The time it was about When We Were Infinite

Posted March 5, 2021 by Stacee in Interviews | 1 Comment

When I received the invitation to interview Kelly Loy Gilbert for her upcoming release When We Were Infinite, I said yes almost immediately.  The synopsis is intriguing and that cover is amazing and I’m really excited to settle in with the story.

Before we get to Kelly’s answers, let’s check out the book!

Title: When We Were Infinite
Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert
Pages: 368
Pub Date: March 9, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Find it: S&S | Indiebound | Bookshop | Goodreads

From award-winning author Kelly Loy Gilbert comes a powerful, achingly romantic drama about the secrets we keep, from each other and from ourselves, perfect for fans of Permanent Record and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

All Beth wants is for her tight-knit circle of friends—Grace Nakamura, Brandon Lin, Sunny Chen, and Jason Tsou—to stay together. With her family splintered and her future a question mark, these friends are all she has—even if she sometimes wonders if she truly fits in with them. Besides, she’s certain she’ll never be able to tell Jason how she really feels about him, so friendship will have to be enough.

Then Beth witnesses a private act of violence in Jason’s home, and the whole group is shaken. Beth and her friends make a pact to do whatever it takes to protect Jason, no matter the sacrifice. But when even their fierce loyalty isn’t enough to stop Jason from making a life-altering choice, Beth must decide how far she’s willing to go for him—and how much of herself she’s willing to give up.

Sounds good, right?

1. Please give the elevator pitch for When We Were Infinite.

How far can you go for someone you love, and when do you start to lose yourself?

2. Which came first: the characters or the plot line?

The characters, definitely. They’ve been with me for so long, and I always wanted to write a story that at its core was about friendship.

3. Why do you love Beth and Jason and why should readers root for them?

Complicated feelings here! But I think ultimately they’re complicated people, who are flawed and broken but also resilient, and who see each other in ways no one else does.

4. Were there any weird things you googled while researching?

Oh, so many! I’ve been writing it for 10 years, so most of these didn’t make it into the book, but at various points—the bear population in California, fetal microchimerism, history of the Golden Gate Bridge.

5. Without spoilers, which scene was your favorite to write?

There’s an emotionally fraught scene when two characters are playing poker with Skittles—one of the few scenes that has stayed in the story over the years of revision, and it was one of my favorites to write.

Speed(ish) round:

1. You find out you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

I’m at home, extremely sick, and calling my parents to tell them and they both pick up at work only bc they know I’m sick and think it’s an emergency. (Real life version!)

2. What 3 things would you take to a desert island?

I have three little kids and so this is a question that comes up a lot in my life, haha, and I think my 7 year old has come up with the winning answer: my house (with everyone in it), a grocery store, and a hospital

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Curtis Sittenfeld’s PREP

4. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

That I didn’t need it to start happening by a certain age. I wasted a lot of time feeling like it was passing me by.

5. You wake up and discover that you are Bella in Twilight.  You know how it plays out.  What do you do differently?

You know, it’s one of those YA canon books I haven’t gotten to yet, but didn’t Edward live through plagues? I think given our current … everything, there’s got to be some way to harness something useful there. I’d start by pumping him for insights


Kelly Loy Gilbert believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. She is the author of Conviction, a William C. Morris Award finalist, and Picture Us in the Light, and lives in the SF Bay Area.

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Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for the invite and to Kelly for taking the time.  When We Were Infinite releases March 9th and pre-order links are above.

Have you read this book? Do you plan to?

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