We were thrilled for the chance to sit down with Anna Gomez to discuss her new book My Goodbye Girl, her journey as a writer and what books bring her to life!
My Goodbye Girl at its core is a romantic combination of star-crossed lovers and a delightful travel romp. When light-hearted dreamer and author, Tessa, meets the pragmatic scientist, Simon, she’s intrigued by their differences. Though their individual ambitions pull them in opposite directions, they reunite all over the world, falling deeper each time. The goodbyes get harder, but just as Tessa thinks she might be able to find all she needs in Simon, they become separated in a way she never expected and Tessa is left look at her past in order to find her future.
What inspired you to write My Goodbye Girl?
The premise of My Goodbye Girl started out as a lighthearted romp in which two people meet all over the world and fall in love. But there were things in my life that happened as I was writing the story that made me want to honor and respect the brevity of life. Despite everything that was happening in the world at that time, I had so much hope that things would get better. And I wanted to write about that hope.
If you could write from anywhere in the world, where would it be?
My job and my life have taken me to so many places around the world – I have been so fortunate in that regard, because I have written while in Paris, Manila, London, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Toronto and many cities in the U.S. I’ve also written in hotels, lounges, airplanes, bathrooms and restaurants.
I’ve written most of my books from Paris. The city just draws me in, and I feel so much of life when I am there.
This book has a strong star-crossed lovers theme, what draws you to that trope and what are some of your favorite titles in it?
The idea of star-crossed lovers, to me, symbolizes the uncertainties of life. Not every ending is happy, and not every ending finds you where you originally wanted to be. But the beauty of the journey, the lives, the lessons, the people who cross your path and change you, has become the gist of all my stories. In writing, I strive to be pretty realistic about my experiences or what’s in my heart at that particular moment. And the life I’ve had has been a mix.
I am especially proud of my books, In This Life and The Year I Left, which finds love that may be the right one at the wrong time. I loved “About Last Night” – it wasn’t a book, but it was a movie in that same context. I grew up reading Forever (Judy Blume) and Endless Love (Franco Zeffirelli). I was a teenager at the time, and I remember thinking, “This is how life is going to be. I just know it!”
As someone writing a book that makes us all want to hop on a plane, how do you treat setting in your story? Is it another character, or is it a space for your characters to show their versatility?
Setting, to me, is probably the latter. It is there to add color to my characters. It provides them with different reasons and opportunities to act and react and develop.
As book lovers, we adore characters who are authors. What made you choose a romance author for your MC?
What a great question! I am married to a civil and software engineer who is so pragmatic and levelheaded. I cry when I’m mad, sad, angry, happy. I’m so emotionally rigged that everything happening around me evokes so much. One day, we were watching something on TV and as I totally went off on a tangent, my husband turned to me and said, “You’re my girl with her head in the clouds.”
My Goodbye Girl was born out of those words.
More importantly, My Goodbye Girl is both a love letter and an honest conversation with readers and authors, based on my experiences in the book world. There are great moments and memories of having started during the Indie author explosion of 2013, but there are also so many lessons learned after falling headfirst into many situations that weren’t as real as they seemed. The experience has been equally difficult and fulfilling as a diverse author in this space.
Share the books, TV and/or movies that have you hooked right now.
This may sound really weird, but because of the limitations on my time, I’ve never really been attached to any TV shows – simply because I flit in and out and never know when I can actually sit down and watch the next episode in a series. When I travel, I stick to TLC and can watch 90 Day Fiancé’ over and over again, or Little People Big World or Dr. Pol Veterinarian. Before I go to bed, I watch Law and Order SVU until I fall asleep.
Books are the same for me. I’m currently reading A Thirst for Salt by Madeleine Lucas. I hardly read romance, ever! I also hardly watch rom coms or romance movies. I don’t really know why except that my family laughs whenever I predict the story arc or the end.
What are you working on next?
My current labor of love, One Day Like the Rain, is complete and with my agent. It is based on my life story, from being born and raised in the Philippines with a most unusual family, to attending boarding school in Canada. The situations I experienced as a young girl made me who I am today.
I am also working on Book 3 in the From Kona with Love Series, co-authored with actor Kristoffer Polaha. I have a few new projects I hope to announce soon.
We’ve noticed you’re very intentional about incorporating multicultural relationships. How has this developed over the course of your career?
I was doing this even at a time, many years ago, when the nuances of my culture and others weren’t really of interest to most American readers. I always felt that by sharing those stories, the world becomes a richer place. I write what I know. And what I know is comprised of this kaleidoscope of colors that represent the people I’ve met all throughout my life and my career. There is a common thread in every culture – we sing the same songs, played the same games as children, and were crazy over the same pop references in the era we grew up in, no matter where we are from. Of course, there are also disparities between beliefs that affect how we live, how we worship, and how we raise our children. But respect for each other should unite us one way or another. And love in every form is what will bring us all back together.