Forté chat to the co-authors and film critic duo Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris on their first novel ‘The Hot Guy’.
Congratulations on the recent release of ‘The Hot Guy’. Tell us a little bit about what readers can expect from the novel?
Anthony: Hopefully a lot of laughs – it’s a romantic comedy, but as I am in no way romantic, we really doubled down on the comedy side of things.
Mel: Lots of madcap antics, pop-culture parodies, frequent coarse language and adult themes.
Both of you are well-regarded writers and critics – is this the first novel that either of you have written?
Anthony: I have written a couple of (unpublishable) novels in the past. Working with Mel was a lot more fun. We basically just tried to make each other laugh, and hopefully that comes through in the finished product.
Mel: Writing a novel has always been my idea of ‘proper’ writing. I’ve tried and abandoned lots of novel projects, mainly because I was over-thinking the process. Getting anxious about whether I could do ‘literary’ writing – whether I could be an ‘author’ and not just a journalist and critic.
Anthony, how have you found moving from reviewing films, into long-form novel writing? Has there been any difficulties associated?
Anthony: Not really, though my (and Mel’s) film reviewing experiences come through pretty heavily in the book. There are a lot of jokes about bad movie trailers in there.
What was the inspiration behind the story idea that is now ‘The Hot Guy’?
Mel: As film critics, we’ll often find ourselves in the foyer afterwards, picking apart what worked and didn’t about the film, and cracking jokes about the plot and characters. ‘The Hot Guy’ came out of a lot of ‘what if…?’ scenarios.
Tell us a bit about the main characters in the novel, Adam and Cate. Who or what was it that inspired you to give them the characteristics and features that each of them have?
Anthony: Adam was always going to be hot, but we soon realised if he knew how hot he was he’d probably be a jerk.
Mel: We didn’t want Cate to be your standard quirky rom-com heroine with a glamorous fantasy job. We wanted her to have a humorous approach to life, but also a sense of vulnerability because people are rejecting her for what she feels is her authentic self.
And how did the concept of ‘The Hot Guy’ and writing it together come about?
Anthony: We’d spent so much time talking together about stupid movies, it just made sense to write the book together.
Mel: Plus we knew talking about this kind of thing was fun, so the only work we had to do was just writing it all down.
Were there any joint mad-writing sessions had between the two of you?
Anthony: They were all joint writing sessions! We quickly realised the best way to make sure we moved forward with the project was to be in the same room encouraging each other. Or just coming up with bad jokes the other would refuse to put into the manuscript.
Mel: We like to text each other “BLAZE IT” at 4:20pm every so often. Wait, that’s probably not what you meant by ‘joint mad-writing sessions’…
To our understanding, the novel has a couple of ‘hot and heavy’ scenes. How did the two of you approach and manage the co-writing of sex scenes?
Anthony: I was fine with writing the sexy stuff, but it quickly became clear that my idea of ‘sexy’ wasn’t exactly sexy.
Mel: For us, what’s sexy is two people realising they can be themselves together – that they understand each other and don’t have to pretend, or play games.
What’s something that every good sex scene needs in a book?
Anthony: Brevity? It also helps if you can figure out a way to make things seem sexy without resorting to mechanical descriptions. Or descriptions of machinery in general.
Lastly, how did you find writing together? Can we expect a follow up?
Anthony: It was a whole lot of fun. And we’d love to do a follow-up! Buy more copies so we can!
The Hot Guy is available now at all good retailers.