Monday, April 19, 2021

Lynn Painter Interview - Better Than the Movies

Photo Content from Lynn Painter

Lynn Painter lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and pack of wild children. She’s a biweekly contributor to the Omaha World-Herald’s parenting section, even though she is the polar-opposite of a Pinterest mom. When she isn’t chasing kids, she can be found reading, writing, and shot-gunning Red Bulls.


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Champaign, IL, where my parents were stationed while my dad attended Air Force weather forecaster school. We moved around for a few years before landing in Omaha, Nebraska, which is still my home (after wandering away a bit in my 20’s).

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I write light, beachy fiction where the goal is to augh and swoon, so I don’t see myself changing the world with my books; their purpose is sheer escapism. So when a reader reached out to me, asking if she could get an early copy of BTTM to read while she was off of work in preparation for cancer surgery, I was thrilled to oblige. She was looking for escapism, and I was fortunate enough to be able to provide it.

Tell us your latest news.
I’m busy working on editing The Do-Over (my next book, coming Spring 2022 from S&S BFYR), but two exciting things are happening that have me super pumped. The first - Better Than The Movies was chosen as a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection! For someone who grew up frequenting the library, this totally made my life. Also, I learned that Jesse Vilinsky will be narrating the BTTM audiobook. Ever since I learned that we’re doing an audiobook, I’ve been beside myself with excitement over the fact that I’ll be able to listen to words that I wrote; that’s just surreal. But having such a wry, smart voice reading those words has me over-the-moon.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope that when readers pick up BETTER THAN THE MOVIES, they will be in the mood to lose themselves in the emotional fun of a rom-com. I wrote it as an homage to all the classics, and I hope it has the same comfortable joy we get when curling up in front of something with Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts or Noah Centineo.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Liz?
The most surprising thing I learned – or was reminded of - is that no matter who you become as an adult, the person you were as a child is always still there. Liz tries to remind the boys in her life that she’s no longer the “little weirdy” that they used to know, but as she schemes with Wes and makes soundtracks of every event in her life, is she really that different from the girl who made up her own theme music and put on romantic plays?

What was single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
The worst distraction that kept me from writing this book is the best distraction – my family. I have a full-time day job, so I write books on the weekends and at night. But sometimes the call of my adorable husband and kiddos is too strong and I have to join them in the ever-important tasks of sidewalk-chalking, hide-and-go-peeping, bubble-blowing and movie-watching. It adds-up to a LOT of super-late nights, but it’s totally worth it.

The best date you’ve ever had.
This one makes me laugh, because it’s so absolutely NOT romantic. My husband and I met at work – we were both front desk clerks at a hotel – and it was instant hilarity. I didn’t have a slow-mo, ohmigodilovehim realization, but I LOVED anytime I was scheduled with him because he was hands-down the funniest person I’d ever met. He asked me to a movie, but his car died that day so I had to drive us in my big ol’ Buick. We laughed through the entire not-really-very-funny movie (see previous hilarious-person comment), but while we were at the theater he got called into work (because he was way more important and valuable to the organization than I was). So as soon as the movie ended, I drove him straight to work and dropped him at the door. No leg-popping kiss, no romantic words, but it was so US that it was the PERFECT date.

And five kids later, he’s still the funniest person I’ve ever met.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
My most memorable travel experience was the first time I visited New York City. For me, as is likely the case with a lot of writers, New York was the place I’d dreamed of my entire life. I longed for its streets before I’d ever walked upon one, if that makes any sense at all. So the day my husband I wandered away from the train station and sat beside a fountain on 55th and 5th Streets, waiting for our hotel room to be readied for check-in, was magical. In front of me were the sounds and smells of the city where everything in publishing happens, and I could actually see a Harper-Collins office from my spot by the water feature. I didn’t know at the time that it would be fourteen (long) years later before I’d be published, but that moment felt like a beginning.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Come on, Jean – I can’t answer that! I write rom-coms because my softie heart cannot abide by an unhappy ending. If I were forced to choose in real life, I would surely talk in circles forever until whoever was forcing this choice finally gave up or hurt me.


  • 1. Wes Bennett got off on messing with me – he always had. –Liz
  • 2. “You poor, confused little love lover.” – Wes
  • 3. “For all you know, Michael has spent the past few years torturing baby squirrels.”--Wes
    “For all you know, he’s spent the last few years bottle-feeding orphaned baby squirrels.”--Liz
    “Well, if you ask me, that is no less alarming.”—Wes
  • 4. “What if Michael tells everyone that he’s my hair hero?” --Wes
  • 5. “I would’ve never guessed that someone so uptight would be such a pervert.” --Wes
  • 6. “Hand over one of your elegant, cherry-flavored sticks of disgustingness so I can set it on fire and suck its death smoke into my lungs.” --Liz
  • 7. “You think you’re funnier than you actually are.” --Liz
  • 8. “Quit watching me, creeper.” --Liz
  • 9. “That kiss was too perfect for anything to ruin.” --Wes
  • 10. “She. Isn’t. You. When I see her, I don’t feel like I have to talk to her or mess up her hair or do something – anything – to get her to swing that gaze on me.” --Wes
 — Liz wants to be Kathleen Kelly (You’ve Got Mail), but she’s far more Jessica Day (New Girl), right down to her love for adorable retro dresses. She’s a former “little weirdo” who wholeheartedly believes in true love and expects it to happen for her – like, any time now. The perfect guy might very well be next door, but she’s too focused on her plans to even notice that Wes is no longer the annoying tormentor he’d been in grade school. LIKES: Dresses, floral patterns, rom-coms, books, creating soundtracks, and hamburgers the size of her face – accompanied by hand-cut, greasy fries. DISLIKES: Wes Bennett.

Wes is laid-back, charming, and has that whole tall, dark and handsome thing working for him. He goes along with Liz’s “pretend to be into me” plan because he wants to win the parking spot she’s offering up, but he might have ulterior motives. He’s always enjoyed messing with the easily-flustered redhead next door, and that fact has not changed. In fact, it’s more fun than ever now that she messes with him right back. LIKES: Baseball, hanging out with friends, working on his car, and his infuriatingly adorable neighbor, Liz. DISLIKES: Emotional games.

In this rom-com about rom-coms, in the spirit of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett, a hopeless romantic teen attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the boy next door.

Perpetual daydreamer Liz Buxbaum gave her heart to Michael a long time ago. But her cool, aloof forever crush never really saw her before he moved away. Now that he’s back in town, Liz will do whatever it takes to get on his radar—and maybe snag him as a prom date—even befriend Wes Bennet.

The annoyingly attractive next-door neighbor might seem like a prime candidate for romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only been a pain in Liz’s butt since they were kids. Pranks involving frogs and decapitated lawn gnomes do not a potential boyfriend make. Yet, somehow, Wes and Michael are hitting it off, which means Wes is Liz’s in.

But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz noticed by Michael so she can have her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own ideas of what Happily Ever After should look like.

You can purchase Better Than the Movies at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. "If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?" That one terrible, terrible day decades ago with those horrible, horrible results!

  2. I would change the day my mom died.

  3. I don't think I would want to go back and change a day.

  4. I think I would change my high school years

  5. I'd change the day I went to THAT party.

  6. I would chance the day my Dad passed and get to the hospital earlier.

  7. I would change a number of times when I hurt someone’s feelings!

  8. I wouldn't change anything.
    I figure everything is a part of the plan.

  9. I honestly don't think I would change anything in fear of changing everything.

  10. Well, I am not sure I would go back to change a day. I don't know what the impact would be and I like where my life is now.

  11. I feel like every day good or bad ive learned a lesson so none :)

  12. I don't want to change anything.
    Thanks for the contest.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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