JE Birk on Depending on You and Writing a Romantic Comedy: Or, The Truth About Happy Angst ~ Guest Blog

Prism Book Alliance would like to thank JE Birk for taking the time to talk with us today.


Title: Depending on You
Author: JE Birk
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publication Date:02/04/2015
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance


A prequel to The Twinkie Ignition

It all started with a diabetic kid who wouldn’t stop eating cookies. And a best friend who’d just announced his bisexuality and hit on everything that moved. And a kind pediatric nurse with an amazing rack, a lying ex-boyfriend, and a nasty case of the chicken pox.

But mostly, it started at table 42.

When Benjy Moreland almost collapses during his restaurant shift, Dr. Kyle Penners wants nothing more than to take care of him… but if there’s one thing former foster kid Benjy values, it’s his independence. A dying man and a sick little boy force Kyle and Benjy to work together, and both of them have to make some important choices about what it means to depend on someone.

Writing a Romantic Comedy: Or, The Truth About Happy Angst:

I’ll admit it. I’m a rom-com freak.

I can’t quite say when I first discovered that there was nothing I enjoyed more on a Saturday afternoon than a nice, humorous adventure into how two people fall in love. Perhaps it was when my mother, also a fan of this genre, first introduced me to While You Were Sleeping. (Such a classic.) Perhaps it was when I discovered When Harry When Sally and immediately watched it six or seven times in a row.

It’s tough to say. What I know for sure is this: as much as I love a tale full of heartache and pain, romantic comedies are what I go for when I need comfort. Peace. A reminder that the world can be light and breezy. In those moments, I turn to books like Too Stupid to Live by Anne Tenino or Blame it on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton. Books that I can chuckle through and appreciate for their wit and hilarity.

When I first started writing Depending on You, I knew right off the bat that this wasn’t going to be one of my deep and dark tales. Oh, it had the potential to go there—one character who’s never known a family of his own, another character who’s never moved on from this past breakup. But for whatever reason, sadness was never destined to permeate Benjy and Kyle’s tale. The first time I wrote a scene between the two of them, you know what came out? Wry banter and bizarre situations.

And I knew I was writing a romantic comedy.

Sometimes I worried that this fun little novella wouldn’t be serious enough. That Benjy’s emotional walls and Kyle’s issues would get trumped by sometimes over-the-top characters and all of the back-and-forth dialogue. Sometimes I worried the whole damn thing was just too cute and that no one would take it seriously.

Let’s face it, people. We laugh our way through a lot of great romantic comedy films, and they’re what we watch (or at least I do) on a Saturday afternoon when we just want to feel better about life…but how many of them earn 4 stars?

I thought about making the whole story just a little bit darker. Or a little bit deeper. Or a little bit more… anything else, really. But Benjy and Kyle never seemed to want their story to in that direction. Everything I wrote led back to the same sweet place.

Everything I wrote led back to the same sweet place.

Don’t get me wrong; this story has its fair share of angst. But it’s what I jokingly call happy angst. You know what I’m talking about—angst that comes through the dry banter and silly character choices. Angst that carries a story but doesn’t overtake it. Angst that ends up laughing at itself at the end of the day.

Happy angst. It totally exists; you know it does. Consider it trademarked.

Do I still worry that no one will take this book seriously? That it won’t garner the reviews of a darker or deeper tale? Sure I do. But I’ll write those books later (you know…after I finish my next Netflix marathon). And in the meantime, I hope that Depending on You can be part of that Saturday afternoon when you want to cuddle up with some hormonal college students who can’t get their libido under control and wrongly tuned gaydar and adults with slightly amusing childhood illnesses. That Saturday afternoon when you want a little peace. A little sweetness. A little comfort.

A little happy angst.

About the Author:

J.E. Birk has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them since she was introduced to the alphabet. She hails from Colorado, where you can usually find her skiing, training for a 5K she won’t end up running, or trying to figure out why a good strong housecleaning never lasts longer than two days. Occasionally @jebirkwrites will say something on Twitter.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble


JE Birk has kindly offered

Locally held contests will end 7 days from original posting date at 8pm CST. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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17 thoughts on “JE Birk on Depending on You and Writing a Romantic Comedy: Or, The Truth About Happy Angst ~ Guest Blog

  1. I do enjoy humorous adventures. I have not found too many though. Adding this one to my wish list.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. I enjoy romantic comedies and While You Were Sleeping is one of my very favorite movies. Your book sounds a great book to curl up with.

  3. While You Were Sleeping is a classic! I love it so much I had to get it on DVD. I also love My Best Friend’s Wedding even though it doesn’t have the traditional rom-com ending.

  4. I love rom-com. L.B. Gregg has some rom-com books that I’ve read repeatedly over the last 5 or 6 years. I’m always on the lookout for more. I can’t wait to read this. 🙂

  5. Thanks so much to everyone for dropping by! I hope you all enjoy spending some time with Benjy and Kyle.

    I’ve been wanting to check out L.B. Gregg’s writing–I’ll definitely have to do that. 🙂 Oh, the end of My Best Friend’s Wedding gets me every time…. 😉

  6. Happy angst. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen those words paired that way before. Life is like that, though. It’s happy and sad, and sometimes the two mix more closely than we’re comfortable with. Thanks for the post. It was an entertaining read. And best of luck with the new release!

    kshugrue at gmail dot com

  7. Sometimes you need a book to make you think and brood, and other times you just need a book to make you laugh and remember that there’s good things in life still. They each have an important purpose!

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