Welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour for The People We Choose by Katelyn Detweiler. I was so excited when I was selected for an interview with the author. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the tour schedule for other content creators.
Katelyn Detweiler was born and raised in a small town in eastern Pennsylvania, living in a centuries-old farmhouse surrounded by fields and woods. She spent the vast majority of childhood with her nose in a book or creating make-believe worlds with friends, daydreaming about how she could turn those interests into an actual paying career. After graduating from Penn State University with a B.A. in English Literature, emphasis in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies, she packed her bags and made the move to New York City, determined to break into the world of publishing. She worked for two years in the marketing department of Macmillan Children’s Group before moving in 2010 to the agency side of the business at Jill Grinberg Literary, where she is currently a literary agent representing books for all ages and across all genres.
Katelyn lives in a cozy Brooklyn apartment with her husband Danny and her son Alfie, surrounded by stacks of books and records and diapers. When she’s not reading or writing or taking care of a tiny human, Katelyn enjoys yoga, fancy beverages, and road trips. She frequently treks back to her hometown in Pennsylvania, a lovely green escape from life in the city, and her favorite place to write.
About The Book
Title: The People We Choose
Author: Katelyn Detweiler
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books
Publishing Date: May 4th, 2021
Page Length: 304
Age Range: YA
Rep: Queer, Lesbian, Bi-Racial, Black, donor child
When 17-year-old Calliope meets her new neighbor Max, their connection is instantaneous, but the revelation of her sperm donor’s identity changes everything.
Calliope Silversmith has always had just two friends in her small Pennsylvania town, Ginger and Noah, and she’s fine with that. She’s never wanted anything more than her best friends, her moms, their house in the woods, and their family-run yoga studio—except maybe knowing who her sperm donor is. Her curiosity has been building for years, and she can finally find out this summer when she turns eighteen.
Then Max and his family move into the house across the woods from Calliope, and she immediately feels a special connection with her new neighbor, one that feels different than just friendship. The stability of her longtime trio wavers over the next few weeks as she and Max start to spend more time together.
But when Calliope makes contact with her sperm donor she learns a surprising truth: her donor is Max’s father. How is this even possible?
As she and Max struggle to redefine their friendship now that they know they’re half-siblings, Calliope realizes she has much to gain by recognizing and accepting that family is both the one she has been born into, and the one she chooses to make.
Perfect for readers looking for stories about family dynamics and fans of The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend.
I would like to thank Katelyn Detweiler for taking the time to answer my questions.
In your acknowledgements you said that the idea for this book evolved to the exploration of different types of love: family, friendship and romantic. Did you find one type of love more difficult to explore than another?
I would say that family love—in my book, and generally speaking—often feels like the most complex. What does it mean to share blood with someone, DNA? Especially when beyond that basic cellular similarity, you might have nothing else in common? It’s hard to feel like you have to love someone just because they’re family—even if they might not deserve that love. Love feels easier when it’s a personal choice, not an obligation or expectation.
Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?
Honestly, I think any scene where they were out in nature, the wild woods, the intense summer heat. So much of the setting was pulled from places of my childhood, and writing it down was totally transportive—summer for the soul, no matter the season!
Did you do a lot of research for The People You Choose?
Yes, absolutely, about all sorts of things—sperm donation of course, because I wanted to be as informed and aware and as sensitive as possible in conveying the complex dynamics of these realities and relationships. Besides that: baking, cellos, bugs and owls and plants and college majors and Philly and oh, the list goes on! Every page requires at least one good Google search, if not ten.
We’re any of your characters inspired by anyone in your life? If not, was there a specific supporting character that you loved writing?
Yes, for sure—elements of Calliope’s fiercely protective and supportive Mama came from a very dear friend of mine. Mama and Mimmy were both two of my favorites—their contrasts, their quirks, their love—along with Max’s little sister, Marlow. Marlow was a character who really snuck up on me—I had no idea just how important she’d become until the story took me there on its own, and she insisted on being heard.
If you got to spend the day with Calliope and Max, what would you do?
Explore the woods! Watch the sun set over Green Woods, stuff my mouth with Mimmy’s delightful baked goods, splash around in the inflatable turtle pool to stay cool. I want the full Green Woods summer experience.
Was there anything you learned after writing your previous books, Immaculate, Transcendent, and The Undoing of Thistle Tate, that helped you write The People We Choose?
YES. KEEP A CALENDAR. From the very beginning! It’ll make revisions a hundred times easier, and you will be profusely grateful to yourself. ☺
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