Author: Sandra Antonelli
First published with Escape: 2013
Favourite romance trope: Honestly, I don’t have one, but I do hate secret babies.
Ideal hero (in three words): Funny, moody (like Mr Rochester), intelligent.
Ideal heroine (in three words): Smart, smartassed, experienced
Latest book: Next to You
What began your romance writing career?
I went looking for romance heroine who were older than twenty-whatever. I want to read about heroines out of their 30s, but couldn’t find them. I was tired of how the silver fox hero was paired with twenty-something heroine. I wanted heroes who were the same age as the heroines, but couldn’t find them. Since I couldn’t find them, I began to write them.
Why do you write romance?
Love is a basic human need, a biological imperative far beyond procreation, and yet stories about this need are so often ridiculed as frivolous, trite fantasy. My aim is to kill that ridicule by portraying love as is it, in all its forms, by including diverse stories with diverse characters. Romance fiction speaks to the biological imperative and shows readers that we are human.
What kind of characters do you like reading about the most? What about the ones you enjoy writing?
What I like to read and write are characters over 40, particularly women, with baggage and life experience, and all those delicious complications that come with being older, but not exactly wiser, when falling in love is “supposed to” be in your past, but isn’t.
What was the best writing advice you ever received?
Write the book you’d want to read.
If you could cast anyone for the movie/stage adaption of your book and characters, who would they be? (I would love to know why they are perfect for the role! Please include pictures!)
I’d choose Neal McDonough to play William Murphy in Next to You: Will is albino. Neal is fair skinned and has arresting eyes, almost the kind of arresting eyes Will has. Plus, Neal can wear the hell out of a suit, the kind Will has a taste for, and Neal would be able to portray Will’s tenderness and hidden quiet menace when his new friend is stalked by her ex, Alex.
For Caroline, the heroine of Next to You, I’d pick Naomi Watts. Not only is she a gorgeous forty-something woman, she does determined-to-grab-an ordinary-life-by-the-balls well and would beautifully pull off the nuance necessary to portray the effect of Caroline’s tragic past and the struggle she has with the idea of deserving more than just an ordinary future with the extraordinary man next door.
For Alex, I’d have to go with Eric Stoltz because Stoltz rocks the long red hair and a beard that Alex has. Really, I pick Stoltz based on that flowing red hair and beard—Okay , there’s also the way he can cry. He’s a good cryer.
Besides writing, what is something else that you’re really good at?
Ahem, housework. I knock housework out of the park. I wear aprons and everything.
A love of ‘70s bubblegum pop music isn’t the only unusual thing about William Murphy — being a six-foot-three albino also makes a guy stand out. Will’s life is simple and he likes it that way. But when he meets his new next-door neighbour, complicated begins to look rather attractive.
Caroline’s trying to put her past behind her and grab life by the balls, which means finding new friends besides her dog, Batman. Will offers her neighbourly friendship, and as they bond over old movies, Caroline regains her confidence and unexpected love blooms.
But real life’s not like the movies, and their cute romantic comedy goes all Fatal Attraction when her vengeful ex shows up. Will learns that nothing about Caroline is quite the way it looks, and his simple life turns more complicated than he could ever imagine.