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On Better Words this week: Lex Croucher
Arthurian legend meets whip-smart queer teens in historical fantasy YA romp
This episode marks the end of Season 10 of Better Words 🥳 And this witty and heartwarming history/fantasy mash-up is the perfect finale.
Lex Croucher grew up in Surrey, reading a lot of books and making friends with strangers on the internet, and now lives in London with an elderly cat.
With a background in social media, Lex now writes historical-ish Regency rom-coms for adults (Reputation, Infamous) and historical fantasy rom-coms for teenagers. We're discussing their debut YA novel, Gwen and Art Are Not in Love.
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Things we talked about
What is 'authentic historical fiction'? Why Gwen and Art is a blend of fantasy and history
The difference between writing Regency romance and Gwen and Art
Cover art to drool over – including a special edition proof with scratch-off gold foil heart
Why Lex sought comfort in reading and writing queer YA during London lockdowns
An overview of Trouble – which basically asks 'what if Maria in Sound of Music was coming to the house with nefarious intentions'
The beauty of 'unlikeable' protagonists
The madness of having two books released within months of each other
Lex's journey to publication (both non-fiction and fiction) and what it takes to make money as an author
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Before we chat with our featured author, we always share some other recommendations. This week was a book club – where we read a book together and talk about it (usually without spoilers, but we go all out this time. We will let you know when spoilers start, though).
This week, sadly, we don’t have a recommendation because we found the book we read pretty problematic.
Fish Out of Water by Kate Hendrick*
Finn is a competitive swimmer who is starting to question everything from why his dad left three years ago to whether he wants to continue competing.
Our biggest concern with this book is that the blurb reads like Finn will be questioning the image of masculinity and his sexuality with new swimmer Loki. In fact, much of the book reads like this too. But the idea that he may be questioning is really left open to interpretation, leaving his negative thoughts around potentially liking boys without any response.
The final part of the book and ending left us asking so many questions (which you can hear all about if you want the spoilers). We felt that guidance was lacking for support systems for people who may want support after confronting material.
*We read review copies provided by Text Publishing.
- Caitlin & Michelle
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