I read a lot of romance novels in my teens and 20s. Even now, as a woman of a particular age, I like to read a fun soapy novel. “The Comeback Tour” written by Joelle Speranza is a book that came into my life at just the right moment. As a fan of boy bands and romance novels, this is right up my alley!
We’ve all fantasized about dating our favorite boy band member and for one young divorced woman, that teenage dream comes true—but is falling in love with the “bad boy” whose posters lined her bedroom walls and now needs her to redeem his reputation worth the consequences?
Cailin McCall spent her teenage years chasing boy bands, particularly 5 Leo Hearts. After she finds herself divorced, and recently fired from her unfulfilling job at age 29, Cailin vows to stop settling and start living life to its fullest. When her friend offers her a job working as a music publicist, Cailin figures she has nothing left to lose…except she ends up risking her credibility, vows to herself, and her heart.
Jax Slater has been dubbed the “bad boy” of 5 Leo Hearts, a boy band worshiped by millions of fans worldwide. He garnered a reputation for his womanizing ways until he settled into a relationship with a female pop star. When she broke his heart, he retreated from the public eye for a decade until now: the release of his solo album and tour. He’s determined to break out of all stereotypes, show he’s a true artist who can write hit songs and play guitar, and find lasting love with a normal girl… except the one he wants is his new publicist and she’s off-limits.
Recently I had the opportunity to interview Joelle to find out who her favorite boy band is of all time and what inspired her to write the book.
What inspired you to write the book?
Joelle: I’ve always loved creating fictional stories. I’ve published a memoir, Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s, and a few children’s books, including one about my daughter called Princess Genevieve: The Hero with Girl Power. When I started reading romance novels a few years ago, I realized this was a great genre for me to explore my love of storytelling, female empowerment, writing, and relationships. The Comeback Tour is the first book in the Trash the Dress fiction series and honors the real “Trash the Dress” online support group with chats weaved between chapters. I am hoping to bring new life to the “Trash the Dress” brand, a decade after my memoir, and connect with a new generation of divorced women in The Comeback Tour.
I wrote The Comeback Tour to celebrate the strength of young, divorced women and pay tribute to boy bands. Cailin, the female main character, is a recently divorced and jobless woman who moves back to her hometown and embarks on a new career as the publicist for Jax Slater, the boy band bad boy she crushed on as a teenager. Jax is on a mission to break out of all stereotypes, show he’s a true artist who can write hit songs and play guitar, and find lasting love with a normal girl.
Throughout the story, I pay tribute to boy bands we know and love through hidden references. Boy bands were my first loves and I’m sure many of us can agree! I have never seen a tribute to boy bands in novel form, so I wrote the romance novel of my dreams—the book I want to read!
Can you relate to the character in the book, Cailin McCall, at all, and if so, how?
Joelle: I put a lot of myself into Cailin. I also lost my job—plus some of my best friends—when I got divorced in my 20s and had to move back home. We both love boy bands and have careers as publicists. Cailin also aims to live life to its fullest, despite the obstacles that come her way. It was also really important for me to make her straight-edge because I never see the straight-edge community represented in romance novels. Almost every book I read has characters drinking wine or getting drunk and I wanted to see someone like me for once, who doesn’t drink or do drugs. This makes Cailin stand apart as a main character. I hope readers are inspired by Cailin as she rises from rock bottom after her divorce, starts living the life she was meant to live, and finds her happily EVEN after.
Who is your favorite boy band of all time?
Joelle: There are a lot of bands that get classified as boy bands because the members are cute. I consider boy bands to be the vocal harmony groups with a lot of choreographed dancing, a backing band of musicians, and professional songwriting teams. My first boy band love was New Kids on the Block. I obsessed over Backstreet Boys and they will always hold a special place in my heart. But Boyzone is the band I listen to all the time. Recently, I’ve discovered Big Time Rush with my daughter and I really love them and listen to them a lot!
What’s next for you? Any plans to go on a book tour or host any Q&A webinars?
Joelle: I’m going to be launching some really fun merch around The Comeback Tour for the holidays. Then, I’ll be working on the second book in the Trash the Dress fiction series, featuring characters from The Comeback Tour. As you read the book, it’s evident who the next book will be about, but I don’t want to spoil anything!
I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to those who like romance novels!
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. I received a complimentary book which helped facilitate this review. The images shown in this post are used with permission. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.