What do you get when two seriously funny people start putting their hilarious banter to paper? Enter The Hot Guy, a new novel by film critic duo Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris.
Packed with movie-related humour, The Hot Guy is a warm, savvy, and genuine romcom, with characters you won't want to kick out of bed …
Adam, a serious cinema nerd, has no idea that he is the Hot Guy – a man so ridiculously attractive there's a Facebook group dedicated to seducing him.
Cate, a sports publicist who loves to crack a joke, is feeling down about her newly single status when her friends suggest the perfect pick-me-up: a night with the Hot Guy.
But that one night leaves both Cate and Adam wanting…
Is a genuine connection possible with a guy this phenomenally smokin'?
The Hot Guy is funny, smart and upfront about its genre. It's full of laugh-out-loud moments and pop-culture references that hit the mark. It's also not afraid to explore real emotions and relationship challenges, with complex characters that readers will fall in love with. And let's not forget; one of the lead characters is really, really Hot.
Mel Campbell is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist, critic, copywriter and editor. Mel cofounded the award-winning poster-journal Is Not Magazine and online pop-culture digest The Enthusiast. Her first book was Out of Shape: Debunking Myths about Fashion and Fit (Affirm Press, 2013. She is currently a columnist on writing at Overland magazine, a co-host of The Rereaders fortnightly literary and culture podcast, and a frequent contributor on film, TV and in print.
Anthony Morris is a freelance film writer and editor. Since 2005 he has been DVD editor at The Big Issue, a magazine he first began writing for in 1997. He has been the film editor for Forte magazine since 1992, and is currently a regular contributor to media outlets including Empire, Junkee, Broadsheet, SBS Online and the Wheeler Centre.
The Hot Guy
Authors: Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris
Question: What inspired you to write The Hot Guy?
Mel Campbell: Well, as film critics we'd often find ourselves standing around after a screening and chatting about the film we'd just seen. Then we'd start to invent new films, based on the one we'd just seen. I still remember Anthony with tears coursing down his face laughing at some clunky dialogue he'd just made. (Some of these fake films have ended up in -The Hot Guy'.) And after a while we decided that we could spin these stories into a film of our own. And because we watch a lot of romantic comedies, we often found ourselves dissecting what they did well and badly, and talking about those familiar rom-com tropes, and how we'd work with them and try to subvert them if we were writing a romantic comedy.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the character of Cate?
Anthony Morris: At first we started out taking turns writing a chapter each, so I ended up writing a lot of Cate's early scenes (though we soon shifted to writing everything together) and originally we hadn't planned for her to be as funny as she became. It was a lot of fun discovering her sense of humour.
Mel Campbell: Her love of jokes was a licence for us to be funny and silly ourselves, and make each other laugh.
Anthony Morris: Cate's worry that all her joking around meant that people didn't take her seriously was interesting to explore too. Her sense of humour is central to who she is, but by its very nature comedy is something that people readily dismiss as trivial.
Question: Why was it important to include film and pop culture references?
Mel Campbell: Just as Cate sees the world through humour, constantly finding the funny side to everything, we're professional film and pop culture writers, so we often view life through our favourite films, books, TV shows, comics and more. Pop culture is a shared language that we use to seek out other people to be close to, and it's also something that people argue over and have strong feelings about. And it's already woven into our everyday lives – I mean, every time my dad makes a lamb roast he jokes about those old ads where Naomi Watts turns down a date with Tom Cruise.
Question: Can you talk us through the processes of writing a book, together?
Mel Campbell: Anthony and I have very different but complementary writing styles: he's great at structure and dialogue, and at just plain getting words down, whereas I'm much fussier and angstier about details and settings and the actual language itself – the phrasing. And I'm always a stickler for character authenticity – 'would she react like that?" 'what sort of couch does The Hot Guy have?" 'would they use those words?"
Anthony Morris: We'd usually get together once or twice a week to write – we worked out the plot beforehand and figured out what we needed to put in each chapter ahead of time so our writing sessions were just a lot of messing about with ideas and dialogue. So long as we covered the things we needed to put in each chapter (for example, 'Adam and Cate go to the movies, they fight afterwards and realise they each have to pay more attention to the others interests") we were free to put in as many dumb jokes and pop culture riffs as we felt like. We spent most of the time just having fun with it, and hopefully that comes across to our readers.
The Hot Guy
Authors: Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris
Interview by Brooke Hunter