If you are in search of a new read, in the midst of a book slump, or even wanting to mix things up and pursue a new genre, then I have just the novel for you: UoN alumna Keighley Bradford’s Love, Anonymous.
Inspired by Love Letters of UoN, Love, Anonymous follows Sammy and Byron as they undergo the tumultuous journey from childhood best friends to strangers to more. However, we learn that Sammy runs the university’s anonymous love letter page adored by her peers. A fact unbeknownst to those around her, including Byron, who inspired Sammy to start the page.
Throughout the novel we see Sammy and Byron rekindle their friendship after she ghosted him a year prior, with Byron determined to do whatever it takes to win back his best friend.
Will their relationship survive the secrets that led to them parting, and the ones that are still ongoing?
Bradford has built the relationship between Sammy and Byron so smoothly and intricately that you feel as though you’re witnessing two of your friends going through the same situation. Love, Anonymous was an un-put-down-able novel, with an engaging ensemble of characters that you cannot help but love, no matter how brief their appearance on the page. Personally, I cannot wait for the second novel in the Love & Other Words series!
Love, Anonymous is available in e-book and paperback copies. A list of retailers can be found here.
Thanks to Opus, I was lucky enough to chat to author Keighley about Love, Anonymous. Check out the spoiler free interview below!
PB: I know you studied the Creative Industries degree at UoN. Did your love of writing influence your choice of degree? Or, did you fall in love with writing after starting uni?
KB: I fell in love with creative writing when I was thirteen. I actually came to uni to study film, as I love the behind-the-scenes aspects, and the creation of the stories. Because of the classes I took, it became a natural progression into the writing courses.
Then I decided to do my Masters, which was purposely to learn marketing as a means to market myself as a writer for my major project.
PB: That would have been very useful going into the indie publishing sphere.
KB: It has been!
PB: What made you want to write romance books? Are you a long-time romance reader?
KB: I originally started writing YA paranormal fantasy because that’s what I was reading in high school. Then I came to uni, picked up my first romance book, and realised I really enjoyed them.
The progression into writing romances began when NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) started, it was my first year at uni, and I thought “You know what? I’m going to write a book in a month”. I decided to do the challenge, and to push myself further by choosing romance. That way, there were no expectations as I had no idea if I would be any good at it or not. It was just a process of going with the flow, writing, and seeing what happened.
It was a fun challenge, with no goals to publish. So, there was just that freedom to write and explore. I fell in love with the genre and have stuck with it since.
PB: When I was reading Love, Anonymous, I thought to myself “Surely Love Letters of UoN had to have been some influence”. Was that the case?
KB: Yes, it definitely was an inspiration. My first year on campus, the page had just started, and it was such a huge thing.
PB: I remember when I started, the page was recommended by a friend, but it wasn’t surrounded by the on-campus hype that you’re describing. As a reader, I definitely felt that notion in the book though.
KB: It was such a huge part of uni culture. And to me, I love the concept of Romeo and Juliet—the love letters and annotations—and I could see the similarities between those and the page, which inspired me to go down that path for the novel.
PB: With Byron and Sammy, what made you choose the friends-to-lovers arc for them?
KB: I find friends-to-lovers a lot easier to work with then say, enemies-to-lovers. There’s a flowing connection that’s already existing, the characters kind of already know everything about each other. You can also tap into that history between them when needed, which works well with exploring backstories, and characters reconnecting.
PB: As a reader, friends-to-lovers is hard to do well, and many of the ones I’ve read have missed the mark slightly. But with Love, Anonymous I was rooting for Sammy and Byron the whole way through, which was great.
KB: Thank you, I’m glad.
PB: Last question. Do you have any plans to write more books in this world?
KB: I do. Love, Anonymous is book one in the Love & Other Words series. I’m currently working on the second one, Love Me, Love Me Not which features two characters that you meet in Sammy and Byron’s story. There’ll be overlapping timelines, but a lot of the novel will surpass the events of Love, Anonymous.