Chloe Liese on The Bergman Brother series finale, Only and Forever

"These stories are hopeful, joyful, steamy, emotionally tender, and compassionate, care taken to ensure they are nuanced, authentic, and positive in their representation"


Chloe Liese set out to write a haven for readers with her The Bergman Brothers rom-com series and that is exactly what she has done. The Bergman Brothers is a series that gives characters with experiences historically ignored in the romance genre, the love stories and happily ever afters they deserve. It’s uplifting, warm, funny and romantic in a way that will set your heart aflutter and its newest instalment, Only and Forever, was the perfect finale. To celebrate its release, we had the honour of chatting with Chloe all about Only and Forever, the importance of disability and neurodivergent representation in romance, upcoming projects and more.

Hi Chloe! I am so unbelievable excited to get to chat to you to celebrate the release of Only and Forever, the newest and final book in your Bergman Brothers series (aka, one of my all favourite series.)

Hi! Thank you so much for having me. I’m honoured The Bergmans are a favourite of yours!

You mentioned in the Only and Forever authors note that you wanted to make The Bergman Brothers a haven for readers (which you one thousand percent accomplished), can you tell us a little more about this?

I often hear from romance readers that they are drawn to the emotional safety and comfort they experience in the genre’s guarantee of happily ever. Romance readers appreciate that, even when the going gets tough, in a romance novel, it all works out in the end. My effort as a romance author has been to expand that experience to one of emotional safety and comfort in every step of the story, not just its happy ending.

In The Bergman Brothers, the Bergman family and the found family they draw into their fold are realistic people in many ways, with real-life struggles and vulnerabilities—something I’m quite passionate about, and I’ll get to that later! But how does foregrounding characters’ struggles and vulnerabilities in a romance lend itself to making readers feel safe and comforted? The answer to that is the heartbeat of my writing—in every story of mine, those characters’ vulnerabilities are met with love and compassion, meaning that both my characters’ and my readers experience of their vulnerability is emotionally safe and comforting.

The Bergmans and the people they love certainly aren’t perfect; they don’t always get things right on the first try, but they strive deeply to understand and listen to and love each other for who they are. These characters don’t have to be “perfect” and neither do my readers—everyone is welcomed into and can belong in a space where the risk of vulnerability is met with the reward of intimacy, and through that, I hope my readers feel in every chapter of my books a profound sense of emotional safety and comfort, a healing hope, when they walk alongside characters like them and those they love and see how well they are loved, how cherished they are, how safe they are to be exactly who they are. That feeling, that safety and comfort, is—I hope—a haven for my readers.

Do you think you’d ever follow in Tallulah’s footsteps and try your hand at writing a thriller or is there another genre you’ve got your eye on?

 I really got into reading thrillers in 2023, which is in part why I made Tallulah a thriller writer—I have so much admiration for thriller authors’ cleverness and their mastery of storytelling, to hook readers with enough knowledge that makes readers want to keep turning those pages while not giving away so much as to ruin the suspense and mystery of the story as it unfolds. Down the road, I do think I’d like to take a crack at writing a thriller, one that—as my favourite thrillers have—takes the reader on a twisty, suspenseful, compelling journey, while still giving them a satisfyingly hopeful ending. I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to tackle that, probably not too soon in the future, but hopefully one day!

Reflecting on your time with the series, was there a book or relationship you found more challenging to write or any whose writing experience you look back on especially fondly?

 Each book I’ve written has challenged me in one way or another, but I wouldn’t say there’s been one that was discernibly more difficult than the others. In that same vein, every book I’ve written has also touched my heart uniquely, and I hold a fondness, a gratitude, specific to each of those stories because of it. What I’ve noticed is that both the greatest challenge and deepest affirmation I’ve encountered in each book always hinged on my main characters’ growth arcs, because, when beginning their story, I have asked myself, What pain and fear has a grip on their heart? What journey do I take them on so they can heal independently and also in relationship with their love interest? Each book, asking those questions has challenged me to dig deep into my own heart’s vulnerabilities, its pains and fears; and answering them has always affirmed me, as it led me to search my heart just as deeply for healing, hopeful answers.


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All of your writing is so beautifully and refreshingly inclusive, particularly when it comes to neurodivergence and disability. If you feel comfortable doing so, could you tell us a little about why this is so important to you?

Thank you, that means so much to hear, because that effort is my passion as a writer. While I would like to say I can only tell a “little” about why that is so, I will probably not be very concise, so I apologize in advance!

As I mentioned earlier, romance readers value the emotional safety and comfort they experience in romance’s guarantee of happily ever after; in romance, it all works out in the end. This is often framed as a form of escapism—relief and respite from the burdens, struggles, and worries of real life, where there is no promise that it will all work out in the end. As a long-time romance reader, for years, I enjoyed escaping from my own life’s hardships and uncertainties too, being swept away into happy, hopeful romantic stories. But as a neurodivergent woman with chronic conditions, in community with others like me, I kept thinking about how central parts of human existence, our mental health, our past traumas, our disabilities and illnesses, are just that; they are central—they are not something to leave behind, and why should readers feel like they have to do that, when reading a romance novel?

So often, when reading romance, I noticed that the main characters navigated none of these very realistic, very common core human experiences and identities, or, when they did, they were frequently misrepresented or insensitively portrayed. The message I took from that lack of authentic representation and positive inclusivity in romance was that happy, hopeful, sexy love, that those realities couldn’t belong in romances. That’s when I started to think that romance’s effort at escapism was often…well, too escapist. Why not, instead of giving readers an implicit message that those central human realities need to be escaped for there to be a happy, swoony, hopeful story, give them the affirming reading experience of seeing those parts of themselves lovingly portrayed in characters who get their happily ever after, too?

To be clear, there have always been romance authors writing inclusively, and I am so grateful to them—I am simply saying that when reading romance, I didn’t see that inclusivity often enough, and I wanted to see it so much more. That’s why I started writing The Bergman Brothers, a series that features main characters as well as secondary characters, a community of family, found family, and friends, who have realistic bodies, brains, and hearts—disabilities, chronic conditions, mental health struggles, neurodivergence. These stories are hopeful, joyful, steamy, emotionally tender, and compassionate, care taken to ensure they are nuanced, authentic, and positive in their representation. My hope in creating this series has been to give readers a joyful romantic escape from the world’s harsh vicissitudes that doesn’t feel like an escape from their own hearts, where real, tender, vulnerable hearts and lives aren’t omitted for fear that they won’t be safe, won’t be cared for, won’t be loved, but are instead positively, authentically represented in characters who are seen well and loved deeply and desired for all of who they are.

My motto as a writer is, everyone deserves a love story, and my goal has been to give every reader who loves the romance genre the chance to see characters like them getting a joyful, sexy, full-hearted happily ever after. My hope has been to give readers not only the safety and comfort of happily ever after, but also a deeper experience of that safety and comfort, by giving them a place to be seen lovingly and affirmed as they experience those parts of themselves that have often been erased or mistreated in the genre represented not as an impediment to intimacy, joy, and love but a bridge to it, through characters in relationships with people who love all of who they are, not just the easy parts; that love them not in spite of those vulnerabilities but because they are simply part of them.

Jumping off that, do you have any recommendations for readers looking for more romance reads featuring mental health/neurodivergence and disability representation?

 I am so happy to say that there are many more romance authors giving us inclusive, compassionate stories than there were when I first started writing, and this is in no way a comprehensive list, but these are some authors and books they’ve written whose portrayal of disability, neurodivergence, chronic conditions/illness, and mental health struggles, have particularly stuck with me and hold a special place in my heart:

  • Hannah Bonam-Young, Out on a Limb
  • Alison Cochrun, The Charm Offensive
  • Tessa Dare, The Duchess Deal
  • Talia Hibbert, Brown Sisters Series
  • Helen Hoang, The Kiss Quotient Series
  • Anita Kelly, Something Wild & Wonderful
  • Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon
  • Rachel Lynn Solomon, Weather Girl
  • Tia Williams, Seven Days in June

Finally, is there anything you can share with us about any future projects that you’re working on?

I just turned in edits on my next project, which is the final Wimot Sister novel, Once Smitten, Twice Shy. It’s a Twelfth Night reimagining about Will Orsino, a quiet, shy whiskey distiller and farmer who doesn’t think love is in the cards for him but who, for the sake of the family business, needs to learn the ropes of romance so he can woo a wife; and Juliet Wilmot, the once-hopeless romantic who’s been reeling from heartbreak but wants to rekindle her faith in romance again. When Will and Juliet realize they’re ideal “romance workout buddies”—neither of them looking for love, both needing help that the other can provide—they form a fast friendship and a practice romance pact. Expect lots of ensemble cast antics; romantic, flirty practice dates (that start to feel not so practiced); mutual attraction and pining galore; rom-com hijinks and laugh-out-loud humour; and deeply tender emotions as these two confront their heart’s fears and fall in love.

Get your copy of Only and Forever by Chloe Liese here.

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