The Rom-Commers
by Katherine Center

Published: 2024-06-11T00:0
Paperback : 336 pages
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She’s rewriting his love story. But can she rewrite her own?

Emma Wheeler desperately longs to be a screenwriter. She’s spent her life studying, obsessing over, and writing romantic comedies?good ones! That win contests! But she’s also been the sole caretaker for her kind-hearted ...

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She’s rewriting his love story. But can she rewrite her own?

Emma Wheeler desperately longs to be a screenwriter. She’s spent her life studying, obsessing over, and writing romantic comedies?good ones! That win contests! But she’s also been the sole caretaker for her kind-hearted dad, who needs full-time care. Now, when she gets a chance to re-write a script for famous screenwriter Charlie Yates?The Charlie Yates! Her personal writing god!?it’s a break too big to pass up.

Emma’s younger sister steps in for caretaking duties, and Emma moves to L.A. for six weeks for the writing gig of a lifetime. But what is it they say? Don’t meet your heroes? Charlie Yates doesn’t want to write with anyone?much less “a failed, nobody screenwriter.” Worse, the romantic comedy he’s written is so terrible it might actually bring on the apocalypse. Plus! He doesn’t even care about the script?it’s just a means to get a different one green-lit. Oh, and he thinks love is an emotional Ponzi scheme.

But Emma’s not going down without a fight. She will stand up for herself, and for rom-coms, and for love itself. She will convince him that love stories matter?even if she has to kiss him senseless to do it. But . . . what if that kiss is accidentally amazing? What if real life turns out to be so much . . . more real than fiction? What if the love story they’re writing breaks all Emma’s rules?and comes true?

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LOGAN SCOTT CALLED just as I was making dinner, and I almost didn’t answer because my dad and I were singing along to ABBA’s greatest hits. There were not too many people I’d interrupt ABBA for—but yes, fine, Logan Scott was one of them. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the publisher:

1. The enemies-to-lovers trope often found in romantic novels is taken to the next level here by adding the forced-proximity trope because Emma lives with Charlie for six weeks. How are these tropes used throughout the novel? How do you feel they complement each other?

2. Deciding to move to LA to work on the screenplay with Charlie Yates was difficult for Emma since her father required her full-time care. Have you ever made a difficult decision to sacrifice something in order to pursue a dream? How did it work out?

3. Both Emma and Charlie have experienced heartbreak and loss in some way: Emma lost her mother and, subsequently, had to give up many aspects of her life to take care of her father. Charlie’s wife left him when he was diagnosed with cancer. How did these losses and heartbreaks bring Emma and Charlie closer together?

4. Chapter 4 opens with the line “Don’t meet your heroes.” Do you agree or disagree with this sentiment? Have you had an experience where you met someone influential? What happened?

5. In Chapter 27, Emma is about to miss her flight, but the pilot miraculously holds the plane for her. Have you witnessed or experienced a modern-day miracle such as this in your life?

6. Emma forgives Sylvie for their dad’s accident. Emma also forgives Charlie for how he treated her in LA. And, ultimately, Emma forgives herself for her mom’s death. Discuss the theme of forgiveness and its importance to Emma’s character development.

7. When we first meet Charlie, he doesn’t understand rom-coms because he doesn’t believe in love. When do you think he starts to understand the role of love in living a fulfilling life? What was the pivotal moment when he realized he was falling in love with Emma?

8. At the end of Chapter 3, Emma wonders, “if maybe dreams were better off never trying to become reality.” Do you think Emma put her dreams aside solely because of her father’s condition, or was her fear of failure part of the problem? How does Emma overcome this fear?

9. Writing plays a significant role in the story and in Emma’s life. How do you think Emma balanced writing happy endings with creating them for herself? By the end of the novel Emma does become a famous screenwriter even though the initial job was to be a ghostwriter. What does that reveal about following your dreams?

10. In Chapter 28, Emma’s dad tells her, “Whatever story you tell yourself about your life, that’s the one that’ll be true.” He explains how the tragedy that happened to them made him a better person. Do you agree with this sentiment? Do you believe tragedy can make us better? How have you seen this played out in your life?

11. Author Katherine Center has talked about how love stories are particularly nourishing to read because the stories themselves are structured to give us something to look forward to. Love stories create a positive feeling of hope as we anticipate the characters overcoming all the obstacles in the story and finding each other. Emma faces a lot of hardships in the story, but those hardships force her to rethink some unquestioned assumptions in her life—allowing her to grow. Is Emma a stronger, wiser person by the end of the story? What role does falling in love play for her? 12. Center wants us all to “read for joy”—to read for pleasure, and fun, and play—and encourages us to find our own compass for the stories we love. Do you read for joy? How do you decide what books to read? What kinds of stories are you drawn to?

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