Published February 18, 2022

M.K. England, author of The One True Me and You, lives in a small house in rural Virginia packed with video games, dogs, plants, Star Wars memorabilia, and one tiny human. 

Get to know M.K. in this Q&A and then see them at the Festival in March discussing their work in a FREE in-person event, Family, Friends & First Love: Young Adult Fiction on March 19 at 12 PM ET.


What motivated you to become an author? 

My whole life, books have lit my heart on fire and filled me with this feeling of power and possibility. Reading makes the world feel so much wider in most ways… but I never saw myself in books when I was young. Weird queer kids who didn’t fit neatly into gender boxes didn’t get to go on adventures or have sweeping romances or save the world. So I suppose my motivation was twofold: to release the pressure valve in my brain when I get too filled up with that feeling of Story Possibilities, and to fill my books with queer joy.  

What was your favorite part about writing your latest book?

The answer is the same as it is for all my books, I think: I’m obsessed with writing friend groups who are fiercely supportive, protective, and loving. It’s the clearest thread that connects all my work. It was such a joy to fill the pages with small nods to the people in fandom who made such a big impact on me, and to give Kay and Teagan the kind of support system that I wish every teen had. 

What impact or takeaway do you hope your work will have for readers? 

I hope that young queer readers will feel welcomed, seen, and comforted in my work. For everyone else, I hope it will open their hearts and minds as they shape the future of our world. But also, I hope everyone just has fun! A fast and fun reading experience is always a priority with every book I write. 

What is something that you’ve read recently and would recommend to others?

Light Years from Home by Mike Chen for sure. I’m an enormous Mike Chen fan and am always recommending his work to everyone who stands still long enough to hear me. His books manage to strike the perfect balance of emotionally-complex science fiction that makes you think but also leaves you feeling hopeful. I also recently read and loved The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson [also a 2022 Festival speaker]—even if time travel is not usually your thing, give it a shot. I normally avoid it, but both of these authors made it accessible, interesting, and placed emotional resonance at the forefront. Masters, both of them!

If you’re looking for a perfect read-alike for The One True Me and You, then look no further than If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich. It has the same blend of “oh no, we can’t get caught!” and “whatever, I’m coming out in a blaze of glory” and it just makes my heart happy. Broke a months-long reading slump for me.

What are you working on next?

I have two more books coming out later this year: Player vs. Player: Ultimate Gaming Showdown (Random House Kids, June 7) which is my geeky video game-themed middle grade debut, and Firefly: What Makes Us Mighty (Titan Books, June 28) which was another super fun IP project to tackle after getting to write the Guardians of the Galaxy. I spent the last year meeting deadlines for those books and two others, so I’m excited to finally be turning my attention to new projects! I’ll be finishing up revisions and drafting the last part of the Player vs. Player trilogy, but in the meantime I have lots of projects I’m getting ready to put on submission! A queer adult rom com, another middle grade adventure, a queer adult sci-fi, and another queer geeky YA rom com in the same vein as The One True Me and You. Fingers crossed!

Partners & Sponsors  |  View All

With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

Cornell NEH Virginia Public Media - NPR & PBS Charlottesville Albemarle UVA CHO