Where did the idea for this book/ series and world come from?
I know it’s a cliché, but the premise for Thieves’ Gambit actually came to me in a dream. I woke up convinced that someone had written this awesome book I dreamt about. After a morning of frantic googling, I realized that no one had, so I wrote it!
We hear that you’ve previously worked as a librarian – was that impactful to you in deciding who you wanted to write for?
Being around teens while working as a YA librarian definitely helped me maintain the teenage voice. My work also helped me stay up-to-date with what teens were reading, what was popular, what wasn’t, what kind of books there were a lot of, and what books there weren’t enough of. I didn’t see enough books about kids of color on wild, round-the-world adventures, so when I got the idea for TG, I knew that’s what I wanted it to be!
What kind of advice would you give anyone who wanted to write their own story?
Write the story that sets your heart on fire. Write the story that excites you, and take it where you want it to go. Don’t waste words trying to please other people. You are your first and more important reader.
Did your family have a strong reading culture when you were growing up? / Were you a bookworm as a child?
My parents weren’t big readers, but they made sure to foster an appreciation for books in my brother and I from a young age by taking us to the library for storytimes and such. I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as a girl and Mary Downing Hahn horror books in particular. I wouldn’t call kid-me an overly voracious reader however, she simply read when she found books that looked fun.
What are you hoping that YA readers (and beyond) find within the pages of this mystery/ heist/ adventure?
No matter who you are, whether you’re a teen or “grown-up”, a homebody or an international thief, it’s never too late to find your crew.
Thieves’ Gambit by Kayvion Lewis is published by Simon & Schuster and is available now.