Monday, January 23, 2023

Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka Interview - Do I Know You?


Photo Coredit: Sue Grubman

Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka met and fell in love in high school. Austin went on to graduate from Harvard, while Emily graduated from Princeton. Together, they are the authors of The Roughest Draft, as well as several novels about romance for teens. Now married, they live in Los Angeles, where they continue to take daily inspiration from their own love story.

            
  

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
AUSTIN:
I’ve known I wanted to tell stories since I was a kid. My mom was an elementary school librarian, so books in particular have been a constant in my life. Books, movies and TV shows were a huge part of Emily’s and my early relationship back in high school, although neither of us imagined one day we would be co-writers.

EMILY: I didn’t even consider writing as a career until well into college. Reading YA fiction and romance had always been an escape from the stresses of academics for me, and it took encouragement from my parents to consider doing what I already loved, rather than what I felt I should do. Only a few years later did I ask my boyfriend at the time to collaborate on a novel with me. We never stopped!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
EMILY:
We never could have imagined the people writing would bring into our lives. It’s not necessarily a career known for socializing. But between fellow writers who have become lifelong friends and readers who have shared how our books have touched them, we feel so lucky to have expanded our world through our books.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
AUSTIN:
Our dogs. We have German Shepherds who demand a lot of attention and exercise, and many a writing session has been derailed by paws to the computer, begging to do something more fun. That said, the excuse to step outside and reset our minds with a dog walk is never not needed.

Can you tell us when you started DO I KNOW YOU?, how that came about?
AUSTIN:
We got married in August of 2019, and we came up with our debut romance The Roughest Draft while on our honeymoon in Italy. Ideal inspiration conditions! However, when it came time to come up with our second book in our contract, we had spent the first year of our marriage largely in our house in the early pandemic. It made us search for inspiration in quieter, more interior ways. We knew we wanted to write a couple who knew each other incredibly, innately well. What happens after I do, when every day starts to look the same? We hit on the concept for Do I Know You? when we considered how our writing process resembles playing different characters.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
EMILY:
Graham and Eliza spend their fifth anniversary roleplaying as strangers in order to reignite the spark in their marriage. We knew we wanted the personas they pulled on to bring them closer to each other, but what we didn’t realize would happen is how inventing a character actually reveals truths to yourself. Graham and Eliza are rediscovered who they are as much as they are rediscovering who their spouse is.

What is the first job you have had?
Austin: columnist for a local newspaper.

Best date you've ever had?
Austin and Emily: dinner by boat in Venice

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Emily: Taking our dog outside

What is your most memorable travel experience?
Emily: Coming up with The Roughest Draft on our honeymoon in Florence.

First Love?
Emily: Austin

What is your greatest adventure?
Austin: Writing romance with my wife.

Writing Behind the Scenes
AUSTIN: 
We write all of our books in the same room, together. While we often write dual POVs, we don’t divide our characters between the two of us. Instead, we both write as Graham and as Eliza. It makes the process very intimate and often, yes, slow while we sit in our office together and pitch sentences back and forth until we like one enough to type it into the manuscript. We believe it results in the best writing we’re capable of, and furthermore, we don’t mind the excuse to spend more time together!

EMILY: For this book in particular, we got to do something pretty fun. In Do I Know You? Graham and Eliza are celebrating their anniversary at a romantic resort in Big Sur, California. Since this was largely written in the pandemic, we hadn’t traveled or even really left our house while we drafted, so choosing the setting of the book was a bit of an escape for us. It let us research unique resorts and inns across the country and pretend we were going there ourselves. When we turned in the book, however, we finally had the chance to travel, and of course we chose to celebrate our own anniversary at the hotel that served as our inspiration. It’s called Post Ranch Inn, and we can’t wait to return.

When a couple starts to feel like they're married to a stranger, a flirtatious game of pretend becomes the spark they need to reignite their relationship.

Eliza and Graham are anticipating an anything-but-sexy, weeklong getaway to celebrate their five-year anniversary. Nestled on the Northern California coastline, the resort prides itself on being a destination for those in love and those looking to find it. For Eliza and Graham, it might as well be a vacation with a roommate.

When a well-meaning guest mistakes Eliza and Graham for being single and introduces them at the hotel bar, they don't correct him. Suddenly, they're pretending to be perfect strangers and it's unexpectedly...fun? Eliza and Graham find themselves flirting like it's their first date, and waiting with butterflies in their stomach for the other to text back.

Everyone at the retreat can sense the electric chemistry between Eliza and Graham's alter egos. But when their scintillating game of roleplaying ends, will they still feel the heat?


You can purchase Do I Know You? at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you EMILY AND AUSTIN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Do I Know You? by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka.

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