Author Guest Post

Jenn Bennett on Romancing the Silver Screen

April 4, 2017
Jenn Bennett
Author of Alex, Approximately

Like every good modern couple, my husband and I met online. We weren’t looking for romance. It was sheer accident that we even began talking. We made each other laugh and argued about music, but it was our mutual love of film that actually brought us together. We both had strong opinions (I loved Amélie, and he loved Forbidden Zone, but we both agreed on Bringing up Baby), and one film led to another. Before long, our online relationship went live, and we began watching movies together in person in a shared apartment in Seattle.

Years passed. We moved to Los Angeles, and later Washington D.C. When it came time to make our relationship more permanent, film once again played a role. My future husband was ready to get married before I was, so every time he proposed, I turned him down. It got to the point where it was almost a joke.

Him: Want to get married yet?

Me: Nope, I’m good, thanks.

Him: *deep sigh*

And so it went, until one particular business trip I took to Hong Kong. Flights to the Far East are long. Like, 24-hours long. I read. I listened to music. And because there were only a few movies available to choose from on the flight, I ended up watching an old 1990s romantic comedy, Sleepless in Seattle. I’m not usually sentimental, but that movie broke me. When I arrived in Hong Kong, I called my future husband and said, “Okay. I think we should get married now.” And that, as they say, was that.

In my second young adult romance, Alex, Approximately (Which you can read an extended excerpt of here until April 17), my characters also meet online. “Mink” and “Alex”—as they know each other—are living on different coasts when they bond over classic film. They don’t share their real names. No photos. No videos. They don’t even know when she moves across the country to live with her divorced father in California that they are suddenly in the same town, working together at the same summer job. In a nod to You’ve Got Mail (Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks), or its predecessor, 1940’s The Shop Around the Corner (Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan), my characters fall headfirst into a classic love/hate relationship, completely unaware that the real-life them is actually the online them.

It’s a movie-worthy romance, influenced by the films they love. Sort of like my own life. And that’s why I’m so excited for Alex, Approximately to be released in April. I can’t wait for readers to sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch my characters unwittingly fall in love.

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