The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer

Katelyn Detweiler and Danny Tamberelli - The First Date Prophecy

July 10, 2023 Marissa Meyer Season 2023 Episode 162
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Katelyn Detweiler and Danny Tamberelli - The First Date Prophecy
Show Notes Transcript

In this week’s episode, Marissa chats with wife/husband writing team, Katelyn Detweiler and Danny Tamberelli about their co-written rom-com, THE FIRST DATE PROPHESY, inspired by their own relationship’s origins. Also discussed: how your work/media background influences your writing process, how to know how much to include in a story inspired by true events, co-writing while parenting and finding the time to write (hint: naptime!), the joy of sharing a-ha moments with your co-writer, and so much more!

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[00:11] Marissa : Hello, and welcome to the Happy Writer. This is a podcast that aims to bring readers more books to enjoy and to help authors find more joy in their writing. I am your host, Marissa Meyer. Thank you so much for joining me. One thing making me happy this week, it's a big thing, like a literally very big thing. We bought ourselves a new house. I am moving, still in Tacoma, still in the same area. And I guess if I'm being totally honest this week, it might be making me more stressed than happy. But I am banking on much future happiness to come and all the happiness that's going to bring me and my family. So we are in the middle of packing. My beautiful office has been dismantled. It's okay. There's another beautiful office at the new place. But OMG, packing books is like a lot. And why do I have so many books and why are they so heavy? But that's okay. I am very much looking forward to one of these days I will be sitting on my new patio, enjoying a glass of wine and reading a book. And that's all that I want to do. And I know that day is coming. So future happiness, it's within reach. I'm sure there will be much more talk about the new place in the coming weeks. But for now, I am also, of course, so happy to be talking to today's guests. Katelyn Detweiler is a literary agent by day and a writer by night, which sounds really badass. She is the author of the Ya novels immaculate Transcendent, the Undoing of Thistle Tate and the People We Choose. Danny Tamborelli is an actor, musician and comedian who rose to fame on Nickelodeon shows like The Adventures of Pete and Pete, all that and figure it out. He currently hosts the podcast The Adventures of Danny and Mike, the live comedy show Nostalgia Personified, and he is a bassist for the band Jounce. Together, Kate and Danny are the wife and husband co writing team behind their new adult roamcom the First Date Prophecy, which came out last month. Please welcome Kate and Danny Tamborelli.

[02:37] Danny: Hi. Hello.

[02:42] Marissa : Thank you for joining me today. I am going to start with a full disclosure that Caitlin and I know each other. You work with my agent, Jill Grinberg, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like if I remember right, you were actually the one that pulled cinder out of the slush pile. Is that right?

[03:07] Katelyn: I was the lucky one who got to read it first. I mean, I feel like I can't remember exactly the specifics. If it was like it came in, we were flagged. Maybe you had another offer or it just sounded amazing and it was like one of my first because do you remember what month you signed with her? Because I started there in July 13 years ago. I want to say it's like October ish. Am I right? Am I?

[03:28] Marissa : Yeah.

[03:29] Katelyn: Around there?

[03:30] Marissa : Yes. Early October, I think so it was.

[03:33] Katelyn: Like, one of the first things I read in the slush then, too, that was just like, I fell in love with and then it's like, oh, my God, Jill, you have to read this. And she fell in love with it. And then to see you two start working together and all of the amazing things, it was exactly why I wanted a job like that. To see that kind of beautiful magic happening and to feel in any way involved in that process was just like, pure magic. And evangelizing you and talking about your books. Obsessively it was just the first time I was so caught up in a book and that way from the very beginning. And it always has my heart, because it's so affirmed, like everything I wanted to be a part of in publishing and to meet amazing people like you and to see amazing stories like that come to be. It just was a fairy tale.

[04:33] Marissa : I love that. And I obviously feel like I owe you everything. No. And it has been a dream come true. And it's fun to think that at that point, I don't know if you were, like, Jill's assistant or what your official title was, but now you are an agent yourself and have your own client list. And I know I'm friends with some of your wonderful clients, and yeah, it's just so cool to see it's 13.

[05:00] Katelyn: Years this summer, which is just wild to I know.

[05:05] Marissa : Where does the time go?

[05:07] Katelyn: Yeah.

[05:09] Marissa : So to talk about you two and your writing careers, the first question that I'd like to start with for all of my authors is, I want to hear your origin story. Of course. Caitlin, you have a background in agenting and publishing. Danny, you have a background in all sorts of things, and now you're also a writer. So tell me, how did you come here? How did you come to be published?

[05:34] Danny: It was that last check mark box on the list, and it was just been nagging at me and nagging at me, so I had to marry an author, and then I decided, well, now that I've married him, let me know all the tricks of the trade, so maybe I can get this last checkbox checked off. Well, I used to write sketch comedy, and when I was on all that, the last season, when I turned 18, I was so interested in it, and I kept asking and this other cast member, Mark Saul, and I used to write sketches, and we would ask if they liked them or if they wanted to use them. And so basically, they just put us in the writers room the last, like, two or three months that we were shooting that last season. And I got writers credit for the show, and a couple of the sketches that we wrote went to air. So that was really my first experience of writing something and creating like that. I kind of petered a little bit in college because I was more focused on music, so I didn't really do a lot of actual writing. I went to Hampshire College, which everything I did was writing based. They didn't have grades. Everything was like, talk about this in class and then go home and write a five page paper on how it made you feel. So, still writing, but not in any sort of fun, creative way.

[07:12] Marissa : Right?

[07:14] Danny: And I moved back to New York after college and started a sketch comedy group called Man Boobs. Man Boobs Comedy. It was a double entendre. It was slightly overweight, but also we were kind of buffoons, good fit, and that sort of got the bug going again. I ended up writing some stuff that made it to college, humor and a couple other funnier dies. So that in that area of time when that sort of was the big deal, going on YouTube and finding your sketches and then flash forward all the way to the pandemic. Kate and I were just we'd always talked about doing something creative together because it's nice to have somebody that understands the need to be creative and have an outlet like that. But ours were different mediums, and we just kind of decided to do something fun, like a pandemic project, and came up with this idea, and then we wrote it, and then it happened. And then Kate smacked the double space New Jersey public education out of me and she made my writing a little bit more she put it into format a lot better than I did initially. But thank you. I have the ideas and the content. It's just I need the polish up, you know, the shine. It gives me the shine.

[08:49] Marissa : The shine is important.

[08:50] Danny: Yeah, it is very important.

[08:53] Katelyn: It's the editorial agent in me, too. And it's nice because I can be, like, as candid and blunt.

[08:59] Danny: It's nice.

[09:01] Katelyn: I'm very careful about softening things when I'm presenting to my authors, my notes. But, like, with my co author here, there's no one I could be as honest with when I have notes as I can be with Danny. So I don't think I could co author with anyone else. I think that'd be too hard. But, yeah, it's funny because we talked about writing a book together. We talked about maybe doing a ya. Danny would always tell me a story about how when he was actively on all that as a teenager, his parents had a Marcus at a bagel store on the weekends to humble and normalize him. And I just like I always love that. And the idea of maybe the ordinary girl meeting this actor, working at the bagel store with her on early on a Saturday morning when you would think you'd be in Hollywood doing something cool.

[09:49] Danny: Did you want pepper and ketchup on that bacon, egg and cheese.

[09:53] Katelyn: Yeah, so we talked about that, but I don't know, we never had, like, a plot beyond that. And then I was posting screenshots of our first Tinder conversations for one of our anniversaries, like, on Instagram. And it was funny. One of my authors, I've credited her when I told her that because of her, she had commented, like, oh, I can't wait to read this book. And knowing the premise, they meet a psychic early on dating the book. And we use, like, the first message that Rudy, our character in the book, sends to Lucy is exactly the message that Danny sent to me in our Tinder conversation, and it unlocked the whole story for us from there, from that. Just like that innocuous comment on an Instagram post was like, oh, my gosh, we really could write a story based on this kind of zany first message she sent me. And who knows how many other women. I don't know.

[10:46] Danny: But it's good thing my Tinder has been deleted and there's no trace of.

[10:52] Marissa : It.

[10:57] Katelyn: To that message.

[10:58] Danny: But I learned early on in the Tinder thing that there are some people that just based off of being, like, a little left of the dial with your opening lines, would either kill the conversation or have it move forward. So it was a tracer to know if this person was on a wavelength that I could get behind.

[11:23] Marissa : No. And it's fun that this book was very much inspired by the start of your real life romance. Do you want to just, like, before we really get into the specifics of the book and what the book is about, can you talk us a little bit more? Give listeners the history of how your Tinder conversation and first date kind of inspired this book?

[11:46] Danny: Well, you see, Silicon Valley is a thing, right? And they create all these things. This one app that was the only app at the time was called Tinder.

[11:55] Katelyn: Which Danny claims he was on Tinder for comedic fodder. But I will be honest, I went on a lot of Tinder dates. I had been dating someone a little bit before Danny who was a fan and had gone to some of his things in Brooklyn and had mentioned Danny to me. So he was, like, mentally, he was in my subconscious. I'd never been a huge fan. Like, I'd watched a little Pete and Pete. It was, like, a little mature for me. I feel like it was like a year or two, just, like, above maybe my humor level at the time, I don't know. So I was aware of him, and then I was swiping, and I was like, swiping left a lot and swiped left on someone named Daniel. And I had this moment. I was like, oh, my like, that that was Danny Tamborelli. And I shouldn't have swiped left. Like, what just happened? And I cannot explain this. Marissa I just had it in my head. Like I had to find a way to swipe on him again and maybe match. So I actually deleted Tinder and then swiped frantically for a few days to find him again. And I did. And then we didn't match. And I was like, oh my God, I just deleted Tinder for nothing. And then, like, it happens in the book. Like, we matched while I was underground on the subway and I couldn't read his message and it was, like, driving me nuts. And then I surfaced and I had the message. That is the message in the book waiting for me. And the path diverge in many ways from there. But it's like the seed of what could have been. We went to a dive bar for our first date. It was lovely. He was actually very late for our date and I patiently waited for him. But otherwise, it was a very normal first date experience. So that's where the past diverge. But a lot of what makes the characters who they are is very baked in our childhoods and families and experiences we've had. It's very connected.

[13:57] Marissa : Yeah. And I could tell reading it, that of course, it is a different story. It's a unique plot. This is not a memoir. But what I do know of the two of you that you can just feel how relatable these characters are and how much of you is in this pair. Which I wonder if that make it easier to write because you could just really get into their heads, or does that complicate things in some ways?

[14:25] Katelyn: I think looking back, I thought it would make it easier. But I think it did make it harder because you just want to pour everything you know about yourself into a character. And I think it's harder to have discretion about what pieces are important or not important. And it's also like you take notes more personally or like reviews. People don't like the characters and reviews. It's like, yikes, it's not us. I guess we're not friends, but it's very like us. And I think I realized we have a second coming out next year and those characters are not us and are very different from us. And now looking back on both, I think it was way easier in a lot of ways to write those characters and that story. It was freeing. I think we had to get the first one done first. And I felt that way with my Ya too. I think I poured the most of myself as a character into the first. And then with each one, I think you explore, or at least I did. I push further and further from myself and my experiences.

[15:35] Danny: Yeah, you have the cliche that's ingrained. Right? What you know, and it certainly felt that way with the first book in terms of like some of some of my chapters would end up being like 4000 505,000 words because I want to get everything that I was feeling that maybe I was trying to channel through the character Rudy in the book. And it may have only just been for me. So going through and finding places to be like, is this for me or is this served the story right? Personally, I'm not sure that with Kate. But I had that problem where I'd have to go back through things and be like, is this serving a purpose or is this just serving me?

[16:27] Marissa : Yeah, and I think that happens in every book, too. No matter who the characters are or what the stories were telling, there's always moments and scenes and dialogue where you're like, I really love this, but is it necessary? That's hard to edit for sometimes?

[16:44] Danny: Oh, yeah. I had a great scene in a relationship with a bodega guy, Rudy's character in the book. He's perpetually eating bodega sandwiches and tacos, which is also kind of true to me. Nothing kind of, but it's like a really good side character that I thought would pops in, like, once or twice. Sort of like a character giving bestowing wisdom in a place like a bodega that you wouldn't necessarily think you were getting hit with some big words, but it didn't really serve didn't serve them well.

[17:26] Katelyn: It was just very long. Yeah, it was very long for around the time, I think, on our first draft. Because, again, it's just like when you know your characters so well, there's just like so much you can say about what they're thinking in every given moment that it really had to be whittled down.

[17:43] Marissa : Yeah. So on that note, so we've heard the origin story and the real life behind the scenes story. Would you tell listeners, what is this book? The First Date Prophecy, about two habitual.

[17:58] Danny: Dating misfits find each other, and then on their first date, something pretty gooky happens, and it's a moment where they have to decide whether or not they want to continue on this journey. And I think what's cool about this idea, just in general, is just how you can really put yourself in that position. Like when you're someone who dates New York or dates in a city where there's a large pool and there's not a lot of potential follow up dates because there's a lot of other things going on, a lot of other fish in the pond. So having a story with two people trying to figure out whether it's not a love at first sight book, it feels real. It feels like sometimes things don't magically happen all at the same time. Like one love at first sight situation.

[18:53] Katelyn: Yeah. I mean, I think it's not too much of a spoiler to say that they're in the midst of getting a really epic prophecy that gets cut off. That's giving them a prediction for what they could potentially be together. And these are two people that are really struggling still to find out who they are and what their path is and what their happiness is and are constantly comparing themselves, especially to friends who don't live in the city. And that was very much my experience too, when people get married or couple up so much later living in a big city than they tend to do outside of that. All of my friends were married and starting to have kids and I was still the single one in New York City that was filling them with my funny dating stories to scratch. That itch once they're all married off. And that's very much these characters who are just really trying to figure out what they want and when they're given this potentially really exciting prophecy about doing great stuff together but not understanding what that means. It gives them more incentive maybe to try to get to know one another better when it usually would just be so much easier to say it was nice meeting you, and maybe ghost to them, maybe give a few polite texts after, but probably not go on a second date. And I think so many dating encounters in the city is first dates. It feels like a wild success if you get to like five dates with someone. Like you're probably going to get married. That's serious. So having a reason to push through that when you ordinarily would just keep swiping was what I think was really interesting to think about and what it takes to get to know someone and how realistically most people, you see each other the first moment and you genuinely love them. I mean, that's not necessarily real, whether you think it is or not. Like you have to build on that and it's that building on it and getting to know each other that I think was just really interesting to show them becoming friends first and figuring out the rest along the way as they tried to sort through this ridiculous prophecy.

[21:07] Marissa : No. And I love that. We do have this just ridiculous prophecy as the glue that is initially holding these two characters together because they have this date, and we'll talk about dates in a second. And first dates, which are kind of a theme. Throughout the whole book, but they have this first date where they receive this prophecy that is so grandiose feeling. And then this horribly traumatic thing happens. And I don't know how much we're trying to avoid spoilers of this, trying.

[21:40] Katelyn: To remember what it says on the back of the book doesn't give it away on that. It might.

[21:44] Marissa : Yeah, well, anyway, we'll just say this big thing happens on their first date, all kind of wrapped up in this prophecy from what is she called the great Elvira, this psychic at this bar. And that is kind of what sets these characters down on their path, even though initially both of them are kind of like we don't even know if we believe in this sort of thing. And I love that you can see both of these characters kind of taking that leap of faith with each other.

[22:18] Katelyn: Totally because that's so hard to do. I mean, it's just so hard to take that leap of faith again, especially when there's just so many people in the pool. And I think it's always easy in the city. I mean, I know I was guilty of this, too, of always thinking, like, I don't know, there's more exciting to come and you just don't know. I don't know. I think it's just hard to stay in it and really invest that time with someone because it's also scary. I mean, we've all been burned so many times, so it's putting that trust in someone else is scary.

[22:52] Marissa : Yeah. And in the time of Tinder, I think that it is relatable. Sure. So tell me about the prophecy specifically, because not only do we have this prophecy that is spelled out in the chapter in which they receive it, but then you also use elements of it as, like, headers for the start of each chapter. How did you go about writing the prophecy? Was it the sort of thing that came out really easily and was just fitting? Or was it the sort of thing that got tweaked and edited and revised to within an inch of its life?

[23:27] Danny: Really, I think it was just a nice glass of whiskey between the two of us and just kind of like, calling things out and trying to make it the way that I was trying to write lines. I was pretty much channeling the great Alvira and kind of swaying myself and thinking of these.

[23:49] Katelyn: What did you compare it to?

[23:56] Danny: It felt like the Willy Wonka monologue while they're in the tunnel.

[24:01] Marissa : Yeah, I can see that.

[24:04] Danny: Yeah. It had that mixture of pleasant and then also completely ominous and irreverent at the same time. And then it does the same thing if you don't believe in a psychic or it's the snake oil salesman aspect of it. What big, broad strokes can we paint to make something or someone think of the specifics to them, to their life.

[24:35] Katelyn: And wanting to be absurd and not, like, too on the nose. We wanted it to touch on everything that happened, because it is one of those, like, we want you to read it and look back and wonder about or talk about how much you think Alvira did or didn't affect anything. How much of it was because it was their destiny, how much of it was just because they might have loved each other no matter what. It was a choice they were making or not making. Like, did Elvira have a hand in it? But it was fun to think about what she's saying could be applied to everything that happens from there. But I think we maybe had, like, a few chapters written and a rough idea of where it would go. Danny made me plot way more of it than I have with any of my other books. I'm very idea and character based with my other ones. I've truly gotten two thirds through a book before then. I genuinely I have no clue what's going to happen. Somebody helped me, but we couldn't do that here because we were going chapter by chapter and ideally trying to write at the same time when Alfie still took a nap or at the time, two year old, I guess. So we were really trying to be efficient and we needed a plot. And that Danny is also very that's part of his process. Like, he would not have embarked down this path with me without a plot in mind. So it was way more mapped out than anything I've ever done before.

[26:02] Danny: Yeah, that's a cool thing too. Again, coming from two different places specifically for me, in sketch comedy, you have to have everything figured out. You have to know where the beats, the funny beats are. You need to know where the absurdity lies and when it's going to happen and how it's going to happen and all these things. So I'm very much tuned into the character arcs and how each thing is going to play out, not necessarily where or the actual a story going through. It's more about how these characters follow their path in the greater story. And I need to have that written out. And I also then did some free writing as well because that's kind of how Kate works. And I think that it's cool that we were able to kind of take both of our ways of writing and kind of mix them together and kind of learn from each other. I hope you learn something.

[27:12] Marissa : That makes me curious because you mentioned that you are working on another roamcom coming out next year. Do you feel like your process has changed based on some of the things that you learned the first time around?

[27:24] Danny: Well, for me in particular, I guess my paragraphs have gotten better. I know it's an art though, I.

[27:36] Katelyn: Feel like where you break lines no very much.

[27:40] Danny: Again, somebody who came into it not writing professionally like that. I was a little anxious showing some of the first stuff. But I guess what I'm trying to say is that I didn't realize that sometimes you could just have two sentence paragraphs. Again, I blame everything on my New Jersey public education, which is so mean and it's not fair, but it's my scapegoat and I'm sticking to it. But I definitely found more time to kind of just like again, probably is also the fact that these were characters that they weren't based around us in any way. So I felt like it was easier to kind of just let my mind take some of these characters on their own path without even kind of mapping it out. So I feel like I definitely felt a little more free in my writing towards the second book. I don't know. Did you feel like you were more rigid?

[28:46] Katelyn: I feel like it was more fun writing the characters because they were different, but this one has a very specific timeline set in two periods. There's like a time travel element, like a Back to the Future time travel element to it.

[29:00] Danny: No spoilers.

[29:01] Katelyn: Thinking about dates on having to look at a calendar and be that thoughtful about that's. One of my least favorite things to do when I'm writing it was my editor for maybe like my third ya. It was a few yas in. I felt like I'd never been questioned that much about dates and calendars before. And then a draft in when everything had been mapped out. My editor was like, what year is this? How are these dates lining up? And then I had to retroactively go back and figure all of that out in days of the week. It was, like, truly the worst. So this was like the ultimate test of all. I've learned with that because it was like, by the day and each character gets half of a day. So we really had to think about that part of the plot in a different way. And I think I'm glad we didn't have to be that on top of it for the first. I feel like we worked our way into the nuances of a time travel book. This requires a lot more planning. Our now four year old stopped taking a nap in the year we were writing this, and we had a baby who doesn't give us much time for anything. We weren't getting the Idyllic 2 hours on the weekend during nap time to write together and talk. It was chaos. I mean, writing this one was truly chaos.

[30:24] Danny: A lot of googling, a lot of search engine research. Okay, that lines up. Yes. So that was around in this date.

[30:33] Katelyn: Yes.

[30:35] Danny: We can reference this because it existed then.

[30:38] Marissa : Yeah. No. Time travel is a particularly difficult beast to tackle. I know.

[30:46] Danny: Back to the Future made it look so easy, right?

[30:52] Marissa : And you bring up the kids because I did want to ask, of course, lots of the authors that I talked to have children and young children at home, but I think you're the first married couple I've talked to who co wrote something while also having a young family. So what were some of the tips and tricks that you discovered for balancing that all out?

[31:14] Danny: Bribery, too much screen time.

[31:17] Katelyn: It was so nice at the first, but it was really always during that time. So it was pretty reliable in that way because I'm mostly working remote now. So we'll spend like a week with my parents or a week with his parents, and we get like, that building grandparent time, which was really nice because we don't have any childcare. Otherwise. He's Daddy daycare. He's amazing. At it, but our time is limited where it's not me working or him with the kids or us with the kids. So it really is like finding any scrap of time we can. As Danny likes to tell everyone, it was New Year's Eve and I was still making him write whatever, I don't remember what our limit goal, 500 words maybe. But yes, even through the holidays, because it was really like whenever we were with family and could have someone else watching the kid or than the kids, it's like, you know, I was pretty I was I was pretty serious about that. I was determined to get to the end, especially with the first one, because it's hard. We hadn't sold it yet. I was terrified that I'd be encouraging Danny along in this creative project that wouldn't sell. And then we would have wasted a year of naps, which every parent is the most precious time, especially like on the weekend, it's that nap time in the middle of the day to do your own thing. And I would have felt endlessly guilty and awful if I'd encourage this, it would have all been for nothing. So it was much easier than for the second one because it's been a two book deal, knowing it was going to actually be something. And I think that for some writers that makes the process harder. I think in our case, it made it much easier that we knew that we weren't just spinning our wheels and wasting that time for nothing. But it really is like any hour of any day that we could grab, preferably together, but most often apart. For the second book, we did it. We found the time, no matter how hard it was and how much caffeine we needed to get there. I mean, I started writing again like a month after having the baby last summer, so while I was still on leave too, which was hard, but also nice because my mind needed a little something without all of the workload that I usually have.

[33:40] Marissa : No, and I like that you talk about that fear that we can feel when we're writing something that's not under contract. For me, I always have side projects going on that are not the book that the publisher is currently waiting for. And they're like the fun ones because they're the ones that you don't have to be doing. Like they're just the ones that you feel really excited and passionate about. But there is also this nagging fear of like, but am I wasting my time? Should I be working on something that's a guaranteed thing? And it can be hard to get past that.

[34:16] Katelyn: Yeah, because everyone publishing knows. It's just that even very successful writers have books that didn't sell or got shelved. And it's a really tough reality when you've spent a year, maybe two, depending on how long it took you to write a book. That's a lot of time you never get back, and particularly when your parent and your time is so limited and there's really, like, so many other things you could be doing with that time that would probably bring you more peace and calm. It's really hard. It's a hard trade off and you have to really want it. And I think particularly with the first aid prophecy and how much we love that story and how deeply we felt connected to it. Like, at a point, it's not a choice to finish a book. You have to see it through because you love it that much and you need to see it come together and feel the satisfaction of finishing a story. I mean, that's an important part of it. You just ideally also sell that story in the end and it becomes a real book, right?

[35:27] Marissa : So that makes me curious. If being married, living together, writing this book together, were there times when one of you maybe got into a bad place or were feeling discouraged or did you have to kind of bolster each other up and root each other on? Or what was the overall vibe as you were writing?

[35:49] Danny: There was a lot of rooting going on, that's for sure. Mostly, I guess, our differences are when I felt like there was an issue I was having, I needed to step back and take a breather and kind of sit with it for a moment or a day or two days. And that would be when Kate is the exact opposite, but she really likes to work through them. And when you get stuck, that's all the more reason for you to just power down, power through and figure out what's going on. So there was a lot of that going on for me, specifically.

[36:36] Katelyn: I feel like it's like when these characters and stories were both so deep in our minds, I feel like there were a few times in the book with something, with the plot maybe, where we're trying to talk through what the characters would do or what would happen. And it can just be so hard to put into words for another person at that stage. It can be hard to untangle and Danny be trying to tell me something and I wouldn't be understanding or vice versa. And it's just like it can be so frustrating to not be able to find the right words yet to explain what your character is thinking you're doing because it's so deep in your head. And that's why for me, having written books of my own and then the first time co authoring, it's really hard when you're sharing that world sometimes with someone else's head, because it's your world that you're sharing, but it's still in your mind. And finding the right words to talk through it is difficult. But that's like, I wanted to keep talking because it's that way with any marital thing that comes. Like, I want to talk endlessly until it's resolved and he wants to go quietly, think it through. But I feel like we always found that point in the end. But again, that's why co authors who aren't as close as we are as a married couple, I can't wrap my head around how they do it because it's just so personal and you have to get so deep in someone else's mind. I don't know. I'm in all of the ones that can do it and do it well. And I'm always curious about how other co authors with their processes I mean, I feel like every pair of co authors can have such different processes of how they get a first draft off the ground.

[38:32] Marissa : Yeah, no, I also am fascinated by co authoring and have had a number of co author duos on this podcast. And I love hearing about how people tackle challenges and how the process worked and how the process changed. And it is a different way of writing a book for sure. And it kind of comes with a lot of struggles and challenges that are kind of unique to co authoring. But I think also it comes with from what I gather, it just seems like it comes with a lot of joy and fun and like being able to kind of surprise each other. And with a book like this being so heavy in comedy, I mean, I imagine you were probably cracking each other up all the time.

[39:12] Danny: I would like to think so.

[39:13] Katelyn: Yeah, that's like exactly.

[39:16] Danny: You double your AHA moment too when you have the positives of co authoring is when you have that moment together and it's twice as big and twice as joyful. We had not a plot issue, but we were trying to figure out for the second book something that had been kind of bothering us. One of those situations where we weren't totally on the same page and couldn't really grasp what each other were trying to get across. And it took a first date night out without the kids. Just went to sitting at a dive bar. Sitting at a dive bar. We had to go get some delicious food next door and we had that AHA moment and it was just a beautiful something. We had been doing a good job of writing with two children at that point now and having that, we can't really get it together and then having that moment out by ourselves in a setting where we felt like this is kind of how we met. Just in general, all of the pieces just fell right into place and it just was that moment. And it really is. It's great when you can do it on your own because you feel good and you're making yourself again, it's just two is not better than one. But in that moment where you're like, oh, you get it. Oh, I get it too. This is perfect.

[40:56] Katelyn: Yeah, it's a beautiful thing to share and that's part of it when we say it's like our pandemic baby. We were being new parents, and my work weeks are pretty busy and chaotic. It's a lot of work to be a literary agent. A lot of reading and just a lot it's a lot of time. And my fourth Ya had just come out, and I was kind of feeling like I might not write for a little while again, because it takes a lot of time away from time that is already so limited when you take the work week out of it. And it didn't. Honestly, I would have felt, I think, too guilty to write a book on my own because it would have been weekend time that then I wasn't with Danny or with the kids, and there's not a lot of that time. So writing something together, it felt like, okay, we're hanging out, but I still get to write, and you're writing, too, and we're doing this cool thing together, and it felt like a fun couple's activity versus me holding myself away in a room to take more time to myself when I'm already working on no, I like that.

[42:08] Marissa : I like that. It kind of becomes its own quality time.

[42:12] Danny: Absolutely.

[42:12] Katelyn: Yeah.

[42:14] Marissa : All right, my last question before we move on to our bonus round. So we've established that this story was in part inspired by real life events, but then it kind of goes off on its in its own direction. But there is this ongoing theme throughout the book of really terrible first dates. And I want to know, were any of the just ridiculous awful first dates talked about in the book inspired by reality?

[42:45] Danny: Yes. Sounding yes.

[42:48] Katelyn: Bits and pieces, like, fused together. Like, I will say I went on a date or two with someone who referred to himself as a hashtag. There is every kind of person in the city. What transpired on that date didn't happen exactly that way, but it's kind of like a fusion of so many things that have happened to both of us. And that's true for Danny, too, I think most from someone that is, like, someone we dated or met or experienced.

[43:26] Danny: I did have a tuna melt with a woman who was disgusted by ketchup, and so I just paid the bill and got up and left. That really did happen. So you know what? It's not going to work. I'm more of an Irish ketchup guy. Give me the more vinegar stuff. Hines is okay. There's too much sugar in it. But she just was so turned off by it and made some offhand comment about how it was.

[43:55] Katelyn: I don't think that's so gross and.

[43:57] Danny: Whatever, and I just wasn't having it. So I got my tuna sandwich to go, paid the bill, and walked on out.

[44:05] Katelyn: Yeah, we learned a lot about each other. We learned a lot about each other's history writing this book that we didn't already know because I honestly didn't realize.

[44:13] Danny: That one was that was really I.

[44:15] Katelyn: Knew some of the others were yeah.

[44:17] Danny: I did put on a suit sometimes early, and say I had to go. I had to go to some sort of work that does not exist.

[44:25] Katelyn: Danny's not had a nine to five that required any kind of suit.

[44:32] Danny: If they stuck around long enough to know me, they'd know that.

[44:37] Marissa : All right, are you two ready for the bonus round?

[44:42] Danny: My interest has been piqued pre recording.

[44:46] Marissa : It's very short. First question, what book makes you happy?

[44:52] Katelyn: This is loaded for me because most of what I read are my authors averaging like a book a year, so I can't do that. But I will say when I read now, for fun, it's pretty much always Romcoms. If it's during Christmas break. It's always a Christmas And then if I read one during the summer, it's like an Emily Henry whatever. Her latest one is usually what I read. So it's very much in that space. But it's the Christmas the Christmas romance has just been my treat to myself probably since college, that every Christmas I buy myself like a new romance or and that endlessly brings me joy.

[45:42] Marissa : I feel it.

[45:43] Danny: I would say how to write one song, the Jeff Tweedy book that came out a few years ago. Whenever I'm feeling like I need to recenter myself and think more about reading, like writing songs and stuff, I will dip into that. I know where the pages are, where he's describing exactly what we need to do to write that song.

[46:05] Katelyn: I thought you were going to say one of my Ya novels.

[46:08] Danny: Well, yes, a close second would be Undoing of Thistle Tate. Oh, man, I really BIFF that one.

[46:20] Marissa : What are you working on next?

[46:23] Katelyn: Well, we just got revision. First round of notes on the next book last week. Awaiting more this week. But it's our next and it's Rudy's older brother Rocco from this first book. It's a spin off, so, like, not a sequel, but in their world. And it's his story. And Rocco is like a very alist celebrity who had his childhood in entertainment like Rudy did, but kept on in it and is now hugely famous and it's a totally new love interest and who we didn't meet before and enemies, the Lovers. So a nice departure from this. Very friend's. Friends. The Lover. The first one, a lot more tension, hopefully some good banter, but we had a lot of fun and yeah, back to the future, to the to the 90s. So CapSet in the 90s. Yeah.

[47:26] Danny: I believe I learned from you. It's called the Companion Book.

[47:32] Katelyn: Yeah. Sorry.

[47:36] Marissa : Lastly, where can people find you?

[47:39] Danny: The only is Jounce because we got that website in the year 2000 and someone had, so we decided to be an organization. Everybody thought we were a nonprofit, but guess what? It's true, because we're a band.

[48:07] Katelyn: Well, it's funny to confuse anyone, but I'm Caitlin Debtweiler for my Ya and my literary agenting career and Kate Tamborelli for this. So I'm Kateweiler, caitlin Debtweiler most social media things, but Danny forgot to promote that he is now actively really working on our shared TikTok profile.

[48:30] Danny: That's right. The Tamborelli's adventure. That's right. Should be a documentary on a 40 something learning to use TikTok.

[48:45] Katelyn: Want to be Gen Xer, but true elder millennial.

[48:48] Danny: I know I am on that 82. It's tough because I don't have any older siblings, but older cousins, same pool friends that have older siblings. I learned about guns and roses and white snake from people's older brothers and sisters. So I feel like I was bestowed the Gen X vibe from real Gen Xers, even though I'm an elder millennial. Yeah, I still could have been a latchkey kid. My mom was home all the time, but I could have been.

[49:29] Marissa : Well, good luck with the TikTok holding out for not joining one more social media. I can't bring myself to do it, but I know lots of authors who really thrive on it.

[49:42] Katelyn: Well, looking for that spicy content, I'm not sure. I feel like I've seen some mix about how spicy ours is. I mean, I will say our moms couldn't read a few pages because that's the thing. When it based at least somewhat on you, people will botch the characters names as your names, and then when they're thinking about anything remotely sexy, they're thinking about you. That's the dangers of characters being like you. People calling them Danny and Kate.

[50:14] Danny: Our mom and dads have only read 96% of our book.

[50:23] Marissa : Awesome. Kate, Danny, thank you so much for joining me.

[50:27] Danny: Hey, our pleasure. Thank you.

[50:29] Marissa : Readers. Be sure to check out the first Date Prophecy. It is available now. Of course, we encourage you to support your local indie bookstore if you can, but if you don't have a local indie, you can check out our affiliate, shopmarissamyer. And don't forget to check out our merchandise that is available on Etsy, Instagram, and tpublic next week. I am so excited to have for the second time, miss Jessica Brody. She was my very, very first guest on this podcast way back in 2020, and she will be back talking about her newest writing guide, save the Cat Writes a Ya Novel. If you're enjoying these conversations, please subscribe and follow us on Instagram at Marissa Meyer, author, and at Happy Writer podcast. Until next time, stay healthy, stay cozy, and whatever life throws at you today, I hope that now you're feeling a little bit happier.