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Honestly, I think I have Boys in our Books to thank for this novel: after the interview I did with them in November, It’s Like This seemed to get a little more traffic on Goodreads than usual—and then one day I found a note in my inbox—something along the lines of: if you’re serious about wanting some editing, I am interested in publishing your book.
I didn’t really process it at first—I was like, “oh, that’s nice, someone wants to do some proofreading for me! How thoughtful!”, but then I realized she had attached a link to Beaten Track Publishing, which I clicked, and I realized she wanted to, like, make my book into a book. For realsies. I figured there must be a catch—I thought maybe it was a self-publishing kind of thing where I would put down a few hundred bucks and she would print me a few copies and I was secretly thinking, “thanks, but no thanks”, but I said I was maybe interested and Deb sent me a copy of the contract and I realized it was legit.
So then, for the first time ever, I started telling people in my real life about my writing. This was really scary—and I definitely got teased—but I am also blessed with really supportive friends and family who are mostly just excited and proud (sort of—my mom: “Oh Anne, you’re so weird.” But she said it lovingly so it was okay!).
Anyway, I had actually wanted to go over my books and do some edits for some time, but I didn’t really have the motivation—now suddenly I did. I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard—reading old work is kind of looking at old photos of yourself: three parts cringing and one part nostalgia. It was a long slog but nevertheless it felt good to revamp the weaker parts of the book. I’d heard from critiques that the story got pretty laggy in the middle—and I tried to address that issue. I also tried to make the younger sister character, Kya, less precocious and clichéd and more real. I fleshed out Niles’ mom a little bit and tried to give Rylan some flaws—he became a bit more human and a bit less godlike. I wanted to illustrate that neither Niles nor Rylan really know what they are doing—that their relationship is something that they both want, but something that neither of them really know how to talk about, and as a result they both get stuff wrong sometimes, and do the wrong thing sometimes—as with any relationship.
My hope is that new readers will enjoy the story and old readers will appreciate the changes and find the story a little more consistent.
About Anne O’Gleadra
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It’s like this: Ian and Brice and Parker and Dylan get off the bus. They’ve pretended this whole time—just as they’ve pretended for the last three years—not to notice that Rylan has his arm draped casually over the blue plastic bar at the back of my seat. They pretend not to know that the second we get off the bus (scratch that, he’s not even going to wait for that second; it happens before the bus has even come to a complete stop), he’ll lower that arm over my shoulders, or drop his hand forward to fuck with my hair and knuckle my neck a little.
He’s like that: likes touching me in public, holding hands, kissing, and he does it in that easy way of his—with a Rylan-specific brand of confidence that almost makes people around us forget to look twice. Like he knows, as far as I can tell, what the fuck is going on. That is the difference between us. He knows. I don’t.
A brave and funny love story about the anxieties, insecurities, and heartaches that drive people apart and bring them back together, It’s Like This is the journey of Niles and Rylan, as they learn to communicate in the shadow of a life-changing illness.
Niles and Rylan have been together a long time. They have great sex, they are deeply intimate, and Rylan never holds back on displaying his affection. As far as their family and friends are concerned, they’re an established couple, and yet, after three years of being “together”, Niles is still unsure if they’re actually in a relationship.
As their sexual intensity reaches a dangerous tipping point, Niles must find the courage to articulate how he feels in order to try and keep the only thing he has ever wanted. Emotional and compelling, It’s Like This is a must-read for true romantics.
Read Katinka’s review here.