Author Jeffery Self's newest novel is this summer's must-read book

Watch What Happens Live - Season 13

Funnyman Jeffery Self has been making us laugh (hysterically) for over a decade now. Back in 2007, the young actor and writer created comedic skits under the YouTube moniker VGL (Very Good Looking) Gay Boys alongside friend, and fellow viral YouTuber Cole Escola. Their performances were among some of the first clips to ever go viral back when YouTube was still in its infancy. Quickly, Self began booking major gigs in the entertainment industry, including a 2009 Logo Show based off of his funny internet sketches, and stints on "30 Rock," "Desperate Housewives" and "90210."

Self also flexed his incredible comedic writing skills by penning jokes and scripts for some of the biggest television shows on air and most recently his very own novels. His latest work, "Drag Teen," is a hilarious and heartwarming story of a young high school student who desperately tries to escape his modest roots in favor of the big city. By entering an NYC-based drag competition, he hopes to not only win the scholarship he'd need to break free from his mundane life, but also overcome his own self-doubts.

We recently sat down with the author and comedian to talk about his latest novel "Drag Teen." Ahead, find out how Jeffery Self discovered his love for writing, what his creative process is like, and more!

And for even more Jeffery Self news, head over to at 12 p.m. ET for more exclusive features, including what he hopes readers will take away from "Drag Teen."

View this post on Instagram

Good omens/great bone structure

A post shared by Jeffery Self (@jefferyself) on

When did you first discover your love for writing?
I homeschooled myself for high school. I begged my parents to let me do that. I went to a very small school where it was basically the same eighteen people from pre-school until eighth grade. I was very close with them and comfortable, and I felt very accepted, because they knew me my whole life. I knew in middle school that I was gay and that in high school it would become an issue, where it hadn't been before. I have always been the effeminate kid in the class that they knew their whole lives. I was very terrified about going into the real world of high school so I begged my parents not to make me. They finally agreed and my parents aren't educators so they wanted to find a program that would do it for them, because they couldn't possibly do that. They found one out of Ojai California. Doing that I had a lot of time on my hands and I was very bored. I had to motivate myself, so much of that time ended up being spent on creative writing for short stories, plays, and scripts. That kept going until I started to write stand-up and sketches. And now I'm doing books.

Biggest difference writing your newest book compared to the ones you wrote previously?
It's a young adult novel which was different, whereas the first two books I did were more humor based. One was a parody and the other was a humor, coffee-table type book. I always describe it as an Urban Outfitters clearance table book. You know the ones when you're thinking "I have to go to someone's house and bring something, so I'll just grab this! And some socks." But for this, I was huge fan of YA fiction and I love how they opened up the genre to all communities across the board. They're so encompassing in a way that our mainstream culture isn't yet. And I think that speaks to the generation that's actually reading it since there's a need for it. For me, it was about writing a YA novel that wasn't about coming out -- since there's so many of those and there have been for decades. They're great and we need those, but for me I wanted to write something about a teenager who was gay and that's not part of the issue. Part of the issue is liking himself. Whereas the other two books were more coming from me as narrator, this was me getting inside the head of a seventeen year old which I haven't been in like, a year? Haha no, but in a while. That made a very big difference.

You also do a lot of television writing as well. Talk to me about the process behind your television writing versus your novel writing.
I prefer the novel writing because I don't really like being around people. I don't like leaving my house or wearing pants, so it really just checks off all my boxes. All those things that you can't do in a workplace, you can do while writing a novel. I think when you're writing a TV show or a movie, you are writing one part of it. The director, the actor, the production designer are all really big parts of the end product. Whereas when you're writing the novel, you're everything: you're the director, the production designer, and the characters. There's something really cool about that -- maybe it says I'm a control freak -- but it's incredible to be able to create your own world. And with television writing I've done, it's creating jokes or memorable catchy dialogue.

What is the hardest part for you when you have to sit down and write a novel?
I guess the act of sitting down and writing a novel. I'm someone who isn't good about doing things like, "I'm going to write from 9 until noon and then take a lunch break." For me, my process is that I have to do it by rewarding myself with treats. So I'll write a little bit before breakfast and then take a break, then will do it again and lunch and take another break, then I'll have an afternoon cookie and coffee and then I'll have a glass of wine. I have to bribe myself in order to do it. For me, it's just sitting down and doing it in a world of distractions. We are the most distracted generation.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 12 pm EST for more exclusives on Jeffery Self, including his biggest takeaway from his novel.

To see more past YouShouldKnow stars, scroll through the gallery below:​

YSK Social Stars
See Gallery
Author Jeffery Self's newest novel is this summer's must-read book
What are you looking at πŸ‘€πŸ˜‚
How I look every day because life is too short to not have fun with yourself πŸ™†πŸ»
Move the way you want to move πŸ’ƒπŸΌ
This is my face when someone mentions food!πŸ€“ Releasing a new video tonight! Can't wait!❀️
Shooting a new vid for you guys!! Uploading Wednesday!!!😍❀️🎬 #teamworkmakesthedreamwork
It's the most wonderful time of the yearβ€οΈπŸŽ„πŸŽ
"Mom she won't let me have a sip of her Capri Sun" -6 year old nerf gun loving Brent to 6 year old polly pocket obsessed Mere NEW VIDEO IS UP W/ @brentrivera πŸ‘« Link to watch is in my bio! ❀️
Adventuring with friends at the beach 🌊 Pretty sure this house was haunted... not to mention the door was open. Something you guys don't know about me is I am the most savage ghost hunter around nothing scares me and I mean nothing πŸ‘€ Do you believe in ghosts? πŸ‘»
Bonjour, je m'appelle Meredith. Comment t'appelle tu? Out of my 3 years of studying French this is one of the only things I remember πŸ˜‚πŸ‘‹
AHH!!! We hit 3MILLION subbies today!! πŸ’žπŸŽ‰πŸ˜­πŸŽ‚ I love my #macbabies so so much!!! You all mean the WORLD to me!!! Our family is growing so much! Thank you for allowing me to just be my awkward self. I love you and I can never thank you enough for all the opportunities you've given me!! πŸ’žπŸŽ‰πŸŽ‚βœ¨πŸ˜±
i like pink doors β™‘ video going up soon! ahh who's excited?!? link in my bio! also, what's your fav color?! hehe πŸ’žβœŒπŸΌοΈπŸŽ‰
until next time thailand β™‘ ps...guess who just uploaded a vlog!! you get a sneak peek of my final room decor!! ahh! also, how did you find my youtube channel? i'm so curious! πŸ’žπŸŒŽβœŒπŸΌοΈ
i just wanna travel the world ✈️ where should I go next ?πŸ˜‰
so ready for halloween πŸ‘» SOOOO, I just uploaded a brand new HALLOWEEN VIDEO!! Click the link in my bio to watch!πŸŽƒ
eye see you πŸ‘€ Ps: thank you all for your amazing and continued support. I want you all to know how much I love and appreciate you so much. xoxo
Have you seen my new video yet!? It's all about music festivals so make sure to check it out on my YouTube channel! + there's some friends in it☺️
My new video is dropping today!!! Can you guess what it'll be..?πŸ˜—
u like em crazy babe don't u
the #londonhasfallen premiere last night πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§
when the waiter passes your table with food
Love him πŸ’•
Fun fact : purple and orange teacups are the fastest! :)
Pink paradise 🌴
Once you see it, you can't unsee it
PROUDEST PUPPY MOMS EVER 🐢🐢☺️ @karminmusic @garykarmin @djminimatt
✌🏼️boom✌🏼️ (photo:@markdohner)
WE OUT HERE AT THE #KCA's and the inner child in me is screaming.
trying my hardest to be "fierce"....
Welcome to slime history @rebelwilson !! πŸ˜πŸ˜‚ #KCA2016
2 0 1 6 - #HAPPYNEWYEAR on the water 2-5~6
We love taking walks, no phones, just talking about life. If you can, make time every week to take a 30-minute walk with a friend or a loved one. It's a cool way to get to know each other on a deeper level!
Leap year gives us all 24 extra hours to #DayItForward! We’ve teamed up w/ @Chevrolet to send love to #UsTheFamily - check out our Twitter feed tomorrow!!
Have you heard?! We're joining our friends @ptxofficial on the first leg of their World Tour this Spring! Click the link in our bio for tix, or visit :) PUMPED to meet some new and current #UsTheFamily members!
NEW VIDEO: Creepy Things Girls Do πŸ˜‚ Comment a, "🐬" if you've watched it/will watch it
Guess who's birthday is in 5 days?? (No it's not Dylan O'Brien) 😎
I came here to live life like nobody is watching β₯ β™‘
Happy Valentine's Day loves❀️
Did you catch the latest blog post on the blog (link in profile)?? Who else loves afternoon tea?? // πŸ“·: @torrancecoombs #TheAListIreland
Dorky smiles + a photobomb by some serious woman with a serious collar 😜😜 #HereCoombsTheBride
Soft curls and red lips πŸ’‹ // πŸ“·: @torrancecoombs
Every girl ought to have a pair of nude suede pumps! Nothing like New shoes Monday with @mgemi. Get more details on #liketkit #lovemgemi
On the streets of Paris in red and how I style my street style looks for fashion week revealed on #thechrisellefactor today! Direct link in bio πŸ‘‰πŸ» πŸ“·:@karenrosalie_
Rendezvous in Paris in Pink on #TheChriselleFactor today. Direct link in bio πŸ‘‰πŸ»
Your not ready for this #chromat #nyfw #teamthis
We run THIS show #HBDWang #rkobh #teamthis
When it's "chilly" out 😜 #ootd
ATL tonight 😏
had the King of LA @yg come through last night πŸ™πŸ½
If you guys saw how I looked before you would think it was magic 😩😭 My beautiful makeup for #kca by @beautybydianalomelin πŸ’«
Winding down with @SkinnyMintCom 😌 #TheOriginalTeatox #ad
Eating all that sushi finally turned me into a mermaid! 😭 for @projectmermaids #saveourbeach Photography by @angelinaventurellaphoto Hair and Makeup by @ljbeauty Bra by @edwordgarcia Sponsored by @sexyhair Project Manager @crissycrissybobissy
If you know me well or have read interviews I’ve done then you know that @marthastewart has always been my biggest inspiration when it comes to food. One of my goals is to be a combination of my two idols- Martha and Andy Warhol. As a child I would dream about spending the time and care like her to prepare a table, creating something very special for people to join around and share a meal. Watching her cook inspired me to teach myself how to hand weigh ingredients, to always have my mise en place organized, how to pronounce words like vichyssoise, and her wide usage of produce variety is honestly a large part of where my curiosity for our food sparked from. With this said, I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when I was told that I was one of the 25 creatives @marthastewart is inspired by in celebration of their 25th anniversary. Thank you for helping me think and dream so big Martha, I am honored to share this and to make you all of the colors. #25yearsofmartha #foodgradients
I wanted to take a moment to reintroduce myself. I’m Brittany and I recognize that I seem to do a decent job of not sharing much about my actual self here or in interviews. I prefer to keep my art about the food and not myself. This community and my photography have become the biggest part of my life, I love it more than I have words to explain but there's more that makes me who I am. So for a quick moment here’s a bit- I’m 24, a taurus, live in Seattle but grew up in San Diego, my favorite food is a cheeseburger (super thin patty, toasted bun), my favorite bands are @stygoc and @metric, my first tattoo was the one on chest- it’s still my favorite and says β€˜love your life’, something many people sadly forget. I was raised by my grandparents, I love to make small collections of items like rocks and stickers, I grew up playing a lot of sports competitively, I love Star Wars and have Boba Fett tattooed on my arm but Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is my favorite movie. Many times I have been told that being an artist β€œcan’t be a real job” and that I was wasting my time trying to do so. I smile everyday not because I proved them wrong but because I achieved a goal. Dream big, everyone.
Thought I might start this week off with a past candy photo. Here's to hoping you all have the best days ahead! #foodgradients
KΓΆln!!!! Didn't pronounce your name right on stage but... You were AMAZING. Only a couple shows left in EU-- next up, London... (πŸ“·: @annamaria_langer )
Practicing our Spanish with @tvtelehit Mexico πŸ‡²πŸ‡½
Sam wants to play Jack & Rose in Titanic but Casey's all "nah i'm good, have fun tho mang"
We drove 28 hours to get to Canada. The jeep is still runningπŸ’€πŸ˜
The Dallas episode for @heyusax is the funniest yet! Go watch it now on @go90 now!πŸ˜„πŸ˜„
Keep lookin up.
That's a wrap #E! #Oscarafterpartyshow πŸŽ‰

More from

Fashion influencer Chriselle Lim is poised for world wide web domination
Meet the former Miss USA turned fashion blogger, Alyssa Campanella, who is dominating NYFW
YouTube star Michael Buckley talks his famous YouTube channel, his favorite video to make and more!

Read Full Story

From Our Partners