Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


April 13, 2024
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'Coming Out Party'
Bendheim didn’t intend to write a memoir, but the finished product, a BookLife Reviews Editor’s Pick, turned out to be a “heart-wrenching collection of poems” that relates the "uplifting story of the poet’s hard-fought rejection of heteronormativity and her coming out as a lesbian woman.”
Was Coming Out Party a surprise, or had you always planned to write a memoir?
I had not! When Burlwood asked to publish a book of my poems, I spent a while trying to figure out how to organize them. By feeling? By style? At one point, I even considered naming them after whichever girl I was obsessing over at the time of the poem. Ultimately, and thankfully, I decided to put them in chronological order. It was only when I read the collection through that I could see my own character arc and realized it was a memoir.
The book is written entirely in verse. What was the writing process like for it?
I am drawn to poetry because it cuts right to the emotion of a moment, and I’ve written an impossible to count number of personal poems over the years. For this book, I began by looking through these poems and reworking many of them. Then, I went back to my old journals—I have more than 30 starting from age six and wrote new poems for each period based on my entries. I found that even in my own journals, I tried to sugarcoat some of the hardest parts of coming out. I had to dig into those memories to pull honesty out of them, and in doing so, I was able to fully process them for the first time.
Was the plan always to include art with the book?
As soon as I knew this book was going to be published, I called Sarah Rosa Glickman and asked if she would be willing to do the art. Sarah and I grew up next door to each other; she has seen me through this entire journey, which is why she captures the feelings so authentically. She has always had an openness to her that made it easy for me to come out to her at 20 and that is evident in her artistic style now. Getting to see some of my most important and difficult moments made into art has been a very special part of this project.
How do you imagine readers at this moment will connect to Coming Out Party?
In a time when more anti-queer and trans bills are being introduced, when many LGBTQ+ youth feel unsafe at school and books about their experiences are being challenged, I hope queer readers feel the joy in this book, especially in my final two sections on finding community and love. I also hope it helps readers who have not had to come out understand it just a little bit more.