I was so excited to land an interview with Alex Sanchez, the author of Rainbow Boys, last week. The first time I corresponded with him, which was just to ask about the Webster case, I did not even expect him to respond, but he did and was super nice about it. That gave me more confidence that he might be willing to be interviewed for the website. The fact that it was not a cold call for an interview felt better to me as well. I was very nervous to ask because I have a natural fear of rejection, so I wanted to make the interview as easy as possible for him to increase our chances of him agreeing to it. I thought he would be more likely to agree if I just emailed him the questions so he could answer them at his leisure and he said yes!



I was a little surprised by his quick response, but very grateful he agreed to the interview. I had been drafting a tentative list of questions to ask him ever since Sean and I first thought about the possibility of interviewing Alex Sanchez. However, for whatever reason, after he agreed to the interview every question seemed not good enough or too silly to ask. I think I was just nervous since he was so generously agreeing to help us. After consulting with Sean about his interview preparation for Trish, I eventually settled on the following questions:

As an author, what are your thoughts on issue of challenging books as it relates to your profession? To your personal views?

I know 2006 was a while ago, but what do you remember about the challenge of Rainbow Boys in Webster, NY? Anything about the challenger? Or the residents who fought to get the book back?

You’re quoted saying the removal of the book from the reading list was “un-American,” made you decide to reach out to the Webster School district’s administration?

So far we found three challenges to your book in the US and a cancelled speaking event in Canada, did you expect this sort of response?

Do you still hear about challenges to Rainbow Boys and its sequels Rainbow High and Rainbow Road over a decade and a half later?

Often times when books with gay themes are challenged the challengers claim they are challenged for “sexual themes” and not for having gay content. What do you think about this?

What are your thoughts on representation of LGBT  characters or other underrepresented groups in YA books? Have things changed since Rainbow Boys came out in 2001?

Anything else you’d like to share or raise awareness of?

I added the last question in at the last minute because I was happy with the questions I had developed, but I was worried I might have missed something that I wanted to give Alex the chance to say. The obvious downside to the emailed interview questions is that I am not able to ask follow up questions based on Alex’s response, but I think I left the questions open ended enough to result in in-depth answers. The question I had the most issues with was the one where I ask about the meaning behind banning books with gay themes under the guise of “sex scenes” or “inappropriate language.” This is because it’s known that this is often a way to get rid of gay books without being outright homophobic. Other books with straight sex scenes aren’t challenged, so it’s clear there can sometimes be a bias. I wanted to stay away from loaded language, so that Alex’s answers wouldn’t be led or influenced by my views.

I’m eagerly waiting for his response because I want to be able to use it in the site–I was sure to include a consent form when I emailed him–but I am also genuinely interested in his take on censorship. I’m hoping he will get back to me sometime this week.