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The Roughest Draft
Cover of The Roughest Draft
The Roughest Draft
Borrow Borrow
One of...
Amazon's Best Romances of January
Popsugar's Best New Romances of 2022
Cosmopolitan's Best Romance Novels of 2022
Buzzfeed, GMA.com, Shondaland, and Bustle's Best of January

Oprah Daily’s Most Anticipated Romances of 2022
E! News' Books to Add To Your Reading List in January
Bookbub's Most Anticipated Romances of Winter
The Nerd Daily’s Swoonworthy 2022 Releases
They were cowriting literary darlings until they hit a plot hole that turned their lives upside down.
Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten book topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven't spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.
Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they're forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they'd do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they've hated each other for the past three years isn't easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.
While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.
One of...
Amazon's Best Romances of January
Popsugar's Best New Romances of 2022
Cosmopolitan's Best Romance Novels of 2022
Buzzfeed, GMA.com, Shondaland, and Bustle's Best of January

Oprah Daily’s Most Anticipated Romances of 2022
E! News' Books to Add To Your Reading List in January
Bookbub's Most Anticipated Romances of Winter
The Nerd Daily’s Swoonworthy 2022 Releases
They were cowriting literary darlings until they hit a plot hole that turned their lives upside down.
Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten book topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven't spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.
Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they're forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they'd do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they've hated each other for the past three years isn't easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.
While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover 1

    Katrina

    The bookstore is nothing like I remember. They’ve remodeled, white paint covering the exposed bricks, light gray wooden shelves where there once were old metal ones. Cute candles for sale and Jane Austen tote bags occupy the front table instead of used books.

    I shouldn’t be surprised it looks different. I’ve pretty much given up buying books in public in the past three years, including from Forewords, where I’ve only been once despite the bookstore being fifteen minutes from our house in Los Angeles’s Hancock Park. I don’t like being recognized. But I love books. Doing my book buying online has been torture.

    Walking in, I eye the bookseller. She’s in her early twenties, not much younger than me. Her brown hair’s up in a messy bun, her green nose piercing catching the overhead lights. She doesn’t look familiar. When she smiles from the checkout counter, I think I’m in the clear.

    I smile back, walking past the bestseller shelf. Only Once sits imposingly right in the middle, its textured blue cover with clean white typography instantly identifiable. I ignore the book while I move deeper into the store.

    This visit is something my therapist’s been pushing me to do for months. Exposure therapy, conditioning myself to once more find comfortable the places I used to love. Pausing in the fiction section, I collect myself, remembering I’m doing fine. I’m calm. I’m just me, looking for something to read, with no expectations pressing on my shoulders or stresses jackhammering in my chest.

    Covers run past me in rows, each waiting to be picked out. Everything is crisp with the scent of pages. I knew the Los Angeles independent bookstore scene well when Chris proposed we move here from New York for the job he was offered in the book department of one of Hollywood’s biggest talent agencies. Each shop is varied and eccentric, indignant icons of literacy in a city people say never reads.

    Which is why I’ve hated avoiding them. The past three years have been a catalogue of changes, facing realities of the life I no longer knew if I wanted and the one I decided I didn’t. I’ve had to remember the quiet joys of my ordinary existence, and in doing so, I’ve had to forget. Forget how my dreams hit me with devastating impact, forget how horrible I felt coming close to what I’d once wanted. Forget Florida.

    Everything’s different now. But I pretend it’s not.

    The bookstore is part of the pretending. When I lived in New York on my own, before Chris, I would walk to Greenpoint’s independent bookstores in the summer, sweating into the shoulder strap of my bag, and imagine the stories in the spines, wondering if they’d lend me inspiration, fuel for the creative fire I could never douse. Reading wasn’t just enjoyment. It was studying.

    I don’t study now. But I never lost the enjoyment. I guess it’s too integral a piece of me. Reading and loving books are the fingerprints of who I am—­no matter how much I change, they’ll stay the same, betraying me to myself for the rest of my life. And bringing me into this bookstore, wanting to find something new to read until Chris gets home in the evening.

    “Can I help you find anything?”

    I hear the bookseller’s voice behind me. Instinctive nerves tighten my posture. I turn, hesitant. While she watches me welcomingly, I wait for the moment I’ve been dreading since I decided earlier today I needed something new to read tonight. Why should I wait for delivery?

    The moment...
About the Author-
  • Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka met and fell in love in high school. Austin went on to graduate from Harvard, while Emily graduated from Princeton. Together, they are the authors of several novels about romance for teens and adults. Now married, they live in Los Angeles, where they continue to take daily inspiration from their own love story.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 11, 2021
    Married coauthors Wibberley and Siegemund-Broka (Time of Our Lives) break from their usual YA rom-coms for a surprisingly bleak adult debut that’s light on both romance and comedy. Three years ago, Nathan Van Huysen and Katrina Freeling co-wrote the bestseller Only Once, which centered on an affair. Nathan was married at the time, and rumors about their art reflecting their lives drove Katrina to an early retirement and Nathan to tell the New Yorker that writing with Katrina was “torture.” But when Katrina’s literary agent turned fiancé, Chris, runs into financial trouble and Nathan’s solo book proposal is rejected, the pair reluctantly agree to work together again. They hole up in Florida and insult each other through drafting their new manuscript—until their true feelings reveal themselves on the page. The prose is rather pedestrian for how loftily both characters discuss literature, and the alternating timeline between their work on the new novel and their collaboration on Only Once adds little. Most rom-com readers will object to the emotional affair between Katrina and Nathan while Nathan was married, and the pretentious, privileged Nathan and self-involved Katrina do little to redeem themselves. This literary spin on Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story aims for bittersweet, but lands on depressing. Agent: Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrators Dan Bittner and Imani Jade Powers embody the voices of Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen, conflicted coauthors of a bestselling book who are reunited for a sequel. Bittner and Powers capture the tension between the estranged writers, who have not spoken since they parted four years earlier. Matching each other's tones, Bittner and Powers provide seamless segues between the characters' alternating perspectives, which mirror their writing process. The ups and downs of the creative life are full of strife as Katrina and Nathan work through rough drafts and move beyond their mixed emotions and unresolved past to produce another bestseller. This listening experience evokes disquiet, contemplation, and heart. M.F. � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2022

    Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huys wrote a best-selling novel together. They haven't spoken since. Reunited to write their contracted next book, their story unfolds in flashbacks. Back then, Nathan was married and the two began to fall in love. Both remained professional but it is clear Nathan is expressing his feelings for Katrina in the pages he writes for their book. When Katrina and Nathan head back to the same beach house and begin to write their new novel, they must confront the unresolved issues from their past as they continue to communicate through their daily pages. Both characters stay entrenched in their emotionally tortuous positions until the very end, with an unsatisfying resolution that seems to come out of a desire to give the reader a happy ending, rather than giving these characters what they really need: couples therapy. Imani Jade Powers has a beautiful voice that glides over the words and lifts the material to a different level. Dan Bittner has a pleasant "everyman" voice that would fit well with any genre. VERDICT Well written, but excruciating in terms of human behavior. Better to read than to listen.--Laura Brosie

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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