Y'all, I'm over-the-moon excited about what I get share today! Last week, I reviewed After I Do by Tayor Jenkins Reid. It's one of my new all-time favorite books, so you can imagine how much I freaked out when a publicist from Atria asked me if I'd be interested in a Q&A with Taylor. I think we all know that the answer to that question was: HELL YES. Except, you know, with less cussing and more exclamation points.
Before I continue, here's a little background from her website:
Taylor Jenkins Reid is from Acton, Massachusetts. She graduated from Emerson College in Boston in 2005. She worked in entertainment and education before becoming a writer.
Her debut, Forever, Interrupted, was called a "stunning first novel," by Publisher's Weekly. Kirkus Reviews called her second book, After I Do, "a must read."
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dogs, Rabbit and Rex.
Y'all, I don't think I can even begin to describe my epic levels of love for After I Do and Forever, Interrupted. Both books were so wonderful that Taylor has easily become an auto-buy author for me. I cannot wait to read more from her! Both books had such intriguing premises and well-developed characters, but I think my favorite part is just the way Taylor writes. There's a depth of emotion in these books -- it's what makes it so easy for me to connect the story and become invested in the characters.
After I Do just came out this past Tuesday, so there's no reason you shouldn't run out and buy yourself a copy. And although it's a standalone book, you should probably just go ahead and buy Forever, Interrupted while you're at it. You'll just want to read as much as you can from this talented author. And... I've also got something fabulous to go along with this Q&A: a giveaway! So, here's the summary for the book I can't stop fangirling over -- and which you have the chance to win:
From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as "moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching"—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.
When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.
Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?
This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after. | Add on Goodreads
Hi Taylor! I adored Forever, Interrupted and After I Do so I'm thrilled to have you here today. If we were chatting together over coffee, what are three things I'd know about you by the time we were done?
What a great question! You'd notice that I talk incessantly, order insanely large sized iced teas, and fidget a lot.
I'm totally a research nerd, so I'm curious: I know After I Do primarily focuses on personal relationships, but did you do any research for the book? If so, how was it incorporated?
I did a lot of research about types of marriages and the way that human beings have structured their marriages over time. Not a lot of it made its way directly into the book, but it certainly influenced my opinion of marriage and what it means.
Note: After I'd already asked this question, I found this great article that Taylor wrote: "9 Things You May Not Know About Marriage." It was so cool to see some of what she learned while researching!
Your characters have been my favorite part of both of your books, and I get so invested in them together within just a few pages! Do you learn who your characters are in the process of writing or do you know who they are from the very beginning?
I am very much learning as I go. Characters' quirks tend to pop out at me as I'm writing and form who they are. Lauren's love of international foods developed over time and then I liked it for her character so I went back and made it consistent throughout the novel. It would be fun to know exactly who your characters are before you starting writing them, but I don't have that ability. I have to get to know them through trial and error.
You used a nonlinear narrative in Forever, Interrupted and then again in After I Do, which I absolutely loved. Why did you feel that structure worked best for both books?
I really set out to write After I Do as a linear book but I just can't seem to make myself write entirely linearly! It's so much more fun to jump around. I think it adds to the suspense and bittersweetness of a story.
It seems like most books focus on the "falling in love" part of the story. I really connected to After I Do because it showed the challenges of staying in love. What drew you to write about love from that angle?
I've always been drawn to heartbreak. And while I love stories of people falling in love, I think I'm drawn to telling stories that have a bit more catharsis. Everyone has had their heartbroken. It just seems like such meaty place to start a book.
Forever, Interrupted had your main character losing the person she loves suddenly, unwillingly and permanently. After I Do has a different kind of loss in that it's happened over time, by choice but not necessarily permanently. How was writing about loss similar in both books, and how was it different?
Both novels came about because of my own fear of loss. When I first got married, I was worried I would lose my husband. Then, after we had been married for a while, I started worrying that I could somehow mess up my marriage -- that I could inadvertently run it into the ground. So I think that while they are two different types of loss, like you said, they both focus on once being happy and having that happiness disappear. I think you really learn something about a character when you see what they will do to make peace with that.
What do you hope readers take away from After I Do?
I really hope people read the last page of this book and come away from it having an appreciation for all of the different types of marriages and commitments that are possible between two people. I strongly believe that no two marriages are the same, that we have to make our own rules.
If I gave you money to go to the bookstore today, what is the one book you'd buy for someone else and the one book you'd buy for yourself?
I would buy The Most of Nora Ephron for every single person on the planet. And for myself, I'd buy Rainbow Rowell's new book, Landline, which comes out soon.
Can you tell me anything about your next book? I want the scoop since I'll obviously be pre-ordering it!
Yes! My new book is about a woman who hits a crossroads in her life and makes a seemingly small decision that catapults her life into two different directions -- you'll see what happens when she chooses one path versus another. It's about fate, chance, and soulmates.
Be sure to enter the giveaway for After I Do!
Giveaway hosted by So Obsessed With in partnership with Atria Books. Open to U.S. and Canada only.