Discover the Most Beloved Superhero Love Interest of All Time this Summer

Discover the Most Beloved Superhero Love Interest of All Time this Summer

With the Writer Spotlight Series, we create a positive image for young girls to refer to by having conversations with different writers and illustrators. This month we
have been doing Q&As with many writers, to get to know more about them and
their work. Here, we are showcasing all the questions we have asked author 
Helen Comerford. 


Welcome Helen. Tell us about yourself.
Hello! Thank you for having me. I’m a mixed heritage author based in South Wales, with my partner and our dog, Cocoa (full name Cocoa Bean). I spent most of my life working in theatres around the world and when I’m not writing, you can still find me in a rehearsal room, or wandering around the soggy countryside with Cocoa.

I write for a range of ages and The Love Interest, my trade debut, is for a young adult audience (ages 14+). My writing always centres people of colour, alongside superpowers, magic, romance and comedy. Generally, I know something is good if I’m sniggering whilst I write it.


Congratulations on your new book The Love Interest. What was the inspiration behind the story?
At the time of writing, I was a happy singleton being bombarded by messages from popular culture, and society in general, that I should be in a relationship. This inspired a tale of self-determination and the superhero genre’s ‘love interest’ was the perfect trope to subvert, not just because the research was going to be really fun (I am a superhero NERD), but also because I like to pair my feminism with action and superpowers…

The love interest by Helen Comeford

How do you navigate the balance between satisfying readers' expectations for a romantic ending and providing surprises or twists in your plots?
Interesting question! I think that I gave myself a big problem to solve with The Love Interest - how do you subvert that trope whilst still writing a romance? I had the aid of a superhero-story plot to keep things twisting and turning, but in the end, it came down to agency. The happiest ending is one where my protagonist, Jenna, takes control of her own story and maybe that's by choosing Blaze, but maybe it's not. No spoilers here...


How do you stay in touch with trends and changes in the YA romance genre?
I read A LOT, which is an absolute joy, I'm very happy to spend my days reading YA romance (especially plot-driven rom-coms). But I'm not in a desperate rush to write the current trend - that way madness lies. The industry changes faster than you can write a book, so all you can do is write something that you love and hope others love it too.


Jenna Ray and Blaze are the main characters in The Love Interest, which is
a perfect summer read. How important is it to have stories about young
Black love?
Aw thank you! It was definitely a goal to write a book you could enjoy on your holidays. It was also my aim to write a story that centred Black and mixed heritage joy, friendship and, of course, love. Stories that tackle racism, racial identity and inherited trauma are vital, but I decided to write the world I wanted to see and offer readers some swoony escapism where they can still see themselves represented.


What is the last book you read? What are you reading next?
The last book I read was Talia Hibbert's brilliant Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute and now I'm reading O. R. Sorrel's Apocalypse Cow. I'm only a few pages in and have already laughed out loud several times - I'm hooked.


Quick Fire Round

Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Oof. Awful. Endless summer, I guess. I live in Wales so we'd still get plenty of cloud and rain.

Where is your happy place?
It's a beach in Crete that you access via an ancient vineyard and a quite dangerous cliff path. It has crystal clear water and tiny pebbles instead of sand. Bliss.

What song is always on the top of your playlist?
Currently it's Ontario by Bonobo. That's the unofficial theme tune of The Love Interest's sequel.


About the author 
Helen Comerford is a Black mixed-race British debut author and is passionate about Black British representation. She centres her Black British characters in narratives they have historically been excluded from and celebrates their joys, strengths and everyday teenage experiences. 

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