Scott And Mark Hoying's Debut Children's Book Celebrates Their Real-Life Love Story

As they gear up for their first wedding anniversary next month, Scott and Mark Hoying are embarking on a new creative endeavor that they hope will both strengthen their union and boost the morale of kids of all ages who feel like they don’t fit in.

Last month, the couple unveiled their debut children’s book, “How Lucky Am I?” It’s a heartwarming tale about a mayfly as it wings its way toward self-fulfillment and acceptance in a brief ― but extraordinary ― life.

Scott, known globally as a member of the Grammy-winning a cappella group Pentatonix, said he and his now-husband dreamt up “How Lucky Am I?” while cooking dinner at their Los Angeles home toward the latter half of 2019. As Scott began retrieving ingredients, he caught sight of a fly that wound up making its way into the freezer.

Husbands Mark and Scott Hoying are the authors of a new children's book,
Husbands Mark and Scott Hoying are the authors of a new children's book, "How Lucky Am I?" Htet Waiyan

True to form, Scott said, Mark opened the freezer door to set the fly free. It was then the pair realized that the insect’s near-death experience could be seen as a poignant metaphor about living life in the moment and without regrets. The two men also felt it would give them a chance to share elements of their own love story, which began in 2017.

“We thought: If a mayfly can live for just 24 hours, what would it want to do in its lifetime? The whole purpose of a mayfly’s existence is to find their mate, to carry on their lineage,” said Mark, a musician and model who originally hails from Seattle. “We wanted the story to parallel our own life experiences ― about us falling in love, getting married and wanting to start a family.”

Scott felt similarly, and incorporated some of the couple’s July 2023 wedding vows  ― in which they pledged to “adventure side by side” and “talk for hours, laugh and cry” ― into the book, which features colorful illustrations by artist Steph Lew.

"How Lucky Am I?" features stunning illustrations by artist Steph Lew. <span class="copyright">Steph Lew/Henry Holt & Company</span>
"How Lucky Am I?" features stunning illustrations by artist Steph Lew. Steph Lew/Henry Holt & Company

“We wanted a little piece of our wedding day to live on, so we can tell our future kids their dads’ vows are in the book,” Scott said.

“How Lucky Am I?” is not the Hoyings’ first creative collaboration. The pair have teamed up in the recording studio together several times, including on “Thank You,” an original track off of Pentatonix’s 2020 holiday album, “We Need a Little Christmas.” To ensure that their book felt musical, the men perform in duet on an accompanying single, also titled “How Lucky Am I?”

Of course, the Hoyings are conscious of the fact that “How Lucky Am I?” is being released at a time when many LGBTQ+ writers are under fire, and when conservatives have gotten many queer-themed books banned. Never once, however, did they consider diluting the book’s all-inclusive message, or obscuring the fact that it was written by a gay couple.

“We want to incorporate queer elements into everything that we do,” Scott said. “When you’re a kid who feels different and there are no stories in mainstream media about who you are, you start to think: ‘Is my story worth being told? Do I belong?’ Which is so heartbreaking to us.”

Mark and Scott Hoying dedicated their book to their
Mark and Scott Hoying dedicated their book to their "sweet little mayfly on the way," and say they are "so close" to becoming first-time dads. Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images

Scott and Mark have been vocal about their hope of having children, and to that end, “How Lucky Am I?” is dedicated to their “sweet little mayfly on the way.” While the process of finding a surrogate has taken longer than they anticipated, the pair say they are now “so close” to becoming first-time dads.

As for the values they hope to instill in their future offspring, Mark says that gratitude is paramount.

“We want to encourage our kids to celebrate life with the people who mean the most to them, and to cherish the relationships they cultivate along the way,” he said. “Love is at the center of everything, so being grateful for the people in your life is important.”