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Kristina Forest brings back historical romance with a twist in new book

Kristina Forest writes about a love story that started online
Kristina Forest brings back historical romance with a twist in new book
Photo courtesy of Steven Forest

After penning multiple romance novels for young adults, Kristina Forest presents a modern, relevant twist in her latest book.

The Neighbor Favor is a heart-fluttering romance featuring a Black hero that is beautifully written, deeply relatable, and endlessly entertaining. In it, a shy bookworm asks her cute neighbor to help her score a date, not knowing that he’s the author she’s been sending love letters to.

Tell us about the book.

It’s about an aspiring children’s book editor named Lily, who starts an anonymous online correspondence with her favorite fantasy author. They’re emailing back and forth for about six months, and they start to fall for each other a little bit. When they’re supposed to meet in person, he suddenly ghosts her, and she gets really sad about that. Then she ends up meeting this very handsome, charming neighbor, Nick, who moves in across the hall from the apartment she shares with her sisters. Little does Lily know that Nick is the fantasy author, and he has some very interesting reasons for the pen name and why he stopped emailing her. It’s a love story that starts through emails and then blossoms in real life.

What inspired you to write this book?

I am obviously a huge fan of romance novels and I particularly love historical romance. I love the epistolary trope and how it’s used in historical romance with classical letters that people are writing back and forth to each other. I think that’s so romantic. I was trying to think of a way to adapt that for the modern day and I didn’t want to do the dating app route, because I feel like there are a lot of books that do dating apps, and I love them. I didn’t know if I was confident in my ability to do that, but I knew since I sent tons of emails throughout my adult life, I could do that. That’s what inspired that, but I knew that I wanted to write a story mostly about three sisters and their different trials with love, and Lily’s story made the most sense to write first.

What makes Black love special?

It’s unique. I think that any kind of relationship between groups of people who share the same history, backstory, or experiences is special because you can feel seen. That just lays the groundwork for a ready-made connection in a way. When I think about my favorite Black love stories, like Love Jones and Brown Sugar, being able to see yourself in those kinds of stories is something that’s very comforting, so that’s why I write those kinds of books because I think about how I feel watching those movies or reading those stories, and I just sort of want to add to the canon.

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