Monday, April 1, 2024

Q&A with Claudia Recinos Seldeen

Photo by Kory Reid Photography


Claudia Recinos Seldeen is the author of the new young adult novel Definitely Not a Love Story. Her other books include the YA novel Everything I Know. She lives in Kansas City.


Q: What inspired you to write Definitely Not a Love Story, and how did you create your characters Ana and Alejandro?


A: My publisher, West 44 Books, was looking to publish more lighthearted teen romance. My editor, Caitlin McAneney (who is AN AMAZING POWERHOUSE FORCE OF NATURE) encouraged me to try to come up with a story idea.


I'm Guatemalan, so I knew I wanted to make both of my main characters Latine. I think representation is so important, and love is a universal experience. I also knew I wanted to write an enemies-to-lovers romance because that's my all-time favorite trope.


I came up with a basic idea for two characters who were completely different on the surface, but who had the same basic fear of being hurt at their core.


Ana's motivation was easy to find. We all fear giving our heart away because we see heartbreak all around us. Alejandro's was tougher because he's so upbeat and resilient on the outside. It wasn't until I was halfway through the book that his insecurities came to light, and I got a feel for who he truly was.

Q: The Kirkus Review of the book called it an "endearingly romantic story told in engaging verse for reluctant readers." What do you think of that description?


A: I'm over the moon with that description! Definitely Not a Love Story is a verse novel, a genre that lends itself very well to romance.


The book is also intended to be accessible to struggling and/or reluctant readers. The language is pared down, but I took great pains not to oversimplify it or the plot.


I'm delighted that the Kirkus review speaks to the tone of the story, while acknowledging its appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.


Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: It was always intended to be a tongue-in-cheek title. I wanted to write a story about a girl in denial. Throughout the story, Ana insists that love is not for her. She's confident she knows what her life story is, and that it's "definitely not a love story." But, of course, she's wrong.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: I hope readers see themselves in the story. I hope they see that being afraid of rejection is a universal experience. I hope they find the courage to be afraid, but to put themselves out there anyway, because that's what life is all about.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I'm currently working on another verse novel. I can't reveal too much because it's still in the early stages. But I can tell you that it's definitely a love story...


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Definitely Not a Love Story will be released April 1, 2024. If you'd like to stay up to date on future books and book signings, you can find me on Instagram (@recinosseldeen) where I'm currently running a giveaway! You can also check out my website (


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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