If you’ve been active online in the YA book community lately, chances are you’ve heard some of the buzz surrounding Kate Scelsa’s debut YA novel Fans of the Impossible Life.
The novel explores the complexities and intimacies of the friendship between Mira, Sebby, and Jeremy – three high school kids who find safety and comfort in each other all the while keeping secrets in order to protect themselves.
“I think YA is the perfect place to be looking at the many ways in which intimacy manifests in our relationships and friendships beyond those that are easy to categorize,” said Scelsa.
“I love writing about friendships, and I find the complexities of friendship and the ways in which friendship and love mix together to be really fascinating. All close friendships are based on a kind of attraction. There is a romance to it, and when you have a friend that you are so deeply connected to in this way and you grow apart, it can be as devastating as the end of a romantic relationship, sometimes even more so.”
Though Fans of the Impossible Life is her debut YA novel, Scelsa is no stranger to writing. Her work in theater has been seen in numerous places and her theater writing has been seen in NYC at Dixon Place, Galapagos, and the SoHo Playhouse.
“I love writing plays because I love writing dialog. But I find that novels are more satisfying to write because they exist as fully realized things. You don’t need any other resources for it to be the thing that it’s supposed to be, something for one person to read and experience on their own.”
Just as Scelsa has written for theater, she’s also performed around the world, including productions in Norway, Singapore, and Vienna.
“Actors are used to the idea of fully embodying a character, and that’s something that I really enjoyed taking on in the process of writing [Fans of the Impossible Life]. The book is split up into sections that take on the point of view of the three different characters, and I felt that I only really got to the core of the story when I let myself into each of their heads.”
Scelsa wrote the novel not only from perspectives of three different characters, but three different points of view: first, second, and third person.
“It’s […] very important to me that we get to see each of these characters in private moments, that they show things to us as readers that they don’t show to each other, so we can see why they make the decisions that they do, and understand why they sometimes have to protect themselves before they can protect each other.”
“This came out of rewriting this book every which way possible – all third person, first person with Mira narrating, some second person sections,” said Scelsa. “I seemed to be circling around this idea of how to present these characters in the way that they wanted to be presented. But going through this process of trying every way possible to tell this story gave me an appreciation for the power of the different kinds of narrative voices. And once I was able to really examine that, I saw that each of these characters was demanding a different relationship with the reader.”
Readers can meet Mira, Sebby, and Jeremy now, in all their different perspectives, as Fans of the Impossible Life is on shelves now.
“[Fans of the Impossible Life] was always going to be a novel, but it took a while for me to really understand what the story wanted it to be.”