Hello besties !!!
Welcome to the first interview of the Pride Month event 2022 at Misty Realms 🤍
Today I am incredibly excited and honoured to welcome Jake the wonderful author of HOW TO EXCAVATE A HEART (out 1st November 2022!) and ALMOST FLYING over here!! We talked about so much, like being lesbian and Jewish, the importance of lesbian characters in Queer media, a fun thing they want to do this Pride, Shani + May and more!! I hope you enjoy reading 🌈
How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow
Becky Albertalli meets Casey McQuiston in this sapphic Jewish twist on the classic Christmas enemies-to-lovers rom-com, as college freshman Shani’s internship is interrupted by a whirlwind winter fling.
It all starts when Shani runs into May. Like, literally. With her mom’s Subaru.
Attempted vehicular manslaughter was not part of Shani’s plan. She was supposed to be focusing on her monthlong paleoichthyology internship. She was going to spend all her time thinking about dead fish and not at all about how she was unceremoniously dumped days before winter break.
It could be going better.
But when a dog-walking gig puts her back in May’s path, the fossils she’s meant to be diligently studying are pushed to the side—along with the breakup.
Then they’re snowed in together on Christmas Eve. As things start to feel more serious, though, Shani’s hurt over her ex-girlfriend’s rejection comes rushing back. Is she ready to try a committed relationship again, or is she okay with this just being a passing winter fling?
Find and pre-order How to Excavate a Heart on:
Interview with Jake Maia Arlow
Hello Jake! Thank you so much for visiting us on Misty Realms for pride month. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing journey till now?
Thank you so much for having me, Kashvi! I’m a lesbian Jewish author and full-time simp for my girlfriend and our cat. My debut novel is a queer middle-grade roller coaster road-trip story called Almost Flying which won the Stonewall Honor! I’ve been writing for a long time, but it took until college to realize I could write books with queer and Jewish characters. And now that I know I will never stop!!!!
Words cannot describe how excited I am to read How to Excavate a Heart! For those who may only be learning about How to Excavate a Heart for the first time, what is it about – and what is something that readers can look forward to when they read it?
I’m screaming!! I’m glad someone other than me is excited to read the book I wrote to try to heal from lesbian heartbreak (spoiler: it worked). The book is about Shani, who just finished her first semester of college and got her heart broken in the process. Now she’s heading down to DC for a winter break paleoichthyiology (meaning: dead fish–so fun) internship when her mom bumps into an unsuspecting girl with her car. That girl turns out to be May, who’s staying at her dad’s house for the break. Shani gets a job walking May’s dad’s corgi (whose name is Raphael) and the two get to know each other … and maybe fall in love :0
I wish I had a better elevator pitch for this book, though I guess the pitch is sort of just two lesbian Jews falling in love over the holidays! Readers can look forward to learning about extinct fish AND reading a cute lesbian romance which I feel like is definitely a first in YA lit (and maybe a last lmao).
I am so excited to meet and read about Shani and May!! Can you tell us a bit more about them? What are their interests and how do they first meet?
They are so excited for people to finally read their story after like three years of (not so) patiently waiting! Shani is a paleontology nerd, but she sort of forgot how much she loves extinct fish when she was dating Sadie, who was the first person she ever dated.
May is a grumpy atmospheric science major who does not want to be staying with her dad for the break and is maybe still hung up on her friend (a classic lesbian experience). The two first meet when Shani’s mom is dropping her off for winter break and accidentally bumps into May with her Subaru during a snowstorm. Chaos ensues.
I love how unapologetically Jewish and sapphic How to Excavate a Heart sounds! Lesbian isn’t treated like a dirty word and the characters SAY IT! They say that they are lesbians and I love that part so much. What was it like to write about characters, a story, and a setting that is integral to your own identity?
Yesss!!!!! It was super important to me to have the characters say the word lesbian truly as much as possible (it’s used 14 times in the final version of the book!!). I’ve only recently felt comfortable calling myself a lesbian even though I’ve identified with the word since I was like 18, which I think says a lot about how the word itself is perceived. Since both of the characters are 18, it was really validating to have them call themselves lesbians, and I hope it’ll be just as validating for other lesbians as well as people who aren’t quite ready to use the word for themselves! (How many times can I use the word lesbian in one answer lmao?)
Tell us the plot of your book in 4-5 out of context memes!!
Before I conclude I wanted to ask if you had any one fun thing you want to do in Pride Month 2022!!
This is such a fun question :0 I’m extremely boring so I don’t really have plans but I’d love to get my cat to sit still long enough to put a little rainbow hat on his tiny little perfect head for a photo. You can follow him on Instagram @flanwhosacat but my girlfriend is the only one who has access to the account for some reason and we need to post more!!
That was it! Thank you so much for your time Jake, it was so so lovely having you over on my blog, and I cannot wait to read How to Excavate a Heart and fall in love with it! Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you so much!! I’d just like to add that your blog is so cool and I can’t wait to see who else you have on for this series!
It’s me! Jake! I’m a writer and podcast producer whose work can be heard on Spotify’s Not Past It, NPR’s Invisibilia and on FiveThirtyEight’s Politics podcast and coronavirus podcast. My debut middle grade novel, ALMOST FLYING, is out now from Penguin and was named a Stonewall Honor Book, and my debut young adult novel, HOW TO EXCAVATE A HEART, comes out November 1, 2022, from HarperTeen. I studied evolutionary biology and creative writing (not as different as you might think) at Barnard college, where, in my spare time, I co-wrote a musical about a gay demon competing in a reality TV show.
You can find me on Twitter, Insta, and TikTok @Jakewhosagirl, and Youtube at Jake Maia Arlow. And if that’s not enough for you (you sicko), you can also subscribe to my very silly newsletter that I mostly only update when I’m traveling or having an existential crisis.
If you enjoyed reading this post and wish to support the blog, please consider checking out my WISHLIST ! You’ll be helping me read and feature more books 🤍
Thank you so much Jake for taking your time to do this interview for Misty Realms, I had a delightful time chatting about How to Excavate a Heart !!! HAPPY PRIDE 🏳️🌈