An Indies Introduce Q&A with Page Powars

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Page Powars is the author of The Borrow a Boyfriend Club, a Summer/Fall 2023 Indies Introduce selection.

Powars was raised by his favorite gay-coded video game characters. They taught him how to soften his gaze at a homie, sacrifice his lifespan for a bro, and kill or kiss his definitely-just-a-pal. Now he writes stories with this wealth of knowledge. Powars also helps with music soundtracks, sobs over The Untamed, and unfortunately plays Genshin Impact. Originally from Michigan, he lives in the New York City area.

Jody Hardy of Mostly Books in Tucson, Arizona served on the panel that selected Powars’ debut for Indies Introduce. “The Borrow a Boyfriend Club is an enemy-to-lovers rom-com at its finest,” Hardy said. “Filled with plenty of humorous and laugh-out loud antics, this book is sure to sweep you off your feet. The characters are authentic and complex as they all try to fit into high school as well as figuring out who they are. However, the best part of this novel is the chemistry between Noah and Asher as they banter back and forth with each other and make wild assumptions about what the other person wants. Powars’ dialogue is on point! If you are looking for a delightful and charming read with characters who come to life on the page, this is the book for you!”

Here, Powars and Hardy discuss The Borrow a Boyfriend Club.

Jody Hardy: Your novel, The Borrow a Boyfriend Club, is utterly delightful with so many charming and funny moments between the characters, but you also tackle the harder side of high school with all its awkwardness and desire to feel accepted. What inspired you to write this story, and how did you find the perfect balance between the lighter moments and the harder moments?

Page Powars: I’m honored you think so! What inspired me to write The Borrow a Boyfriend Club was, in a way, 2020. Until then, I’d tried to write a few other books that leaned sadder. I assumed stories about myself needed to be sad since that’s all I’d read. But during that unsure time, I selfishly wanted a light, funny novel about myself, and I wondered if others did, too. Although while writing, I still wasn’t confident in who I was. The thoughts Noah, our main character, has during those harder moments are ones I shared at the time — it’s all very authentic to my personal experience. In the end, Noah accepts himself, mostly because I wanted to use him as inspiration to accept myself fully someday too. Now that years have passed since then, I’m thrilled to have reached that point as hoped.

JH: I am a firm believer that dialogue is a large part of creating chemistry between the characters in a rom-com and can make or break the story. You did this so well in your novel! How did you go about creating such authentic dialogue and banter between Noah and Asher? Did you do any additional research in preparation of writing your dialogue?

PP: I totally agree that dialogue is important for chemistry. Being 23 while originally writing this book likely helped that younger banter. All my life, I’ve also been involved in fandom spaces, which typically bring humor to stories that isn’t found in the source material. You connect with others that way, making fun of characters and imagining how they interact beyond what’s provided to an audience. When I started to write in college, I dissected my favorite authors’ works as well. I read their novels several times, noting dialogue that made me screech-laugh or shatter my heart. Some were Tara Sim, Adam Silvera, and Shaun David Hutchinson.

JH: One of my favorite things about your novel (aside from the chemistry between Noah and Asher) is that you have included a little something for all of the different generations that read YA novels. From throwback rom-com movies to more current pop culture references, how did you prepare to write for such a large group of readers and was that your intent all along?

PP: I love that you picked up on that! My focus is to write for teens first and foremost. But I do want all walks of life to read more about the topics discussed in this book, so I never want anyone to feel too alienated, even at a craft level. Although I reference rom-com movies, I don’t name titles. If I make pop culture references, I make sure it’s something eternally popular or a historically well-known fact. I’m so particular about this that when those who work alongside me — be it agents or editors — add reference suggestions, I stet them. And I rarely stet. It takes a team to make a book, and they’re the experts, but it’s one thing I can’t let go of!

JH: Your novel is all about being who you are and finding your people and community in unexpected places. What advice would your character Noah give to readers who are also searching for community and people?

PP: Noah would say that things change — and when you least expect it. That’s easy for him to say, though, since he lives in a fictional world, right? So I’ll share that the same thing happened to me in the real world. While writing The Borrow a Boyfriend Club, I assumed I’d live the rest of my life without community. Those fears are valid, but they almost always aren’t true. Four years later, I have my own Asher and a metaphorical club room overflowing with friends, and I didn’t even try to find them — they found me!

JH: And of course, I have to ask: did your high school have a secret dating club, and if so, were you a member? If not, would you have liked to be? Why or why not?

PP: My high school didn’t have a secret dating club, but I know some people who did, whether through club fundraisers or prom promotions. So it’s not an impossible idea despite what some may believe. If there were a club like that at my high school, I’d like to think I’d be as bold as Noah and roundhouse kick down that basement door to join. In the end, this club is a fun, accepting group of friends, and I’d love to be part of that. Well, Asher, the prickly club president, would make me rip out my hair. But I’d love to be friends with Lenny, the club’s Influencer Type, in particular. And his tiny Shih Tzu puppy, Poochie, obviously.

The Borrow a Boyfriend Club by Page Powars (Delacorte Press, 9780593568583, Hardcover Young Adult, $18.99) On Sale: 9/12/2023

Find out more about the author on his website.

ABA member stores are invited to use this interview or any others in our series of Q&As with Indies Introduce debut authors in newsletters and social media and in online and in-store promotions. Please let us know if you do.