Hi Cathy and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, LOVE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE!
Hi there! 🙂
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
LOVE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE is about a pair of high school frenemies who grew up to become YouTubers — one as a gamer, the other as a beauty influencer. Even though they drove each other crazy ten years ago, now they’re working together, cross collaborating to try and boost their numbers. Their kiss-me-kill-me vibe is electric, and it’s going viral as people get invested in when and if this crazy pair is going to get together.
Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:
“What the hell is it between you two, anyway?” Freddie asked. “I’ve only seen you together a handful of times, and I can’t tell if it’s like ‘I tug her hair because I like her’ or you’re just literally trying to drive her insane.”
Asad rolled his eyes. “You should’ve seen them in high school. It was even worse.”
Josh snickered. “Like ‘get a room’ worse.”
“Trust me, we have never gotten together,” Tobin said, with a grin. “She would probably literally kill me.”
But what a way to go.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
The working title of this book was BEAUTY & THE GAMER, and one big inspiration was the YouTuber Markiplier — he’s a gamer who also does skits and silly stuff. He’s also biracial Asian, my own background, and… well. If you saw his channel, you’d know why he’s an inspiration. He’s a cutie! I was also inspired by Michelle Phan, an amazing beauty YouTuber who has one of the most soothing voices in the world. It was a weird world to delve into, but a lot of fun. I also drew off of a lot of experiences growing up as a nerd in Southern California. I’m still friends with a lot of those people, one way or another, and I wanted to write about that kind of dynamic — those friends for life, people who know you and love you at your geekiest. 🙂
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
The hero was attracted to the heroine since they were teens, but as an adult, it’s not just her beauty — he loves that she’s driven, and that she’s not afraid to go after what she wants. Also, he loves winding her up! The heroine has known him forever, it seems — but it isn’t until she sees him as an adult (and without his shirt!) that she realizes that her high school buddy has grown up nicely!
Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?
I’ll admit, I laughed a lot while writing this! It’s a lot of fun, and Tobin is one of my favorite heroes ever. I can’t share the funniest scene because it’s a surprise, but I can share a bit of a scene when Lily and Tobin reconnect. Lily video calls him to prove to a few successful influencers that she knows him (he’s successful, bigger than she is) — and he can’t help but tease, because that’s what they’ve always done…
She looked beautiful, like some cherry blossom goddess in a really good anime. Only, you know, Taiwanese. Of course, she always looked beautiful. She probably spent hours carefully constructing her look.
But she always looked good, makeup or not, his beer-soaked brain provided, not necessarily helpfully. He shushed his errant thought.
Not today, Satan.
“Well, well, well,” he said instead. “Lily Wang. What’s up?”
“I just, ah, wanted to congratulate you,” she said, her voice smooth as Parisian hot chocolate. “The viral video. It’s a big deal.”
And there it was. The reason he was suddenly hearing from Lily.
He knew she was a YouTuber now, too, although beauty YouTubing was hardly his area. He hadn’t really kept track of her – they’d lost touch since she moved to L.A. and her parents moved to the Bay Area, giving her one less reason to head back to Ponto.
“Thanks,” he said, hating how wooden he sounded. “How are you doing, anyway?”
“Fine,” she said. “I’m, um, at a party… well, a launch party, and…”
“Is that really you, GoofyBui?” a woman’s voice drawled off-screen. Suddenly, what looked like a flapper popped in front of Lily’s face. “This one here claimed she knew you personally, and, well…”
“We didn’t believe her,” another voice chimed in, as another heavily made-up face crowded onto the screen. “Shame on us! Is it really you?”
He thought he recognized the second person: Chrysalis, an absolute titan in the beauty community. Influential enough that even he’d heard of them.
“It’s, um, really me,” Tobin said, feeling odd, although part of that might’ve been the beers and brainstorming session. “And yes, I know Lily.”
“That’s so sweet,” the flapper said, sounding saccharine. “And you’ve known each other since high school?”
“Since grade school,” he corrected. “Went to the same elementary, middle, and high school. I’ve known her forever.”
Lily, or at least what he could see of her, looked mollified. The other two looked curious.
“She’s actually not a bad gamer,” he added, feeling a little looser after the beers. “I mean, she’s kind of a psychotic rage warrior, and she always killed me, even when I was on her team. But she had some button-mashing skills.”
Chrysalis burst out laughing, and Daisy snickered. Lily looked less entertained. “Tobin…”
“You know,” he said, feeling pretty damned amused himself by this point, “she actually tried to kill me in real life before, now that I think about it. Remember? Sixth grade camp?”
“You got kicked out of camp,” Lily said, sounding like she was talking through gritted teeth. He couldn’t help it. He grinned broadly. “For drawing on my face.”
“In my defense, she fell asleep first,” he pointed out, watching as Chrysalis and the flapper leaned on each other, chuckling. “And I was pretty proud of my artwork. Drew the Darth Maul pattern in full detail. She didn’t wake up once.”
“You drew it in Sharpie!” Lily snapped. “It didn’t come off all week!”
Chrysalis actually hooted. “God, I can’t tell if it’s enmity or foreplay,” they said, gently dabbing at their eyelashes. “But you two are hilarious. You’ve got this whole kiss-me-kill-me vibe. You two ever get together?”
“Absolutely not,” Lily said, sounding so disgusted that Tobin’s asshole response triggered like a bear trap.
“Oh, there was that one time,” he teased, waiting for Chrysalis and the flapper to lean in, obviously interested. “In ninth grade…”
“Do. Not.” Lily’s tone was the voice of doom. Alas, by this point, he could not give less of a shit.
“Somebody smuggled Goldschläger to a little party we were having – just us geeks, not like a kegger or anything,” he clarified, unsure of why he bothered to do so. “Anyway, we wound up somehow playing Seven Minutes In Heaven? And I got Lily in a hall closet, and shot my shot.”
Flapper giggled. Chrysalis arched a perfectly drawn eyebrow. “So what happened?”
“I was about to kiss her.” He waited for a moment, a dramatic beat. Then he grinned. “Then I puked on her shoes.”
“Oh, God, kill me,” Lily moaned.
Chrysalis laughed, while the flapper shook her head. “You are too funny,” the flapper said, with a look of interest. “And so cute! EverLily, you ever think about collaborating with him?”
“Not really,” Lily said, her voice so tight you could bounce a quarter off of it.
“Oh, you should!” Chrysalis said, clapping their hands.
“Yeah, Lily,” Tobin echoed, knowing his over-the-top cheer would drive Lily bananas. “We should totally collaborate!”
“We’ll see,” she said, even though he could tell she looked ready to shoot fire out of her eyes before driving down to Ponto to murder him.
“I’ll call you, sweetie!” he yelled. “We’ll totally hook up! On this collab, I mean!” He winked.
She growled. Then she hung up on him.
Readers should read this book….
If you’re interested in a fun, funny romantic comedy about geeks and beauty queens; if you like a slow-burn with a hot payoff; if you ever felt like you didn’t fit in with the world at large but you had a group of friends (or wanted a group of friends!) that made sure it didn’t matter, you fit in with *them*, then this book is for you.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?
After this book, the sequel GOUDA FRIENDS is coming out in March 2022. It’ll feature two other characters from the Nerd Herd, friends of Lily and Tobin’s. It’s another romantic comedy, it features a ridiculous amount of cheese, and it is so much fun! I can’t wait!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
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Excerpt from Love, Comment, Subscribe:
Tobin’s smile was…
Oh. My. God.
Lily felt her entire body go hot as Tobin unleashed a feral smile, his whiskey-brown eyes absolutely molten. He even let out a low little chuckle that she seemed to feel in every nerve ending.
“Holy shit,” Ion murmured behind her.
“I know, right?” Lily whispered in response.
Tobin blinked, and the spell was broken. “That it? I just have to be in gaming Beast Mode?”
“You wear that suit, go to a bar, and do that,” Santangelo said, nodding in approval, “and you are going to be so crowded by thirsty women, you’re going to need one of those rescue lines to get you out.”
Lily cleared her throat, realizing she was losing her grip on the video. “All right! That was awesome. Let’s go on to the next outfit.”
She thought it would help. She had a kink for guys in suits. So what if Tobin looked good in one? He still talked, and that tended to be the main problem. Besides, he wasn’t going to keep giving her The Look, either. She just needed him to go back to “comfy clothes,” and he wouldn’t be appealing anymore. It was the suit, not the man.
Except he did it again. He was now dressed in a pair of distressed jeans that Ion had somehow miraculously made look like he’d owned them for ages, soft as a cloud, worn in just the right places.
Did his ass look like that normally? She wanted to ask, but she was afraid of what the question might reveal about her. She simply kept filming, laughing when he goofed around.
“I like this leather jacket,” he said, examining it, twisting around. That twisting movement made the slate blue T-shirt he was wearing pull across his chest. But at least it was relaxed. She didn’t know what she’d do if it were tighter.
“All right, last look,” Ion announced, and Lily felt a burst of relief. She’d definitely gotten in over her head on this one. “I call this ‘if a geek went jock’ and I think it’ll work perfectly. Because… you know, he’s a geek. And a jock.”
“Excuse you,” Tobin said, his eyebrows jumping up. “I am hardly a jock.”
“With a body like that? Are you kidding me?” Ion said, calling him on his bullshit.
“I take care of myself,” he said, with overblown wounded pride. Lily snickered.
“Well, get in there, Mr. I Take Care of Myself,” Ion said, gesturing to the changing area.
“All right, all right.”
Lily heard rustling, then a snort of disbelief. “Where’s the rest of this?”
“Just put it on!” Ion called, then turned to Lily. “This isn’t what I normally do, but I was playing with some concepts. This should be fun.”
He stepped out. He was wearing his own hightop sneakers, a pair of black basketball shorts that were obviously silky, with an almost mirror sheen. It somehow showcased his muscular legs.
She didn’t even know she liked legs that way.
“I am wearing a crop top,” he said, gesturing to his abs. “I look like a Hulk Hogan video. But, you know, Asian.”
“You look great, six-pack,” Ion said, rolling her eyes. “Relax.”
“You try relaxing when you look like an eighties Jane Fonda exercise video,” he muttered. “Does a headband come with this? Or do I order that separately?”
“Don’t make me come over there and thump you,” Ion warned, and Tobin grumbled but shut up. “There is a hoodie in there you can pull over, if you absolutely must. I made it custom for a slightly larger client, but it should fit you. Actually, that probably works better – he was taller, but his chest wasn’t as broad, so it should even out. If it doesn’t, I can find something else.”
Tobin crowed, retreating back to the dressing area. Then Lily heard him making what sounded like yummy noises.
“Oh my God, this is the softest thing I have ever felt, ever,” Tobin said. He came back out wearing the pullover hoodie, looking ecstatic. “And it’s got a wizard’s kinda hood, not one of those stupid little puny hoods! And deep pockets! Oh my God, did you line this thing with kittens? This is so frickin’ soft!”
“You gotta give me your buy links,” he enthused, bouncing around with the hood up. “And you realize I am buying this and keeping it, right? I am wearing it out of this shop. I may never take it off. I want to live in it. This is like a cloud. With a hood. This is perfect.”
Ion turned to Lily, an amused little grin on her face. “He’s like a puppy, isn’t he?”
I’m a dog… Like a Labrador retriever.
Lily smiled back. “You know, he really is.” She turned back to Tobin. “All right. Up to this point, I would say we were successful. We have achieved hawt.”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
From award-winning author Cathy Yardley comes Love, Comment, Subscribe, a fun, feisty romance about high school frenemies turned unlikely collaborators.
Back in high school, Lily Wang wanted to be popular, but she considered herself lucky to be part of a tight group of oddballs and honors students called the Nerd Herd. Now, at twenty-eight, she feels like she’s finally on the cusp of succeeding as a beauty influencer—if she can hit five million subscribers, brands will take notice and she could get her own makeup line.
Fellow Nerd Herd alum Tobin Bui has had a lot of success as a YouTube gamer. But the road to online stardom has been rocky. First, he disappointed his parents by dropping out of college, and now, after years of pranks, skits, and playthroughs, he’s struggling to come up with new content to satisfy his ever-growing fan base. His agents say he needs cross-audience appeal, a new twist.
When Nerd Herd frenemy Lily approaches Tobin about teaming up to do a video to bolster her brand and reinvigorate his, he agrees. But when their first collab video goes viral, their relationship heats up too. With the whole internet watching, will these two former misfits finally realize they’re perfect together?
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Meet the Author:
Cathy Yardley is an award-winning author of romance, chick lit, and urban fantasy. She has sold over 1.2 million books with publishers like St. Martin’s Press, Avon, and Harlequin Books. She writes fun, geeky, and diverse characters who believe that underdogs can make good and that sometimes being a little wrong is just right. She likes writing about quirky, crazy adventures because she’s had plenty of her own: she had her own army in the Society for Creative Anachronism; she’s spent New Year’s on a three-day solitary vision quest in the Mojave Desert; and she had VIP access to the Viper Room in Los Angeles. Now, she spends her time writing in the wilds of East Seattle, trying to prevent her son from learning the truth about any of said adventures and riding herd on her two dogs (and one husband).
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