If you love rom-coms as much as we do, you’re going to fall hard for our Guest Editor this August, Hannah Orenstein. As the author of fan-favorite Playing with Matches and her latest release Love at First Like, she’s brought a new voice to the romance genre and readers love her quirky and sincere love stories. Even though she is currently working as the senior dating editor at Elite Daily, Hannah Orenstein found time to talk to She Reads about her favorite books, the inspiration behind her latest novel and more about her busy life as a New York City girl. Get to know Hannah now and stay tuned this month to learn more about one of the best new voices in fiction.

What was the inspiration behind Love at First Like?

When I sold my first novel, Playing with Matches, I decided to celebrate the milestone by treating myself to a piece of jewelry. I wanted to make the purchase from an independent designer or small business in New York, and did a lot of research online and on Instagram before I settled on a piece. That’s when I noticed a trend of indie jewelers amassing huge followings on Instagram. Ultimately, that inspired Love at First Like, which is a rom-com about a jewelry store owner who accidentally leads her 100,000 Instagram followers to believe that’s she’s engaged – and has to find the perfect fake fiancé to play the part before it’s too late. I loved that this story let me play around with themes that interest me, like the pressure some people feel to present a “perfect” life on social media, and what ambition and love look like to 20-something millennials. 

What’s your best advice to young writers who want to pursue a career and write books?

Give yourself a schedule and a deadline. I set myself a six-month deadline to finish the first draft of my first book, and I would never have finished it otherwise. For Love at First Like (and now that I’m working on my third novel), I use my deadline to calculate weekly word count goals – e.g. if a novel is 80,000 words and I have six months to write it, I need to make sure I’m writing about 3,000 words per week. I track all these numbers in a spreadsheet and this helps me stay on track. Personally, I find that it’s really tough to come home from work (especially if you work in media or a creative field) and continue to write, so I try to do the bulk of my writing on weekends. 

What is the one essential you carry in your handbag/purse at all times?

A pair of silver earrings from Awoke Vintage in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I love jewelry but always forget to wear earrings. This way, if I remember midday, I can put them on. They have this really cool sculptural shape and were just $18 – they make any outfit ten times cooler.

Which books are you most looking forward to reading next?

I can’t wait to read American Royals by Katharine McGee. Her last series was so sharp, imaginative and juicy, and the premise for this one – what if modern-day America had a royal family? – sounds like so much fun.

Don’t forget to order a copy of Hannah Orenstein’s new novel Love at First Like!