WU contributor, actress and renowned audiobook narrator Julia WhelanThe second novel, THANKS FOR LISTENING, is out this coming Tuesday, August 2nd. Both Kirkus received starred reviews (“A must-read story of self-discovery, with lots of laughs and spice”) and Booklist (“a poignant and charming novel. The masterly nuances of Whelan’s writing really shine through”). Powell’s Books writes that the book “is the gift that is her work as an audiobook narrator… Whelan’s dialogue, pacing, and sense of humor are top notch. It’s a standout offering among a sea of rom-coms.”
What is this “absolutely unforgettable” (JT Ellison) book of “pure magic” (Jodi Picoult) about? Read on to learn more!
Q: What is the basis of your new book?
Julia Whelan: After a tragic accident seven years ago, the former actress turned audiobook narrator has officially given up on her dream. Despite this, her life would actually be great if she could only appreciate what she has instead of focusing on what she has lost. Faced with the costs of caring for her beloved but decrepit grandmother, she takes a lucrative job recording the genre she had abandoned: romance. She doesn’t believe in what romance is selling, but through correspondence with her narrator – the hottest and most enigmatic male voice in the industry – she makes a connection with another man that forces her to rethink what she thought she knew about romance. … and life in general.
Q: What do you wish people knew about the story itself?
Julia Whelan: It’s not autobiographical, I swear.
Q: What, if any, unique challenges did this book present to you?
Julia Whelan: Writing anyway, knowing that people will think it’s an autobiography.
Q: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What task do you set before them?
Julia Whelan: This is a story about the path of self-acceptance. If we are constantly comparing who we were in the past to who we are in the present, how can we accept the future? Both main characters struggle with this, but each has their own solution. The challenge that got them both across the finish line is learning to take risks. In life, in love, in yourself. Take the leap, regardless of the outcome.
Q: What was the most rewarding aspect of writing this book?
Julia Whelan: I set myself the task of writing a very self-aware book. If it were literary, it would be satire. But instead I chose joy and wrote a RomCom. I wanted to see if I could pull off all the requisite romantic beats that make a love story satisfying, while hanging a lantern on those beats while simultaneously subverting expectations from them whenever possible. And with all that, of course, I just wanted to tell a good story with sympathetic characters. And make it funny! So the most rewarding aspect for me is that I knew the level of execution needed to make this crazy idea of mine work, and I think in the end I did. They say write the book you want to read and I can definitely say that I did. I just wasn’t sure anyone else would want to read it! Which is a problem when you’re writing commercial fiction. But at some point I just had to believe that there had to be at least some people like me out there. And so far it’s paying off. Until now? So good.
Learn more about THANKS FOR LISTENING at Julia’s websiteor the links below.