Morgan Matson on her new YA rom-com, The Ballad of Darcy & Russell

"I didn’t meet the love of my life – but I always held onto it as an idea!"


To celebrate the release of Morgan Matson’s new 24 hour whirlwind rom-com, The Ballad of Darcy & Russell, we had the chance to chat to her about everything from her feelings on love at first sight, to why she loves writing YA fiction.

Darcy believes in love at first sight. Even though it’s never happened to her, she’s spent her whole life waiting for that magical moment, hoping that when she meets the right guy, everything will fall into place perfectly.

But right now, her life is anything but perfect. Heading home from a music festival, engine trouble means she’s stranded at a Nevada bus station until morning. Even worse, it’s the day before she leaves for college, her phone is dead, and she has no cash. Darcy’s convinced nothing good can come of this night…but then she meets Russell. Cute, nice, funny, and kind, this is the guy—and the moment—she’s been waiting for. As they walk and talk, the two connect, and Darcy is able to put aside all her fears and doubts about the future to focus on this perfect guy.

Over the course of one fateful night, Darcy and Russell discover things they never imagined about each other and themselves. But can you really know someone after only a handful of hours? Is it possible to fall in love in less than day? Before they part, both their lives will be changed, and Darcy and Russell will have to decide if it’s worth saying hello when you know you’re destined for a goodbye.

Hi Morgan! I’m so excited to get to chat to you today to celebrate the release of your new YA novel, The Ballad of Darcy & Russell. For readers who may not be familiar with the books premise, what three words would you use to describe it?

Swoony, heartfelt, whirlwind.

Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations behind the book and its characters?

The Ballad of Darcy & Russell takes place over one night. When she’s stranded at a bus station after a music festival – the day before she’s going to college – Darcy thinks it’s the worst thing to happen to her. But then she meets Russell, and they embark on an adventure together that will change both of them. This was inspired by my love of movies like Before Sunrise – 24 hour movies where love is possible and you’re totally changed by sunup. But it was also inspired by my own life – when I was 17, a bus coming home from a music festival broke down and I had to sleep overnight in a bus station in upstate NY. I didn’t meet the love of my life – but I always held onto it as an idea!

Darcy is a big believer in the concept of love at first sight; is this a sentiment you share?

It’s not! LOL. One of the reasons I wrote this was because I’ve always been such a love-at-first sight skeptic. I wanted to really examine the idea and come at it from a lot of different angles. I think you can have a great connection with someone right away – but I think love takes more time, and lots of conversations. But! I have friends who fell in love at first sight and are still happily married to those people so I’m happy that it exists for some!


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Did you have a favourite scene in the book to write or is there a moment you’re particularly excited to get readers reactions to?

I really liked Darcy and Russell’s first conversation, when they’re wandering around together. It was great to see their banter, and have them play off one another.

If teen Morgan were to experience a night like Darcy and Russell’s, who would she have wanted to spend it with?

Ooh that’s such a great question! I actually do think I wrote my ideal teenage love interest in this book. He loves musical theatre and fun facts and girls who make lots of puns! And he speaks French!! Since I never met this guy IRL it was fun to make him up for the book.

You are such a beloved name within the YA contemporary world (and rightly so). What is it about the genre that keeps calling you back to it?

That’s so nice of you to say! I really love the bigness of the emotions in YA. Everything is happening for the very first time, so it feels like the biggest thing in the world – because it kind of is. I love writing characters who have their whole future ahead of them. I find YA an inherently hopeful genre, and I do love writing it.

Finally, do you currently have any projects in the works and if yes, is there anything you can share with us?

Working away on my second Middle Grade novel! It’ll be out in 2026!

Get your copy of The Ballad of Dary & Russell by Morgan Matson here.

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