Meet Neely Tubati Alexander, Author of In a Not So Perfect World

Neely Tubati Alexander’s latest book, In a Not So Perfect World, is a romantic romp about a video game designer and her hot actor/model neighbor, someone she hardly knows, thrown together in the honeymoon suite of a Caribbean hotel. Neely feels truly honored to put out work that is largely happy and hopeful at a time when our world feels so heavy and inundated with bad news.

In a Not So Perfect World, named to The Best (and Most Anticipated) Romance Books of 2024, So Far by Elle, Best Romance to Read in 2024 by Cosmopolitan, and to most anticipated lists by SheReads and Nerd Daily, debuts on March 19, 2024.

My favorite moments in this novel are between the two main characters trying, and failing, to keep each other at bay while falling in love.

Anne: Tell us about In a Not So Perfect World

Neely: In a Not So Perfect World is the story of Sloane, a video game designer who is working to land her dream job at a top video game design company while trying to get over her ex. When her hot neighbor, Charlie, invites her on a pre-paid, all-inclusive vacation to Turks and Caicos, using her to make his ex-girlfriend jealous, she agrees to go, using the time away to work on her interview game build. This story’s got all my favorite tropes including one bed, fake dating, a romantic getaway, and the tension of the slow burn.

What inspired the idea for your book? This is your second book. What are the similarities and differences between the first and second books?

Both books are hopeful, and voicy, and have fun banter. Both explore love and career and the main character’s personal journey. Love Buzz is about Serena and her personal development journey while In a Not So Perfect World goes in the complete opposite direction and focuses on the love story between Sloane and Charlie, putting them together 24/7!

How did you come up with your characters?

Sloane and I are similar in that we are not natural optimists. We tend to see all the potential pitfalls of every situation. It’s one of the reasons I dedicated the book ‘For The Pessimists’ because I wanted even the most skeptical of readers to leave a little hopeful. Charlie is someone who pulls Sloane out of her skepticism. It’s not exactly grumpy/sunshine, but I did want him to be a super supportive partner. Someone who saw her for who she was and supported and loved her. Tess, Sloane’s best friend, is sassy, funny, and doesn’t take anything from anyone. She’s the type of honest friend we all need. She’s fun to write because says things many of us may not be willing to say.

Anita has a small role, important role. Is she based someone you know?

I like Anita, too! I am an HR Consultant, so I suppose her role is based on me/my job. Anita represents women in corporate America, who often feel unheard and feel as though they have to “play the game” to be successful. I loved giving her the “one-up” at the end.

The island and the hotel seem magical, are they based on a real place?

My husband and I visited Turks and Caicos a few years back and it’s the perfect place to fall in love. Turks and Caicos is of course a real place, as is Providenciales and Grace Bay, the specific location of the resort where Sloane and Charlie stay. It was fun to go back and look at photos and reference real spots we visited, like Saltmills Plaza and Da Conch Shack.

Game Design is an interesting choice for Sloane’s work environment.

I felt it was important to have a STEM heroine, and gaming felt like a fun area with wide interest. My research showed me that gaming is growing largely due to women, which is amazing. It allowed for a lot of creativity in some of Sloane’s game designs. I enjoyed giving my characters exposure to this male-dominated space.

What is your writing process? Do you pants or plot?

I am a pantser, which makes the drafting (and editing) process hard. The fun part is finding out where the story is going as I am writing. I know how a story is going to begin, the meet-cute, and end, where they come back together but beyond that, it’s an adventure.

What were the easiest scenes to write?

Writing banter and meet-cutes, like the first scenes in the bar, were a lot of fun and came naturally to me. The first interactions are a make or break in romance, whether the characters hate each other at first or have insta-love. Capturing their feelings, what their bodies are doing, and how they engage is a pleasure to write.

What were your hardest scenes to write?

I find “fight” scenes challenging. Writing an argument or fight that happens in a healthy way, where characters don’t significantly disrespect one another, is difficult to accomplish while keeping it realistic. I don’t want to cross the line into a relationship or exchange that is threatening or toxic.

Do you use beta readers or critique partners?

I don’t know what I would do without beta readers and my writing community. After some trial and error, I have landed on a great set of early readers who give effective feedback. Because it can be difficult to see our work impartially, I cherish their collaboration to spot things I might not see on my own.

What has your path to publishing been like?

I finished my first book in 2020, during the pandemic. While that book eventually went into the drawer, writing that book made me feel like I was unlocking a superpower and that I could do it again. Next, I wrote Love Buzz, which I queried in late 2021, and after almost five months signed with my agent. In early 2023, we went to auction and sold within three weeks. It just goes to show that every path is truly unique.        

I was intrigued with the idea of spray-on abs. Does that product exist?

HAHA! I don’t know, but if not, there should be, right? Heading to trademark this now….

Neely Tubati Alexander is originally from the Seattle area and currently resides in Arizona with her husband and two elementary-aged children. If she’s not tucked away writing, you can find her at some kiddo activity, drinking wine, or watching reality television, usually the last two together. She is also the author of Love Buzz.


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