Thursday, May 4, 2023

Q&A with Neely Tubati Alexander


Photo by Averi Michelle Photography



Neely Tubati Alexander is the author of the new novel Love Buzz. She lives in Arizona.


Q: What inspired you to write Love Buzz, and how did you create your character Serena?


A: I have always loved the movie Serendipity with Kate Beckinsdale and John Cusack. That movie is an exploration of love at first sight and I'm fascinated by the idea of if love at first sight is real. I wanted to explore that idea in this book.


As readers will find, the book is women's fiction with a strong romantic focus, because ultimately, Serena's journey is one of self-discovery, with a search for love being the catalyst. Serena is an amalgamation of all the women I knew in my 20s (and beyond!) who were searching for love with hopeful optimism.


Q: The writer Allison Winn Scotch said of the book, “Neely Tubati Alexander asks readers to consider what happens when you open closed doors and step through to the adventure on the other side.” What do you think of that description?


A: Allison is one of the most talented, generous authors I've come across and her blurb made me teary! She really captured the essence of Love Buzz with her blurb.


Often in life, we are too scared or set in our ways to take risks, particularly ones that might derail our planned course. Serena's journey is an exploration of what can happen if we do take those risks and, like Allison said, the adventure that might await on the other side. I hope Love Buzz nudges readers to take a chance or two in the direction of fun.


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I typically know the beginning and end, and Love Buzz was no exception. The middle is where things are initially foggy. I don't usually know how the main character gets to the ending and all the twists and turns that get her there.


I am a pantser. I don't outline, so that messy first draft is how I discover where things are going alongside the characters. It definitely makes things harder sometimes, but for me, this unknown is where the fun lies.


Q: The novel takes place in New Orleans and Seattle--how important is setting to you in your writing?


A: Setting is incredibly important. When reading, I want to be immersed in a location without feeling bogged down by descriptive detail that takes the place of action and activity.


It's a fine line I try to balance in my writing as well. I want readers to smell the smells, imagine textures and feel as though they've visited that location themselves; Seattle especially because that is where the book mostly takes place and as the area where I grew up, I wanted to capture it in a way that would resonate with locals.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: My second novel, If the World Was Ending, is coming out in 2024, also from Harper Perennial! I'm excited to share this one. It's a fun, fake dating contemporary romance featuring a doomsday planner/video game designer main character.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: A fun tidbit: The title of the book, Love Buzz, is a Nirvana song title and it was chosen because of the Nirvana elements of the book and the Seattle setting. We even incorporated this theme on the cover. The font used for the title on the cover is the same as the font used for the Nirvana logo.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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