many different genres and age categories. I think my biggest goal is just to write as many books as I can for as long as I can and get them out into the world!

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Remember that there’s no one way to write a book. Some writers need to write every day, while others of us have to sit on ideas for ages and then write them in big bursts. Some writers like to plan everything out in a careful outline, while others can just put words on the page and see what happens. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your process and figure out what works for you and your brain!

Thank you for playing!

The Best Liars in Riverview by Lin Thompson (Text Publishing) is out now.

The Best Liars in Riverviewby Lin Thompson

The Best Liars in Riverview

by Lin Thompson

Aubrey and Joel are like two tomato vines that grew along the same crooked fence-weird, yet the same kind of weird. But lately, even their shared weirdness seems weird. Then Joel disappears. Vanishes. Poof. The whole town is looking for him, and Aubrey was the last person to see Joel. Aubrey can't say much, but since lies of omission are still lies, here's what they know for sure-

For the last two weeks of the school year, when sixth grade became too much, Aubrey and Joel have been building...

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