Laura Wood on adult rom-com debut, Under Your Spell

Laura Wood is known for her YA historical books, such as The Agency for Scandal but she is now here to chat about her adult debut, Under Your Spell.


Laura Wood is known for her YA historical books, such as The Agency for Scandal but she is now here to chat about her adult debut, Under Your Spell. Vastly different from her YA books, Under Your Spell is a contemporary romance that follows Clemmie who finds herself working for and living with a mega pop star. We are honoured to invite Laura Wood back here to chat about her book.

Why did you decide to write a contemporary romance as your adult debut? 

Honestly, I didn’t set out to write a book at all. My lovely agent had been saying for a long time that she thought I should write and adult rom com, and I think in the back of my head I assumed that my first adult novel would be historical. One day the idea of Clemmie and her sisters casting a drunken break up spell appeared, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I sat down and wrote the first chapter, just for fun, and sent it to my agent, hoping it would make her laugh. She loved it so much that I wrote another chapter for her and then another. Before either of us knew what was happening… it was a book!

And adult vs YA, historical fiction vs contemporary romance, which difference was bigger?

Definitely historical vs contemporary. I love writing historical fiction, and doing the research is part of the experience – it’s a pleasure to get lost in the past, to research clothes and parties and buildings – but it also makes writing so much harder. When I’m drafting a book of historical fiction I find myself coming up against unexpected roadblocks all the time – when were windscreen wipers invented? What lighting would they have in a late-nineteenth century boarding house? Where did people keep their milk in 1929?  The smallest details will trip you up and send you down a research rabbit hole. Writing contemporary was obviously much easier in that sense, and it allowed me to get into more of a flow with the writing.

There are some favourite rom-com tropes here: forced proximity, mistaken identity, and friends to lovers. Did you set out writing these tropes or they just happened? 

A bit of both. I tend to have a few tropes that I’m excited to use – I knew, for example, that I really wanted to have a caretaker scene where Clemmie got sick and Theo had to take care of her. I think using tropes is so much fun as a writer because they’re like deeply satisfying writing prompts. In that trope for example, I knew there could be a lot of fun – Theo is a very spoilt rock star who doesn’t usually have to look after himself, let alone another person so there were so many opportunities for humour there, as well as a chance to develop a tenderness in the love story.

The setting is also wonderful, with cosy countryside, and family gatherings. Did you write the book under similar settings? Please recommend the best reading setup for when reading Under Your Spell. (e.g. beach / cottage / drinks etc) 

I didn’t write the book in the same settings, but Under Your Spell was inspired by a trip that I took to Northumberland. I was so stunned by how gorgeous the coastline was there. We were lucky with the weather, it was hot and gloriously sunny, and I was just dazzled by the sand dunes, the crystal clear water, the beauty of Holy Island. I poured all of that escapism into the book. I love books that are set in American beach houses and it suddenly felt easy to imagine that sort of story set in the UK. I don’t think there’s a bad setting to read Under Your Spell – if it’s cold and miserable, I hope it will be a welcome ray of sunshine, but I have to admit I’m really excited to see people taking it on holiday with them. For me, it’s the perfect book to read by the pool this summer.

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