Spencer J. Quinn Interviewed About The No College ClubSpencer J. Quinn
What made you decide to write a Young Adult novel?
Actually, it was Greg Johnson’s idea. We did a text interview like this one in 2020 for my children’s book My Mirror Tells a Story, which was also published by The White People’s Press, and one of the questions he asked was, “Do you want to try your hand at young adult fiction some day?” My first thought was no. I had just published my novel Charity’s Blade and was in the midst of compiling my essay collection Solzhenitsyn and the Right. At the time, I was heavy into the grown-up stuff, and so young adult fiction was just not on my radar.
But after I thought about it, I said to myself, “Why not?” I began sketching out some ideas for what eventually became The No College Club. Initially, it was going to be a time-travel, ghost story, detective novel: Four white high school students convene with the ghost of an indentured servant and are then transported back three centuries to solve some mystery. That was the original take, but I didn’t go with it.
Why did it not become a time-travel, ghost story, detective novel?
I guess I’m just not that much into genre fiction. My heart wasn’t in it. I never cared for stories that relied a lot on the supernatural, and I cannot remember the last time I read a detective novel. So I quickly ditched those ideas. As for the time travel aspect, I really took a stab at it. I mapped out the entire book and even started a couple chapters. But I soon realized that for me to believably recreate life from Colonial America, with all the details rendered correctly and not slavishly copied from other writers, I would have to do a lot more research than I had time for. And even then I wouldn’t be confident of the final product. So I decided to start over from scratch, and keep the main story in the modern day.
Why did you decide to make the novel illustrated?
I always loved it when the novels I read as a kid had illustrations. They gave me a warm, nice feeling and helped me connect to the characters and story. So I wanted to impart some of that to my readers.
I also wanted readers to hold the book in their hands and realize that a lot of love and effort went into creating it. We really did go that extra mile. Tony Vermont of The White People’s Press could have published the book eight months before we did, but we were determined to make this the best product possible. So, I contacted Donald Kent of American Zarathustra, who is an accomplished artist, and we got to work.
We decided on one image per chapter (although one chapter has two), and I gave Donald my original hand-drawn sketches. These of course were pretty bad, since I am not an artist, but were good enough to show him what I wanted. And he took it from there, bringing it all to life. Same with the cover art. It was a great collaboration, and the final product is fantastic.
See if you can spot the difference below, from Chapter 16:
What age group is The No College Club intended for?
From seventh grade on up, I would say. With its gentler approach than my other works and the overall wholesomeness of the main characters, it’s certainly appropriate for young adults. There’s no profanity or sex in it. No adult themes, unless you count “It’s okay to be white” as an adult theme.
Also, I made sure to make the book brief. It’s only 216 pages and each chapter is less than 3,000 words. Nothing can turn a young mind off more than a book that drones on and on. You can read the whole thing in two sittings for sure.
But, really, I would say it is for all ages. I’m confident that adults will enjoy The No College Club as much as young adults will.
Was there any challenge to make your main characters high school students, especially telling the story from the point of view of a high school-aged girl?
I have family members in high school, so it wasn’t much of a leap for me. Much of what I have in The No College Club is from what family members have told me, or what I read on the Internet, or from my own experiences. I know it seems that everything is changing so rapidly these days, but at the same time, people are people. In many instances, what was true about high school 25 years ago is still true today.
And telling the story from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl, Caroline Adams, wasn’t much of a problem, either. Caroline is a composite of a couple girls I knew in my youth who made a big impression on me. Once her character crystalized in my mind, mapping out her thoughts, actions, and dialogue came naturally.
Why did you decide to make your main character female?
Part of it was just my gut feeling, just as it was for Charity’s Blade, which also has a female protagonist. Every time I imagined The No College Club with a male lead, it didn’t flow as easily. It just didn’t seem right. It’s hard to explain.
But I have to say that there was some calculation involved. Women and girls drive the fiction market these days, especially when you factor out science fiction, dystopic fiction, military fiction — that kind of thing. That’s just the way it is. So once I decided to make The No College Club a present-day romance adventure, I realized I had to make it female-friendly. A male-centric perspective, I believe, could have limited the book’s ultimate reach.
Plus, the Dissident Right is a bit of a boy’s club. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, demonstrating how our ideas are equally valid for both sexes can only be a good thing. It can only expand the audience for the dissident message.
What would you say is the message of The No College Club?
Well, in all my fiction I try to avoid messaging. Messaging is typically boring when you couch it in dialogue, or preachy when it appears in the narration. That sort of thing belongs in essays or manifestos. But with The No College Club being young adult fiction, there were some didactic moments. But I kept those to a minimum.
Basically, I wanted to demonstrate the anti-white animus behind the cultural Marxism and critical race stuff that’s been infusing our education system for decades now. A boy named Derek Brand stands up to his black teacher when she piles racist abuse on whites, and then gets in big trouble for it. But what Caroline notices most of all, aside from her growing crush on Derek, is that he actually makes sense and that his opinions are well-informed. This gives her a dilemma: follow her heart and mind by siding with Derek, or keep her status as a popular girl with bright hopes of getting into a good college.
And it goes beyond just Caroline. The four protagonists are assigned a group project on “slavery,” and thanks to Derek’s eccentric uncle, they learn about white indentured servitude, which in many cases was slavery — just as bad as the blacks had it. This is another theme: rediscovering white history in America. And this gives our heroes a dilemma: Do the project on black slavery and preserve the possibility to going to college, or do it on white slavery and jeopardize ever going to college at all.
That’s another theme of the book: How colleges and careers are used to blackmail young whites into behaving according to politically-correct dogma. It’s insidious. We are essentially telling young people to not think for themselves or else risk their entire future — in college and beyond. This is how civilizations ossify, when independent thinking is discouraged and penalized like this.
You said there was no time travel in The No College Club, yet you have several chapters taking place in the eighteenth century.
Right. The main characters do not travel in time. But the reader is treated to a window into the life of an indentured servant from just before the Revolutionary War who toils on a northern Virginia farm. I cannot describe the narrative mechanism I use to bring this about without giving away a crucial aspect of the story. However, I can say that these chapters introduce a fifth character who is highly relevant to the four main characters in the present day.
While researching these chapters I relied mostly on Michael Hoffman’s They Were White and They Were Slaves, Don Jordan and Michael Walsh’s White Cargo, and Abbot Emerson Smith’s Colonists in Bondage. For the life of a young farm worker back then, my main literary sources were Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy and Richard Lyman Bushman’s The American Farmer in the Eighteenth Century.
The illustrations from these chapters appear different from the others. Was this your decision?
Yes. I instructed Donald to give the sketches a completely different feel for historical chapters. Where the illustrations for the present-day chapters resemble contemporary comic art, the historical chapter sketches resemble sketches from novels published in the nineteenth century — for example, they’re framed and include more shading and detail.
Here’s an example:
I initially considering hiring a different artist for the historical chapters, but Donald was so versatile, he pulled it off beautifully.
Does your book discuss the topic of race?
Certainly not from a clinical standpoint. Race realism does not appear anywhere in the book. This being a family-friendly young adult novel, bringing up IQ differences or crime statistics didn’t seem appropriate. However, the theme of racial identity is everywhere. The non-white characters in the story identify by their race — the black ones, explicitly and proudly so. So why shouldn’t the white characters do the same? Caroline and the others often chafe under this double standard and resent the grownups, even their own parents, who try to enforce this on them.
It’s not fair. They know it’s not fair, and they rebel against it. This is the basis of many a good story, right? By becoming close friends and by doing the research themselves, they learn that they don’t have to buckle to this double standard.
Would you say The No College Club is anti-college?
Not at all. It simply makes the reader aware that there are many options in life, and those options don’t have to include going to college.
Does The No College Club address the Jewish Question?
Yes, but only tangentially. The word “Jew” does not appear in the book. However, if you know what to look for, the clues are there. I cannot wait for the commentary about this.
On the last page of the book, you write “End of Book One.” Do you have a sequel in mind?
I do. I am working on it at present, and hope to have it published in 2024. It’s too soon to discuss it, since things might change, but I have the general plot lined up. The main character will be a boy this time. I hope to make The No College Club into a young adult series, like The Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, but with white identity being front and center. There’s no reason why we can’t do graphic novels in the future as well. The basic formula is to start with high school students who run afoul of political correctness in one way or another and get in big trouble. The No College Club then swoops in to help. Not only do they give these kids moral support, legal aid, and a place to stay, they also equip them with the guidance that will help them grow into healthy and responsible men and women. But ultimately it will be about the kids themselves overcoming the obstacles that the anti-white establishment places in front of them — or not overcoming them.
With The No College Club, I hope to contribute to the emerging genre of white-positive young adult fiction.
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