Episode 6

String Theory and writing rom-com as a straight man with Jonathon Shannon

Jonathon Shannon is a Sydney-based writer and creative director. His work has been recognised at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, screened at the St Kilda Film Festival, and is housed in the permanent archives of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Bound to Happen is his debut novel.

Our interview begins at  00.21.00

We've got a Substack publication now! On the last day of the month, we share recommendations for two things we reckon you should read/watch/listen to. The beauty of Substack is you can revisit all our old editions and comment on our episode updates to share your thoughts. Come say hi!

Caitlin recommends: The House that Joy Built by Holly Ringland*

An inspiring non-fiction book exploring creativity and encouraging us to do things purely for the joy of them.

Michelle recommends: Begin Again by Helly Acton

Frankie dies in a freak kebab-related accident and then she's faced with a choice: she can look at several turning points of her life and experience how it would have unfolded. Does she want to begin again in one of those lives or move to the Final Destination?

In this interview, we chat about:

  • Deciding how much scientific theory to include in the book through the character of Sophie, an astrophysicist
  • WTF is 'string theory', and what does it have to do with love?
  • The difficulty of translating and sharing music through words
  • What's the line between romantic moves and creepy moves – and how do you make sure you're writing a poetic character, not a weirdo
  • Why don't more straight men read or write romance?
  • Jonathan's journey from copywriter to published author
  • What it's like to have a spouse also publishing novels

Books and other things mentioned:

  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • This is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan
  • Minnie Darke (author – listen to our interview here)
  • Sliding Doors (film)
  • Quantum Leap (TV series)
  • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
  • The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig
  • Dark Mode by Ashleigh Kalagian-Blunt (listen to our interview)
  • Sleepless in Seattle (film)
  • Love, Actually (film)
  • 500 Days of Summer (film)
  • Matthew Reilly (author)

Follow @jonathonshannonauthor on Instagram

Bound to Happen is out now. Thank you to Ultimo Press for providing copies of the book in preparation for the interview.

Connect with us on Instagram: @betterwordspod

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.