Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Q&A with Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka



Photo by Sue Grubman


Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka are the authors of the new novel Do I Know You?. The married couple's other novels include The Roughest Draft. They live in Los Angeles.


Q: What inspired you to write Do I Know You?, and how did you create your characters Eliza and Graham?


A: We’d spent the first year of our marriage in the pandemic. We knew we wanted to draw from the inspiration of a couple who knew each other incredibly, innately well.


We hit on the concept for Do I Know You? when we considered how our writing process resembles playing different characters. Instead of focusing on writing like in The Roughest Draft, we wanted our next love story to focus on the feeling of putting on new personas, within the context of what we’re learning to navigate in our lives—marriage.

Eliza and Graham came shortly after the concept. We wanted them to feel like they’d lost the spark in their relationship, and so we wondered how people so deeply in love could start to feel like strangers. We decided that their opposite careers pulled them in different directions. Eliza is more artistic and charismatic as a voice actress, and Graham is more corporate as a lawyer.

Q: How do the two of you collaborate on your books? What's your writing process like?

A: We write every book totally together! While Emily does the outlining and Austin does the editing, when it comes to putting words down on the page, we work together in our office. As you can perhaps imagine, it is not the quickest nor the easiest process. We debate what feels like every word before agreeing on what goes into the book, but it means we spend our days together doing what we love.


Q: How would you describe the dynamic between your two characters, and what do you think the novel says about second chances?

A: Do I Know You? is about learning to date your spouse. Graham has withdrawn into insecurity, feeling insufficient for the wife he can’t believe chose him. Eliza knows there is distance between them, but she’s afraid of being vulnerable and opening herself up to real rejection.


Over the course of their romantic vacation, they pull on personas that let them set aside their personal fears and focus on getting to know each other—and even themselves—all over again. Their romance, we hope, says that second chances don’t only have to come from hurt and years of distance—that sometimes, you can have a second chance with the person you’re already with.

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

A: We hope readers come away from it feeling like happily ever afters can be won again and again, and that there is so much more romance to look forward to after you say “I do.”


Q: What are you working on now?

A: We’ve just finished the first draft of our next romance, The Breakup Tour, which is set to publish next January. It’s about a Taylor Swift-inspired heroine who writes an album about all of her ex-boyfriends, only to have the one who inspired the hit single come on tour with her. We’re absolutely in love with the story and can’t wait to share more!


Q: Anything else we should know?

A: One fun fact: we actually celebrated our second wedding anniversary in the hotel that inspired the hotel Graham and Eliza stay in. It’s called Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur and we can’t wait to go back, this time maybe with a finished copy of our book.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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