Episode 11

Theatre kids, reality TV and studying pop culture with Jodi McAlister

Jodi McAlister is an author and academic. In her author life, her latest books are Libby Lawrence Is Good At Pretending, a campus rom-com about theatre kids with too many emotions, and Here for the Right Reasons, playing with reality TV tropes. As an academic, she researches romantic love and popular culture and is a Senior Lecturer in Writing, Literature and Culture at Deakin University.

Our interview begins at  [time]

Caitlin recommends: The Summer I Turned Pretty (TV series)

A frivolous and fun YA rom-com that feels really nostalgic of YA from the 2010s.

Michelle recommends: All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donohue

Queer witchy YA. Need we say more? Okay then, tarot cards and a missing girl. Enjoy!

In this interview, we chat about:

  • Jodi's experience as a theatre kid and why it's made her the writer she is today (while also heavily influencing Libby Lawrence is Good at Pretending)
  • Why Jodi chose to explore Much Ado About Nothing in the novel
  • Switching between paranormal and contemporary genres and how the writing informs each project
  • Jodi's new adult novel, Here for the Right Reasons, which is set on a season of (a show that's definitely not) The Bachelor
  • What's it like to study popular culture academically?
  • How the stories we tell about love affect the way we think about love in reality
  • Jodi's research into virginity loss representation in the media
  • The rise and fall of New Adult and where we go next

Books and other things mentioned:

  • The Appeal by Janice Hallett
  • Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV (podcast)
  • Love Island UK (TV series)
  • The Circle UK (TV series)
  • The Bachelor (TV series)
  • Social Queue by Kay Kerr
  • The Cult of Romance by Sarah Ayoub (listen to our interview here)
  • Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
  • Colleen Hoover (author)


[Book availability]

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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 going to aerial classes.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I write words and tell stories for a living as a journalist and marketer. So it makes sense that I'm devouring more words and talking about books in my spare time, right? I'm also an Aussie living in the UK. When I'm not thinking about words, I can be found cuddling my pug Percy, climbing or going on walks in the English countryside.