Episode 2

Exploring autism through YA fiction with Kay Kerr

Kay Kerr is a former journalist and community newspaper editor from Brisbane. She now lives on the Sunshine Coast with her husband and daughter and works as a freelance writer. Her debut young adult novel, Please Don’t Hug Me, was inspired by her own autism-spectrum diagnosis. 

The interview starts at 17 minutes.

This week, we started the episode with a mini book club discussion of Olive by Emma Gannon. Overall: We loved this book and recommend to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction and likes discussing female friendships.

*Note: We both received PR copies of Olive for review. 

In the interview, we chat about: 

  • Sibling relationships in YA fiction (and life)
  • Working as a journalist in regional Queensland, including the closure and downsizing of dozens of small publications in mid-2020
  • Kay’s own autism spectrum diagnosis and the experience of writing a neurodivergent character
  • How Kay navigated the pitching process and sold Please Don’t Hug Me
  • Why Kay decided to date the book with specific Queensland high school references
  • The catharsis of writing about and reflecting on the emotion of writing about high school
  • The unexpected benefits of launching a book in a pandemic
  • A little bit about Kay’s next novel, Social Queue

Books and other things mentioned

Follow Kay @kaykerr_. Please Don't Hug Me is available now in Australia. 

Follow us on Instagram @betterwordspod

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and going to aerial classes.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I write words and tell stories for a living as a journalist and marketer. So it makes sense that I'm devouring more words and talking about books in my spare time, right? I'm also an Aussie living in the UK. When I'm not thinking about words, I can be found cuddling my pug Percy, climbing or going on walks in the English countryside.