Casey McQuiston Talks “One Last Stop”

Casey McQuiston author photo CR: Valerie Mosley

On July 15th 7pm, the Skokie Public Library hosted a zoom webinar with Casey McQuiston. McQuiston is the nonbinary bisexual author of the bestselling romance novel, Red, White, and Royal Blue which I reviewed here: Although, Red, White, and Royal Blue features an mlm (men loving men) relationship, McQuiston’s new novel, One Last Stop, follows a wlw (women loving women) relationship. The protagonist August, meets a beautiful woman named June on the subway. But there’s a catch: her crush has time travelled from the 70’s and is stuck in 2020.

I bought a copy with a signed bookplate, from The Book Stall in Winnetka which partnered with the library to host the event. I have yet to read it, but it is one of the most anticipated my list to read and review. Through a librarian interviewer, guests were able to ask McQuiston questions about her books, and her personal life. Like, which of her characters does she most relate to? She said she is bit like Alex, the protagonist of Red, White, and Royal Blue because they are both very social. But she is also a bit like Henry (Alex’s love interest) because she is a nerd. She wishes she were more like Nora, Alex’s best friend, and ex.

She also added the tidbit that she writes non-linearly, focusing on scenes she wants to write at the moment, rather than chronological order. McQuiston said this helps her manage to write with her ADHD. As a writer with ADHD, I’ll definitely have to try that!

She told us about her research for her novels, saying that she probably spent enough time on the White House website for the FBI to be watching her. She also went on the Buckingham Palace website to do research for Henry’s home. For One Last Stop, she researched the LGBTQ+ rights movement and community in 1970’s New York City. She talked to a lot of queer elders, particularly butch lesbians, to help her write June’s character.

McQuiston said her writing goal is to make her queer readers feel held and warm. She certainly accomplished that in Red, White, and Royal Blue for me! She said she knows sometimes cishet readers will not enjoy her books as much because they’re “too gay” and can’t relate. But McQuiston said, she’s not writing for them, although she appreciates when people enjoy her books regardless of their gender and sexuality.

She ended with talking about her favorite books, saying that she has a special edition of Gideon the Ninth (a book I am currently reading) which features a map. And she said that she is reading While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillery. I’ll have to check it out after I finish Gideon the Ninth and One Last Stop.