Thursday, March 2, 2023

Guest Post with Kristina Forest - The Neighbor Favor

Photo Credit: Steven Forest

Kristina Forest is the critically acclaimed author of romance books for both teens and adults. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at The New School and she lives in New Jersey, where she can often be found rearranging her bookshelf.

1. Before I knew anything about the plot, I had the idea to write a series of books about three sisters named after flowers: Lily, Violet and Iris. My mom and grandmother are green thumbs and I grew up learning about flowers and plants by watching my mom and grandmother garden, so that influenced the decision behind the character’s names.

2. Lily and Nick are book lovers but they especially love reading fantasy. Two of their favorite books as kids were A Wrinkle in Time and Ella Enchanted.

3. Lily and Nick live in Union Square, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan.

4. Nick is an author who wrote a high fantasy novel called The Elves of Ceradon. I have a separate document on my desktop which details the characters and events in the book. Maybe one day I’ll use it for a short story.

5. Lily has a cat, and Nick is afraid of cats. (I love cats).

6. The novel begins with an exchange of emails between Lily and Nick that spans several months. The epistolary trope is one of my favorites, so I was excited to write it. Two of my favorite epistolary romance novels are When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare and Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas.

7. Lily and Nick have a very cute bookstore date and it was one of my favorite scenes to write.

8. Lily and Nick have the same favorite author, a fictional character that I created named Elena Masterson.

9. Lily works in nonfiction publishing and dreams of switching to children’s publishing, and I used to work in children’s publishing.

10. Before focusing on his novel, Nick traveled around the world and wrote for a travel magazine. This was inspired by my love for travel.

In this heart-fluttering romance by Kristina Forest, a shy bookworm enlists her charming neighbor to help her score a date, not knowing he's the obscure author she's been corresponding with.

Shy, bookish, and admittedly awkward, Lily Greene has always felt inadequate compared to the rest of her accomplished family, who strive for Black excellence. She dreams of becoming an editor of children's books but has been frustratingly stuck in the nonfiction division for years without a promotion in sight. Lily finds escapism in her correspondences with her favorite fantasy author, and what begins as two lonely people connecting over e-mail turns into a tentative friendship and possibly something else Lily won't let herself entertain--until he ghosts her.

Months later, still crushed but determined to take charge of her life, Lily seeks a date to her sister's wedding. And the perfect person to help her is Nick Brown, her charming, attractive new neighbor, whom she feels drawn to for unexplainable reasons. Little does she know that Nick is an author--her favorite fantasy author.

Nick, who has his reasons for using a pen name and for pushing people away, soon realizes that the beautiful, quiet woman from down the hall is the same Lily he fell in love with over e-mail months ago. Unwilling to complicate things even more between them, he agrees to set her up with someone else, though this simple favor between two neighbors is anything but--not when he can't get her off his mind.

You can purchase The Neighbor Favor at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.