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Chatting with Marissa Gramoll, author of A Game Like Ours

Join as us we talk about bi-sexual representation, a love of writing and chocolate milk.

Andrew: Firstly, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

Marissa: I am a pretty down to earth person. I love making friends and learning about other people and cultures. Though my favorite place to be is at home, when I do travel I love soaking in the ways I find myself and find differences in new places. I live with severe anxiety, PTSD and OCD which has helped me become a mental health advocate hoping to remind everyone they aren't alone if they experience these things. I spend most of the day outside on my front porch, as long as weather permits. If I'm getting dinner out, there better be a milkshake involved. Reeve Carney, David Bowie and Shawn Mendes are my comfort music that I play often in my kitchen and on my porch. I didn't know I was bi until I was 29 years old. Suppressed my feelings so well I didn't even have the space in my head to acknowledge how I feel. Some of the words I live by are "The people in this world need one less judge and one more friend," and "You have to do what works for you, even if others don't understand."

Andrew: Your debut novel, A Game Like Ours, launched on March 30th 2021. Could you tell us more about it?

Marissa: Oh yes! A Game Like Ours is a moving LGBTQ+ story about the transformative power of love after loss in the Suncastle Knights College Baseball Series. Cody Jones meant the world to both of them. The night he died in a car wreck, changed them forever. Written in two perspectives, we follow Bobby–a closeted bisexual baseball player and Lexie–a misunderstood artist as they navigate through their grief and find an unexpected love story of their own. This book takes place in a Southern Small Town and is a Friends-To-Lovers Sports Romance. Because Bobby is bi and it's a huge secret, this book discusses a lot about being bi and how hard that can be in the culture of a very religious hometown as well as in the athletic world.

Andrew: What is your favourite scene in A Game Like Ours, and why?

Marissa: I love the scene when Bobby returns home and is under the peach tree, because that scene is when he's really honest with his own feelings after years of pretending.

A Game Like Ours cover
A Game Like Ours - A story about the transformative power of love after loss

Andrew: What inspired you to become an author?

Marissa: Writing has always been the language of my soul. When I was a kid I loved sharing my work. Becoming an author let's me do that every day.

Andrew: For most writers, it would be a dream come true for their writing to make it to either the big or small screen. If A Game Like Ours became a movie, who would you like to star in it?

Marissa: I'd love to have Benjamin Walker be Bobby and Emma Stone as Lexie.

Andrew: Have any of your own experiences helped to shape A Game Like Ours?

Marissa: Oh yes. My best friend died when I was 19 and so I knew so much about grief. I wasn't planning on that being such a big part of the story, but as I wrote that was the story I needed to tell. Being bi myself, it really dove into my own thoughts and feelings as I wrote about Bobby's journey. The scene when they go to Cody's house was largely drawn from my house growing up and the houses of my friends. We grew up that way. It was hell for us and a lot of people do grow in that environment. My grandaddy is from South Carolina so the southern touches were drawn from that. He used to drive to my house with boxes full of South Carolina Peaches when he came to visit when I was little. I also studied Athletic Training and thought it would be fun to have Lexie share that with me. I think a lot of writers draw from their own experiences and make it work for the plot of their books. But yes, I like to say this is my heart and soul on the page because a lot of the subjects are things that happened to me or people I'm close to.

Andrew: What is the most positive experience you’ve had so far as an LGBTQ author?

Marissa: Having someone tell me they felt seen reading my book. I've had several people send me little messages saying that they are bi and they've never felt represented like this in a book.

If A Game Like Ours hits screens, Marissa imagines Emma Stone as Lexie

Andrew: What’s the best book you’ve ever read – LGBTQ or otherwise?

Marissa: My top favorite book is Ordinary People by Judith Guest. Favorite LGBTQ book is When You Come Back To Me by Emma Scott

Andrew: What’s the best piece of advice you could offer to other LGBTQ authors?

Keep going. I had a lot of obstacles, even people telling me I was in the wrong for writing the story I did. I had some that were likely homophobic projecting their concerns about how my book would be received. Some telling me my book wasn't queer enough or that I had no business writing queer characters. Through all of that, I felt this was important to keep writing THIS story and thankfully it has been well received despite those who didn't support the book initially. It can be hard to be a writer. I encourage everyone to have faith in yourself and the way that you write because the world needs the stories only you can tell.

Andrew: Which brand of chocolate milk is the best?

Marissa: Ha! I love this question. Mama & Papa Gus... I haven't had it in years, but it's THE BEST. I usually drink Promised Land because that's my favorite of the local chocolate milks available in my area.

Andrew: What are you currently reading?

Marissa: The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Marissa Gramoll
Marissa's own experiences with loss shaped A Game Like Ours

Andrew: What are you working on currently?

Marissa: I'm writing the next book in the Suncastle Knights series, the love story of Trish and Zac, side characters in A Game Like Ours.

Andrew: What are your interests and hobbies besides reading and writing?

Marissa: I play a lot of board games and video games. I love being outside. Dancing. Going on walks. Taking photos of books and people.

Andrew: What have you missed the most during the pandemic, and were there any positive experiences for you?

Marissa: I miss being able to eat out with friends. It has been good to really focus on my work as I've been home a lot, but it will be nice when it's over and we can return to the things we've missed.

Andrew: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you so much for thinking of me! I so appreciate this!

Thank you, Marissa, for speaking with us. You can find Marissa online here:

And you can purchase A Game Like Ours here:

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