Author Interview: Julie Tieu – Circling Back to You is a delightful summer read featuring Asian American characters & a workplace romance. This post may contain links to purchase books & you can read our affiliate disclosure here.
About Julie Tieu:
Julie Tieu is the author of The Donut Trap and the forthcoming Circling Back To You. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, on the hunt for delicious eats, or dreaming about her next travel adventure. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her high school crush husband and two energetic kids.
Synopsis for Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu
Cadence Lim has transformed from behind-the-scenes number cruncher to an integral part of the sales team at Prism Realty. But despite moving up the corporate ladder, her complicated relationship with her estranged elderly father weighs heavily and she can’t seem to shake the desire for a new beginning.
At least Cadence can always lean on her favorite co-worker and co-conspirator, Matt Escanilla. A top broker with an unsuccessful love life, the forever single Matt is constantly being nagged by his loving Filipino family to settle down.
Their relationship takes a turn when a business trip lands them both in their hometown and Matt enlists Cadence as a pretend girlfriend for a family gathering. The new after-hours setting forces the two friends to see each other in a new light, and their previously buried feelings rise quickly to the surface. When competing promotions threaten to separate Cadence and Matt, these office besties must work together to round up their ambitions and families to pursue their overdue romance.
Author Interview: Julie Tieu
Julie Tieu, I’m so excited to talk to you today about Circling Back to You, out July 12th, 2022. Thank you for joining me for this author interview.
Thank you for having me!
Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind Circling Back to You?
I enjoy workplace romances and I took some inspiration from some of my favorite office couples, such as Jim and Pam from The Office and Leslie and Ben from Parks and Recreation. I also like the movie Two Week’s Notice. It is always interesting to me that we spend a lot of our days with our colleagues (in-person, pre-pandemic) and we may get to know them in that specific environment. Sometimes, it becomes murky. Are we friends? Can we hang out outside of work? I wanted to be able to explore that especially with a character like Cadence who keeps her life compartmentalized.
Cadence is a number cruncher who has a complicated relationship with her estranged and elderly father. She also dreams of a new beginning. Can you tell us more about Cadence?
Cadence is straitlaced and by the book. She’s an analyst and pragmatic. To some, that might read as cold, but she always strives to make the logical choice. She worked really hard, but at the beginning of the book, we find out that even though she has done a good job, that hasn’t translated into promotions, so she’s open to new opportunities.
In her personal life, she has a complicated relationship with her family, which was exacerbated by the death of her mother five years prior. She does try to support her family as much as she can, but it is a work in progress.
Matt has an unsuccessful love life and is nagged by his loving Filipino family to settle down. Can you tell us more about him?
Matt is successful professionally, but has been noncommittal in his love life. He soon realizes that he’s the last of his cousins to settle down. Either everyone has a partner. Some have kids already. While he tries to brush off his family’s opinions, he’s starting to feel left out. In the book, we see him reevaluate what he really wants for himself in his future.
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Author Interview: Julie Tieu: All About Writing
Can you tell readers what tropes and/or themes to expect from Circling Back to You?
The tropes include friends to lovers, grumpy/sunshine, forced proximity, and a little fake dating. Some themes explored are grief and complicated family dynamics.
Do you have any favorite scenes in Circling Back to You?
In the book, Cadence and Matt have to go on a business trip together. I had a lot of fun writing the banter when they meet at the airport.
I would love to know if you’re a plotter or a pantser. What seems to work best when you’re working on a new manuscript?
I am a plotter. I like to outline in a spreadsheet so I have an idea of where the story is going, but it’s not too detailed. That way, it gives me the flexibility to change things if I feel inspired to go in a different direction.
Do you have any favorite snacks, music or rituals for your writing? For instance, are you blasting music or need complete silence?
I do listen to music while I write. I usually play the same album for each project. It helps me pick up where I left off.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
Find your community of writer friends who will cheer you on. Don’t be afraid of constructive feedback. Celebrate every win, even the small ones.
Author Interview: Julie Tieu -Reading Recs, TV Casting & More
What started your foray into reading and loving the romance genre?
I happened to pick up The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and I completely loved it. At the time, my kids were young and I was not getting enough sleep. Romance provided a fun escape and I was hooked. I’ve read so many romances since.
Circling Back to You is one of my top Summer 2022 reads! What are some romances on your TBR and/or must read romances?
Thank you! I had the pleasure of reading some wonderful forthcoming romances. I highly recommend Love In The Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson, The Make-Up Test by Jenny Howe, and Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon. I’m excited to read Lucy Yi is Not a Romantic by Lauren Ho, Just Another Love Song by Kerry Winfrey, Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun, and The Stand-Up Groomsman by Jackie Lau.
I always love talking about TV and movies. If you were to cast an adaptation for Circling Back to You, do you have anyone in mind for your characters?
I have thought about Manny Jacinto for Matt and Olivia Liang for Cadence, but I am really open-minded in this totally hypothetical question. I think there’s a lot of emerging Asian American/Asian diaspora talent in TV and film that the world has yet to meet.
Do you have any favorite TV shows or movie franchises?
My favorite TV shows are Parks and Recreation and New Girl. I also love kdramas like Goblin and Twenty Five Twenty One. I love cooking shows too. My favorites include Somebody Feed Phil and Top Chef.
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me, Julie! How can readers best connect with you?
I’m on Twitter at @julietieu and on Instagram at @julietieuwrites. Readers can also sign up for my quarterly-ish newsletter at my website www.julietieu.com.