Ask the Author: Olivia Hinebaugh


What would you like readers to know about you? 

I hope it comes across in the book, but I really do write about things I care deeply about. In The Birds, The Bees, And You And Me that’s music, consent, comprehensive sex education, and feminism. I hope readers take something away from the book, but I also just want them to love the characters and enjoy the time they spend in the pages. Because my favorite moments are ones where I’m fully enthralled by a story. 


What is your book about for those who haven’t read it? 

Lacey, a straight-A music geek who has never been kissed, becomes her school’s unofficial sex expert. She sees how detrimental the abstinence-only heteronormative sex ed can be. Her own mother was a single teen mom and as a nurse has taught her all about sexual health and consent. It’s also about her best friends and music and awkward but sweet first love (and sexual experiences). 


What has been your inspiration for writing it? 

I actually came at this story from a childbirth angle. I trained as a birth doula (someone who provides support to laboring and birthing people). Doing birthwork really is a calling and I wanted to write a teen doula. But once I started thinking about who that character was, it started to become about a lot more than that. And one of the things I was particularly inspired to write was the kissing/sex scenes. Because I always felt sort of let down by what I read/saw as a teen and how it always seemed to go immediately from “I like you” to having sex and in reality that’s only one narrative in a wide range of first experiences. I wanted to write characters asking for consent for kissing and feeling a little embarrassed to discuss things with their partner, but being honest anyway. Plus, the characters are musicians, and I always love writing about music.

What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write? 

I loved writing the three best friends: Lacey, Theo, and Evita. I loved the conversations they had and the way they teased each other and supported each other. I always love writing dialogue and being surprised by what the characters seem to come up with without my help. 


What books or authors inspired you to become a writer? 

I feel really lucky to have some of my favorite authors as friends. Danielle Stinson (author of Before I Disappear) is a childhood friend and when she was starting out querying, she let me read her manuscript and I loved it so much. I wanted to do that. I had studied writing in college, but it was playwriting and screenwriting. But when I started to really read YA (books like Scorpio Races, Jellicoe Road, and Graffiti Moon) I knew I wanted to write it. 


What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book? 

It sounds trite, but my advice is to read. But it goes further than that: be a lifelong learner. Give yourself permission to inhabit a story or dive into weeks-long research holes. Stay curious. Train your analytical eye by reading for people who are in the same phase of writing as you. Identifying what’s working and not working in someone else’s work makes it a lot easier to receive criticism and train your intuition to make your book work better and more emotionally with each revision. And of course, keep writing. Do whatever you need to to find your flow. You have to keep loving what you’re writing. There are a million things to write and billions of stories still left to be told. If you’re a storyteller, you have to keep putting your work out there. 


Where to buy:  

I’m @olivejuicelots on twitter and instagram  

You can add my book on goodreads 

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