Loveless with Jake Mier

Hello!

They say what matters most is love. But for a lot of us…that’s not what matters most.

Today we meet Jake Mier and we’re talking about the book that saved their life: Loveless by Alice Oseman.

Jake lives in the Twin Cities and works in restorative justice.

Loveless is the funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of Georgia, who doesn’t understand why she can’t crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. She’s surrounded by the narrative that dating + sex = love. It’s not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — coming to understand herself as asexual/aromantic. Disrupting the narrative that she’s been told since birth isn’t easy — there are many mistakes along the way to inviting people into a newly found articulation of an always-known part of your identity.

Jake’s Ace/Aro Book Recommendations

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
The City of Spires (series) by Claudie Arseneualt
Elatsoe and A Snake Falls To Earth by Darcy Little Badger

Our Bookshop

Visit our Bookshop for  new releases, current bestsellers, banned books, critically acclaimed LGBTQ books, or peruse the books featured on our podcasts: bookshop.org/shop/thisqueerbook

To purchase Loveless visit: https://bookshop.org/a/82376/9781338751932

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Credits

Host/Founder: J.P. Der Boghossian
Executive Producer: Jim Pounds
Associate Producers: Archie Arnold, K Jason Bryan and David Rephan, Natalie Cruz, Jonathan Fried, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Olila, Joe Perazzo, Bill Shay, and Sean Smith
Patreon Subscribers: Stephen D., Stephen Flamm, Ida Göteburg, Thomas Michna, and Gary Nygaard.
Creative and Accounting support provided by: Gordy Erickson
Music and SFX credits: visit thiqueerbook.com/music

Quatrefoil Library

Quatrefoil has created a curated lending library made up of the books featured on our podcast! If you can’t buy these books, then borrow them! Link: https://libbyapp.com/library/quatrefoil/curated-1404336/page-1

Transcript

This transcript is auto-generated by our recording platform Riverside.fm. This transcript is approximately 85% accurate and will include spelling and grammatical errors.

J.P. Der Boghossian

Hey everyone…representation is a major theme of this podcast. And today, we’re talking about folks in our community who have the least amount of representation in queer books: our asexual and aromantic friends and family. So this episode is for our ace and aro listeners. Our featured book was written by Alice Oseman, whose hard at work on the third season of Heartstopper, and this is the next novel of theirs you need to be reading.

My name is J.P. Der Boghossian. I’m your host. And you’re listening to a 2024 GLAAD Media Award nominee for outstanding podcast: This Queer Book Saved My Life.

Jake Mier (00:17.122)
So hi, I’m Jake Meyer. I use they, them pronouns. I live in the Twin Cities and I work at a restorative justice nonprofit.

JP Der Boghossian (00:28.191)
And what does that mean to work at a restorative justice nonprofit?

Jake Mier (00:33.334)
So we work with people who are involved in the criminal legal system and we work with them in restorative manner to address those behaviors, those things that happened that got them involved through a community based process focused on accountability and reparation and restoration. So understanding what happened, why it happened and finding a way to repair it and move forward.

JP Der Boghossian (01:00.083)
Amazing. And how did you come to do that work?

Jake Mier (01:04.238)
Kind of just by chance. I was looking for something to do when I graduated college and I was looking to move somewhere because I grew up in Florida and then I lived in New York for college and then

JP Der Boghossian (01:19.227)
Okay hang on I’m sorry. Okay say hi. Hi Jake. He’s saying hi. I should have come in earlier I’m sorry. Did I interrupt you? Oh I’m sorry. I’m sorry. You’re good.

Jake Mier (01:24.237)
Hello.

JP Der Boghossian (01:38.835)
Okay, I’m sorry. All right, so if you can pick that up right where you were at, if you can remember.

Jake Mier (01:40.878)
It’s not good.

Jake Mier (01:47.961)
Yeah, so I grew up in Florida. I went to college in New York. I was looking to move somewhere else.

Um, I was also looking to do something in the realm of like social advocacy. And I was talking with the career development office at my school and they recommended I look into the Lutheran volunteer core, uh, because they also had like year long placements and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do long term. So I looked into them and found they had a placement with RJCA, which is the

Twin Cities and that Twin City seemed cool. I knew a few people from here. They always really liked it. I had learned a little bit about restorative justice. I really liked the philosophies and the kind of work and then I came here and then I stayed here. I just really like the work and what it’s doing and the area.

JP Der Boghossian (02:46.899)
That’s great. Quick thing on the audio that I’m noticing here. Do you mind maybe projecting a little bit into your microphone since it’s a little bit further away than your sound pods were?

Jake Mier (03:01.15)
Yeah, I’ll try to speak up more.

JP Der Boghossian (03:03.479)
Okay, there you go. There you go. That was great. What you did right there was perfect. Okay, well Jake, what is the book that saved your life?

Jake Mier (03:14.722)
So that book is Loveless by Alice Oseman.

JP Der Boghossian (03:19.351)
And how would you describe it to folks who haven’t read it yet?

Jake Mier (03:23.326)
It’s kind of like a coming of age self discovery story about this young girl, Georgia. She’s entering her first year of university and she’s kind of…

with her two longtime friends and she becomes really good friends with her roommate. And the core of the story is really her coming to understand herself and her identity as a young Aeroace woman and what that really means for her.

JP Der Boghossian (03:53.971)
And for folks who also don’t know what aromantic and asexual are, how would you define that for yourself?

Jake Mier (04:02.351)
So, kind of…

The definitions as a community we use are essentially attraction based. So like asexual is not experiencing sexual attraction and aromantic is not experiencing romantic attraction. And they’re both like very broad spectrums, like arrow and ace, like the shorthands for aromantic and asexual. They’re identities, but they’re also broad umbrella terms that encompass entire spectra with a lot of identities in that little in between area.

it doesn’t happen and it does happen. There’s a lot.

JP Der Boghossian (04:40.027)
I just put you on the spot of like having to define something and I personally like refuse to do that work anymore because it’s like, wait a minute, there’s so much that variation in there that happens. But thank you for doing that as I, you know, hypocritically don’t do it myself. But because this is a lot of what Loveless is about those themes of, you know, identifying for the character, right, for herself.

of what aromantic means for her and what being asexual means right for her as well. I am curious, how did the book come to you?

Jake Mier (05:14.43)
So it came kind of a tumultuous period of my life. I always, the timeline always gets a little murky for me. I was thinking back to it today, it kind of started, I’d say sophomore year of college. I was not having the best time. Mental health has always been a little volatile, but.

In high school, I was kind of, I kept going just through inertia. I was either swimming or at school constantly. So there’s no time to do anything. The first year of college, you’re just the first year of college. It’s exciting. There’s things going on, but sophomore year things started slowing down. And I was like, okay, I have time to breathe and I need to start thinking about some things. And I had kind of at that point come to understand that I was

and a lot else about myself, but I knew there were things that I needed to figure out. And so I started looking for just anything with sort of these non-standard career identities and I found that.

Typically the only places to find them are in books. And so that fall, so it was fall of 2019, I ended up finding two books. One of them was Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kahn and the other one was Claudia Arsenal’s City of Strife, which were both very good books. Claire Kahn’s book talks a lot about the experience of a young,

Jake Mier (06:59.712)
like love and being ace and that experience of being a bi-romantic ace person and Arsenal’s book is just the start of kind of an epic fantasy series that features a wide variety of queer characters so those were kind of just my initial forays into learning a little more trying to grasp the stuff

Spring, so spring sophomore year that was 2020. That’s when COVID hit. COVID through a lot of things. But one of the things that came out of that is I kind of had the space to really understand a little more about gender and I kind of came to the realization that like, oh, I’m trans like that’s kind of how this is going to work and that

JP Der Boghossian (07:30.425)
Mm.

Jake Mier (07:52.898)
helped make things a little more clear. And then at the end of that summer, early fall, that’s when I found the book Loveless. So that fall was kind of, I had slightly come to terms with like being ace and being trans much less so than I thought I had at the time but.

I had to a degree and that kind of allowed me to kind of realize I think I am Arrow, but that was like a whole different kind of worms. That was a much more difficult realization for me to come to and process and move forward with and that’s, I mean this book kind of terrified me, but it was…

It intrigued me because it was the one thing I found that was like, this is going to talk about being Aero and what that is and what it’s like. And it’s about, it’s not about a real person, but it’s about a person. Like it’s about a person in a similar position to me. And so I kind of read it once early in the fall and it really, really sat with me. And then later in the fall, that was fall of 2020.

election was happening. That was very stressful night for me and so I just locked myself in my room. I shut off everything I had and I reread Loveless and then I reread Ocean Vlogs on Earth Were Briefly Gorgeous and that was just how I coped. And the combination of those two books but rereading Loveless again kind of helped.

JP Der Boghossian (09:14.318)
Mm-hmm.

JP Der Boghossian (09:30.003)
Mm-hmm.

JP Der Boghossian (09:34.78)
too.

Jake Mier (09:40.586)
essentially just like give me ground to stand on, to kind of move forward and process things.

JP Der Boghossian (09:48.231)
Tell me more about that.

Jake Mier (09:54.494)
So basically…

I mean I grew up in the South so our society in general is like very heavy into a matanormativity which is the idea that love is central and that you need to have a romantic partner and that is the pinnacle of existence and humanity and that stuff is magnified by a thousand when you grow up in a very Christian part of the South so it’s kind of it was just

JP Der Boghossian (10:25.701)
Mm.

Jake Mier (10:29.112)
me my whole life that you know our existence is revolved around love like that’s what our humanity was dependent on and love was also mostly romantic love that was the key that was the pinnacle and that really any form of relationships I had which is pale in comparison to the partner I would eventually find and that that’s really what the goal of life was and that was

hard to kind of turn away from because there’s like…

Jake Mier (11:09.25)
That’s the only future that’s offered is…

JP Der Boghossian (11:11.917)
Mm-hmm.

Jake Mier (11:13.194)
Like, you think about coming of age stories, there are always stories that revolve around flings, romance, sex, all these little firsts. And so, kind of, the reason why I said I came to terms with being ace but not really is because it was… I kind of understood myself as ace, but it was also a sense of, well, there’s ace people who are okay with sex.

If I can just find a partner, then maybe I can just like be a normal person. Like I can be a real person that way. And so in just

JP Der Boghossian (11:47.443)
Hmm.

Jake Mier (11:55.022)
having a fun time for those first few years of college and kind of taking a step back from everything and really thinking more about what I actually wanted out of life and what things were actually going to bring me. Enjoyment. And Loveless kind of was like, it’s okay. Like this is someone who’s going through a similar thing. You know, she also is struggling a lot

what happens when the only future that’s offered to you is gonna make you miserable? What happens when the only thing that people tell you matters in life isn’t something that’s gonna matter to you? Where do you go from there? And it was comforting. It was like, I can keep going in this way. It’ll be okay. I’ll be able to figure it out.

JP Der Boghossian (12:52.515)
I’m curious then, what were the things that you found that you were figuring out after reading Loveless?

Jake Mier (13:00.118)
Really just that I…

I mean, a big one was really accepting that I was Arrow. It was.

It was a weird thing because there was obviously, like I mentioned, not wanting to come to terms with that. And then also there’s experience of, it’s pretty common amongst A-Spec people to get confused for a bit growing up of like, I’m just bi because, you know, I have the same amount of attraction to everyone, it just doesn’t exist, but you can ignore the latter half of that. I have the same amount of attraction to everyone. And so Loveless kind of, it gave me another example of this is what

JP Der Boghossian (13:33.124)
Mm-hmm.

Jake Mier (13:40.552)
is like I was just understanding that I as a I didn’t really like romance you know it gave me more room to explain things about myself like

I can kind of place why sometimes I get uncomfortable with things that place romance at the center or why even just love as a concept kind of irks me at times. And also that those things don’t mean I’m a bad person and those things don’t reflect on my morals or anything about my humanity but that’s just a facet of who I am.

JP Der Boghossian (14:20.099)
It was interesting to me at the beginning of the book, which I was not expecting that the main character is just saturated in romance, right? Being in their last year of like high school and there’s this, you know, is she or isn’t she going to go and have her first kiss with Tommy, the, you know, the person she’s had a crush on for like seven years. And then she’s also like,

reading all of this romance, not novels, but she’s really into that type of literature. And what was that like for you when you got into it? Because I think you were saying that you knew going in that this was a book that was going to deal with it, but you were kind of like, I don’t think I’m maybe necessarily ready to deal with it. And then suddenly you’re just…

saturated and all of this like romance at the beginning of the book. I mean, what was that like when you got to it the first time?

Jake Mier (15:18.678)
it’s a little jarring. There’s one part of the book if I can just read this quote from about halfway through the book that there I mean there’s two.

Thanks from the book that the last time I re-read it I just wrote them down and I was like I need to just hold these. But one of them I think encapsulates that very well. So basically in the end that was the problem with romance. It was so easy to romanticize romance because it was everywhere. It was in music and on TV and in filtered Instagram photos. It was in the air, crisp and alive with fresh possibility. It was in falling leaves, crumbling wooden doorways, scuffed cobblestones and fields.

of dandelions, it was in the touch of hands, scrawled letters, crumpled sheets in the golden hour, a soft yawn, early morning laughter, shoes lined up together by the door, eyes across a dance floor. I could see it all, all the time, all around, but when I got closer I found that nothing was there, a mirage. And just that.

really spoke to me and I think it’s kind of why the first part of it is so grounded in like her trying to have her love story because it’s… it’s true. Like it’s a little drawing of oh I didn’t necessarily want to read about love but…

That’s just what it’s like walking around on a day to day basis. Everything, every piece of media I ever run into. Love is at least tangentially involved. It is always there. It is in everything. And that’s really confusing when it’s a baffling concept when you can’t even really grasp it. Like that’s one of the things that makes really understanding.

JP Der Boghossian (16:53.799)
Mm-hmm.

JP Der Boghossian (17:10.725)
Mm-hmm.

Jake Mier (17:17.162)
Being error is hard is how do you understand not experiencing something? What does that mean?

JP Der Boghossian (17:29.744)
How do you define that then? What does it mean for you?

Jake Mier (17:33.842)
I still don’t even know. I, it, for me, I think the biggest thing is just that it, cause I don’t necessarily always like that it, that the identities I have are defined by not experiencing something. But I also resonate with the experiences of the people in this community, you know? Like, and it’s.

the easiest way to connect to all of our experiences. Like I…

don’t really like love, I don’t really like romance, I would be perfectly fine to not be near any of it ever again, I don’t really want a partner of any sorts. But there’s people who don’t feel that way, you know, there’s people who think love is interesting, they like to spectate it, there’s people who like forming other kinds of partnerships, there’s arrows who think that love is an interesting thing to enjoy with other people even if they don’t quite get it. So it’s…

It’s the best way for us to kind of communicate our experiences with each other because we have similar ways of experiencing the world and it’s the best way to find that common ground without reducing any of us to a single type of being arrow or being ace as well. Just mostly think about being arrow lately.

JP Der Boghossian (18:55.675)
Absolutely.

JP Der Boghossian (19:01.464)
Absolutely. So walk me through your, after you finished reading Loveless for that first time, what was…

JP Der Boghossian (19:13.487)
I guess walk me through that time. Like what was, what was new?

JP Der Boghossian (19:20.319)
See, this is the same thing live. Like I have to think the question. Think before you speak. No, there’s the question. There it is. Walk me through that newfound confidence that you had after reading Loveless for the first time. Like what did that confidence look like for you as you were now navigating the world?

Jake Mier (19:48.142)
I don’t even know if it was confident so much as just like relief and a little bit of freedom. Like it took me a very long time to be able to begin talking about being Aero with other people and it still can be quite hard because there’s a lot of things that come with it and

JP Der Boghossian (19:54.981)
Oh, yeah.

Jake Mier (20:12.994)
the way people will perceive you particularly. It’s like how much am I gonna really talk about all of my feelings about all kinds of love or am I just gonna stop at romantic love and not broach the subject of whether or not humanity is contingent on love. But it gave me sort of my own personal peace. Like I felt okay.

with the way I felt about, like I, it was okay when I would watch something and just wanna turn it off when there was romance. Like I didn’t have to worry about those feelings anymore. I didn’t have to walk around wondering what I was going to do about not wanting a partner. I was able to more easily realize that

Just because I don’t want to have people right next to me all the time doesn’t mean I will be alone. And that like being a loner isn’t lonely. I don’t even like the word loner, but it’s.

I mean, I’m a relatively reclusive person. I’m content staying at home. A lot of my friends live in other states, but I’m okay. I, I get my interaction with people. I satisfy it. And I talk with people a lot. That doesn’t really matter to me if they’re here. It just, I just like having a form to connect with people and also a way to escape people.

JP Der Boghossian (21:53.971)
Absolutely. In Loveless, was there a particular, I want to be mindful of the word relationship here because immediately, like we immediately go to like romantic relationship, but was there a either relationship or interaction that you saw in the book modeled that you were like, yes, that’s it right there. That’s the type of interaction.

that I would like to have right in my own life, like either in terms of like distance or how the main character was relating to somebody. Like, does that question make sense?

Jake Mier (22:28.618)
It does. Um, and I think kind of, um, there’s like, there are some differences between me and Georgia, like the big one being Georgia is a person to whom.

Love is still very important to her. She just could not care less about romantic love. And that overflows into her relationships too. But she has a really, really well done relationship with her roommate. And they have a lot of differences and it’s pretty rocky. And it’s a lot of each of them kind of.

slowly chipping away at each other’s walls and then taking a sledgehammer to it and seeing what happens. And I’ve had a lot of relationships like that in my life. I am a very guarded person and I watch people closely, but I have routinely had people just come and kind of try and get through those walls a little bit and just

that sort of dynamic of safely letting people in and also not having to meet expectations of forming other types of relationships. I saw a lot of that reflected in Rooney and Georgia’s relationship.

JP Der Boghossian (23:47.324)
Yeah.

JP Der Boghossian (23:54.931)
I love that. I love that. What should people expect when they’re reading Loveless for the first time?

Jake Mier (24:04.014)
That’s a good question. I feel like…

It depends on what you know and what your life experiences going into it are. I would say if you don’t know much about aspect people, especially AeroSpec people, there’s going to be a lot of just like intriguing or

JP Der Boghossian (24:17.486)
That’s a good point.

Jake Mier (24:26.91)
interesting or new points. But I would say for most people who are A-spec and particularly Aero-spec because there’s not a lot out there for us. It’s very…

JP Der Boghossian (24:39.163)
Mm-hmm.

Jake Mier (24:42.09)
relatable. There’s so many aspects of it that we can connect to and it’s really great seeing it, especially someone like Alice who now has Heartstopper, which has gotten so much publicity, which also has Isaac, which looking forward to Isaac getting his full arc soon. But seeing

A great writer like Alice who is aero ace and always takes such care in writing for A-Spec characters. It’s very, again it just brings a little bit of peace and kind of another way to connect people in our community because it can be hard to just randomly run into an A-Spec person in real life. But you can find them online. You can find them by talking about books.

JP Der Boghossian (25:32.603)
Right?

JP Der Boghossian (25:38.935)
Oh, that’s interesting. So it’s like they’re a big community, like connecting over books, which would be amazing based off of this podcast, because obviously I’m a huge nerd about creating community around books. So I can imagine when there are fewer than there should be, there can be that community building around them.

Jake Mier (26:01.354)
Yeah, I mean, I’d say there’s definitely parts of like the online names by communities where it’s just like Everyone’s read public. Like it’s just kind of it’s our book

JP Der Boghossian (26:13.971)
I love that. You were mentioning Heartstopper. And for folks who, I guess the, well, no, the easy way is you can get the book at your local bookstore or library or at bookshop.org or, you know, there’s the Netflix series. And I thought that was very, I was not expecting the Isaac storyline. So in this friend group for folks who haven’t seen Heartstopper, and I recommend like when you’re done with this episode, go immediately watch Heartstopper because it’s such a delight.

but you have Isaac and then like all of his friends are in this tumultuous love drama and romance drama. Will they? Won’t they? I mean every you know version of this that you can think of and in this new season that came out in August you know there’s like oh there’s this love interest for Isaac and I remember watching it and going yay now it’s Isaac’s turn and then the storyline developed and I was like

Jake Mier (26:50.062)
Thanks for watching!

JP Der Boghossian (27:10.991)
why did I have to have that reaction to it? Like I immediately had bought in to all of this, and I was like, well, yeah, there it is. There’s that programming, right? That everything’s gotta be around having that boyfriend and everything’s gonna come together once he has this boyfriend. And so it was a really interesting beginning of his arc, I think, in that second season. And so I really hope as well that they’ll continue that.

in the third season because it was like they had just opened the doors for him and I was like yes and then it was the season finale and I was like no. So soon, very soon, hopefully it’ll be back.

Jake Mier (27:53.332)
Mm-hmm.

JP Der Boghossian (28:03.122)
I don’t know if there would necessarily be a connection here, but I’m going to ask the question anyway. And if there isn’t anything, then we’ll just cut it out. I wonder, do you see any connection between the restorative justice work that you do and the themes of Loveless?

Jake Mier (28:23.366)
I think so, because a big part of restorative justice is community building.

And I think that’s one of the things that drew me to it because I mean, that’s something that we talk about a lot in a spec communities is what do we want our relationships to look like? Because especially those of us who are aero spec and non-partnering, you’re kind of just taking a sledgehammer to what we’re told we should form our relationships. Like I’m not going to have a partner. I’m not going to have kids.

JP Der Boghossian (28:57.927)
Hmm.

Jake Mier (29:02.412)
family. So what relationships do I want? What kinds of relationships do I want? What do I want they to look like? And how is that going to operate? And that’s very similar to the experience of who do I want in my community? How do I care for my community? What kind of people are in my community? How do I connect to them? Because that’s… I would also personally I think part of why communities tend to

is due to the way a matador activity and our nuclear family operate. They isolate, close people off, keep them within closed sections, and the only things that matter are your partner and your kids. And you know, as a kid you’ll grow up and then you’ll become an adult and then you’ll actually feel real emotions and you’ll get a partner and have kids.

JP Der Boghossian (30:00.844)
Yeah, I don’t know if this is the right term. It was 2007 and I called it my year of the friend apocalypse because half of my friends got married that year and I went broke going to all these weddings and paying for all these gifts and then literally they all just did that. They got their nuclear families quote unquote and then they all disappeared and I was just like this little…

queer kid living in Northern Michigan, like, what do I do? And like my Armenian family was like, you know, on a different continent and I was like, what is happening? But is that thing, right? That you, when they, when folks get, you know, married or partnered off or throupled off, you know, I can say the same thing happens in my throuple, you know, where we do tend to, you know, incubate. Is that the right word? I don’t know if that’s the right word or not, but.

There is that, you’re right though, where I’m going with that is that yes, you are right. There is that feeling of like isolating and getting cut off. And then how do you kind of battle back from that to create community? It’s, that’s really interesting. That connection that you’re making there. Um, I am curious as we’re talking about building community and also building community around books. What type of books would you like to see featuring?

themes that are like happening in Loveless, like either, you know, sequels to Loveless or like what other types of, you know, storylines would you like to see other authors taking up as it relates to the community?

Jake Mier (31:33.594)
I would really just say all of them. I especially really would like more subversions of love and love stories. I really appreciate a move away in fantasy and sci-fi genres from identifying villains by not having love or like…

JP Der Boghossian (31:36.943)
Ha ha

JP Der Boghossian (31:57.86)
Mmm.

Jake Mier (31:59.498)
this character does or doesn’t have humanity based on which emotions they experience. And that’s, I mean, I think that’s just something that understanding arrow people can add to a lot of storylines without even throwing arrow people into every story, but I think they should be. It’s like, I don’t know, I want more stories like Loveless talking about

what it’s like being aro in a society that pushes all this onto you. But I also would like for that to not be the only kind of story. I want more stories where just people are free to exist without those pressures around them. And I want both of those stories because it’s…

good to have the real, the things that are hard to deal with to know that you’re not alone.

but it’s really great to also see those little pockets of joy. I mean, that’s one of the things that I’ve, I mentioned earlier, that I’ve struggled talking about being arrow. And part of that is because it was a tumultuous journey. And for a lot of people I know, I’m the only arrow person they know. And there’s already this like idea ahead of time of that’s a very sad thing. And it’s like, I,

JP Der Boghossian (33:19.335)
Hmm.

JP Der Boghossian (33:26.748)
you

Jake Mier (33:29.332)
preemptively fight that. Like how? I don’t know. This is also a tangent but I just I love this story. There was one kid I went to college with and we were talking once and I just mentioned being aroace and he like most people asked what it was and I was explaining it a little bit and he asked you know a pretty standard

Jake Mier (33:58.992)
of oh yeah no that’s really common but he stopped himself and he just said wait I’m thinking that’s really sad because I want those things and I would be really sad if I couldn’t have them you don’t want them so you probably don’t feel that way I was like yes that’s correct and

JP Der Boghossian (34:10.917)
Mm-hmm.

Jake Mier (34:22.438)
I don’t know, I just think it’s really, it’s funny, but he had a lot of self-awareness there and a lot of people don’t catch them at that point. And it’s nice to then be able to, if you can make that connection, I can also talk about these other things that are hard about being Arrow because you know that it’s not a sad existence.

JP Der Boghossian (34:31.12)
Yeah.

JP Der Boghossian (34:48.376)
That’s so true because the conversations that I’ve been part of around this, particularly around LGBTQ health equity, and when you’re trying to coach doctors and care providers around the different types of patients and families and families of choice, they’ll show up in their practices. And it’s wild to be in those spaces and try to figure out, like you were saying earlier

folks, entire worlds can be oriented around this principle of romantic love and the nuclear family. And the minute you take that away, they’re literally unable to think. In some instances, I don’t mean that in a bad way, but you can just sort of see them trying to ground themselves, get back onto their feet again so they can engage properly with either their patient or their client.

It’s wild. So that’s a really, thank you for sharing that story because I think that’s a really great way for folks who are listening, right, to begin to orient themselves, right, around that and to be better, you know, friends and family members to their Aero and Ace people and their lives.

This has been such a delight, Jake. Is there anything I haven’t asked about Loveless or something you want to share with folks?

Jake Mier (36:17.39)
I don’t think so, I think it covered a lot of it. I think there’s one thing that I really enjoy about the book is kind of the title and the way it works. Because like I was talking about earlier, there’s this sense that…

you are loveless, like you are sad, you’re lonely, you don’t have like humanity, all these things. And it’s a really provocative title choice because it evokes those feelings, but it does them for an arrow main character for whom love is very important. And so it’s asking you both to think about is she loveless and also is it a bad thing to be loveless?

Is it actually a horror or is it just a way people operate in the world? Is love just another emotion that doesn’t have to be benevolent, that doesn’t have to do everything? It’s just something some people really like and some people really don’t. And I don’t know, I think because there’s times where

in like aero and ace spaces people who are not

in the sort of like loveless or love queer sections tend to throw us to the side and be like we’re still normal we feel love and it’s I mean all communities have these sort of inter community discussions and things but I don’t know I just think it’s a very poignant choice for a title because it evokes all of those things.

[music]

J.P. Der Boghossian

I want to thank Jake for being on the show today. When I asked them, what’s next in life? They had the perfect answer: They really like what they are doing. They like the communities they’re working with. And they’re looking forward to keeping up that work.

I did ask Jake if there were additional books featuring ace and/or aro characters that they might recommend.

First up is Let’s Talk About Love the debut novel by Claire Kann. And for those who like high fantasy, Jake recommends The City of Spires series by Claudie Arseneualt. And finally, Darcy Little Badger’s books Elatsoe and A Snake Falls to Earth. We’ve included links in the show notes and on our website.

That’s our show. Our podcast is executive produced by Jim Pounds, accounting and creative support provided by Gordy Erickson. Our associate producers are Archie Arnold, K Jason Bryant and David Rephan, Natalie Cruz, Jonathan Fried, Paul Kaefer, Nicole Olilla, Joe Perrazo, Bill Shay, and Sean Smith. Our Patreon subscribers are Steven D, Steven Flam, Ida Gotëberg, Thomas Mckna, and Gary Nygaard.

Our soundtrack and sound effects were provided through royalty free licenses. Please visit thisqueerbook.com/music for track names and artists.

We are on social media. @thisqueerbook and @jpderboghossian on Instagram. We have a facebook page. And I used to be on Bluesky. But I just couldn’t do it anymore. I know! I’ve given up on more social media than I actually have right now. I think the profile is still there. But I’m not posting and eventually I’ll take it down. But, I’m not leaving Instagram. So connect with me there.

As always, you can connect with us through our website, thisqueerbook.com, and if you want to be on the show, fill out the form on the home page.

And until our next episode, see you queers and allies in the bookstores!