From the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone comes The Happy Ever After Playlist, a fresh romantic comedy about one trouble-making dog that brings together two perfect strangers. We spoke with author Abby Jimenez about the inspiration for The Happy Ever After Playlist, her kinship with independent bookstores as a small business owner herself, and more.
…fierce humor and fiercer heart.Casey McQuiston, New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue
Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.
The inception for the book was kind of a funny story, actually. I saw a viral YouTube video of this guy who was watching his friend’s dog. He made this video to send to his buddy of him doing all this fun stuff with the dog: playing in the yard, sleeping next to him in the bed, giving him a bath in a bucket with the dog’s hair spiked into a mohawk. And I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cute if two people fell in love this way?” Maybe a woman finds a stranger’s dog and they get to know each other through their mutual love of this pet.
She’d have to work from home to be able to spend enough time with the dog and to have the flexibility to talk with the dog’s owner, and he’d have to have a job that places him out of town. That’s how Sloan became an artist and Jason became a touring musician. I also decided that I wanted Sloan to be grieving. I liked the idea that she’d been unreachable, and that, for the first time in a long time, her isolation is infiltrated by this dog and this man that she didn’t expect.
Sloan’s grief in the book is loosely based on someone in my own life. I had a close friend who struggled with complicated grief after the unexpected loss of her husband. I dive a little more into this more in the author’s note at the end of the book.
In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise Libro.fm listeners about your audiobook?
There’s a very well-done Australian accent in the third chapter, and chapter 15 is maybe my all-time favorite narrated chapter in either of my books. Zachary Webber did a great job with the playfulness there; I love it!
Have you listened to your own audiobook? If so, what struck you about the narration?
I mean, YEAH. Audiobooks are the only way I read so when I get the advance copies of the audiobook, it’s the moment when it all becomes real for me. Even bigger than holding my book in my hand!
Are you an audiobook listener? If so, what are some of your favorite audiobooks?
Audiobooks are all I do, reading wise. The Dutch House, narrated by Tom Hanks is my newest obsession. Daisy Jones & The Six was another great one. I’m listening to World War Z right now because I heard the narration was fabulous—it is.
What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?
I feel a kinship to indie bookstores, because I, too, own a small business. My bakeries, Nadia Cakes, are family-owned and -run so I’m always inclined to support an indie store before some of the mass chains. My local bookstore, Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis, has been wonderful to me, and I look forward to working with them for every launch.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
There’s a song at the start of each chapter of The Happy Ever After Playlist. The playlist for the book is available on Spotify and Apple Music if you want to check it out. It’s currently my favorite thing to listen to. I just wish Jason’s songs were real!
Header photo by Rachel Nadeau