Very unexpectedly, it is March! (Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are.) One of the benefits of March is that it means ALL THE BOOKS are coming out, and one of my very most anticipated books of March 2021 was Talia Hibbert’s new romance novel, Act Your Age, Eve Brown. Eve has never been quite sure where she belongs, but when her parents cut her off and she hits a B&B owner with her car, she decides she might as well stay and help out at the B&B. Its owner’s name is Jacob, and he is uptight and tightly wound, and Eve is chaotic and sings to herself all the time. You can imagine my emotions about this state of affairs.

To my delight, Talia stopped by the podcast to chat with me about her latest book, her love of fanfiction, and her latest DIY project (why do the British love DIY so much? can anyone explain it to me?). You can listen to the podcast in the embedded player below, or download it directly to take with you on the go!

Episode 142

Books We Discussed

Get a Life, Chloe Brown, Talia Hibbert
Take a Hint, Dani Brown, Talia Hibbert
Act Your Age, Eve Brown, Talia Hibbert

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, Vanessa Riley
Boyfriend Material, Alexis Hall
The Jasmine Throne, Tasha Suri
Empire of Sand, Tasha Suri
Realm of Ash, Tasha Suri
White Whiskey Bargain, Jodie Slaughter
KJ Charles
Kennedy Ryan
Danielle Allen
Sweet on the Greek, Talia Hibbert (LINK TO THIS)
For the Love of April French, Penny Aimes

You can find Talia Hibbert at her website or on Twitter! The book again is Act Your Age, Eve Brown, and I can’t possibly recommend it resoundingly enough.

You can get at me on Twitter, email the podcast, and friend me (Gin Jenny) and Whiskey Jenny on Goodreads. As a brand new feature, you can also follow me (Gin Jenny) and Whiskey Jenny on Storygraph! If you like what we do, support us on Patreon. Or if you wish, you can find us on iTunes (and if you enjoy the podcast, give us a good rating! We appreciate it very very much).

Credits
Producer: Captain Hammer
Photo credit: The Illustrious Annalee
Theme song by: Jessie Barbour
Transcripts by: Sharon of Library Hungry

Transcript

Jenny: Welcome to the Reading the End Bookcast, with the Demographically Similar Jennys. I’m Gin Jenny, and I’m here with Talia Hibbert, the author of a number of amazing romance novels, most recently Act Your Age, Eve Brown. Talia, welcome to the podcast!

Talia: Hi! Thanks for having me!

J: Thank you so much for coming on! I was wondering if you could start by telling us a little about yourself and the book.

T: Yeah, sure, so, my name’s Talia Hibbert, and I write romance novels. I really like biscuits and romcoms, so I’ve written a few romcoms and the latest one is Act Your Age, Eve Brown, which is coming out on March 9th. It’s really special to me because it’s an autistic romance of two autistic main characters, and it’s enemies to lovers, which I really enjoy writing, and it’s set in a small town at a bed and breakfast, so there’s some forced proximity as well. But my favorite thing about this book is that it starts with the heroine hitting the hero with her car by accident.

J: [laughter] Have you ever hit someone with a car or been hit with a car?

T: Um, I’ve never been hit with a car, luckily for me, and I can’t drive, so I’ve never hit anyone with a car, luckily for everyone else.

J: I have been hit with a car. It was not a good time.

T: Oh my God, that sounds terrible!

J: It was terrible! I officially broke my neck, which sounds very dramatic, but it was the tiniest little—it was just a teensy teensy little break. But it was awful. I had to wear the most embarrassing neck brace for six weeks—eight weeks!

T: That is terrible. This is like a, a romcom version of hitting someone with your car, so he pops back up again. It’s minor injuries.

J: Well, I appreciated it! He does have injuries that he then has to deal with, and I was like, mm, yeah, it’s a nuisance, eh, man? Okay, so you said you liked biscuits and romcoms. What is your favorite biscuit, and what is your favorite romcom?

T: My favorite biscuit, that’s a very tricky one, but… I love cookies. I feel like in America you’d call all biscuits cookies, but—

J: We do, yeah, but I was trying to speak to you on your terms.

T: They’re very—here we only call them cookies if they’re, you know, chocolate chip or chipped with something. They’re my favorite. And my favorite romcom, I actually—can I say two? Is that bad?

J: Yes! Of course! No, you can say two. Two can be tied for—I always say two.

T: Okay, so A Duke, the Lady, and the Baby, by Vanessa Riley is historical, and there’s not a ton of historical romcoms, compared to contemporary, but it is a historical romcom in my opinion, and it’s hilarious, and I love it. And then I also love Boyfriend Material, by Alexis Hall.

J: Yes!

T: Yes, everyone loves that one, it’s—a banger. So, those are my two favorites. They’re both so funny; you know, laugh out loud, I love that.

J: Yes, they absolutely are. Actually, that was one of the things that I immediately loved about—I mean, all of your books that I’ve read so far, but Act Your Age Eve Brown especially was just making me laugh from the first page, and it just stayed really like funny and clever throughout, so, yeah, a very classic romcom, I think.

T: Yay! Thank you.

J: Well, I’d love for you to talk more about writing two autistic protagonists, because one thing that I thought was really interesting in this book is that Jacob, the hero, is autistic and that’s discussed quite early on and he’s very aware of it. Whereas Eve sort of starts to figure this out about herself over the course of the book, and by the end of the book she’s kind of like, yeah, I probably am, but I don’t need to deal with it right now. And so I thought it was interesting that you had those two very different approaches.

T: Yeah, because for one thing, there’s a huge disparity in how different kinds of autistic people are treated and supported and diagnosed. So I mention in the book that you’re a lot less likely to be diagnosed if you’re a woman, and that kind of gets worse if you’re a Black woman or a woman of color. That’s something that I’m very aware of, because I’m an autistic person and I was diagnosed very young, but it was only because of the very concerted efforts of my mum, who is actually an educator herself and works with people with all kinds of special educational needs. I was very lucky to always be supported, but I know that it’s really not the case for a ton of people, so I definitely wanted to highlight that.

But I also really wanted to—you know, a lot of the time in media, autistic people are written or portrayed by people who aren’t actually autistic, and you can really tell. Very annoying! And, you know, you end up with these stereotypes that really—they’re informed by, and then they go on to inform, the ways that autism is treated in real life. So you know, you’re more likely to be diagnosed if you’re for example a white man and then all the TV shows are about white men, so then people think only white men can be autistic, and it kind of rolls on like that. I really wanted to show that autistic people are all different and have different experiences of their autism and how they relate to the world and how they feel about it. So I felt like this was a good opportunity to do that, because these characters are so different and their whole thing comes from their being so different.

J: Yeah! Absolutely. This is such a silly question, but is singing quietly to yourself a lot really a stimming behavior, because I do that and I did not know that’s what that was.

T: [laughter] Yes, or, it—you know, it’s something that can be a stimming behavior. I’m sure some people do it and they just are doing it, but— You can definitely stim that way, and I used to do that a lot when I was a kid, and it annoyed people so much.

J: It probably annoys my friends and relations. I literally can’t stop. Among my family—I’m one of four sisters—and among my family, I’m the best at keeping secrets. I’m just a vault. But when it comes to song-related secrets, absolutely cannot ask me to do it. I just can’t do it.

T: Oh dear.

J: I was at my friend’s wedding, and she was—she told me, because she knows I can keep a secret cause we’ve known each other since we were ten, she told me that she had changed the song she was gonna do for her first dance, and it was gonna be a secret from her parents, cause they would try to convince her to change. And she was like, “okay, but, so, don’t tell!” and all through the day as we were getting ready, I would start singing it and she would be like “SHUT UP!”

T: Oh my God! [laughter] That would be a problem for me as well, definitely.

J: Yeah! I mean, it was awful! [laughter] So you said that this book was close to your heart because you’re autistic yourself and that you identify with these characters. I really loved all three of these books so far, and I was wondering which of the Brown women you identified with the most, or had the easiest time writing.

T: Ooh, that’s tricky! I think I identify with Chloe the most, just because there’s like a little bit of myself or my life experiences in all of these books, but Chloe as a character is the most like me, and maybe the person that I would get along with the most. But Eve was probably the easiest to write, because she’s just so fun and she’s so, like, she’s so accepting of everything. She’s just gonna take what comes and try her best to have fun with it, and I’m not like that at all.

J: Oh God, me neither. [laughter] So this is, like you said, this is part of a series. How much of it was planned before you started? How did it change as you were writing it?

T: Oh God, so: When I started, I knew that I wanted it to be a series. I knew the heroine would have two sisters and I wanted to write about the sisters, but other than that, I really didn’t know very much. In the first book, you kind of meet her sisters, and I set their personalities loosely from there, but I didn’t go too in depth because I knew that once I write a character from their perspective, my understanding of them changes. So I didn’t want to say, like, this character’s like this!, and then get to the book and be like, oh God, I don’t want her to be like that! I tried to keep it loose, and for that reason, I didn’t really decide on the plot of their stories until I got to the next two books, because I tend to build the plot that suits the character.

With Dani’s book, the middle book, the second book—

J: Yeah, that’s my favorite one! I love that one.

T: Oh really?

J: Yeah, I mean, they’re all great, but I really identified with Dani.

T: Well, that was like the hardest book to write, because I had this loose idea of how it was gonna go, and I rewrote it like four times and it changed so drastically. But I’m happy with how it turned out.

J: What did you start with that you had to end up changing?

T: So, the initial idea was that—I can barely remember now, but it was basically to do with blackmail.

J: Oh! [laughter]

T: [laughter] Yeah! And then I started writing it, I was like, this is kind of hardcore for a romcom! Like, maybe I should lighten it up a bit! So that changed. And I think at one point, I was gonna try and do like a virtual relationship, like that they met on camera, like, webcams? It was gonna be like a sex thing. But then I, again, I was like, this is very hardcore for a romcom. I reined it in. And then, yeah, it turned into this whole different story. Because I always knew that Dani was an academic, so then in the end, I was like, why don’t I write something that kind of stems from her job? Which is not something I typically do, which is probably why it was so difficult for me to write. But I did it! And it was fun.

J: It was great! I remember talking about that book with my podcast partner, and one of our favorite most touching moments of the whole book was when Zaf reads her academic articles! It’s like, that is so sweet! I barely read my friends’ academic articles!

T: Oh my God, yeah. I don’t—I’m terrible! I don’t read anything my friends write, unless it’s romance. Sorry, guys!

J: I understand! Well that was actually something I wanted to ask you about. I love People with Jobs as a subgenre of anything. How do you choose the jobs that your characters are gonna have, and how does the career inform the character and vice versa?

T: Well, I’m not really a People with Jobs kind of writer, because first of all, I’m really lazy and I hate research, so— I try to write jobs that I have some personal experience of, cause that makes it easier for me, but I don’t have that much work experience. So….. it’s like, I’ve worked at coffee shops, I’ve been a waitress, I’ve worked at McDonald’s, I was a hotel cleaner, I worked as a tutor, and I went to university, and that’s like it. So I’m running out of jobs!

J: [laughter]

T: I might have to start reading some nonfiction books at this point, which is gonna be excruciating. I tend to choose the job that kind of matches their personality or their goal as a person, but also matches the life—the daily life that I want them to have. For example, in Get a Life, Chloe Brown, Chloe is a web designer, and she kind of runs her own business, because I wanted her to work from home, because of her disability but also because it was like a neighbor romance, so I wanted her to be in the house all the time, ready for romance.

J: With Jacob running the B&B and Eve going to work for him, was that informed by your time as a hotel cleaner?

T: Yes! Absolutely it was. I was such like—crap! I’m running out of jobs! What have I done? I knew that I wanted them to work together, and I knew that I wanted it to be a situation where they were forced to spend a lot of time together, so I was like, they’re gonna have to live where they work. Bed and breakfast! Boom! I also really like coziness.

J: Oh God, yes, it was wonderful. They have a gingerbread festival, listeners, just so you know what to expect. Are you much of a baker?

T: No. God, no.

J: Oh, God, me neither. No, no, no, me neither.

T: [laughter]

J: My sister is making increasingly fancy cakes in quarantine. She just kind of keeps making fancier and fancier cakes, and I’m sort of at home with my, you know, books and cross-stitch, admiring her from afar.

T: That sounds ama—I’m one of four sisters, as well, and none of us can bake, unfortunately. I feel robbed now.

J: [laughter] What are your four sis—what are your three sisters’ most useful skills?

T: Let me think. Well, my older sister—oh, she has a really useful skill, actually. She’s really great at painting and decorating, so I moved house this summer and she like, painted my house. Thank you!

J: Oh, bless her!

T: [laughter] But then my two other sisters are a lot younger than me, so they have great skills, but not adult skills. They are children. [laughter]

J: So they’re pending cases.

T: Exactly. I’m sure they will be so useful in like, ten years’ time. Looking forward to it.

J: Absolutely. Do I remember hearing that you—you do DIY, right? You’re a DIY person now.

T: I attempt DIY.

J: What have you been trying in quarantine?

T: Well, here’s the thing about my hobbies. They peter out.

J: [laughter]

T: But—what was the last thing I did? Oh, this is boring. I had to—my kitchen had like this really ugly counter, and I could replace the counter, but I don’t like spending money, so I elected to just cover it with this like, paper thing that all the DIY people on YouTube use. It’s like this marble effect paper thing, but it was really hard to stick on! Like, it got bubbles in it, and you had to use a Stanley knife, and I’m very clumsy. It looks good, though. I did it. I’m very proud of it.

J: Well done! What’s a Stanley knife, as a non-DIYer I must ask?

T: It’s like a little thing that you hold in your hand and then you flick it up and it’s got a little knife bit. That was the worst explanation ever! [laughter]

J: I think I can picture it. My sister who’s good at DIY came over and recaulked my bathtub recently, and I think she had a Stanley knife.

T: Ooh!

J: I know! It was—not recaulked. I said that wrong. Re—yes! No, recaulked, I’m so sorry. I kept mixing up grout and caulk, and she kept yelling at me, and then I kept making caulk jokes.

T: [laughter]

J: But I think she had a Stanley knife to wedge in the caulk saver.

T: That sounds about right.

J: Okay, great!

T: [laughter]

J: So this series was published through traditional publishing, whereas your backlist books were self-published. How has that adjustment been?

T: I was a bit apprehensive when we started, because, you know, just because it was something I’d never done before, and I knew that it could go very badly. So my brain was like, obviously it’s gonna go badly. But actually it’s been really great! Everyone at Avon that I’ve interacted with has just been so relentlessly lovely, and I feel very lucky to be working with the people that I’ve been working with. They’ve made the whole thing just such a really lovely experience. I’m saying lovely a lot, but it’s how I feel, I’m sorry.

J: I think that’s on brand. I feel like all British people I’ve ever met say lovely a lot.

T: Okay, I’ll take it.

J: What’s the most useful edit you got from your editor for this book?

T: Ooh. Always, I feel, she’s fixing my pacing, because I have a tendency first of all to forget that time exists at all.

J: Sure.

T: Secondly to forget that like, this is a story that needs to move along. You can’t just wallow in the characters giving each other looks. You have to make things happen.

J: [laughter]

T: So there’s always a point where she goes through the whole book and she’s like, why are we still here? Can we move on? What’s happening? Can this story move? What day is it? Can you fix this? And I’m like, [sad voice] okay! If I must!

J: Well this may be completely off the mark, but um—The first joke that made me laugh out loud in this book is when Eve is thinking about journaling and she talks about a work in progress on AO3 that hasn’t been updated in years. So I’m wondering if that tendency in you is influenced by reading fanfiction, because I feel like fanfiction often tends to sort of linger in glances for a very long time, by design.

T: Yeah. I think you’re right. I love to read fanfic and I think it’s the best, so when I’m writing, I’m like, yeah! Fanfic! Drabble! This doesn’t have to have a point! And then I’m like, oh wait, yes it does! Boooooo!

J: What fandoms do you read in lately?

T: [hiss of trepidation]

J: You don’t have to say! If you’re not comfortable saying, you don’t have to.

T: [laughter] One came to mind that I am not gonna say, but— [laughter] I recently watched Yuri on Ice!!!, like the whole thing, cause everyone was saying how great it was, and they said it so much that I was like, Surely it can’t be that great, they’re exaggerating. But then I watched it and it was true! So now that I’ve finished it, I’ve just been reading like nonstop fanfic cause I don’t want to leave that world.

J: Oh, that’s fanta— And there’s a lot of, I feel like there was a real explosion of Yuri on Ice!!! fanfic.

T: Yes. I’ve been enjoying it.

J: How did you get into reading romance?

T: When I was twelve, I used to go to the library a lot, because reading was like my only hobby, cause I’ve been a giant nerd my whole life.

J: Same!

T: I was literally just going through the books, and I was in the adult section because, I don’t know, my grandma told me that I should go in the adult section. I think she was hoping that I would find grand literature, which I did, but probably not the kind she was thinking! She’s very serious. So I was looking, and there’s this like, lime-green book with a cartoon drawing of a girl on the cover, and I was like, oh! Twelve-year-old me enjoyed that imagery, so I took it out, and it was a historical romance by Julia Quinn, and I was like, wow, this is great! And then they like went on a picnic and DID IT and I was like—

J: [laughter]

T: [laughter] Oh my God! I hope Grandma doesn’t ever see what this book is about! [laughter] But yeah. It was amazing.

J: So from then on, it was just, you know, all romance all the time?

T: Oh, yeah, I was like, I need more of this. This is great. The bits that I liked in other books, just people talking to each other and having feelings, this was all that. And nothing else! And I was like, Perfect! Exactly what I’ve been looking for! And I’ve never looked back.

J: Who are some of your favorite romance novelists?

T: Oh my God that is such a hard question.

J: You can just say a few, it doesn’t have to be a comprehensive list. Just a few that pop into your head.

T: Okay. Um, Tasha Suri, I just finished reading an ARC of one of her books—

J: Ah! Yes!

T: Incredible. Incredible.

J: The Jasmine Throne?

T: Yes! Yeah.

J: I’m so excited to read that! Oh, is it good?

T: It was incredible, like—

J: I’m so excited to read it! I loved Empire of Sand, and then Realm of Ash was even better, so I just—I have—my expectations are sky high.

T: Like, I went in with really high expectations, and then I was like, oh my God, it’s exceeding my expectations! How is this possible?

J: I’m literally bouncing up and down in my chair with excitement.

T: It was amazing. Um, oh, I really love Jodie Slaughter, especially this one book White Whiskey Bargain, which is a marriage of convenience but it’s a contemporary romance, and that’s like my favorite thing but it’s really hard to find. So love that one, love her, um, Courtney Milan, obviously.

J: Of course.

T: KJ Charles.

J: Oh, I love KJ Charles.

T: Kennedy Ryan. Danielle Allen. I feel like some authors I just really enjoy, obviously, but then some authors I’m like, this is what I’m wanting my books to be like. Danielle Allen is one of those authors.

J: Ooh, that’s a great recommendation! That’s a great list, that’s a tremendous list. I think it was a good—there’s some that I have heard of and also love, and then some that I’m really excited to check out now.

T: Okay cool.

J: Is there a romance subgenre that you love reading but would never consider writing?

T: That’s a tricky one because I think most things that I enjoy, I would consider writing, but the only thing that would stop me is that it would be too difficult. For example, like I love reading romances with mysteries, but I’m not smart enough—I’m just not that kind of smart, right? I can’t do mysteries. I know I can’t do it. I’m not even gonna hurt my own feelings by trying to do it. I’m not there as a human being.

J: It seems incredibly hard. I don’t even have—I don’t even have like a good confidence that I can have a theory of mind about what people will guess and not guess—

T: Exactly.

J: —in the most basic sense, just writing an email to a friend.

T: Absolutely. Exactly. No idea what people are thinking, what they’re gonna think. I just don’t know. So it would go badly.

J: So what are some romance tropes that you really love? Obviously, marriage of convenience.

T: Yes. Love it. Also, you know, like, arranged marriage, which I feel is kind of similar, that’s also great. I really like anything that involves forced proximity. Snowed in.

J: Snowed in!

T: Woo! Only one bed, or you’re like, on a mountain for some reason and someone lives in the mountains, amazing.

J: The best thing is when some TV show or book property or podcast has a thing where the characters everyone is shipping have to go to a cabin for a bit, and it’s like, are you doing this for me?

T: [laughter] Absolutely they are. The fact that it’s like a cabin, as well. It’s never like a house. It’s gotta be a cabin because—

J: A cozy cabin, maybe it’s a bit rubbishy so they have to do some fixing up together.

T: And they like have to sleep on one bed, or in the same room cause there’s only one fire. That’s a great historical trope.

J: Oh, that’s a fantastic one. Yeah, historical seems like it would be hard to write, but it would be very to have to deal with the logistics of fires.

T: That’s another one that, like, I consider, but then I’m like, ooh, am I smart enough to do that?

J: [laughter] How did you get into writing romance? You know, how did you make the transition from reading to writing it?

T: Well, I always wanted to be a writer, just because I love books so much, and I felt like it was my only real skill. What can you do? I’m like, I can write stuff.

J: Yeah, I feel the same about myself.

T: But then at the same time I never actually managed to finish anything I wrote, but then one day it kind of occurred to me, because I hadn’t actually tried to write any romance novels. I’d written a lot of kind of YA or fantasy attempts. The idea of writing romance seemed very intimidating to me, because I enjoyed romance so much, it was very much on a pedestal for me. But then I decided that I needed to get a job, and it needed to be something that I could do from home, because of the circumstances that I was in, and I was like, okay, what skills do I have? Writing! So I decided to give it a try and like, commit to actually finishing something and to self-publish that something and kind of see what happened. And what happened was that no one bought it, but I enjoyed writing it so much that I kept going, and that’s how I got started.

J: And here you are!

T: Indeed.

J: Would you go back to self-publishing, or are you happy with traditional publishing?

T: I’m definitely happy with traditional publishing, but I’m still gonna self-publish as well, just because I feel like it depends on the book, and on how you want to release the book, and I really like both.

J: Where do you stand on the illustrated covers / clinch covers hot debate?

T: Oh my God! I don’t know why we’re arguing about this because they’re both—

J: I don’t either! I love them both!

T: That’s exactly how I feel, like, I love a classic clinch cover, because they look so good! They look so intense, they look so romance-y, I love it. I also love like, the—is it the Harlequin Desires? Have been doing amazing covers lately that are like very modern, very contemporary, but with big clinch cover energy. I love those. But then at the same time, illustrated covers are so cute!

J: The covers of this series are so cute! They couldn’t be cuter.

T: Oh, thank you! I really, really love them, and I love like how easy it is to be accurate with your characters when it’s an illustration.

J: I was just thinking, I really love the illustration of Eve. She just looks so—her hair is so pretty, and she’s adorable.

T: Thank you. I love them so much.

J: How much input did you have into what that design was gonna be like?

T: Well, when we started the series, I was kind of asked to give descriptions of the characters, but also talk about color combinations I liked, and maybe provide examples of illustrated covers that I did like versus ones that I didn’t like, you know, art styles and things? And I kind of responded with like a multi-page PDF report, which was very specific.

J: That sounds great.

T: Yeah! I mean, I think it helped, because I ended up with a cover that I thought was amazing, and I guess I was really lucky that they were so open to me giving that initial input, and then kind of off the back of that, they very obviously listened to that and listened to what I wanted and gave me a lot of options to look at and be like, okay, what do you think of these? So it felt very collaborative, and I really enjoyed that process.

J: Oh, that’s interesting. So how many—they gave you a bunch of options and this was kind of the design you went with. What were the other ones like?

T: The options they gave me were for the very first one in the series, because then from that point on it all had to be the same.

J: Right, right.

T: But um, it was like, different art styles mainly, and then once we’d settled on an art style that we all agreed on, it was different color combinations and different kind of doodles on the cover and placements and positions of the characters and things like that.

J: That sounds really cool! Um, I will say for illustrated covers, one benefit is that I—my parents are more likely to read romance novels if they have illustrated covers, and that makes my birthday present buying much easier.

T: I mean, it was an illustrated cover that kind of started me on romance. Not because I wouldn’t have been interested in a classic romance cover, but because I was twelve, so, they wouldn’t have let me take it out. Not that I’m saying twelve-year-olds should read romance, just saying I did and it was great.

J: Yeah, I don’t think they shouldn’t. I think it depends on the twelve-year-old.

T: Definitely, cause I feel like it was good for me, individually.

J: Yeah! One of my deepest regrets—I feel like I was overall a good big sister, but one of my deepest regrets is that I tattled to my parents about my younger sister reading a book with sex scenes in it, and they took it away from her.

T: [gasp] Oh no!

J: I know! I feel awful. It’s like the only time I remember my parents intervening in our reading choices, and I, I just feel so guilty about it. It was one of the Tamora Pierce books.

T: Oh wow. Gosh.

J: Yeah. But, you know, she’s forgiven me, we’re friends now.

T: Oh good.

J: So what’s next for you? You finished the series. What are you up to next?

T: Yeah! I actually just started writing my next book, like, earlier this week.

J: Ooh!

T: And I’m very excited about it. It’s a romcom again, and—yeah. I’m super excited about it, but I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say, so I’m going to stop talking now.

J: Oh, okay. No, that’s fair enough.

T: [laughter]

J: Do you have a favorite among the books you’ve already published?

T: Oh my God that’s so hard. Okay. I would say that I have the books that I think are the best that I’ve written, they’re not necessarily the same as my favorites. Also, I don’t want to say which ones are the best, cause that implies that the other ones are bad, which they’re totally not. [laughter] But I would say that one book that I really love, I don’t think a lot of people know about, is a book called Sweet on the Greek, and it’s the last book in a series, but you don’t actually have to read the rest of the series. It’s basically about a professional football player who falls in love at first sight, which is like a trend in his family, with a very cynical goth who is not interested, and then he hires her to be his fake girlfriend but he’s completely making up that he needs a fake girlfriend.

J: [laughter]

T: It’s just ridiculous!

J: That’s so good! Oh my God, I love it. Well, you’re right, I hadn’t read that one yet, so I’m putting it on my list, and I will link it in the shownotes, so that everyone else can read it. That sounds amazing. That sounds like so many good tropes stacked on top of each other.

T: Well, I hope everyone likes it. I like it.

J: All right, so here’s a question. This is my last question and maybe it will be too difficult, in which case just tell me and I’ll cut it. How do you define happily ever after? Because one thing that struck me while I was reading this book, and then looking back at your previous work, I could see it as a really clear throughline, is that the thing that Eve is searching for throughout this book is a place where she can feel safe, like supported and fulfilled. And that she really hasn’t had that to date, where she feels, you know, really unsteady with her friends, and even with her family. So what makes a happily ever after for you?

T: For me, a happily ever after has to be the characters in a situation, in a space, and in like, a relationship and a support network where you can see that even if things go wrong in the future, the way they tend to cause that’s life, they will be in the right space to come out on top.

J: Oh, that’s a lovely answer! I like it so much. Well, before I let you go, so, um, my friend has criticized me for giving overly saucy books to my parents as gifts. However, my mom and dad both really love your books, and I was wondering if you would say hi to them. They’re having a hard time this week.

T: Oh my God, really? I love that!

J: My dad can never remember the names of any books he’s ever reading, so he always calls them things like Happy Happy Chloe Brown.

T: That’s amazing.

J: [laughter]

T: Oh my God! I love that so much! That is so lovely. Well, hello to your mum and dad, and thank you for reading my books, and I’m so glad you like them, and thank you!

J: Um, and before I let you go, what are you reading right now?

T: I’m reading—it’s an advance copy of a book that’s coming out by Penny Aimes, who is super cool, and the book’s called For the Love of April French, I believe?

J: Great title.

T: Yeah, it’s a great title, it’s a great book. I’m only like a few pages in, but I’m having a great time, so—

J: Fantastic. Well, I’ll have to keep an eye out for it when it comes out. Well, Talia, thank you so much again for taking the time. Um, the book again is Act Your Age, Eve Brown. We’re recording this in advance so I’m not sure exactly what date it’ll come out, but it’ll be around release date, so y’all should be able to get it right away, and you definitely should. It’s so much fun. And yeah, thank you so much!

T: Thank you! This has been super fun.

The post Episode 142 – Interview with Talia Hibbert, Author of Act Your Age, Eve Brown appeared first on Reading the End.