Guest Post: Kathe Koja, Author of Under the Poppy! (#OthersLitLGBT)

Ladies & Gents:

I am pleased to introduce to you the incredibly interesting, devastatingly talented, wholly terrific author of my favorite read of 2011, Kathe Koja!

Kathe is here today to celebrate The Literary Others and to talk a bit about her book, Under the Poppy; more specifically, she’s here to talk about love, both in the story and in the world.  Please give her a warm welcome!


Kathe Koja

Only Rupert is real, has ever been, through all the cold boyhood nights, the young men’s journeys, the play upon play upon play; and Rupert is gone.

This is the heart of my novel UNDER THE POPPY: the love story of Istvan and Rupert, the way love makes another person, once a stranger, so joyously, terribly real that to suffer that person’s loss is to suffer the end of the world. Loving so thoroughly makes the lover real in a new way, too, brings out tenderness or fury or some other qualities entirely; anyone who’s ever loved knows this is true.

Is UNDER THE POPPY a gay love story? Yes. And no. Yes, because the two true lovers are men; no, because any real love story is universal, the sweep of pleasure and loss is the same for us all. What can and does change is how that love will be experienced by that particular character in that setting in that writer’s hands: and that’s the business of fiction, of creating people who are people, whom we readers can feel for, root for, be exasperated by, yell at on the page.  And if, in the story’s time and place, it’s difficult or forbidden for one man to love another openly, then that becomes part of the story, and of the love as well. But not because the men are gay: because the society insists on their separation. That same separation might affect two young people in warring Verona, a star-crossed pair, say … Does it change the story, if Romeo’s a boy and Juliet’s a girl? For sure. Does it change the love? Not at all. Because love in all its manifestations is universal at its heart.

Rupert’s smile is slower, but sweet to Istvan when it comes, Istvan’s gaze a boy’s when he murmurs as sweetly, “Shall I come to you? Later on?” Rupert’s look in return is one of helpless heat, and cherishing, calamity and love …

 That’s love.  That’s human. That’s real.

Kathe Koja has another special gift for us! She is going to be giving away one SIGNED copy of her book, Under the Poppy, to a lucky participant of The Literary Others event. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post, saying you’d like to win. Please also leave your email, in this format: roofbeamreader(at)gmail(dot)com. The giveaway is open until Sunday and Kathe is willing to ship Internationally!

15 Comments on “Guest Post: Kathe Koja, Author of Under the Poppy! (#OthersLitLGBT)

  1. i remember when you reviewed this Adam and you were all praises. 🙂

    how lucky you are to have Kathe Koja on your blog!

    of course, i’d love to win a copy of Under the Poppy and i’m crossing my fingers. thank you!



  2. One of my absolute favorite books of all time (and, I admit, one of the few for which I HAD to read the ending before I got there, I was so terribly afraid of what might happen I couldn’t hold myself back any longer). Koja’s writing makes me go all melty and gooey inside.


    • Oh, no! I can’t believe you skipped ahead to read the ending! I admit, I was tempted.. this book is so good! Did you know there’s a sequel coming next year??


  3. Pingback: Under the Poppy | Talking love with Roof Beam Reader and the Literary Others

  4. Great interview. Love is love any way you look at it!

    I’ve already got this book and I’m planning to read it very soon. Adam very kindly sent it to me. If it wasn’t for my other reading commitments I’d be reading it right now!


  5. I’ve been really excited about reading this book for the event ever since you recommended it Adam 😀 Also, I love Kathe Koja’s words here.
    I definitely want to participate in the giveaway 🙂 eve304(at)gmail(dot)com


  6. Sounds really sexy (and forgive me, but I mean it in a v. good way. Perhaps sensual is a better word?)–and I just have to say, I love the cover art!


  7. The book sounds fabulous as does the author. I would love to win, but plan to read the book whether I do or not!


  8. I’d like to win this book because it’s always great to find stories that make you believe in love all over again.
    Email: a.james808(at)gmail(dot)com


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