Monday, November 21, 2022

Chloe Liese Interview - Two Wrongs Make a Right

Photo Content from Chloe Liese

Chloe Liese writes romances reflecting her belief that everyone deserves a love story. Her stories pack a punch of heat, heart, and humor, and often feature characters who are neurodivergent like herself. When not dreaming up her next book, Chloe spends her time wandering in nature, playing soccer, and most happily at home with her family and mischievous cats.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
At the time that I decided to start writing romance, I’d been an avid romance reader who loved the genre but also struggled with its implicitly and, unfortunately, too-often explicitly ableist, exclusionary messages about who was beautiful, desirable, and worthy of a happily ever after. It was story after story about folks with basically “flawless” lives and bodies, bottomless bank accounts and breezy existences. As someone who is neurodivergent and who lives with chronic conditions, whose community was rarely represented in the love interests of the romance novels I read, I felt sad and disappointed that I couldn’t find many romances starring real people with real bodies, struggles, and vulnerabilities, and I realized I wanted that to be a part of changing that. I took a chance, wrote a romance novel, and fell in love with the process of writing from my heart and belief that everybody deserves a love story.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why?
There are so many books I adore, I truly can’t pick a single all-time favorite. The following titles are by no means my only favorites, but they are a few that have profoundly resonated with me and that I go back to reread, time and again:
  • Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient, an empowering, funny, deeply sexy romance that made me realize I, like Stella, was neurodivergent. It was such a gift to encounter this truth through seeing such a positively portrayed autistic heroine and a hero who adored her for her quirks, needs, and unique strengths.
  • Talia Hibbert’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown was the first book I read with a love interest who had chronic conditions and pain. Talia’s rich, witty narrative voice, and the novel’s brilliant structure and craft absolutely blew me away.
  • Tessa Dare’s The Duchess Deal was my first ever historical romance that made me fall in love with the subgenre. It’s a gorgeously funny while also deeply emotional Beauty and the Beast retelling that tackles internalized ableism and tenderly reveals the powerful intimacy possible when we lean into vulnerability.
  • Alison Cochrun’s The Charm Offensive was a superbly moving, wry, compassionate portrayal of nuanced queer identity and complex mental health struggles. It’s a heartfelt, empathic story of finding love as you find out more about who you are.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Any time a reader messages me and says that my book made them feel seen, whether it helped them recognize and love a part of themselves they hadn’t felt able to before, or it gave them the gift of being represented for once in some aspect of their lived experience portrayed in a love interest, that is the greatest gift I can receive as a writer and undoubtedly my most rewarding experience thus far.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
As I mentioned earlier, The Kiss Quotient unequivocally changed my life. I recognized myself in Stella’s idiosyncrasies, strengths, and struggles, which were compassionately, authentically, lovingly portrayed. That made an indelible mark on me. I realized how much it meant first, to see yourself in love stories when you haven’t before, and second, how big a difference it made to see your lived experience and identity positively, empathically, and thoughtfully portrayed. Not only did The Kiss Quotient give me the gift of recognizing my neurodivergence, it gave me the courage to write romance that (I hope) gives some of its readers the same gift Helen’s story gave me.

Can you tell us when you started TWO WRONGS MAKE A RIGHT, how that came about?
I’m a big Shakespeare dork, and I love the film adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, starring Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh. As I was watching it, I got to the scene where their friends and family decide to trick Benedick and Beatrice—who both swear they detest each other and that they want nothing to do with romance—into falling in love with each other, and I had this epiphany: it would have been such a different story if Benedick and Beatrice found out earlier on that they’d been duped into recognizing their feelings for each other, and the idea of a romance whose main trope was fake dating for revenge was born. Of course, I knew I wanted to include real human experience, and I decided this would be a great story to explore two neurodivergent leads who, while on paper sound all wrong for each other, actually discover a deep compatibility in part because they make each other feel safe and understood as neurodivergent people in a way other people in their lives routinely fail to. It was joyful and healing to write their fake dating journey, their pretending which became so very real in the many ways these two made each other feel seen and accepted.

What is the first job you have had?

Best date you've ever had?
A tight space at a wine bar, legs tangled, heads close, talking for hours when it felt like only minutes had passed.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
The book I’m working on and ideas for what I’m going to write the next day.

Writing Behind the Scenes
I can never start a book until the opening scene is crystal clear in my head. Even when I have my characters sketched out, their names and backgrounds chosen, until I can picture exactly how the book begins, I hold off. When it finally comes to me, it’s like the opening sequence of a film, and that’s when I dive in. If I can picture it and watch it unfold in my mind’s eye, I know I’m ready to write it.

Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.

Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn't be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.

Soon their plan is in place: Fake date obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash their hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.

To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder, what if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs do make a right?

You can purchase Two Wrongs Make a Right at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CHLOE LIESE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese.