Chris Tebbetts is the New York Times bestselling coauthor of James Patterson’s Middle School series. Originally from Yellow Springs, Ohio, Tebbetts is a graduate of Northwestern University. He lives and writes in Vermont.
Describe your book Me, Myself & Him in 4 words.
Sliding Doors for today. And for those who don’t know that movie reference, I’ll add another four-word answer: gay, parallel universes, dark-comedy. (Well okay, five words… :))
What inspired you to write MM&H?
The prologue of this book is autobiographical, describing a drug-fueled accident I had when I was nineteen years old. I first wrote about it as a short creative nonfiction essay, but the topic always stuck with me. Eventually, I decided to give that same accident to a character and see where it took him. I’ve always been fascinated with theoretical “what if?” questions, and the book looks at two different outcomes from that same incident, following my character in both directions. It was like a giant puzzle, figuring out what my characters would and wouldn’t know in each separate version of the story, and how to clue the reader in on all of it at the same time. And I love a good puzzle!
How do you feel about the book finally coming out?
I’m most definitely excited to share this story with the world! This one is more personal than anything I’ve ever written, by far, so on an emotional level, I feel more invested than ever. That can cut both ways—I’m also nervous to let go of this story and let it find its own way out there with whatever audience it might find.
What is something you’re looking forward to readers experiencing in your upcoming book?
People who have read advance copies of the book have really liked the parallel-universe idea, and also seem to appreciate a story with a gay protagonist where sexuality isn’t the problem or the focus of the narrative.
What has been your favourite aspect(s) of the entire journey of MM&H?
It’s those moments of discovery that happen in the writing—the little (and big) surprises that seem to creep up on me while I’m sitting there, typing away at my computer, as though the story is working just as hard for me as I’m working for it. Those are the writing days I really live for.
Can you share with us what you’re working on next?
I’m too superstitious to say too much, but I will say that I love to work on all kinds of different stories. I’ve always admired the creative chameleons of the world, and accordingly, my new project is a full departure from the world of ME, MYSELF, AND HIM. It’s a funny, larger-than-life middle grade novel with an absolutely ridiculous (in a good way) premise.
Me, Myself, and Him
(On Sale Date: July 9, 2019)
Perfect for fans of Becky Albertali’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and A. S. King’s Still Life with Tornado, this story of parallel time lines cleverly explores how our choices can change and shape us — as well as the ways in which choices don’t change the core of our being at all.
When Chris Schweitzer takes a hit of whippets and passes out face first on the cement, his nose isn’t the only thing that changes forever. Instead of staying home with his friends for the last summer after high school, he’s shipped off to live with his famous physicist but royal jerk of a father to prove he can “play by the rules” before Dad will pay for college.
In an alternate time line, Chris’s parents remain blissfully ignorant about the accident, and life at home goes back to normal—until it doesn’t. A new spark between his two best (straight) friends quickly turns Chris into a (gay) third wheel and even worse, the truth about the whippets incident starts to unravel. As his summer explodes into a million messy pieces, Chris wonders how else things might have gone. Is it possible to be jealous of another version of yourself in an alternate reality that doesn’t even exist?
With musings on fate, religion, parallel universes, and the best way to eat a cinnamon roll, Me Myself & Him examines how what we consider to be true is really just one part of the much (much) bigger picture.
INTERVIEW : YASH3LF