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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

ℚ♫ Love by Numbers - Sara Donovan

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Love by Numbers (, AUS Impulse, 334 pages), a Contemporary Romance.

Love by Numbers has been listed in the Amazon US 'Unforgettable Fiction', the iBooks Top 50 Bestseller, and the Kobo Best Reads.

'A really engaging story. I'd definitely read this again if I ever needed a pick-me-up or if I'd hit a reading lull.' Kayleigh's Book Reviews

'This well-written debut novel with the intriguing premise shows that the path to true love is truly complicated.' Chick Lit Club

'Thank goodness you've finished the book and can start helping around the house again.' Sara Donovan's husband


Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


Good morning Sara, welcome to BooksChatter and thank you for joining us today.

Before we start with the actual questions, do you have a music playlist that you used in Love by Numbers, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?


Theme from Swan Lake – P.I. Tchaikovsky
I had a white swan/ black swan thing happening between my heroine and her flatmate
Interlude 1 – Alt J
because my heroine is border-line obsessive

Tesselate – Alt J
because she ends up in a love square/triangle

So Real – Jeff Buckley
because my heroine is afraid of love

As Time Goes By – performed by Harry Nilsson
she loves the movie Casablanca

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
because my heroine discovers as Mick Jagger says – but you get what you need

What was the inspiration for Love by Numbers?
"The science and psychology of falling in love inspired me to write Love By Numbers.

Science, because neuroscientists think that love, lust and bonding are the result of three separate brain circuits that can (to quite a degree) be influenced by the environment; and psychology because studies suggest who we get attracted to as adults is directly influenced by fantasies we had of the perfect parent at age five.

Discovering these theories was fascinating to me because they explained my strange love choices from earlier in my life and also because they seemed filled with romantic comedy potential."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Way, way, waywayway too much!  I’ve had/have all of the flaws of my protagonist one way or another.  And like my protagonist, I’ve done extreme things to try and solve my problems, sometimes without thinking through the consequences enough."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Love by Numbers - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"My book is a romantic comedy that bends the rules of the genre.  The cover needed to say ‘Romcom’ but also needed to suggest some non-conforming characters and storyline as well.

The numbers and mathematical symbols reflect the neuroscience aspect of the book, and the four person cut-out reflects the storyline about the complicated love square the heroine ends up creating.

The graphic artist is Michelle, one of talented book cover design team from HarperCollins Australia."
Why should we read Love by Numbers and what sets it apart from the rest?  What makes your book unique?
"Love By Numbers is unique because you won’t know who the heroine ends up with, and if she ends up with anyone - until the last chapter.

My heroine is confused by her love choices at the beginning of the story and although at times she thinks she has things sorted, unexpected circumstances keep showing up that disorient her.  It’s because of her genuine confusion that I can keep readers guessing."
Can you tell us something quirky about Love by Numbers, its story and characters?
"Something that isn’t quirky about this book is that it’s about a woman working through her feelings for two men.

I’ve been in love with two men – not at the same time, but I have had two marriages - which isn’t quirky either.  Only it is quirky – terribly quirky - because these two men are brothers.  YES! I know!!  Surprising, maybe even taboo for some (or maybe lots.  I’m still surprised by the assumptions and judgments directed at me because of this...)

Anyway, I deeply respect my husband and my ex- and the two male characters in my book aren’t carbon copies of both of them.  Both male characters, despite how different they are, are based on my husband.  There are many sides to his personality."
Who would you recommend Love by Numbers to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I’d recommend Love By Numbers to readers who have been confused by their love choices, or who have ever felt borderline obsessive about a relationship, as well as readers who like a love story that keeps them guessing.

Love By Numbers isn’t erotica by any means, but there are several sex scenes in it.  That’s completely the fault of the wonderful mentor I utilised when writing my early drafts.  If she didn’t know if my heroine had the big “O” or not when she was in the bedroom with a love interest, questions were asked.  I put the sex in so I didn’t have to have explicit conversations with my mentor in the crowded café where we met."
If you could / wished to turn Love by Numbers into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"My love square dream team would be Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson (the Black Swans) and Emily Blunt and Alexander Skarsgård (the White Swans).  It’s not right to call them Black Swan/White Swan because they all end up grey half way through."
What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I’m inspired to write romantic comedies because being in love with someone, then trying to find out who they really are and create long term intimacy with them, has been tough, confusing, funny and utterly compelling in my experience.  I like to write about relationships because there is still so much for me to learn about the topic.

But I have other genres in my yet-to-be written library as well.  Historical narratives and sci-fi also interest me, but I’d include a love angle to these genres as well. Always."
What is your writing process?
  1. Work out what embarrasses you, makes you feel alive or fascinates you.
  2. Come up with an entertaining hypothesis you want to test about one of the above.
  3. Articulate the hypothesis in the form of a very specific question.
  4. Work out what kinds of personalities would best allow the question to be explored in its extreme.
  5. Plot the entire story.
  6. Let the characters run amok and create their own story (despite your plotting), apply bum glue and sit down and write what happens!
What is in store next?
"I’m working on a romantic comedy about a socially active women who is trying to save the world and win the guy at the same time.  She’s a wannabe documentary film maker who is in love with the subject of her film – a social activist who is living off the grid in what appears to be an ideal community.

The story is an exploration of the monogamy/polyamory spectrum, how far people will expose themselves for a cause they believe in and the light and dark side of being a hero."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I have a very sweet, cute, love addicted dog called Bosley.  He’s a 10 year old English Cocker Spaniel with attitude."

What a baby!  Hello Bosley!!!  Lots of head scratches to you :-)
Many thanks for sharing Bosley with us, and for being with us today.  Have a great tour!

Love by Numbers - available NOW!

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.uk purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK purchase from Google Books find on Goodreads
US: purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from iTunes US

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