Holly Chee does not have her life together. She’s flip-flopped on uni courses and career choices, and somehow scared off her long-term fiancée-to-be, much to the chagrin of her immigrant parents. But she does have her streaming channel, where she broadcasts her art from her one-bedroom Mount Lawley apartment. And she has that guy from France… assuming he’s even who he says he is.
“The Guy From The Internet” is a sweet #OwnVoices Asian-Australian romance novella, set in the world of Somerville Downs.
Give us the one to two sentence tagline for your book.
A sweet romance with a touch of family drama.
What is your favorite scene/moment in your book?
Gosh, I have two favourite scenes — both big defining moments for Holly’s relationship with her family and her relationship with her love interest. I’m not one for dramatic confrontations in real life, but I love seeing how characters weather those storms in fiction.
Does your heroine prefer a real or artificial tree for Christmas?
Artificial, for sure. She even says somewhere in the book that she’s not outdoorsy at all, and this extends to a general lack of affinity for nature. I like to imagine her growing into more of a connection with the natural world, maybe with Florian’s influence helping her open up to new things.
What’s the one present your hero least wants to open Christmas morning?
Anything digital or electronic. He’s ready to leave that part of his life behind and try something else for a while.
Would your hero hang mistletoe?
He absolutely would. Inspiration for Florian came from some of my guy friends who are VERY romantic. They’re thoughtful, considerate, great with both intimate exchanges and grand gestures, and probably wouldn’t hesitate to nice-prank their partners with mistletoe.
What scene did you adore writing in this book?
The family dinner! Although, it was an uncomfortable experience for my main character, I wanted flavours of my own Southeast Asian-Australian culture in this book. This scene give me a chance to let loose and channel that energy into the Chee family.
What is your heroine’s favorite Christmas tradition?
Decorating — as if that’s not super predictable, given she’s the creative type! In an early chapter, Holly’s thinking about revamping the artwork on her streaming channel. She never gets around to it (because reasons!), but she does get to decorate a hotel function room and change her hair colour as the story rolls along.
Does your hero love or hate snow?
Florian loves snow. Where he’s from is never detailed in the book, but he grew up in a town that gets snow, and moves to France because he doesn’t mind the cold. Holly, on the other hand, is from Perth, where we don’t get white Christmases. Sometimes, there’ll be a bit of snow in the mountain regions along the southern tip of our state, but Christmas is a sunny affair for her.
For Christmas, will you be having turkey, goose, ham, prime rib, or something else?
My family is big on Christmas ham. I’ve never asked why, but often wondered if it symbolises food security, an act of service, or togetherness at this time of year. Whether we acknowledge it or are aware of it or not, food can have a lot of emotional, psychological and cultural significance. At least, it certainly does in my family.
What’s the strangest Christmas tradition your family does to celebrate?
Eating hot food and roast meats. This tradition doesn’t seem strange to us, but when you think about Christmas always being a very hot day in Perth, it really is a bit weird. Whose idea was it to run the oven for hours when it’s 38°C outside? It’s a very northern hemisphere thing to do, and I guess it just comes with with the idea of Christmas.
Excerpt from The Guy From The Internet
You know how something can happen, and suddenly all the crap you were dealing with—no matter how important it felt at the time—just vanishes into thin air? My day was reborn, thanks to this drab padded envelope, with its French postmark and a Paris return address.
It’s hard to concentrate on drawing when that parcel is sitting right there, staring at me while I try to look directly into the webcam. Pretty sure the undo combo on my keyboard is starting to fade.
But I can’t open it yet. I want to wait for Rin to get home, to get online, then open it with him.
Is that weird? Am I obsessive? Friends do that kind of thing too, don’t they? Even when they’re all grown up… or supposed to be? Rin’s still not on. It’s later than usual for this time of the week. Not that I’ve memorised his schedule or anything.
As we get closer to midnight, I end the broadcast and decide I’ve been tragic for long enough. I pick up the envelope and give it a proper shake. Something rattles inside.
Waiting any longer would be weird now. It would totally send the wrong signal. Like I don’t care. Or that I care too much.
I’m definitely overthinking this.
I grab the rip tab and pull it open. As soon as it detaches from the packaging, a message pops up on my screen.
Birdie Song is an Asian-Australian romantic who writes sweet stories about people falling in love. She believes love is more important than labels, integrity is our most attractive quality, and that no one should be judged for putting pineapple on a pizza.