I had the opportunity to interview Tay Marley, author of “The QB Bad Boy and Me”!! Not only is TQBBB&M her debut novel, it was also the very first book published by Wattpad’s publishing company, Wattpad Books! Make sure to check out my review of the book here, as well as the playlist I curated for the book. Buy links are included below!
— OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS —
Star cheerleader Dallas Bryan has a problem on her hands – and his name is Drayton Lahey.
Ever since the hot star quarterback of Archwood High football team hit her car with his motorcycle, he’s had the annoying ability to get under her skin.
Dallas has been thinking about Drayton way more than she should… in all the ways that she shouldn’t.
But Dallas has one goal – to pursue her dance-school dreams in California – and no one, not even a green-eyed football god, will stop her.
As sparks fly, Dallas begins to wonder whether Drayton could cost her dreams… if he doesn’t break her heart first…
A fiery, seriously addictive and steamy debut, perfect for fans of The Kissing Booth.
— INTERVIEW —
COURTNEY: What inspired TQBBB&M? Why did you decide to have it set in America?
TAY: It was inspired by this fascination that I’ve always had with high school football culture. We see it in movies a lot. The pep rallies, the cheerleaders, the game night. It’s such a pinnacle in the US and I wanted to include some of that excitement in my story. Which obviously, because NZ doesn’t have American Football, it had to be set in America. I also think setting books in America makes it more relatable to the readers. Most of the demographic that are reading these stories come from America and those who don’t, are usually quite familiar with American culture from seeing it in movies and shows. Whereas an American reading a book set in NZ might not make any sense because we have such a different dynamic and we’re not widely broadcast in the same way.
COURTNEY: What was the process of being published through Wattpad books like? Can you walk me through it?
TAY: I want to say that it was a breeze. But it was a first for me. I have nothing to compare it to. I just know that I loved the process and I had a great team to work alongside. First came the phone call, which was life changing. And then the edit letter. That was probably the most overwhelming part. Because the original version was 204,000 words long and we had to chop it down to 110,000 max, the edit letter was the letter that gave all of the suggestions on how to do that. So while it was overwhelming, I couldn’t have done it without that original edit letter. The advice on what to keep and what to cut was phenomenal. And then I started working with Deanna from wattpad and those edits were the line by line edits. I actually loved that process. It was like going through the manuscript with a fine tooth comb and perfecting it. Which we did back and forth, multiple times. I can’t tell you how many times I read it before I sent it back for the final time. Finally, it went to print and I received my first copy a few months later. Surreal.
COURTNEY: What were some major changes between the original version and the published version?
TAY: There were a few. Drayton’s smarmy uncle wasn’t in the published version. Dallas and Drayton took a while longer to confess their feelings. The original version is actually still on wattpad to be read and I think some people quite enjoy getting a more expanded story on this couple.
COURTNEY: Were there any scenes you had to cut that you loved? If so, can you tell me anything about them?
TAY: Well, not so much one particular scene, but because of the word count, it was decided that we’d sort of cut Gabby’s (also known as Spencer in the wattpad version) subplot from the published book. In most of my books, the secondary characters have issues of their own and for Gabby, that was reuniting with her absent father. She had a huge story in the wattpad version and unfortunately, there just wasn’t room for it in the published book. I know that some people felt that I created Gabby for the sole purpose of cheering on the lead characters romance, but that’s not the case and anyone who read the wattpad version, would know that.
COURTNEY: In high school, teens often feel pressured to go to colleges near their significant others. Why did you decide to have Dallas reject this idea so vehemently? (Which I appreciated!)
TAY: As someone who has been through high school and had boyfriends in high school, I’m a huge believer in not centering your future based on a teenage relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fine to date, and be in love and make plans in high school, but I think that it’s so important to keep your education as a focus. Work your partner into your future, don’t work your future around your partner. If that makes sense? I wanted to use Dallas as an example to chase whatever it is that you’re passionate about. Don’t ever give up on goals or a dream for something that might not last. I know that sounds cynical and no couple wants to believe they won’t survive, but be sure that if the worst happens, you haven’t put yourself in a position of regret. It’s incredibly lonely when a relationship ends and that person was all that you had in your life.
COURTNEY: Aside from the scenes with difficult football terminology, which scene was the hardest for you to write?
TAY: Probably the dancing with Dallas. Her audition. I don’t dance, I never have and it’s also quite difficult to describe a dance routine through words. I researched terminologies and ideas but it was still a challenge. Not to mention the emotion that is required in these routines.
COURTNEY: Why did you decide to write the epilogue from Drayton’s POV?
TAY: In the wattpad version, there were about twelve bonus scenes at the end of the book, all in Drayton’s POV. I really loved writing those and the readers loved them too. So again, I couldn’t fit them all because of the word count, but I wanted to include one.
COURTNEY: Any news on the publication of any sequels/prequels, such as the ones posted on Wattpad? (Or any other publications!)
TAY: Not that I can disclose right now. But I will be making an announcement in the next month or so. Be on the look out !
COURTNEY: Any news about a media adaptation?
TAY: I wish!
(Psst…I’m just going to leave this here… – C)
COURTNEY: What can readers expect from you next?
TAY: I’m always working on something new on Wattpad. In fact, I’m writing a new book that I plan to start updating on there soon ! Follow me @ tayxwriter to get alerts !
COURTNEY: Anything else to add?
TAY: Wattpad is genuinely life changing. I’m from a small town in NZ, which typically makes breaking into the international market, a lot harder! So the fact that I not only became a published author, but became the first one in a brand new publishing house, is surreal. You know? It’s beyond anything that I could have dreamed and I think wattpad is incredible for giving these opportunities to so many authors like myself. Authors that just came to find a place to exercise their passion and found a world of like minded writers and readers to connect with. The amount of people who have found careers because of this app, I mean, what’s left to say, it’s incredible!
HUGE thanks to Tay for allowing me to ask her all of these questions! You can pick up your own copy of “The QB Bad Boy and Me” at your nearest retailer (probably), but I’ve included some buy links below as well!
— BUY LINKS —
Book Depository (Ships International!)
— ABOUT THE AUTHOR —
Tay Marley wears many hats: bibliophile, entrepreneur, wife, mother, and featured Wattpad author. Her whirlwind journey on Wattpad began in 2017 and led to one hundred thousand dedicated followers, a five-part series, and three stand-alone books, including her breakout story, The QB Bad Boy and Me, which have amassed over forty-one million reads. She resides in New Zealand with her husband. When she isn’t writing about confident women and their love interests, she’s teaching her three small children how to be the leads in their own epic tales.
What Wattpad book would you love to see published? Let me know in the comments!