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Take 5 with Julia Whelan: THANK YOU FOR LISTENING

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WU contributor, actress, and acclaimed audiobook narrator Julia Whelan’s second novel, THANK YOU FOR LISTENING, releases this coming Tuesday, August 2nd. It has garnered starred reviews from both Kirkus (““A compulsively readable story about self-discovery with plenty of laughs and spice along the way”) and Booklist (“a poignant and charming novel. Whelan’s skillfully nuanced writing truly shines”). Powell’s Books writes that the book is “every bit the gift that her work as audiobook narrator is… Whelan’s dialogue, pacing, and sense of humor are topnotch. This is a standout offering amid a sea of rom-coms.”

What’s this “utterly unforgettable” (JT Ellison) book of “pure magic” (Jodi Picoult) about? Read on to learn more!

Q: What’s the premise of your new book?

Julia Whelan: After a tragic accident seven years prior, a former-actress-turned-audiobook-narrator has officially given up on her dreams. Despite that, her life is actually pretty great, if she could only appreciate what she has instead of focusing on what she’s lost. Faced with the expense of caring for her beloved but declining grandmother, she takes a lucrative job recording a genre she’s sworn off: Romance. She doesn’t believe in what Romance is selling, but through her correspondence with her co-narrator – the industry’s hottest, most enigmatic male voice – she forges a connection with another human being that forces her to reconsider what she thought she knew about romance… and life, in general.

Q: What would you like people to know about the story itself?

Julia Whelan: It’s not autobiographical, I swear.

Q: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?

Julia Whelan: Writing it anyway, knowing that people were going to think it’s autobiographical.

Q: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?

Julia Whelan: It’s a story about the journey of self-acceptance. If we’re constantly comparing who we were in the past to who we are in the present, how can we ever embrace the future? Both main characters struggle with this, but the solution is different for each. The challenge that gets them both over the finish line is learning to risk. In life, in love, in themselves. Take the leap, regardless of the outcome.

Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

Julia Whelan: I set myself the task of writing a very self-conscious book. If it had been Literary, it would have been satire. But instead, I chose joy and wrote a RomCom. I wanted to see if I could hit all the necessary Romance beats that make a love story satisfying while also hanging a lantern on those beats and simultaneously subverting the expectations for them whenever possible. And within all that, of course, I just wanted to tell a good yarn with empathetic characters. And make it funny! So the most rewarding aspect for me is that I knew the level of execution required to make this ridiculous idea of mine work and I think, in the end, I did it. They say write the book you want to read, and I can definitely say I did that. I just wasn’t sure if anyone else would want to read it! Which is kind of a problem if you’re writing commercial fiction. But at some point I just had to trust that there had to be at least some people out there like me. And so far, that’s proved to be true. So far? So good.

Learn more about THANK YOU FOR LISTENING on Julia’s website, or via the links below. 

Congratulations, Julia!



Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton in 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~50 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. In 2014, the first Writer Unboxed UnConference (part UNtraditional conference, part intensive craft event, part networking affair) was held in Salem, MA. Learn more about our 2019 event, ESCAPE TO WuNDERLAND, on Eventbrite. In 2016, the Writer Unboxed team published a book with Writer's Digest. AUTHOR IN PROGRESS: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published has been well-received by readers who seek help in overcoming the hurdles faced at every step of the novel-writing process--from setting goals, researching, and drafting to giving and receiving critiques, polishing prose, and seeking publication. James Scott Bell has said of the guide, "Nourishment for the writer's soul and motivation for the writer's heart." You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter, and join our thriving Facebook community.

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