Amy Lea on small town romances, mental health and The Catch

"There’s something about fictional small communities where the town itself and all its little quirks becomes a character in itself."


The perfect conclusion to one of the most charming romance series of recent years, Amy Lea‘s newest novel, The Catch, is a perfectly cosy, small town romance that is sure to capture your heart. To celebrate the release of this swoon worthy new read, we had the pleasure of chatting with Amy about everything from body diversity in romance to book boyfriends.

Hi Amy! It’s such an honour to be able to chat to you today to celebrate the release of The Catch, book three your wonderfully romantic The Influencer trilogy. For readers who may just be hearing of it, how would you best describe the book in three words?

Thank you so much! In three words, The Catch can best be described as:

Seaside, Steamy, Found-Family

Can you share with us a little about the inspiration behind The Catch and Melanie’s story?

I came up with the idea for The Catch back in 2019 actually, before writing Exes and O’s. I LOVE a fish out of water story where a city girl meets a small town, rugged man.

The Catch was inspired by a mashup of romcoms, namely The Proposal and While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock. WYWS is the most fun premise, about a lonely woman who gets mistaken for a guy in a coma’s fiancé and gets adopted into the family. I find that so compelling, because adult loneliness is such a common thing that no one talks about. The concept of found family, mixed with the always delightful fake dating trope is something I really wanted to put my own twist on.

I also adore small town romance. There’s something about fictional small communities where the town itself and all its little quirks becomes a character in itself. I personally love the water, boating, and all things nautical, which is why I’m obsessed with all things East Coast, so this was a setting I knew I had to include.

One of my favourite things about The Influencer trilogy is your inclusion of discussions surrounding mental health and body diversity/acceptance. Why are these topics so important for you to explore in your work (and thank you for doing so!)

Discussions around mental health and body acceptance are really important to me, especially as a woman who grew up in the 90’s where mental health was still “hush hush” and a very narrow perception of beauty was front and center in mainstream media. I knew if I was going to tackle a trilogy about women who live in the public eye as influencers, these topics would be inevitable and come up organically, given the nature of social media, which rewards those who are white, thin, fit, and conventionally attractive in the algorithm. I also knew these issues would have to be handled with extreme care.

One thing that I hoped to portray was that each character has a very different relationship with social media. For Crystal, she’s a fitness influencer who defies societal norms by having a body type that isn’t synonymous with a personal trainer or fit person. For her, social media is a double-edged sword because it’s allowed her to find her calling of empowering others, but also has the capacity to tear her down. Mel has a more removed relationship with social media and sees it as more of a means to an end (a way to make money). Therefore, she doesn’t let the haters affect her as much. For Tara, social media was much lower stakes as she used it to promote her ultimate passion for romance, even though some may view her as “crazy” for doing so.


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The Catch is a companion book to your previous titles, Set On You and Exes and O’s. Whilst writing those, did you know what Melanie’s story would be or did it develop as you got to know her character through Crystal and Tara’s books?

I knew what Melanie’s story was going to be once I conceived of the idea for an influencer trilogy. Mel’s book was supposed to be before Taras (but Tara begged for her HEA first). Since Mel was a fashionable city-girl who appears to be high maintenance, I immediately knew I wanted a fish out of water story for her and a small-town, gruff, outdoorsy hero to compliment her. I’m a sucker for opposites attract stories!

Between the three Influencer ladies, is there one character you see more of yourself in or any whose perspective you found trickier to write?

I put a little bit of myself in every character I write, but I think personality-wise, I’m most similar to Mel. To a lesser degree than Mel, I’m guarded and tend to keep people at an arms-length until I get to know them. I also have trouble asking for help and overburden myself sometimes. I’m also petrified of nature like Mel. At the same time, Mel was harder to write for those reasons, because her feelings are hidden sometimes, even to the reader, and she doesn’t always say what she’s really thinking or feeling. Conversely, Tara was one of the easier characters to write because she wears her heart on her sleeve and says what she feels.

In a similar vein; you have a truly stunning talent for writing the most lovable book boyfriends but between Scott, Trevor and Evan, is there one you found yourself falling the hardest for?

Thank you! My goal was to create a hero who would best give the heroine exactly what she needed. Because of that, I love them all so much for very different reasons. Scott has the most lovable, golden-retriever personality. He’s the kind of guy I’d go for in real life because he’s so outwardly kind and easy to be around. Trevor has that tattooed, broody, mysterious, secret softie romantic appeal. And Evan is a gruff, outdoorsy grump who is the ultimate protector.

Having just welcomed in the new year, I have to ask the impossible question: what was your favourite book of 2023 and which 2024 release are you most excited to read?

My favorite book of 2023 was Yellowface by R.F. Kuang. I binge read it in basically one sitting! For 2024, my most anticipated release is The Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren.

Finally, do you currently have any projects in the works and if so, are there any hints you can share with us about what we can hope to read from you next?

I just released a coming of age, 13 Going on 30-esque romance with Mindy Kaling’s book studio called Woke Up Like This about a goals-obsessed high school senior who, after a prom accident, wakes up at 30 engaged to her arch nemesis.

I’m also going to be working on another adult romance called The Bodyguard Affair about a Prime Minister’s personal assistant who fake dates the PM’s bodyguard. I can’t wait for you all to read it!

Get your copy of The Catch by Amy Lea from Waterstones or Amazon.

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