Ask Bill

Working on a project about Bill Konigsberg for school? Writing a review of Openly Straight? Here are some Q&A sessions that you may find useful. If you have other questions, write to Bill at the bottom of this page!

Q&A about Openly Straight, Feb. 2013:

Q: How is Openly Straight unlike other “Gay Coming-of-Age” stories?


A: My first novel, Out of the Pocket, was about coming out. So many novels with young gay protagonists center around coming out, and rightfully so; it would be impossible to argue that there’s anything more traumatic in a young gay person’s life than coming out. As writers, we look for the “white hot centers” and that’s where we tend to set up shop. But with this book, I wanted to move beyond that. I wanted to look at a character who had already done that, one for whom homophobia and coming out were not the main struggles, and I wanted imagine what his life was like. Was it perfect? It turns out that beyond coming out, there’s this pesky business of labels, of feeling forever labeled in a way that doesn’t always feel … apt. If a boy is openly gay and plays on the soccer team, does that make him a gay soccer player? How does a person deal with the disparity between what people see (his gayness) and what he is (a person)? Those are the issues I was most drawn to with this novel.

Q: What took you in this direction?
A: For me, it was in many ways a personal journey, and one I only figured out through writing the book. I have been publicly out for more than a decade now, longer among friends and family. I had no idea really that I felt limited by any of this, but one day, as I was struggling to write this book and unsure where it was going, it hit me hard. I was living in Montana at the time, and I took a break from my writing struggles to play racquetball at a local gym in Billings. I just wanted to play and have a nice time with a bunch of other men who were playing. Someone saw my ring and asked if I was married, and an amazing thing happened. This openly gay man got tired! I was tired of having my sexuality be the center of attention. So I said yes. And when he asked me my wife’s name, I said, “Rachel.” After, I realized that what had happened was exactly what was happening to my main character. He wasn’t homophobic, exactly. He simply wanted to be a person, and to fit in, that’s not a bad thing. It’s a human desire, to connect to others, yet it is fraught with disaster because withholding information is a form of lying. From that day forward, this novel poured out of me, and I knew I was writing about something that was new and interesting, at least from a literary standpoint. I’ve never read a book like this, so I felt like I was out on an interesting frontier writing it.

Q: Why write about a teen dealing with these issues instead of an adult?
Beyond the fact that this is the genre I tend to write in, I think it’s a perfect book for teens right now. This generation is so far ahead of mine. While the world is hardly perfect, and homophobia is still rampant, there are teens for whom being gay isn’t such a big issue. So there are many kids just like Rafe Goldberg, kids who are comfortably out and ready for the next thing. And I think this issue of feeling labeled is the next thing. So it wasn’t hard to translate my experience into that of a teenager. It felt very organic when the book moved in this direction.

Q: Is LGBTQ literature still a niche market in young adult literature?
I think that is changing rapidly. A lot of this is because it’s changed on television. Shows like “The New Normal” are no longer niche shows, and today’s teens have grown up in a world where gay characters are on many, many shows. I think it was unthinkable, five or ten years ago, that many straight kids would pick up a gay book. But today, I think that a lot of straight kids are curious about the lives of gay kids. “Will Grayson, Will Grayson,” by John Green and David Levithan, made the New York Times Bestseller List, and one of its two protagonists is gay. So while it may still be a niche market, I would characterize it as a market that keeps growing and becoming more
inclusive of all readers.

Q&A about gays in sports, circa 2008:

Q. Do you really think people like Bobby Framingham, the gay quarterback in your novel, exist?

A. Absolutely, I know they do. I know we have all grown up with the stereotype of what gays are and are not, but there are absolutely guys like Bobby everywhere. He’s just a normal kid who grew up in a normal family, who has something about him that is “different.” He’s gay. It’s up to the reader to decide how important that is, and what they think Bobby ought to do about it. Should Bobby deny that part of himself so he can avoid trouble? Should he address it? Should he decide that it’s an evil thing or a sick thing or should he conclude that the only thing sick about it is the world’s reaction to it? The book has one answer, but there are definitely other possibilities.

Q. Is Bobby based on you?

A. Ha! If you met me, you’d see I don’t quite have a quarterback build. As a kid I was too skinny to play football, but I loved to play with my friends. I played baseball in grade school and high school. But anyway, it was a different time. When I started to realize I was gay I thought it meant that I wasn’t supposed to be an athlete, because I didn’t know of a single role model who played sports and was gay. So mostly I stopped trying to be a pitcher. It probably wasn’t a big loss for the world, by the way. I wasn’t that good.

Q. Why aren’t there more openly gay people in sports?

A. It’s a good question. I think the big thing is about masculinity. If we’re talking about men, sports is one of the last bastions of “masculinity” and some guys (and I mean players, owners and fans) are fiercely protective of their games. Our culture has made good strides at accepting the fact that gays exist, but I think we have a ways to go. Gays are really more acceptable within certain parameters. It’s like Homer Simpson said: “I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my gays FLAMING.” When you take gay men out of that context, a lot of what our culture has come to accept about masculinity and sexuality flies out the window and things get very uncomfortable very quickly.

Q. What do you think would happen if a professional male player came out today?

A. I think a lot would depend on who he was. If he was a well-liked, outstanding player, I think it would be very hard for his team to turn against him, even though there would certainly be some responses such as “we don’t need to know about that, why are you sharing your personal life?” If it was a fringe player, or someone who already had a bad relationship with fans or media, it would be a lot tougher. And the reason for that is that coming out would certainly create a media swarm, and would have a harsh impact on a team, especially during the season. So that person could become a scapegoat.

Q. How is it most likely to occur, a male player coming out as gay?

A. While it could happen at any time, I think it’s most likely going to be someone coming up through the ranks. The younger generations are so much more accepting of gays and lesbians because they’ve grown up with images of gay and lesbian people, in a way that my generation really didn’t and the generations preceding me definitely didn’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first openly gay athlete for one of the four professional sports was currently in high school, and already out. He’ll go to college, where he’ll come out while playing, and he’ll be well received by his teammates, and then he’ll move on to the pros. In short, he’s a real-life version of Bobby Framingham.

Q. How did you come up with the other players, and their reactions to Bobby being gay?

A. Research. I spoke to high school football players to get a sense of what their world is like, and what is would be like if one of their guys — and make no mistake about it, these are close-knit groups we’re talking about — came out as gay. I think it would be difficult at first, no doubt about it. I got the sense from some players that they would feel as if their trust had been violated. And I think that it’s a valid feeling. I mean, all feelings are valid. But I don’t think that’s the gay player’s fault. I mean, what’s the right way to handle something like this? I had one kid say that if his best friend came out as gay, he’d kill him. I thought that was pretty shocking, but feelings are feelings. They all have a place in the book.

Q. Why does it even matter who a person sleeps with? I mean, I don’t want to know what my favorite quarterback does in bed.

A. Well, fine, I don’t either. But as it stands today we assume all athletes are heterosexual, and that means when a player isn’t, by not being open about who he is he is automatically perceived to be something he isn’t. Here’s an example: How would you like it if you lived in a world where it was assumed you would marry a woman with the same hair color you have, and the woman you truly loved actually had a different color hair? And all you heard all day was jokes about how people who married “different hair color” people were sick? And if someone found out, you could lose your job and be under attack from people who felt you were sick? It’s not that easy to imagine, but that’s what it’s like to be gay, in a lot of ways. And until things are truly equal in this world, gay people need to be open about who they are so that we can get to the ideal place, where it’s unnecessary to talk about what we do in bed.

Another conversation, this time about writing Out of the Pocket, circa 2009:

Q. What was your writing process like?

A. Unlike me, it was extremely disciplined. I scheduled my writing. I’d wake up, go to the computer, turn off the internet, and write for two hours. Then I’d walk away. I would do an extra hour or two later in the day when the day allowed for it. Then I’d come back the next day, read what I’d written, revise, and start back up where I left off. I did this seven days a week. And when I had “writer’s block”, I wrote through it. Meaning, I’d sit there and write anyway. A teacher of mine used to say you have to “give yourself permission to write poorly” and that’s great advice. Sometimes you need to write crap just to get past it. Only by writing through the crap can you find the one thing that will propel you to make an important discovery.

Q. What made you write Out of the Pocket?

A.I wrote a short story called AUDIBLES my first year in the MFA Creative Writing program at Arizona State. I wanted to write a modern version of a true story, the story of Ed Gallagher, a friend. Ed was a former tackle at University of Pittsburgh, who, at the age of 27, threw himself off a cliff because he couldn’t deal with being gay. He survived and became paraplegic, and became a very powerful gay advocate. I met Ed in 2002 when I lived in Connecticut, after I came out at ESPN, and he had quite an impact on me. He was a special person, who, sadly, died in 2005. I wrote this before he died and for some reason (probably because it wasn’t very good) never shared it with him. I started with the image of a football player standing on the edge of a cliff, and that morphed into standing in a frigid ocean at night, trying to decide if he should just keep walking in until he drowns. Since then, the story has changed a million percent, but that’s where and how it started.

Q. Were any of the characters in the novel based on real people?

A. Sort of. Bobby is sort of a more confident, more muscular, younger me. He has a lot of my voice in that he’s a fairly balanced guy. Carrie was based on a student I taught at Arizona State when I was teaching English there as a graduate student. But recently, she read the book and had no comment, so I think I may have missed the mark. It’s okay; the student is great and Carrie is great, so no worries. I used a guy I played softball with in Arizona as the original voice of Austin, and I threw in some of a former ESPN colleague of mine. I also picture Austin to look like that colleague. It’s all pretty random how that happens.

Q. What’s the hardest thing about writing a novel?

A. Two things. The uncertainty, for one. It’s hard not to know things, like where the book is going, what’s going to work and what isn’t. The process of being in the midst of writing a novel is extremely exciting and difficult, because you’re living there, but you’re living there alone. And even if you have wonderful friends and a terrific partner, they can’t really accompany you. You travel alone and no one can really understand your excitement about “funny things a character said today” for instance. Because, of course, it came from you, not a character. So it sounds sort of self-involved and can get pretty tiring to be around. The second thing is the waiting. If you’re an impatient person, think carefully before becoming a novelist. It’s your baby out there, and you want things to go in a certain way, and it’s totally out of your control. I lost a lot of hair so far, and I’ve just gotten started as a novelist.

Have some unanswered questions? Ask Bill below!

83 Responses to Ask Bill

  1. Delayne Corle says:

    Willing to beg, plead, and grovel for Openly Straight to be released as an unabridged audiobook – I own the hardback AND audio copies of Out of the Pocket. Any hope?

    Delayne Corle in Indianapolis, IN

    • bkonigsberg says:

      There’s certainly hope! At this point I have not heard anything about an audiobook, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The early buzz for this novel and all the good reviews may well lead to an audiobook request. If you want to help/beg/plead/grovel, I’d suggest going to and requesting Openly Straight as an audiobook. I believe they have a place to do that on their website. You could also request it from Scholastic via twitter! Thanks so much for asking, and I hope someday we can make that happen for you!

  2. Amanda Wilson says:

    First, I want to say that I LOVED both Openly Straight and Out of the Pocket. They’re the kinds of books you don’t want to end because you love them so much. I am dying to know though, are there any plans to continue with either story? Sequels, spin-offs, etc?


    • bkonigsberg says:

      Hi Amanda,
      I actually have written a novel that was a “follow-up” of sorts to Out of the Pocket. It was purchased for publication and then canceled when my editor left that publishing house. I am still trying to decide whether or not to do anything with it. It really followed Bryan, and we got to see the other characters a year later. As for Openly Straight, there are no such plans yet but that could change!

      • Amanda Wilson says:

        I would love follow-ups to both! I’m enough of a realist to know that love is complicated, but I’m a sucker for happily ever after, and it’s been torture not knowing what happened with Rafe and Ben. Rafe’s personal journey and growth was beautiful to read, and I’d love to read more. Thanks again for writing such wonderful books.

  3. Justin Moore says:

    As someone who (obviously) is very astute at writing about the coming out process, do you feel like the coming out narrative is on its way out? As kids are coming out younger and younger, as being gay becomes less of an issue for family and peers, as sexuality is accepted as just another biological manifestation in human beings, do teens need to continue to read about coming out? If not, what do you foresee as the next “big thing” in YA LGBT literature?

    • Justin Moore says:

      Just read your blog post about this very issue. Sorry about jumping the gun. Will Grayson, WIll Grayson and J.H. Trumble’s Don’t Let Me Go are great examples of this new direction that gay characters (and even straight characters!) are taking.

      • bkonigsberg says:

        Hi Justin,

        This is a question I’m asked a lot. I think that there are many different ways this can go. I know that in my next novel, one of my characters is a lesbian and her sexuality is an issue ONLY to her parents. For the other characters, her sexuality is a very small part of the entire package of who she is.

  4. Mark says:

    is there going to be a book 2 of openly straight??
    Openly Straight is such a great book. It’s like watching a movie in your head.. Best book I’ve ever read.

    • bkonigsberg says:

      Thank you, Mark! It’s too early to say but right now there are no plans for a second book. I do have another novel in the works that will be my next published novel, but it isn’t related to Openly Straight. Still, down the line who knows?

      • Mark says:

        Openly Straight is such a great book.!!!! I’m gonna buy your other book Out of the Pocket and I am truly excited to start reading it!!! I’m your biggest fan 🙂

  5. bkonigsberg says:

    I hope you’ll love Out of the Pocket, Mark!

  6. no name says:

    I just finished reading Openly Straight and do you know what happened between Ben and Rafe after the holidays??? I was so excited to what will happen and I finished the book in 2 days! I would say that the situation between Ben and Rafe made me SAD! I love this book and I will try to read the other book that you wrote. Thank You very much for the adventure that you gave me!!!!

    • bkonigsberg says:

      At some point, either in book form or some other form (blog post?) I will follow up with Ben and Rafe. I do have some ideas of what happens after Christmas break, but we need to let other readers find the book and get there before we can answer that question! So glad you enjoyed the book and want more!

      • Sunshine says:

        Unacceptable! I am going to toss in my millenial flag and say we need closure immediately. That kind of love just doesn’t die. Moreover, I need something with a happy ending. 😛
        Seriosuly though, I loved this book. Rafe’s thoughts paralleled many of my own when and at times I felt I was looking at a mirror. Thank you for writing this book. I certainly wish lgbtg lit was available to me when I was in high school. I realized the other day that in my 27 years I have only read two books that focused on a homosexual character. I will definitely be picking up your other book.

  7. Sydney Gunter says:

    Hi Bill!
    I read both of your books, but I have to say I am curious to see what your planning for “Openly Straight”…. In other words is there a possibility of a second book? 🙂

    • bkonigsberg says:

      Hi Sydney, I’m sorry that I somehow missed this question! There’s always a possibility for a second book, but the most likely scenario right now for questions to be answered about “what happens next” is a TV show. It’s at least a possibility. Keep your eye on the website here for possible updates!

      • Mykel Dyce says:

        there needs to be a second book i need to find out what happens between Rafe and Ben they had such a cute bromance/relationship i expected everything to work out well there need to be a book 2

  8. bookworm714 says:

    Hi Bill, I just started Openly Straight! I was wondering whether you went to boarding school? Thanks for your books!

  9. UK Fan says:

    Hey Bill,
    I’m a school teacher in the UK, and I just wanted to say how much I really enjoyed Openly Straight. I’ve recommended it to a couple of my students. I work in a school where it really is ok to be gay, where everyone is always keen to bend over backwards to show how fine and liberal they are whenever one of the senior kids comes out. What’s been really fascinating to watch is the way that recently when two guys – both popular, one a jock – started going out together. The easygoing facade started to slip away. Being gay was fine, ‘doing gay’ well that’s been much more of a challenge. All teen relationships are tough, but being a test case in a goldfish bowl? That takes balls. I really hope that you carry on the story of Rafe and Ben. I’d love to see that kind of issue dealt with honestly in fiction and to see those two boys find some kind of resoulution. Anyhow, great novel. Cheers.

  10. Bram says:

    Hi Bill,
    I just finished ‘Out of the Pocket’ (in one day), and I could identify myself with Bobby. Just a normal guy that plays team sports and happens to be gay. I experienced similar things like Bobby, especially the team-spirit and brotherhood stroke similarities with my personal life. You must have done quite some research on how it really goes with gay guys in ‘straight’ locker rooms. I also once appeared in a gay-magazine for my sports (but not as an icon as Bobby did).
    Although I don’t play football and I did not knew the rules at all (I am European, we play preferably soccer), I enjoyed reading the football paragraphs. I guess I just like sports. You did a good job intriguing me into American football.
    I noticed on your website you had the follow up story ready with your publisher… isn’t it about time you share it with your fans? I can’t wait! Do you have any news on when this story might appear printed?

    • bkonigsberg says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the book! As for the question about a follow-up, I can tell you that in all likelihood there will be at least one or two new scenes exploring what happens to Bobby and the gang in the paperback version of Out of the Pocket, which should become available in 2014 at some point. I can’t be any more specific than that yet, but keep your eye on this site for updates as soon as I know more.

      Also, while it is a totally different story, please check out Openly Straight if you haven’t already! If you liked Out of the Pocket, that book should interest you, too.


  11. zellular says:

    I just finished reading your book Openly Straight in two days, nonstop reading. It was truly amazing, which I’m sure you get a lot. I had a friend a lot like Rafe, but that friend of mine was never openly gay. Anyway, I’m DYING DYING DYING inside with the pure curiosity of what happened to Ben and Rafe’s relationship after this. I simply cannot live the rest of my life not knowing if they ended up okay and I NEED to know. Did they patch things up? Did they end up together or just friends? It’s killing me

    • bkonigsberg says:

      I know, I know. I’m getting so many responses like this! I hope one day to answer this question in some form. Stay tuned to this site over the next six months to see if there is any news about how this may happen. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  12. Josh says:

    OMG just finished Openly Straighy and I love it! Will there be a sequel or something? PLEASE IM BEGGING YOU. I need more…

  13. Lucy Lu says:

    Hey, I’m from germany and even though I had to look up lots of vocabulary, I really enjoyed reading your novel, especially because it’s a completely new story, and I could so much identify myself with Rafe, and I would also simply love a follow up to openly straight!
    Best wishes and keep going!!! 🙂

    • bkonigsberg says:

      Thanks for the reply! I’m glad you stuck with the book… Openly Straight will be released in German in May, I believe, under the title “Offen Hetero.’ I hope you’ll take a look at it when it is translated, and that you’ll report back about the subtle differences! Since I don’t speak or read German, I am very interested in hearing feedback from those who read it in both languages! Thanks!

  14. Makaila Bolley says:

    So I know that everyone wants a sequal to Openly Straight to happen, and I was thinking last night after finishing it that what if when you decided to continue it what if it was done through Ben’s Point of View? Their story was just to strong to end it with Openly Straight, I truly hope you do end up making a sequal.

  15. Daven says:

    Hey Bill,

    It’s 2:30 in the morning where I am. I just finished Openly Straight a few hours ago and can’t stop thinking about it. I bought it on my Kindle last week and began reading it in secret (you can probably figure out why), and have no one to talk to about it. I want to let you know I truly enjoyed it and related to it on so many levels I can’t begin to explain. I won’t mince words: As soon as reached the last page, I came here in search of hints for a sequel. I mean, there has to be a sequel. There just has to be more! The open ending Rafe left us with made me feeling a little… hollow. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rafe and his story and am touched by his journey to find his identity. But, personally, I don’t identify with him. I identify with Ben.

    In another comment, a user named @Makaila offered the idea of exploring Ben’s point of view, and I really hope you consider it. His story truly struck an emotional chord with me that’s still ringing as I write this. When I reached the moment when Ben opened up about his parents, his future and what the whole world expects from him, I felt as though someone had pulled these thoughts out of my head and printed them, and I had to close the book a moment and look around the room to see if anyone else was around that might discover my secret. I share his fears, his confusion, and his pain. I’m a little older though, a freshman in college. But I’m so deep in the closet that I have a hard time admitting it to myself.

    Rafe’s story, on the other hand, is rare: he has a wonderfully supportive family, a best friend he can share anything with, and support groups that don’t judge him. But many of us aren’t as lucky. Many of us are still floating around, putting on acts and trying on different layers of skin in hopes of hiding from who we really are. Like Ben, I’ve done a decent job so far in my life, but it hasn’t made me happy. It’s gets rather lonely in the closet, and sometimes I wish I at least had somebody to share it with. That’s why I related with Ben, and in some ways was leaning on him, hoping that he might eventually find his way out and stand up to the world. That he’d step out say, “Hey, everything gonna be alright.” And I would want so much to believe him.

    But he never did. In fact, he’s still very much afraid and confused as ever, and now feels absolutely betrayed by the only person he was honest to. During their final conversation, Ben says he can’t say if he was glad to have met Rafe after everything they had been through. This worries me so much. As I lay in bed, wondering about future relationships, I asked myself: Is it even worth the risks? Would I end up regretting it, too? How will I know if I can trust them? When will I ever decide if it’s the right time or if it’s a mistake?

    And then I had this scary thought that if someone like Ben can’t find the courage to come out and accept who he is, maybe I never will either.

    And I am scared. But that isn’t your fault. I’ve been scared for a long time.

    This is a sad note to end on, but I still have a lot of time to figure things out. And Ben does too. And I really hope he does.

  16. Kaitlyn says:

    Can you please write a sequel to openly straight? I’m dying to see Ben and Rafe get back together and make up or Rafe finding someone new 😦

  17. isabella says:

    So I just finished Openly Straight, which took me just three days to read, since it’s so good. I love the message and I love the characters but i was wondering if you thought maybe not being openkyngay was truly wrong. Not necessarily hiding the fact, but not screaming it out either. I’ve come out as bisexual this past year. Well actually, I didn’t really come out. It was more like a casual “I really like this girl” and If people asked I would tell them, but if they didn’t, it was just left unsaid. Not because I don’t want to be labeled but bbecause I dont believe people should assume everyone is straight unless otherwise proven. I guess what I’m asking is, why does being gay or bisexual have to be a big deal since sexuality isn’t exactly a big deal for straight people. My sexuality is part of who I am but I’m also other things, like a soccer player and an aspiring writer. Im a good friend and a feminist. So I guess right now Im thinking how Rafe was, but is that wrong? I mean no disrespect, it’s just that I’m slightly confused about my own beliefs now. Brilliant book. 🙂

    • bkonigsberg says:

      Thanks for your question, and it’s a good one. I agree with you in theory. Being gay or bi isn’t or shouldn’t be the most important thing. But until the world truly is like you, where people truly don’t assume that you’re straight unless proven otherwise, what happens is that we tend to become invisible when we don’t come out. Or worse, we become liars. If we try to be label-free in a world where label-free means “straight,” we are lying by omission. But yes, when we get to the point where people don’t automatically assume, I’m all for the abolishing of labels! They’re annoying! Does that make sense?

  18. Richie says:

    Hi Bill,

    As a reader who can really relate and emphasize with Rage, I want to express how much I really enjoyed reading “Openly Straight.” The story is everything from thought provoking to comical. You have a very unprecedented writing style that I really admire. I look forward to reading your future works as well as a (maybe, hopefully, please!!) sequel to “Openly Straight.” (One can only hope right???)

  19. Cuong Tran says:

    Hi Bill,

    Don’t really have a question–I’ve read Out of the Pocket and Openly Straight and I’ve also been reading many of your blog posts and I just wanted to say that you are a really funny and endearing person! I mean, I laughed so hard when I was reading “Who the hell is Bill Konigsberg?” post (especially at the story about your awkward exit from a graduation barbecue)–who would ever doubt that you’re an award-winning humorist! You also bring up really insightful topics on your blog and you just seem to be a very kind-hearted and thoughtful person which I love.
    You are truly awesome and inspirational!

  20. jermaine sanders says:

    How do labels like being gay or choosing to live a different lifestyle affect teens ? Or more so, people in general.

    • bkonigsberg says:

      That’s a hard question to answer, as labels impact people in different ways. That said, lifestyle isn’t quite the right word. A lifestyle means “how one lives their life” while being gay or lesbian or bi or trans is more of an orientation. It’s who you are, rather than “how you choose to live.” There was never any choice involved in me being gay. Whether I choose to be in a monogamous relationship or single and partying? That’s a question of lifestyle.

  21. Matt C says:

    Hi Bill!

    I was wondering if there would be any chance of openly straight becoming a film? I would really love to see that.

  22. RJ says:

    Hi Bill. I just read openly straight and I loved every single word of it. Although that ending with Ben and Rafe honestly made me bawl like a baby. Please tell me that there is a sequel in the works or if Ben and Rafe have worked things out. Has Ben figured out his sexuality? Are they together or just friends? I see a lot of myself in both Rafe and Ben so it really hurt me reading what happened between them. I’m dying to know. Thank you so much 🙂

  23. kyle says:

    Bill, how about a sequel to openly straight? It’s been a couple months since I read anything about it!

  24. Kaylah says:

    You know, my dad caught me reading Openly Straight at 2 in the morning when I was literally a page from finishing. It was torture when he ordered me to go to sleep or else he’d take the book. Now that I’ve finished it already, though, I’m really bummed there’s no Fanfiction or Fanart for me to cry to after Ben and Rafe didn’t end up together.
    So, I was just wondering (after reading the summary for Honestly Ben)… What are the chances of Ben and Rafe ending up together in the sequel? Because I’m really hoping that they do!!

  25. Geovanny says:

    When the book “About a Boy” (or in Brazil, Apenas um Garoto) will have continuity?

  26. Ron Cerabona says:

    Hi Bill -I’m a reader in Canberra who’s enjoyed Openly Straight, Out of the Pocket and The Porcupine of Truth. For now I will just comment on Pocket. One problem was for someone like me who isn’t in the US nor an American football fan a lot of the terminology and gameplay were obscure (starting with the title) though the storyline and emotions were clear enough, Another thing that intrigued me was the portrayal of Finch – while his actions were unconscionable (and it would have been interesting to see what happened afterwards re his application and his own reaction) it did seem like his motivation was, at least in part, understandable on a human level. Bobby was a popular kid and basically remained so and he didn’t seem to suffer all that much, frankly, from what happened. The attention he got was largely though not exclusively positive and his dismissal of what Finch had been going through (not just recently) seemed a mite callous ( given what Finch had put him through, it was understandable he wouldn’t care much for the other kid’s feelings, but there didn’t seem to be even a fleeting moment’s consideration Finch might have had a bit of a point). Storywise, Finch might have smelled a rat when Bobby came over, given the tactic he had used to get his initial story, but then not every jerk is smart…
    Anyway, I didn’t want this to be taken as meaning I didn’t enjoy the book -I did. Best wishes,Ron

  27. Ronald Cerabona says:

    Sorry if that seemed unduly negative. It wasn’t intended that way. I was never a sporty kid (no surprise there!). Regarding Openly Straight, I went to an all-boy’ boarding school in Australia and the differences (in place and era) as well as similarities were interesting – there were NO “out” students then. It was hard enough to be different from the mainstream (it was a pretty blokey, sporting school). I will be very interested to read the continuation of the story. Ron.

  28. Anijah Gaines says:

    Hi I am doing a paper on this book I was wondering what the significance of choosing the title was ?

  29. Clony says:

    Hi Mr. Konigsberg, who did you took inspiration from when making the character of Ben Carver?

  30. Gilmar Junior says:

    Hello Bill Konigsberg, I live in Brazil and I really enjoyed the book Openly Straight (Apenas um Garoto, a free translation for Brazil by the bookstore Arqueiro) and I am very grateful for the things I read in that book and I sincerely loved it. I’m going through a phase of acceptance about my homosexuality, in fact I already accepted more of me not yet, I’m between the door of the closet to leave or to stay inside, I’m already 18 and I see that time to leave Closet has arrived more I do not know how, your book helped me a lot with these LGBT issues I sincerely I feel the Rafe character (when he says to be straight not to be labeled). Anyway, I know that I’m going to continue the book (openly straight) for Honestly Ben, I’m very anxious to read more I still do not leave a translation for Brazil, I would be very grateful if you could give me the honestly ben as a gift (I know I am asking for more) is that I can not buy because I do not have resources because as I said I live in Brazil, or if it is possible if you can talk with the bookstore Arqueiro that was responsible for the translation of the book openly straight in Brazil, I would be grateful.

  31. Zac says:

    Hello, I was wondering if there will be a sequel to Honestly Ben, I have really been enjoying the series. I picked it up on a whim and am not trying to convince my brother to not only read it, but get it in his school’s library. I hope there is more, I want to hear more about their lives. I would say I would love to hear a book from Toby’s pov, but that might be too (don’t know what word to use here odd is close, but not in a negative way) Any way, hope to hear from you, love your work.

  32. Marco says:

    Is the openly straight series complete or are you planning on another book?

  33. Raymond Lu says:

    Hi Bill! I Really Hope That You Could Make A Third Book In Your Series. There Are Still So Many Things To Write About. Maybe You Could Write About Ben Liking Claire Olivia Or Maybe Ben. and Rafe In College. Maybe You Could Include A Short Book On Ben and Rafe When They Have A Home Together And What happened. Anyways There Are So Many Things That You could Write About and I Really Hope You are Making This series Into A Trio.

  34. amelie says:

    Hi Bill! I read openly straight and honesty ben, and even tough i am a straight female it was very easy to kind of connect with the book and it is really amazing. I just wanted to say that I think Toby deservs his own book. I meen, he is such an interesting character and I was impressed with how brave he was for going to an all boys school in a skirt knowing he can be bullied a lot. He is outstanding and funny and special and I just really want to hear everything from his point of view.

  35. Luna says:

    I was curious if you’d ever consider write another book to continue their story, after honestly Ben?

  36. Sascha says:

    …first of all sorry for my bad germanenglish, … In Germany only “openly gay” ist out and “honestly ben” I am reading in english cause I need to know what happened next. There are so many wonderfull things you describe and situations which put me into a similar emotional situation like watching “call me by your name”. After figuring out that – I NEED A HAPPY END IN BOOK 3!! And like the other already mentioned – thanks for these wonderfull books!

  37. Brian says:

    I just wanted to say thank you! I’ve read Openly Straight and Honestly Ben in a matter of hours, while I do crave more of Ben and Rafe I appreciate everything that you put into the books. You see I’m in my 30s and love a good coming out story, but Openly Straight gripped me by the heart, yanking me around like a rag doll. I’m going to read the rest of your books in the coming weeks, but I had to stop, I had to take a moment, I had to say thank you!

  38. Since last week, I have listened to the audiobooks of openly straight and honestly ben two times each. I love them and wanted to thank you (and your brain). Reading your comments, it sounds like fan requests for a sequel encouraged you to write honestly ben. If that is the case, I wanted to add this comment to plead for a 3rd! I have so many questions, like, did Ben still get the scholarship? what happened when Ben went back to NH for the week of suspension?

  39. Molly says:

    Hello Bill! I just wanted to say how fun it was to read Openly Straight and Honestly Ben. I especially connected to Ben and his view on sexuality— it felt like I was reading my own thoughts. I do feel like they are complete the way they are, and I understand if you leave them that way, but I also just want to say how intriguing a third book from the point of view of Toby would be! Toby is such an interesting and deep character, and I would love to be in his mind, especially since he came out. He sounded like he had an interesting home life as well, and all in all I have seen very few gender fluid protagonists in novels. I just love these characters so much. I can’t wait to read whatever it is you do next!

    • bkonigsberg says:

      Thank you! I’ve heard from a lot of people who want a Toby book. It isn’t in the works at this time, but you never know! Definitely check out The Music of What Happens, which comes out in late February. If you loved the characters in OS and HB, I think you’ll love Max and Jordan, too!

  40. Christian says:

    I’ve just finished listening to Honestly Ben on audible; I originally wanted something light and easy to listen to at work, as I’m a lone, evening worker and stumbled upon Openly Straight. It, followed by the sequel, quickly became something I wanted to listen to outside of work, instead of watching tv and other things with which I normally fill my time at home. The two people who read the books were great, bringing not only Rafe and Ben to life but your other characters too. They characters have made me realise things about my self that I wish I’d realised during my own teenage years, but nevertheless, I wanted to say thank you.

    I’ve also read online that there’s a volume 1.5 called Openly, Honestly, and wanted to ask if this would get an audible release too? Also, would you ever consider revisiting these characters? I don’t quite feel like I’ve had my fill, and do feel like there’s more I want to learn. What happens next? How are the main characters perceived and received by the others following the events at the end of Honestly Ben. I really hope so, but even if there is no more, I would like to say thank you once more.

  41. Karim says:

    Will there be more to the story of ben and rafe? Please tell me yes!! I love them and also i want to know more

    • bruno ader says:

      hey. will the music of what happens come to the amazon kindle store soon? i am looking forward to reading it.

      • bkonigsberg says:

        It is there, at least domestically in The U.S. I don’t know about foreign e-book rights, unfortunately. I wish I had more information but I don’t!

  42. karimkarstic says:

    Hi, i read and heard openly straight and honestly ben and i got to ask, Will there be more to the story of ben and rafe? Please tell me yes!! I love them and also i want to know more of the story i mean that cant end like that there must be more i know it must please tell me is going to be a trilogy i love it i feel soo connected to both of them those to make me cry thanks man thanks for helping and thanks for making this great books please dont end this stories there tell me there is more

  43. Christian LaFreniere says:

    I am a selfish person. There I said it. I am not alone when I say that the fandom of Ben and Rafe must continue. Please Bill, please I implore you. One more novel to celebrate this wonderful relationship between there two remarkable characters. What do you say?

  44. Nina says:


    First of all, I’d like to praise Openly Straight, which I’ve just finished and loved completely. So I’ve decided to check out Honestly Ben too, but in the first few pages I came across the mention of Czechoslovakia and how Ben’s family is Czech, so I was wondering whether that idea is just completely random…or if you have any connection to that european land? 🙂

    Cheers from Slovakia

  45. Douglas Cohen says:

    I enjoyed reading The Music of What Happens so much that I am about to read it again. I like the way you alternated between Max’s voice and Jordan’s as it helped me to get to know these two characters as complex individuals as their relationship developed and to see many of the central events from both of their perspectives.

    Just as many have asked for a continuation of the story of Rafe and Ben from Openly Straight and Honestly Ben, I would like to know if there are plans for a sequel to The Music of What Happens to follow the lives of Max and Jordan?

  46. Noah Novak says:

    is there going to be another book in the Openly Straight series after Honestly Ben ? ive started reading these books and i want to know more

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