Who is Becky Albertalli?  Besides being a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers, she has also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, DC. These days, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons, and writes very nerdy contemporary young adult fiction. Her smashing debut novel, SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, released from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins on April 7th, 2015. She is represented by Brooks Sherman from the Bent Agency.

When did you know you were a writer?

I think I still can’t quite believe I’m a writer! I keep waiting to wake up from this.

How long did it take to sign your first publishing contract?

It actually happened very quickly for me. My agent offered representation five days after I queried him, and he sold my book four days after I accepted his offer.

What are the most important lessons you learned along the way?

I think the most important piece for me was to connect with other writers and immerse myself in the community. I wrote SIMON VS. in almost total isolation, and I barely told anyone I was even attempting to write a novel. Since getting my book deal, I’ve gotten to know so many incredibly cool people, some of whom I already consider to be among my best friends.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

A lot of people have spoken to me about self-care, and I think that’s so important. For me, it’s always helpful when I unplug from social media for parts of each day, take more naps, read for pleasure, and spend more time with my family.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing?

I think it’s a great option for a lot of authors and a lot of books. A few of my favorite books are self-published!

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a loose companion book to SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, set in the Washington, DC area – hopefully coming in the fall of 2016 from Balzer + Bray/Harper.

What’s something your fans may not know about you?

I am one of the only people you’ll ever meet who doesn’t like pizza.