Talia Hibbert on Inviting Disabled, Chronically Ill, and Neurodivergent Characters into Rom-Coms
This Week on the Reading Women Podcast
On this episode of Reading Women, Kendra and Joce chat with Talia Hibbert, the author of Act Your Age, Eve Brown, which is out now from Avon.
From the episode:
Talia Hibbert: Throughout my work, representing the aspects of my own life or the lives of my loved ones that I maybe don’t see as much as I could or in as accurate and positive a light as I might hope, that’s always been really important to me. And so when I decided that I wanted to write a romantic comedy, I immediately knew that I wanted it to be about chronic pain because obviously chronic pain is really difficult to live with. But actually, I think you find a lot of humor in the situations that it puts you in, mostly because you kind of have to. And I just thought that it would be really fun to show that side to it when, like you said, a lot of the time if you do have a disability or an illness, you’re kind of a tragic, inspirational character who’s wasting away. I really wanted to write something that directly opposed that. And that’s kind of how I built Chloe.
And then when I was crafting Chloe’s personality, and I decided that she was a textbook older sister, I had to start thinking, okay, so who are her younger sisters? And that is how I built Dani and Eve and decided that it was going to be a trilogy. I always start with characters when I’m working on a book. And I feel like just being open to the fact that some people have difficulties with their mental health, and some people in there are divergent—just bearing that in mind when you’re creating characters helps you see places where it naturally fits in as part of a story or an identity. I think that’s why a lot of my characters have that kind of representation, purely because it’s always at the forefront of my mind that it could happen. And so it does.
USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller Talia Hibbert is a Black British author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate. She writes sexy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalised identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include beauty, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm.