Discover the inspiration for After I Do with this exclusive author interview. Explore the best Taylor Jenkins Reid books in order with this book list.
Taylor Jenkins Reid creates the most relatable love stories. I’ve read ALL of Taylor’s novels, and After I Do remains one of my favorites.
Today we discuss this incredible novel with the author to learn more about her writing process.
Be sure to stick around for the complete book list of ALL the books by the author.
In this novel, Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, and they decide to take a year apart.
They only have one rule: no contact is allowed. As Lauren embarks on a journey to discover a new identity, she also seeks to understand the concept of marriage.
As she begins challenging the traditional notions of monogamy and marriage, she grapples with the true meaning of love.
This surprisingly hopeful book is filled with memorable characters that feel like your own family.
After I Do: Taylor Jenkins Reid Exclusive Interview
I’ve read and loved ALL of your books, but this novel might be my favorite. Why did you write about a married couple taking a year apart in After I Do?
First of all, thank you for reading all of my books!
I came up with the idea for After I Do just as I was finishing Forever, Interrupted.
I knew that I wanted to delve into a story of what happens after you’ve fallen out of love. I figured the most interesting way for me to do that was to create two people who used to be madly in love with each other and find themselves on the edge of divorce.
Then the question becomes, “Can they fall back in love?” Answering that was the fun of writing the book.
Ryan’s unsent emails give us insight into his side of the story, while Lauren’s perspective is hers. Why did you tell the story this way instead of a “he said, she said” viewpoint?
Great question. I wrestled with this for a long time. There was even a draft – I think maybe it was draft three – where I worried that I needed to scrap half of the book and add in Ryan’s point of view.
But I really wanted this to feel like a story of self-exploration and not a book where the reader was choosing sides.
I wanted the audience to connect with Lauren and her family. So I decided to stick with her point of view and work hard at making Ryan’s voice come through.
There were moments when I laughed out loud at the minor irritations of their married life. Did you channel some of your silly inner rages with your spouse in the email banter between Lauren & Ryan?
Ha! I tried really hard not to air my own dirty laundry in the book but I did tap into the feeling of, “I love you but I hate you so damn much,” in order to capture how frustrating it can be to live with another human being.
I’m sure some of my own marriage snuck in there unbeknownst to me… Case in point: I have a dog named Rabbit and Lauren and Ryan’s dog is named Thumper (who was a rabbit).
I didn’t even notice it until a reader pointed it out.
So there’s probably more of me in there than I realize.
There are many beautiful moments in this book, but one line really stood out for me in particular that I highlighted. It was, “We are two people who used to be in love. What a beautiful thing to have been. What a sad thing to be.” That was my favorite.
Were there any scenes that were particularly emotional for you to write about?
I’m thrilled you said that because that line was a particular favorite of mine as well! I always have certain ideas or sentiments that I try to write towards as I’m crafting my first draft.
And I was most definitely writing toward that line.
There were a few scenes that were very gratifying and deeply emotional to write but they are all at the end, and I don’t want to spoil anything.
Suffice it to say, the resolution of everyone’s storylines meant a lot to me.
This novel offers an incredible ensemble cast. Did you have a favorite family member? Do you ever envision writing a book about any of the other characters in this story?
I think every single character in this book has more stories ahead of them.
This is why I’m super excited that I’ve signed a deal with ABC Family to adapt After I Do as a half-hour series.
It’s very early stages and the development process is never a sure thing, but I’m very excited about the idea of seeing where Charlie, Rachel, Leslie, Mila, Lauren, and Ryan’s stories take them.
I know you did a lot of research on marriages as you were preparing for this book. Why did you want to research the history of marriage, and what was the most interesting thing you discovered about the act of marriage?
The book is about Lauren and Ryan’s marriage, but it’s also about marriage in general.
It’s about opting out of marriage, childless marriage, marriage equality, non-monogamous marriage, raising children, etc.
So I wanted to learn about the many different ways humans have interpreted the word and how the definition is changing with every generation.
I think the most interesting thing I learned is just how rare monogamous love-based marriage truly is. This type of marriage that we refer to as “traditional marriage,” is fairly new and not particularly common in human history.
Did writing about Lauren’s flaws make you hyper-aware of your own? Did it bring out any of your own insecurities about marriage?
It definitely made me think about what I do in my own relationship that might one day lead to systemic problems.
When you write a book about how a marriage has gone wrong, it makes you look at your own relationship and analyze whether you’re guilty of any of the things your characters are.
I think writing the book was one of the best things I did for my marriage because it required me to truly ask myself what I thought could ruin a relationship.
And once you answer a question like that, you have to start heeding your own advice.
You are a triple threat! Not only do you write books, but you also have a tv series (Resident Advisors), and write for magazines. How do you keep inspired, and do you have a system for gathering and storing your ideas for these storylines?
I’m a big proponent of lists. I have To Do lists every day as well as project lists on the walls of my office.
What projects am I currently working on?
What still needs to be done for each one?
What do I need to do today?
And then I have a master list of every idea I’ve ever had, that I use as a well to draw from whenever an opportunity arises.
I’ve been blessed with a neurotic, type-A working style, which means that everything is compartmentalized and controlled.
That being said, I have a decidedly un-neurotic and non-type-A living style. So I never miss a deadline but I am always losing my keys.
I am so excited to hear that, “Forever, Interrupted,” is being adapted into a screenplay. What can you tell us about this project?
As announced, Dakota Johnson is attached to star as Elsie! Which is very exciting.
And as I understand it, the script is being written right now.
I am a big fan of the producers – and trust their vision — so I know they are doing a great job bringing Elsie, Susan, and Ben to life.
Editor’s Note: This still shows as in development.
If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be? (see the full list of author’s book recommendations)
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I stumbled upon it at the used bookstore attached my library and bought a copy of it for four dollars last December. I have since recommended it to everyone that will listen to me and have bought multiple copies.
It is a retelling of the story of Achilles’s life leading up to and through the Trojan War. I can’t tell you what I love most about it because I love everything about it so much.
It is stunningly romantic, a pleasure to read, incredibly thought-provoking, and epically tragic, with some of the most wonderful sentences I’ve read in some time. It manages to straddle both classic literature and soap opera in one story.
It’s so good (and so juicy) that I would call it a guilty pleasure except that you have nothing to feel guilty about because it’s so very beautiful and keenly smart.
New to Taylor Jenkins Reid Books? Here are some answers to the most asked questions!
What are the Taylor Jenkins Reid Books in order?
- Forever, Interrupted
- After I Do
- Maybe in Another Life
- One True Loves
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
- Daisy Jones & The Six
- Malibu Rising
- Carrie Soto is Back
Do you need to read the Taylor Jenkins Reid books in order?
You don’t have to read her books in a specific order. Each novel stands alone with its own distinct characters and storylines. I have noted where characters may overlap below.
What are the Taylor Jenkins Reid books ranked?
Remember, I’ve never met a Taylor Jenkins Reid book that I didn’t love.
My top three picks are The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, After I Do, and Carrie Soto is Back.
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