For this month’s All The Kissing author spotlight, we’re stoked to chat with USA Today bestselling author, Andie J. Christopher!
Introducing Andie J. Christopher
USA Today Bestselling author Andie J. Christopher writes edgy, funny, sexy contemporary romance featuring heat, humor, and dirty talking heroes that make readers sweat. She grew up in a family of voracious readers, and picked up her first Harlequin Romance novel at age twelve when she’d finished reading everything else in her grandmother’s house. It was love at first read. It wasn’t too long before she started writing her own stories—her first heroine drank Campari and drove an Alfa Romeo up a winding road to a minor royal’s estate in Spain. Andie lives in the Nation’s Capital with her French Bulldog, Gus, a stockpile of Campari, and way too many books.
Her latest novel, Not the Girl You Marry, is available now.
Hi, Andie! Congratulations on the release of your book, Not the Girl You Marry! In case some of our readers don’t know what it is about, could you tell us?
NTGYM is a flipped version of the trope in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. So, the male protagonist, Jack, is doing the losing by doing all the bad things that guys do while dating, and the female protagonist, Hannah, is trying not to get lost, even as his behavior escalates.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a classic rom-com that maybe gets better with time. Was it an easy decision to give it a revamp or did it feel daunting to live up to the movie?
It seemed like a good idea when I started out, but as I continued to write, I had to be conscious of what fans of the movie would look for even while I tried not to stick too closely to the plot. Because the characters are so different and times have changed quite a bit, I really hope it reads as completely fresh.
Hannah could be described as an “unlikeable heroine,” something which made me love her even more. Why do you think it’s important to portray women in this way?
I would love for the phrase “unlikeable heroine” to die in a fire, but I always want to read about heroines who could be described that way. I think anytime a heroine could be described as “too much,” she’s at risk of being called unlikeable. I think that often happens to real people when women people take too much space in the world. But, in the historic moment we’re living in now, when our fundamental rights and freedoms are under attack, we need women (and men and nonbinary folks) who are too much. And I think reading about fictional characters who own their anger and are unapologetic about being too much can help bolster our courage collectively.
Your hero, Jack Nolan, the king of all things swoon, is one of my top 5 book boyfriends. But even so, he still had some very noticeable flaws. How did you balance making him so dreamy, yet relatable at the same time?
I’m so glad you love Jack. I really wanted to write into existence the kind of man I could fall in love with. I think all good qualities have shadow sides. Someone who is hard-working can very easily slip into workaholism. Maybe someone told them that they would never amount to anything at a pivotal time as they were growing up. For Jack, he is caring and kind and respectful towards women—but it comes at the expense of his own needs. His charm and his flaws are like two sides of the same coin. I think that’s relatable because I think a lot of people have virtues and flaws that match up.
This month at All The Kissing, we’ve been talking about representation in romance. You did something so amazing in this book with biracial representation, it honestly brought me to tears at points because I felt very seen. I know you also identify as biracial, how was it writing this into Hannah’s story?
It was the first time that I had written a character so close to my own identity, though most of my books have mixed-race characters. I’ve been told by people that being biracial isn’t a valid way of identifying for most of my life—that most black people are mixed because of the history of sexual violence against enslaved black women in the United States and that identifying as biracial is somehow anti-black. However, I’ve always felt that growing up with one white parent allowed me to benefit from white privilege in a multitude of ways. Therefore, calling myself biracial feels more fitting. And it was really important to me to portray that personal experience accurately and sensitively.
Not the Girl You Marry was hardly your debut, but even so, were there things that still surprised you throughout the publishing process?
Although I’ve published books before, this is the first time that I’ve been able to walk into a random bookstore and find my book on the shelves without placing an order ahead of time. It is truly a thrill that I hadn’t fully prepared myself for.
Seeing as this was based on a movie, have you planned your dream cast for when people come knocking? Who are your Hannah and Jack?
If you know me at all, you know that my ideal Jack is Chris Evans. And my ideal Hannah is probably Rashida Jones or Antonia Thomas.
I recently heard you on a podcast discussing Speed as a romantic comedy. I wasn’t with you at first, but you converted me by the end. What other movies are you convinced are actually rom-coms?
The list of movies billed as rom-coms that are not rom-coms is probably longer than my list of movies that aren’t marketed as rom-coms that are, but I think a solid candidate for the latter category is Romancing the Stone. It’s an adventure romance, but there’s a lot of comedy and it has all of the plot points. I hereby deem it a rom-com. (And, if you haven’t seen it, you definitely should. It holds up.)
Chris Evans. Anybody who follows you on social media knows just how much you love him. What is it about him that just does it for you?
The root of the crush is really that he reminds me of the guy that got away—another tall, square-jawed New Englander with a good moral compass. But, beyond him being a doppelganger for someone I loved a whole lot, I like how he balances being a guy-guy with being thoughtful and curious about the world. I am attracted to how much he seems to love his family and how much he loves his dog. A man who seems to really try to be good in a world where he could get away with being a total shithead is compelling. Also, his face is very nice to look at, and I could write a dissertation about how good he looks in a cable-knit sweater.
Anyhow, he could literally get my phone number from one of our mutuals in fifteen minutes, and he should really call me.
With Not the Girl You Marry being such a wild success, can you tell us what’s next for you?
Not That Kind of Guy is out in April 2020, which is soon. It’s Jack’s sister, Bridget’s, story. She’s like Donna from Suits, except about twice as sarcastic, and she falls for Matt Kido, her summer intern and a scion from a powerful political and business dynasty. I really wanted to explore the intersections of race, class, and wealth and how they might affect their relationship. And, if it’s possible, I think Matt might be more swoon-inducing than Jack.
Thanks for joining us, Andie!
Images provided by author