Local author and UNO alumna Lynn Painter assures her first published YA romantic comedy book “BETTER THAN THE MOVIES” releasing on May 4 will be just that.
Inspired by rom-com movies, Painter wanted to bring the same “swoony” story, cringe and laugh-out-loud feelings before the happy ending to book form.
“It’s a rom-com inspired by all the classic rom-coms I grew up watching with my mother, and the book is kind of a fun play on how someone’s worldview and expectations can be completely skewed – for better or worse – by being raised on a steady diet of happily-ever-after’s,” Painter said.
In order to put the movie that played in her head to paper, Painter used large 8 by 8 Post-it notes to layout each scene from the book. After roughly drafting the scenes out, she placed the neon papers onto the wall of her office and pulled them down one at a time to further develop each scene.
“I’m sure my method is probably breaking a slew of old school writerly rules, but it really does work for me,” Painter said. “Also, it felt really freaking good to be able to dramatically crumple up and throw away each paper once a scene was completed.”
The neon papers came together to tell a story about a hopeless romantic who falls for the once irritating boy next door.
“Liz Buxbaum is a hopeless romantic who is convinced that fate wants her to land her childhood crush, Michael, after he moves back to town,” Painter said. “However, the only way she can think of to get him to notice her is to work with Wes, the irritating boy next door. But the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes that Wes is not the obnoxious neighbor she always thought he was.”
Outside of writing and working as a Facilities Coordinator for a heavy equipment dealership, Painter is a mother and a wife who also has a childhood story of her own. She said growing up, she was a voracious reader who always had a book in hand. However, she hadn’t always known the writer in herself.
“So how didn’t I know I wanted to be a writer? Why did it never occur to me? Pick up a pen, past Lynn!” Painter said. “It wasn’t until after I was married and had a baby that my sister said, ‘I saw an author on Oprah. You read all the time – maybe you should write a book.’”
Painter decided to pick up her pen and begin writing her first “awful” book that week. She then returned to UNO to study in the Writers Workshop.
“So, I guess I kind of owe Oprah Winfrey – and UNO – a huge thank you!” Painter said.
Although Painter has earned her first book publishing opportunity for BETTER THAN THE MOVIES, she said she has written many books that were at first rejected. The rejection never stopped Painter from writing, and now she has three more books under contract after BETTER THAN THE MOVIES.
“Persistence really does pay off,” Painter said.
The three others include another YA rom-com THE DO-OVER coming next May from S&S and two adult rom-coms being published by Berkeley Penguin Random House, MR. WRONG NUMBER releasing in 2022 and THE LOVE WAGER in 2023.
Readers can buy BETTER THAN THE MOVIES locally at Barnes and Noble, The Bookworm and The Next Chapter as well as online at Target, Walmart, BAM, Amazon, Audible, Apple Books and more.
“Even though BETTER THAN THE MOVIES is a ‘YA’ rom-com, it isn’t just for teens,” Painter said. “It’s a straight-up romantic comedy, with the only difference being that the protagonist is still in high school. Technically, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, 10 Things I Hate About You were all ‘YA’ flicks.”