Hey there! I'm so excited to introduce today's #BeyondTheBio guest, Maurene Goo. Ever since I got to meet Maurene at the LA Festival Of Books, I knew I had to read her newest book, I Believe In A Thing Called Love. It’s the perfect summer read, complete with K-dramas and an a-dork-able main character named Desi. I’m so excited to have her as today’s #BeyondTheBio guest. Let's get to the interview!
James: Hey Maurene! Thanks so much for joining us today. Your new book I Believe In A Thing Called Love came out just a few weeks ago, and it’s the perfect summer read. Can you tell our readers a little bit about what they can expect from your story?
Maurene: This is essentially a rom-com homage to K dramas, so it’s about a girl who decides to tackle love using K dramas as her guide! You can expect hijinks, feels, and laughs (I hope!).
James: So, I’m curious, was high school Maurene anything like Desi?
Maurene: You know, at first I thought we were so different that it was hard for me to get a handle on her character. But then when I started giving Desi a high tolerance for embarrassment, a need to control things, and a fierce loyalty to her friendships—that’s when I realized that she wasn’t very different from high school me.
James: I literally couldn’t stop laughing at Desi’s flirting fails (or, as she and her friends call them, her flails). What’s your all-time worst flail, Maurene?
Maurene: Well. My pants actually did fall off in front of my boyfriend and a group of boys once. So…that was probably my ultimate. If there’s a worse one I’ve blocked it from my memory!
James: You’ve made no secret about your hardcore crush on Zac Efron. Which Zac Efron song/movie would be Desi’s favorite? And what would be Luca’s?
Maurene: Hmmmm! I think Desi would love 17 Again because it’s a rom-com and very sweet and earnest. Luca would like Neighbors because Zach is almost parodying himself and the movie is so hilarious overall.
James: I couldn’t help but notice that Luca’s last name was Drakos. Was this, by any chance, a Harry Potter reference?
Maurene: Haha! It wasn’t, but I am Slytherin, so maybe it was subconsciously done on my part.
James: One of my favorite lines in the whole book was when Fiona and Desi were talking about how feminism related to their love life. During that conversation, Desi said this: “Feminism isn’t just one thing. Me taking control of my love life is feminist.” How did your perspective as a feminist influence this novel?
Maurene: For me, a big part of feminism is letting go of ideas of what women should or should not be; of how we behave if we are or are not feminists. It’s rooted in empathy and generosity. And Desi is a product of this thinking—that someone who could be making such wackadoodle choices could be doing something right too. That her belief and persistence are things to admire, not deride. So many teen girl feelings are met with derision in society—I hate that. I wanted to take Desi seriously even at her most silly.
James: I have a feeling that there are going to be a lot of people heading out to their local bookstore after reading this interview. Besides your book, what are some other books you’d suggest people add to their book bags?
Maurene: I love this question! For YA books out this year, please include After the Fall by Kate Hart, Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera, It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura, and How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore.
James: I absolutely love The Ultimate K Drama Starter Guide you included at the end of your book. It reminded me so much of the Book Rec Generator that we run PickMyYA. I want you to complete the Book Rec Generator, and I’ll complete K Drama Starter Guide. Then we can share our results. Ready?
Maurene: Let’s go!
(Readers, you can play along here.)
James: I got Kill Me, Heal Me! A rom-com K drama with multiple personalities? That sounds amazing! I’m definitely going to have to check it out. What did you get from our Book Rec Generator?
Maurene: OMG I got In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters which is a book I LOVE! Your generator clearly works well!
James: So what’s next for you, Maurene? Any future projects you can tell us about?
Maurene: I’m working on another contemporary YA—this time a summer book set in Los Angeles. It’s about family and friendship and has lots of food and perhaps a smidge of kissing, too! More info to come soon!
That’s it for today’s interview with Maurene, but don’t leave just yet. We’ve got an amazing giveaway for our readers. Just click on the image below and enter to win some signed bookmarks and swag. Contest ends on Tuesday, June 11th, and the winner must live in the United States.
Whatever you do, don't forget to come back here next week, when Daniela will be hosting the amazing Em Bailey. You won't want to miss it!