Q&A with Natalie Sue, Author of I Hope This Finds You Well

Q&A with Natalie Sue, Author of I Hope This Finds You Well

5 minute read

Welcome to our exclusive Q&A session with Natalie Sue, the debut author of I Hope This Finds You Well, one of the book choices in our May 2024 To Bee Read Book Box.

Natalie Sue Headshot

Learn more about our To Bee Read Book Box here!

Natalie Sue is a Canadian author who lives in Calgary with her husband, daughter, and dog. Her debut novel has captivated readers with its blend of humor, insight, and relatable exploration of office dynamics and personal growth. Today, we have the opportunity to delve deeper into Natalie Sue's world and that of her new novel!

I Hope This Finds You Well by Natalie Sue LitJoy TBR Book Box Special Edition

Q&A with Author Natalie Sue

LitJoy: What is your writing process like?

I need a solid concept first, but I also think a lot about characters during this phase, because I feel they go hand in hand. Once I have those two keystones, I start to loosely plot. I wouldn’t say I’m a very solid plotter, but I do like to have certain beats planned and love discovery writing on my way there.

LitJoy: If your book was made into a movie, which celebrities would you cast as the characters?

This is so fun to think about! Rhonda’s role would probably be incredibly fun to cast, because there are so many legends in that age range: Tracey Ullman, Amy Sedaris or the like. For Caitlin, maybe someone with a good deadpan stare like Margot Robbie or Sophie Turner. I would also really love for there to be many unknowns/discoveries in the cast.

LitJoy: What was the book that got you into reading/writing?

I was really into the Ramona Quimby books and remember reading them all during one summer break. I also really loved anything sort of gossipy/scandalous (which is maybe a tell for my future writing career) . The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney comes to mind.

The Face on the Milk Carton and Ramona Quimby book covers

LitJoy: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what kind?

I really wish I could listen to music for vibes while writing, but I’m usually too easily distracted by lyrics and will sing along to most songs/get way too into it whenever I try to, so I mostly need complete silence or something instrumental.

LitJoy: What’s your favorite piece of feedback you’ve received from a reader?

That I made them both laugh and cry. It’s incredible to be able to connect with people on an emotional level with writing, so to hear I tapped into varying emotions is such a huge compliment. I truly love it and can’t imagine it ever getting old!

LitJoy: Which character (from any book) do you identify with the most?

Matilda during her “spending all day at the library” era.

Q&A about I Hope This Finds You Well:

Casewrap of LitJoy's Special Edition of I Hope This Finds You Well by Natalie Sue

LitJoy: What inspired the office setting in I Hope This Finds You Well ?

This was mostly inspired by my former office job. It was a completely different type of company than in the book, and none of the characters are all that similar to anyone I worked with, but I feel like there’s a certain “all offices are the sameness” that I definitely took from there. There are so many common areas/interactions/and factors that have nothing to do with the actual job that can be super universal, and that’s what I love about this setting.

LitJoy: Where did you come up with the idea of the white text at the bottom emails?

Great question! I'm not for sure on where it came from (I wish I was), but I think it’s an offshoot from my college paper writing days. The professor would ask for a minimum number of words and if I, or a friend, couldn’t meet it, we’d maybe just repeat some paragraphs and white them out so the wordcount would appear higher. I think I maybe took that and made it passive-aggressive for the book, ha.

LitJoy: When you started the book, did you plan on there being a romance between Cliff and Jolene? We thought it was a fun and realistic relationship, and would love to know more about the romance story process.

Yes. I always wanted there to be some sort of love story/attraction between the two—it’s so hard not to include a bit of romance (I love love!). Because they were in the positions they were in, I knew their reasons for staying apart were hard lines, so I used that to my advantage. As much as I love love, I also adore the pining and angst that comes with getting there.

Art of Cliff and Jolene for the LitJoy Special Edition of I Hope This Finds You Well by Natalie Sue

LitJoy: Are there any actors or people that you patterned any of the characters after?

I didn’t think so at first, but my sister pointed out that I, maybe, patterned Cliff (the LI) after Charlie Hunnam, and now that she’s mentioned it…probably? (Haha) Another celebrity that comes to mind: I may have been looking at a book about a big red dog when I named him “Clifford Redmond”.

LitLoy: What's next for you as an author?

I’m working on something I’m so excited about, and the characters are making their way into my heart. The best phase! It’s set in an apartment building, and the main character is very driven, only her life is veering very far from her five-year plan.

Thank you so much to Natalie Sue for taking the time to answer our questions! We can't wait for you to experience I Hope This Finds You Well for yourself if you choose it in your May TBR Book Box , and we look forward to reading what Natalie releases next! Find her on Instagram @natwrotewhat!

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