Genre: Women’s Fiction/Humor/Contemporary/
Publisher: West 26th Street Press, NYC (a division of Writers House)
Hollie Porter is the chairwoman of Generation Disillusioned: at twenty-five years old, she’s saddled with a job she hates, a boyfriend who’s all wrong for her, and a vexing inability to say no. She’s already near her breaking point, so when one caller too many kicks the bucket during Hollie’s 911 shift, she cashes in the Sweethearts’ Spa & Stay gift certificate from her dad and heads to Revelation Cove, British Columbia. One caveat: she’s going solo. Any sweethearts will have to be found on site.
Hollie hopes to find her beloved otters in the wilds of the Great White North, but instead she’s providing comic relief for staff and guests alike. Even Concierge Ryan, a former NHL star with bad knees and broken dreams, can’t stop her from stumbling from one (mis)adventure to another. Just when Hollie starts to think that a change of venue doesn’t mean a change in circumstances, the island works its charm and she starts to think she might have found the rejuvenation she so desperately desires. But then an uninvited guest crashes the party, forcing her to step out of the discomfort zone where she dwells and save the day … and maybe even herself in the process.
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Can you tell us about your book, Must Love Otters, in 15 words or less?
A silly, feel-good story about a girl who goes looking for otters and finds her heart instead.
(Crap, that’s 18 words. I lose.)
Is this a standalone or a series?
We wrote it as a standalone. But we have talked about what happens next with Hollie and Ryan …
What made you want to write adult contemporary romance?
We wanted to write something funny with grown-ups in it so we could let loose a little. Writing Otters was really freeing — we had no limits about how wacky things could get. And who doesn’t love a good romance?
Did anything specific inspire you to write Must Love Otters?
I’ve spent the last few years working on a very serious YA book with heavy themes and sadness and dark stuff. I needed something light and fluffy that would make people laugh. Mr. Gordon and I spend a lot of time trying to crack each other up, so it was a natural progression to try to make other people giggle too.
That cover is adorable! Who designed it?
Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations. She’s quite talented, as you can see.
What was your favorite scene to write?
That’s tough — probably the last one. I’m a sucker for a happy ending.
What was the hardest scene to edit out?
We took out a storyline that had to do with Hollie’s absent mother. That was sort of sad because I wanted to show that side of Hollie’s life, the one that didn’t ooze happiness, but my agent felt it changed the tone of the story too much. He was right. As usual.
Did any music inspire you while writing Must Love Otters?
I’m a movie score junkie. I have specific sets that I listen to depending on what I’m writing. For rom-coms, I listen to film scores from romantic comedies as the music is light and whimsical. Movie score composers are very skilled at marrying music to emotion, and this is of great benefit to me.
If you could cast anyone to play some of the main characters, who would you choose?
For Ryan? Henry Cavill, known around these parts as vitamin Henry. (Poor Mr. Gordon.) Another actor who inspired me greatly during the writing process was Peter Mooney, an adorable Canadian actor who most folks probably know from Camelot (Kay) or Rookie Blue (Nick Collins). I don’t have an actress in mind for Hollie, to be honest, although her behavior and attitude and general messiness were modeled around Kristen Wiig’s character Annie in Bridesmaids.
What are you currently working on?
Our next book, of course! I’m superstitious, though. I won’t talk about a project until the first draft is close to completion. Not great for marketing, but my neuroses overrule me.
What is currently in your TBR pile?
Ohhhhh man, that is a huge pile. I read all over the place, pretty much all genres — um, I’m reading a Sophie Kinsella (Remember Me?), and I have another three of her books waiting. I tend to read several books at a time — my mood will dictate that evening’s reading — so I’m midway through Rage Within, a fantastically dark, post-apocalyptic creepfest and The Book Thief (I have to finish it before seeing the movie). Oh, and the first Game of Thrones book. Slowly, slowly. I’ve got so many books sitting here, we could probably build ourselves a home out of their bindings.