Getting the opportunity to interview Lynn Painter for her book Better Than the Movies was a quick yes. I loved the synopsis and the cover and I don’t think it’s a secret that I love the HEA.
Before we get to Lynn’s answers, let’s check out the book.
In this rom-com about rom-coms, in the spirit of Kasie West and Jenn Bennett, a hopeless romantic teen attempts to secure a happily-ever-after moment with her forever crush, but finds herself reluctantly drawn to the boy next door.
Perpetual daydreamer Liz Buxbaum gave her heart to Michael a long time ago. But her cool, aloof forever crush never really saw her before he moved away. Now that he’s back in town, Liz will do whatever it takes to get on his radar—and maybe snag him as a prom date—even befriend Wes Bennet.
The annoyingly attractive next-door neighbor might seem like a prime candidate for romantic comedy fantasies, but Wes has only been a pain in Liz’s butt since they were kids. Pranks involving frogs and decapitated lawn gnomes do not a potential boyfriend make. Yet, somehow, Wes and Michael are hitting it off, which means Wes is Liz’s in.
But as Liz and Wes scheme to get Liz noticed by Michael so she can have her magical prom moment, she’s shocked to discover that she likes being around Wes. And as they continue to grow closer, she must reexamine everything she thought she knew about love—and rethink her own ideas of what Happily Ever After should look like.
Sounds good, right?
1. Please give the elevator pitch for Better than the Movies.
Liz Buxbaum is a hopeless romantic who is convinced that fate wants her to land her childhood crush, Michael, after he moves back to town. However, the only way she can think of to get him to notice her is to work with Wes, the irritating boy next door. But the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes that Wes is not the obnoxious neighbor she always thought he was.
2. Which came first: the characters or the plot line?
The plot, I think. I’m sure it couldn’t have been simultaneous, but it feels that way because the plot line IS Liz Buxbaum. She’s grown-up watching romantic comedies and is borderline obsessed with them, so when the chance to live-out her own personal rom-com presents itself, she takes it and runs.
3. Why do you love Liz and Wes and why should readers root for them?
I love Liz because she is an eternal optimist, even when things are going wrong. (And in BTTM, they go wrong a LOT.) But no matter what happens, she knows in her heart that her happily-ever-after is on its way, so she just deals with the messes while she waits for IT to happen.
I love Wes because he’s hilarious. Not only is he smart and obnoxious and ridiculously charming, but the boy knows exactly how to push Liz’s buttons. He’s a good guy, though, in spite of the teasing. He mocks her rom-com worldview while verbally-sparring with her, but he also feels a bit of protectiveness because he knows exactly how important it is to Liz – and why.
4. Were there any weird things you googled while researching?
Nothing too weird. I think I googled “broken nose protocol” and “would vomit stain a mustard-yellow cotton dress?” but that’s pretty boring. I can do better, I promise.
5. Without spoilers, which scene was your favorite to write?
The party. Wes takes Liz to a keg party – she’s not a kegger type of girl – and it’s fun having each of them see how the other behaves in a social setting that exists beyond the confines of their connected front yards.
1. You find out you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.
Chaotic. I spent a LOT of years in rejection hell, so finally getting the big IT was surreal. After I stopped screaming and crying, I literally couldn’t get a hold of anyone in my family. My husband saved all the screenshots I sent to him – CALL ME OHMIGOD I GOT A BOOK DEAL CALLLLLL MEEEEEE NOWWWWWWW – and I think I sent something super cool to my teenage kids, like “Who has two thumbs and a book deal? This guy.”
2. What 3 things would you take to a desert island?
I’m sure I should say something smart and survivalist, like rope, matches and an implement with which to stab animals. But on my imaginary deserted island, I have a room with a bed and 3 solids every day, so I would bring a box full of empty notebooks, a box full of my favorite pens, and a box full of Diet Pepsi.
Yes, I just finagled it into a writer’s retreat. #sorrynotsorry
3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?
Surely by the time I’m forced to make these kinds of earth-shattering decisions, there will be anthologies available of Julia Quinn’s books.
So that is what I shall read; The Collective Works of Julia Quinn.
4. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?
I wish I would’ve known that I will NEVER know what’s going on. I always assumed that by the time an author had a book coming out, they knew all of the in’s and out’s of the publishing world. However, I’m looking down the barrel of release day and I barely know more than I did when it all began.
Hmm…or…perhaps that’s just me. Should I have asked questions?
5. You wake up and discover that you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently?
I pass Edward a note in Biology that very first day.
I can see the scent of my delicious blood affects you. If you give me a ride to McDonalds after school, I’ll totally let you bite my neck and do your whole vampy-thing. I’m down for all of that, but super in the mood for a McDouble and fries before I lose my appetite for human foods. You get it, right?
Yours Forever (and I mean FORever – wink-wink – because I know what you are),
Lynn Painter lives with her husband and pack of wild children in Nebraska, where she is a weekly contributor to the Omaha World-Herald and an avid fan of napping. When working on a new book, she can often be found sound asleep on her office floor. Some might say she should grow up and stop randomly dozing off like she’s a toddler, but Lynn considers it part of her writing “process.”
Huge thanks to S&S for the invite and to Lynn for taking the time. Better Than the Movies releases tomorrow and the pre-order links are above.
Have you read this book? What’s your favorite movie?