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Author Spotlight

Writing Friends to Lovers with Julian Winters: The Key Ingredients to a Perfect Romance!

Right Where I Left You  is a deliciously geeky best friends-to lovers romance, on shelves now! We asked author Julian Winters to share his key ingredients to the perfect friends to lovers romance. Scroll down to see what he said!

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Hi! I’m Julian Winters, author of RIGHT WHERE I LEFT YOU, a YA contemporary that follows geeky Isaac Martin as he tries to spend as much time as possible with his gamer-best friend, Diego, before summer ends and Isaac heads off to college. When an old crush reenters his life, suddenly Isaac’s distracted chasing the happily ever after he’s always wanted for himself, creating friction with Diego. But, sometimes, the love we truly need is right in front of our faces.

Friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes. Who doesn’t love a good slow burn? The missed signs? The comfort of sharing something with your best friend? That surprising moment when you realize the love you wanted was right there all along?

It’s my favorite book to read and write!


But what’s the recipe for those swoony will-they-or-won’t-they romances?

For me, the main component starts with: the friendship. I love rich history between two characters. How did they meet? What are their common interests? How do they annoy each other? What secrets do they have, together and from each other? All the moments that intertwine them adds an extra layer to the romance we all know is eventually coming.

The strength of their friendship is also where I love to add a dash (or a handful) of: tension. Transitioning from a platonic to romantic relationship is awkward. Sometimes, messy. I love those bits of miscommunication where a character questions everything. “Is this just banter or flirting?” “Will a kiss ruin our friendship?” “If I take this leap, will my best friend catch me?” That painful stretch where a character thinks they know what they want but all the what ifs get in the way? Truly chef’s kiss!

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Another key ingredient: vulnerability. I love those quiet, exposed moments between friends. Where they need one another. They help each other through something. Where a touch or a look or dancing around and laughing together changes everything. That brief second of hesitation where your heart is racing and you think, “is this… more?”


The cherry on top of friends-to-lovers romances is: the “a-ha!” moment. It’s when one or both characters realize they’re in love with their best friend. Yes! Give me a pinch of their other friends asking, “What took you so long?!” A dash of their loved ones pointing out all the signs they missed. A scoop of confusion, denial, then clarity from the main character. An earnest, but nervous love declaration. Finally, a dollop of drawn-out silence from the other person before they finally kiss and… I’m walking on the clouds.

Friends-to-lovers is a book dessert best served with deep connections, soft moments, and all the slow-burn-tension readers can handle. I hope you find that and more in the pages of RIGHT WHERE I LEFT YOU.


Click here for more info!

Penguin Teen