Fun fact: I used to work in reality TV. I worked as a receptionist and postproduction assistant, mainly while I was also pursuing my MBA. So, I was extra excited to hear about Haleigh Wenger's new novel, Managing the Matthews. This contemporary romance novel is set in the glittering world of reality TV. I chatted with Haleigh about her new book, reality TV, writing advice, and more!
Tell us a bit about Managing the Matthews and what inspired it?
Managing the Matthews is a dual POV contemporary romance from the perspective of a talent manager and one of the three famous brothers she manages. It was inspired by my love of boy bands, and in particular from going to a Jonas Brother’s concert where I left wondering about the dynamic of growing up famous in close unison with your brothers.
This is your adult debut! How was writing adult different from YA? Are there ways it was similar?
Writing adult romance has been fun because I don’t have to worry about sounding too old or uncool, but with my YA books I had to be careful to make my writing voice sound authentically much younger. The writing process for both YA and adult is similar in that I create a character and try to follow where that character leads––even if it’s somewhere unexpected!
Managing the Matthews sounds like the perfect read for fans of reality TV. Do you have favorite reality TV shows? Did they influence the book?
Surprisingly, I’m not a huge fan of reality TV, but I’ve definitely watched my fair share. Right now, my favorites are reality baking competitions with my family.
What is the most important thing when writing a great romance?
The most important part of great romance is the romantic tension. You can have all the swoony moments in the world, but if the build-up between your two characters isn’t intense enough, the payoff won’t be either.
You're an advocate of diverse characters and include chronic illness representation in your books. Can you speak a bit about why this is important to you as an author?
Chronic illness representation in books is important to me, first and foremost, because it’s the representation I wanted to read as a chronically ill teenager and young adult. Now, we have many more options and representation is growing, which is so wonderful. I firmly believe everyone should be able to see themselves in the books they read!
Where can people order Managing the Matthews?
Managing the Matthews is available online wherever books are sold!
Where’s the best place to follow you?
I’m on all the usual places, but I’m most active with book content on Instagram @haleighwenger. Come hang out!