Book Birthday and Author Interview: I THINK I LOVE YOU by Auriane Desombre


A YA contemporary rom com about two girls who start as rivals but after a twist of events, end up falling for one another--at least they think so. A pitch perfect queer romance--and it's a paperback original!


Arch-nemeses Emma, a die-hard romantic, and more-practical minded Sophia find themselves competing against one another for a coveted first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles . . . what happens if their rivalry turns into a romance? For fans of Becky Albertalli's Leah on the Offbeat, full of laugh-out-loud humor and make-your-heart-melt moments.



About the Author

Auriane Desombre is the author of I Think I Love You, and currently works as a sixth grade teacher. She holds an MA in English Literature from NYU and an MFA Creative Writing for Children & Young Adults from The New School. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Sammy, who is a certified bad boy.

Twitter: @aurianedesombre



Interview (by Shakirah Bourne)

No one would ever guess, but this is your first attempt at writing a queer romance. What motivated you to write this particular story?


I was originally inspired by Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, though some of Jane Austen’s Emma got mixed up in the story as well! I had such a fun time adapting all that chaotic matchmaking energy into a contemporary YA context. As a queer writer, I also thought it was so important to claim a space for queer characters in a retelling of works we consider “classics”!


Speaking of chaotic, Emma tells Sophie that "conflict is part of every great love story" and that's certainly the case since these two are polar opposites. Did you have any difficulty developing their relationship and emotional journey?


I definitely had a lot of fun with it! Emma and Sophia have completely different views on romance, and I had a wonderful time figuring out all the funniest ways I could throw them together. My favorite part of the enemies-to-lovers trope are the moments where the two characters first start being vulnerable with each other, and because of that, it’s the part I worked on the hardest to make sure I got all those sweet rom com moments right.


Btw, enemies to lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes, and I love that Emma is such a die-hard romantic. What are some of your other favorite romance tropes?


Enemies to lovers is definitely my all time favorite! I’ve been challenging myself to try writing in new age groups this year, so I’m in the middle of drafting an adult enemies-to-lovers rom com and a middle grade enemies-to-friends story. I’ll take any excuse to write some banter!


Aside from that, I also love the fake dating trope. Extra points for any book that mixes both those tropes into one perfectly delicious tropey book.


I agree! Now you explore a bisexual coming out perspective that is rarely seen in books (I hope this isn't a spoiler!). What would you like queer readers to take away from this experience?


I think the film competition plays a big part in Emma’s coming out journey. For her, making a movie gives her the opportunity to reflect on her feelings about romance, queerness, and coming out through her art. She’s also extremely passionate about creating good bisexual representation in her art, and that’s something I hope resonates with readers. I would love for teens to walk away feeling like their voices, their artistic abilities, and their ability to carve out a space for themselves have been empowered.


Both Emma and Sophie sought out relationship advice from their parents, and this was refreshing to see since parents are often absent or problematic in YA books. Why was it important for you to present these types of family relationships in the story?


Both Emma and Sophia definitely have family struggles! Emma’s trying to figure out how to come out to her parents, and Sophia is grappling with the aftermath of her parents’ divorce and the difficult year she spent living with her mom in Paris. Since I was writing teen characters navigating tough issues, I wanted to empower them to advocate for themselves and ensure their voices were heard in their families.


This cast of characters always had me cracking up and I enjoyed the banter in the group. What was your favorite scene to write?


Thank you!! The banter was definitely my favorite part. I originally wrote this book as a script for a screenwriting class I took in college, so the first iteration of the story was very dialogue-heavy. That made the drafting process a lot of fun, because I got to focus on the quick banter and the humor of Emma and Sophia’s dynamic. I especially love the scene where they’re arguing about the upcoming teen center dance, it has some of my favorite quips in the book!


Yes! Some hilarious gems. So, what was the most memorable part of this publishing journey so far?


I’ve loved every aspect of the publishing journey so far, but my favorite moment was seeing my cover for the first time! I absolutely adore Jeff Östberg’s work, and I fell in love with the way he rendered my girls as soon as I saw the cover. I’m forever grateful for how beautiful it is!


Thank you for chatting with me today. How do you plan to celebrate? And how can readers join in?


I’m spending debut day with my fifth and sixth graders. I’ve been saying I want to be a teacher and a writer since I was about six years old, so it feels incredibly special to spend my first book birthday with my students!


I’m also very excited to celebrate with readers! Monica Gomez-Hira and I are having a virtual co-launch party for I Think I Love You and Once Upon a Quinceañera, moderated by Rachel Lynn Solomon, on March 4 at 6:00pm PST at Vromans Bookstore.


Pick up a copy of I think I Love You at your favorite indie bookstore or at the following retailers:

Barnes & Noble

Bookshop

Amazon

Indiebound

Book Depository