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  16:00

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)

Follow @jodimcalister on Instagram

Connect with us on Instagram: @betterwordspod

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Better Words
Better Words

About your hosts

Profile picture for Caitlin Toohey

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.
Profile picture for Michelle Gately

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.