Meet This Author: Addie Woolridge

Q: Describe your experience as a traditionally published writer.

I feel very lucky that my traditional publishing experience has been a phenomenal one thus far. When I started my journey, I knew that the style of rom com I write is quirky and hard to categorize–contemporary rom com that deals with bigger themes–so finding an agent and publishing house who were willing to take a risk on a book like mine would likely be difficult.

After lots of rejects, I met my fantastic agent, Nalini, at a conference and she was willing to bet on me! Within a month of signing me, she had the book out on submission. From there, things moved quickly, which isn’t always the case in traditional publishing. My first book, The Checklist, sold to Montlake and I almost couldn’t believe it. In fact, I was so convinced that Montlake was going to change their minds that I didn’t even tell anyone I had a book coming out until the day before it launched, just in case. Ha! Montlake didn’t change their mind and The Checklist was a
bestseller, which still feels like a dream come true. From there, I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to write two more books for Montlake, as well as branching out in Young Adult rom coms for another publisher!

Q: What propels you into writing romance novels?

On one level, and this will sound strange, I just sort of sat down to write and romance is what came out. It wasn’t so much a conscious choice as I needed to write 10 pages of something for a group and what I wrote was fun and light, and I thought, “this feels like the opening to a romcom.” I’ve been writing them ever since.

On a deeper level, I keep writing them because I genuinely believe in the genre. Romance promises the reader that at the end of the story, no matter what has happened to the character, they will have a shot at being happy. It says to everyone that they can grow and change if they want to, and that they are worthy of love and acceptance. Life can be hard, and romance is the genre people turn to when they feel uncertain or afraid, had a bad day, or are just feeling meh because it guarantees readers a slice of joy. I have tremendous respect for the genre’s promise to readers and I consider it an honor to be able to do what I do.

Q: What are some common themes that readers can find in your book?

Family and navigating relationships are always part of my books. Similarly, close friendships will always be there. And, of course, it wouldn’t be one of my books, if there wasn’t an off-the-beaten path topic approached with humor, whether it’s healthcare, failure, finding your place in
the world, or grief.

Q: How would you describe your writing style?

It sounds strange to say that my writing style is quirky and light right after listing the heavier and more unconventional topics I write about, but it’s true! My family jokes that my personality is what you would get if Wednesday Addams and Elle Woods had a baby, and that energy comes through in my writing.

Q: What other projects are you working on that you can share with us, readers?

I just put the finishing touches on my first Young Adult rom com called, The Homecoming War. It’s about two rival high schools that are forced to merge and the two class presidents who end up having to work together to make the schools unite. Of course, the presidents develop a crush on each other, and they have to figure out what they want and where their loyalties lie before they become the most hated people at school. It’s got pranks, a grandma with church-rivals, and vintage shopping in it. I had so much fun writing it!

Q: What other genre would you try writing in besides romance books?

I feel like this answer changes every day! Recently, I had an idea for a horror/psychological thriller that I am itching to write…although, I’m a huge scaredy cat, so who knows how that will work? I also have an idea for something closer to Book Club fiction that I might play around with in between trying not to be scared of my horror story.

Q: Tell us, readers, about your novel, Anatomy of a Meet Cute.

Someone said it felt like Grey’s Anatomy meets The Hating Game, and I think that is the most delightful description! It opens with Dr. Samantha Holbrooke, an OB-GYN and new public health fellow at San Francisco Central Hospital trying to manage an embarrassing incident on a plane, involving some magic mushrooms and the (unfortunately good-looking) Dr. Grant Gao. Sam vows to make a better first impression at her new job only to find out that Grant is her new co-worker. She tries to shake off her rough start by keeping herself (a little too) busy with her family, friends, and the program she is implementing; working with doulas to improve pregnancy care in the community. But when she struggles to get the hospital bigwigs on board with her idea, she realizes that she needs Grant’s help. Working with Grant, Sam starts to think that maybe beneath his hard candy shell, there might be a softer inside.

Q: Who are the main characters in Anatomy of a Meet Cute?

The main characters are doctors Sam Holbrook and Grant Gao. Sam is headstrong and
determined. She also has the can-do attitude and believes that if she just works a little harder, she can help everyone. At her core, she dreams big, and I love her gumption. Her counterpart, Grant, has a more even temperament. He is a realist, but underneath his frosty exterior is a sweetheart with a mischievous streak.

Q: Which of your novels that you have published so far, has become your most favorite

That is like trying to pick your favorite pet or something! This answer changes minute-by-minute, but today, I’m going with the first book I published, The Checklist. It’s a humorous re-envisioning of the Hatfields vs. the McCoys. When type-A consultant, Dylan Delacroix, accidentally upstages her boss, she is reassigned to her hometown and the semi-feral family she left behind, only to find herself falling for the guy next door–who happens to be from their rival family. It’s set in my hometown of Seattle, and it makes me smile just thinking about it.

Q: What is your advice to aspiring writers in the romance genre?

I have two pieces of advice, one is the standard, keep writing. You really do get better with every story you finish and revise (revision is the key to good work). So, just know that if you feel like that first story is hot, hot trash, your next one will be better. The second is a piece of advice I received in music school, but I think it applies to any art form. Do not stop reading a book you aren’t enjoying until you can name exactly what you don’t like about it. Sometimes that is easy, for example, ‘it’s homophobia from page three on’. Fine. Go ahead and put that book down. You don’t need that in your brain. But sometimes it’s harder to put your finger on. That’s when you keep reading until you can name exactly what it is.

Maybe it’s that the protagonist has no agency. You may not figure that out until three weeks after you’ve finished the whole book. If that’s the case, when you figure out the issue, ask yourself how the author should have handled the character or issue. As unenjoyable as it can be, you will learn just as much from a book you dislike as from one you do. And if you don’t learn the lessons that a work you dislike is offering you, there is a chance those issues can end up in your own writing.

Q: Where can readers find you and your books online?

The easiest place is my website, I’m also on Instagram as
@addiewoolridge, on Facebook as Addie Woolridge, or you can find me very infrequently on TikTok at @AddieWoolridgeAuthor. My books are available, just about everywhere, including some in KU.

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