In 1960 New York City, a curmudgeonly reporter falls for the shortstop he’s been assigned to cover in Sebastian’s You Should Be So Lucky.

Why this era?

I wanted to write a story that was optimistic despite being set in a time that was rough for queer people, because, for a lot of queer people, we currently live in a time that is rough. Maintaining hope is part of resilience.

Mark is a reporter and Eddie is a ball player. How did you choose the men’s professions?

Obviously, there used to be more than three daily papers in New York and there used to be progressive papers. By the beginning of the 1950s, partly because the country was getting more conservative and partly because it was getting more expensive to run a newspaper, a lot of these papers shut down. I thought, what if one managed to hang on? What would that look like, a barely profitable paper that is the only voice of progressive journalism in the city? I also want there to be more queer historical baseball romances. The concept of baseball feeds into that nostalgia we have for the era. By the ’50s, you have all these players being held up as idols. There’s all this mythologizing happening. I also really like the 1962 Mets and expansion teams in general. You can start a team out of nothing and everyone knows they’re going to lose for a few years, but you root for them anyway.

What was your approach to writing the baseball games themselves?

My goal if I am writing a book in any universe—newspapers, baseball—is to make sure that there’s not a high barrier to entry. Readers shouldn’t have to google things. But I also don’t want to explain “this is how baseball works.” I try to make it make sense without context. I want readers to be able to enjoy the book without any baseball knowledge.

Mark is afraid of outing Eddie. What led you to making that the central conflict?

I try to write books that have as minimal conflict as possible to sustain a plot. The conflicts can be resolved by the characters changing the way they think about things. Regarding Eddie’s fear of being outed, I wanted to explore the nuances of outness. A lot of people have the idea that pre-Stonewall, queer people were 100% in the closet. I wanted to explore the concept of being “out to friends” or everyone except the public; how, even though it was a very bad time to be queer, people could navigate some degree of openness. I wanted to push back against the idea that there was this pall surrounding queerness and you couldn’t have a queer community, or friends who knew, and it was all under cover of darkness, secrecy, and fear.

The relationship is a real slow-burner.

I do like stringing it along. Having the characters really explore all of the reasons why they shouldn’t do this—that sustains tension.