Gabe Cole Novoa on his new YA fantasy novel, The Diablo’s Curse

"It’s been so exciting to see more and more books come out with trans protagonists, and I am so proud to add to that much-needed wave."


Set in 1800’s Caribbean, Gabe Cole Novoa’s newest YA novel, The Diablo’s Curse, is an enthralling high-stakes treasure hunting fantasy adventure. Starring a cast of characters that will quickly steal their way into into your heart, The Diablo’s Curse has everything from pirates and curses, to romance and a murderous island. To celebrate its release, we had the pleasure of chatting to Gabe Cole Novoa all about The Diablo’s Curse, its inspirations and his next exciting project.

Hi Gabe! It’s wonderful to get to chat to you today to celebrate the release of your newest YA novel, The Diablo’s Curse. For readers who may not yet be familiar with the book, what one sentence from the book would you use to entice them to pick up a copy?

Thanks so much for chatting with me! I think if I had to pick one line I’d go with:

“Okay, so your ancestor pissed off Captain Kidd’s ghost and now your family’s cursed.”

Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations for the book and how Dami and Silas’ story came to be?

Absolutely! After writing The Wicked Bargain, I knew I would love to write a Dami book because I just had so much fun writing them. I’d left things somewhat nebulous for Dami at the end of The Wicked Bargain so I had ideas immediately about where I could go from there, but that still didn’t really give me a plot, per say.

At the same time, I was playing around with an idea of some kind of search or heist book with a protagonist who had wronged someone but needed help from the person they wronged. After some brainstorming, it occurred to me this plot idea could work really well with a Dami book, given all the demon deals they’ve made. From there I came up with Silas and the pieces all began fitting together.


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The Diablo’s Curse is the companion novel to your 2023 novel, The Wicked Bargain. What was it like returning to the same world but through the eyes of a different protagonist?

It was both exciting and terrifying! I absolutely loved writing Dami in The Wicked Bargain, so writing a related book from their perspective was a no-brainer. But I also knew at that point that Dami would be a fan favorite, so it was somewhat intimidating embarking on their story. What if they didn’t live up to the snarky devil-may-care demonio I grew to love in The Wicked Bargain?

As it turned out, I didn’t have anything to worry about. Writing a book from Dami’s perspective gave me the time to show more sides of them, making them an even more realized three-dimensional character that I hope readers love. It was so great to get to know them better and I’m excited to be sharing their story with everyone!

Dami is such a wonderful addition to the slowly but surely growing pool of non-binary and/or genderfluid characters in YA. How does it feel knowing you’re giving so many young readers more of a chance to see themselves in fiction?

It’s seriously such an honor. Hearing from trans and queer readers who see themselves in my books, or even from relatives of trans and queer people who better understand their loved ones after reading my books, is absolutely one of the most special aspects of writing queer fiction. It’s been so exciting to see more and more books come out with trans protagonists, and I am so proud to add to that much-needed wave.

The Diablo’s Curse is filled with countless epic scenes but were there any moments in the book you particularly enjoyed writing or any you found more challenging?

It took me by surprise, but The Diablo’s Curse was actually one of the hardest books I’ve written in a while. I love the characters, and the adventurous story, and there was so much I enjoyed writing (especially the banter between Dami and Silas!) but it was one of those books that I really had to fight to get on paper. Ultimately, the part that took the longest was figuring out a good balance of what happens on the island—revisions involved removing characters, making certain characters more or less important, combining scenes, writing new ones, etc. But at the end of the day, I’m really happy with where I landed!

Finally, are you currently working on anything new and if so, is there anything you can share with us?

I am! This week I’m diving into revisions for These Vengeful Gods, my YA dystopian fantasy pitched as part The Hunger Games, part An Ember in the Ashes, following a teen descended from the god of death whose identity must be kept secret as they fight their way through a gladiator-style competition toward victory and rebellion against the gods who murdered their family. It’ll be out in 2025 and it’s been a blast to work on. I can’t wait to share this new world and new cast of queer characters with everyone!

Get your copy of The Diablo’s Curse by Gabe Cole Novoa here.

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