Robin is married and lives in Washington, D.C., with an antisocial cat. When Robin’s not writing, she’s often planning communication strategies at organizations fighting for equal rights and social justice. Her debut novel Lies We Tell Ourselves was published in 2014 and received an outstanding reception. The book was included in the Telegraph’s YA Books of the Year. Her previous novel What We Left Behind championed transgender rights and was described by the Guardian as ‘a phenomenal book written by a fantastic writer’. To mark the release of her new book Our Own Private Universe, she has written up ten things she would like her readers to know about her. 

Robin Talley

Robin Talley

I write about queer teenagers.

I’ve published four novels so far, and all of them center around teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or some combination thereof. My latest book, Our Own Private Universe, is about a 15-year-old bisexual girl, Aki, who’s just starting to figure out what she wants out of her relationships, romantic and otherwise. I love writing about teens who are exploring identity, love, sex, friendship, family, and everything else that goes into teen life. (Though sometimes the teens I write about wind up exploring ghosts and magic, too.)

I got my start writing Harry Potter fanfiction.

Before I started inventing my own characters, I wrote stories about Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, Cho Chang, and various other awesome characters created by the great J.K. Rowling. It was great writing practice, and I made friends with a ton of awesome fellow Potter-heads.

My cat is a jerk.

I love him, but… he’s got issues. We always tell visitors, “Be careful. He doesn’t like people very much.” Then, when they lean down to pet him and jerk back a minute later with a fresh bite or scratch, at least they can’t say we didn’t warn them.

I’ve seen Bend It Like Beckham at least 20 times. And not just because of my crush on Keira Knightley.

I’ve never played soccer (sorry, football! Forgive me, I’m American), and I don’t even really understand sports. But I love coming-of-age movies about athletes, especially when they’re girls. Also, that movie is hilarious (Archie Panjabi! Juliet Stevenson! Even Jonathan Rhys Meyers manages to be funny!), and the soundtrack rocks.

My wife and I have a 15-month-old daughter.

She’s still young enough that I can get away with dressing her in head-to-toe rainbow stripes. I can’t wait to show the photos to her friends when she’s 13.

I’ve memorized the text for assorted picture books.

See above. Next time you run into me, ask me to recite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

I have a lot of feelings about Anne Boleyn.

I’ve lost track of how many fictional versions of the Tudor court I’ve consumed at this point (Wolf Hall is my most recent favorite), but my fascination is endless. If I could go back in time and gossip with anyone, I’d definitely choose one of the Boleyns.

I once had a summer job selling guns and fishing licenses.

During college one summer I worked at a Kmart sporting goods counter. I sold firearms, fishing licenses, and camping equipment. I also duplicated people’s car keys. It was a strange summer.

My daughter is named after a Jane Austen character.

Hint: The name rhymes with parsley.

I talk in my sleep.

My wife thinks this is hilarious, but some of my past roommates have found it a little odd. Once, when I still had an office job, I apparently tried to lead an entire staff meeting while still asleep. I’m told it was a little disconcerting.

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley is out now (HQ, £7.99) 

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