"Choose Your Own Adventure" books? At pivotal
points in the plot, readers were asked to decide a
question that would ultimately determine the main
characterís actions and the storyís outcome. In
"My Ladyís Choosing: An Interactive Romance
Novel," authors Larissa Zageris and Kitty Curran
have followed the same premise, allowing readers to
choose their own happily ever after.
creative duo made a name for themselves with their 2016ís
novella, "Taylor Swift: Girl Detective ó The
Secrets of the Starbucks Lovers," but their latest
is a send-up of the romance genre that puts the reader
in the role of heroine during Regency-era London. Women
hold jobs, such as governess and "orphan-helpin.í"
Expeditions into the Scottish Highlands and Egypt await.
And whether you favor Mr. Darcy or Jamie Fraser of
"Outlander," this book accommodates.
are challenged to answer tough questions like: "Are
you a lover, not a fighter?" Or choose between
these options: "Yes, you want to be a spy and have
sultry intrigues with your sultry ex-lover" or
"No, I prefer a career that doesnít involve
getting shot at." But by bookís end, if you fancy
the brooding type or a "free-spirited woman with a
past," this book delivers agency with a side of
a nod to old-school romance genre tropes, we talked with
Ravenswood resident Curran and Andersonville resident
Zageris about their book. The following conversation has
been edited for space and clarity.
How would you describe the book to a reader?
I would call the book a loving satire, kind of like
"Hot Fuzz." Ö Itís an action movie satire,
but done by people who clearly love action movies for
people who love action movies. I feel the same sort of
thing with ours.
I think send-up is a bit of a softer term, because there
are moments that are satirical, where we do get our
little edge of social commentary in there Ö We make a
joke in the first few pages where we ask: "Do you
want to choose to go out on your own and do this?"
And we say, "You canít, because itís Regency
England and you will literally die." And we wanted
to make those rules pretty clear to the reader ó that
though itís a fantastic world, itís not sheer
fantasy where you can break off on your own and say,
"I did my own thing." Thatís kind of the
satirical edge. At the time, you had to bend to these
rules, and we make fun of how some of the rules are
completely stupid. Thatís not the rules of romance,
thatís societal rules.
What was your inspiration for the book?
Larissa discovered (the "Masterpiece" series)
"Poldark," and I rediscovered "Poldark"
in the writing of this. And obviously
"Outlander" was a large inspiration for Mac
(Captain Angus MacTaggart) as well.
My Scottish version of "Poldark" ó thatís
how I wrote Mac. I love "Poldark." Kitty and I
both love a PBS miniseries or a Masterpiece Theater
miniseries and we in equal measure love comedies in the
vein of "What We Do in the Shadows" or
"Hot Fuzz." We love those kind of goofy,
good-hearted shows with a little bit of emotion in there
and a lot of fun word play and gags. (Think) the very
serious "North & South" combined with that
ridiculous Mel Brooks off-the-wall humor that is rooted
in silliness (which is a word that people bless us with
or curse us with).
Could we use your book as advice for the lovelorn?
100 percent. Kitty and I talk about this a bunch,
because a lot of what weíre working on has to do with
a strong female perspective. We talk about what we wish
we could see or the things that we really like, and one
of the shows is "Miss Fisherís Murder
Mysteries." When I started watching it, I said,
"Whatís this feeling Iím having?" Miss
Fisher gets to wear these great clothes, she gets all
these guys and then she has this hot, unconsummated
romance, and sheís smart, and Kitty says: "Itís
wish fulfillment." That show for me helped me kind
of raise my own standards. You might never be a
world-class, really rich, hot lady detective, but you
can kind of want that out of your life ó that feeling
of confidence and being open with your desire. Even
though itís pure entertainment, it helped me kind of
be like: "Yeah, feel your bad self." Something
like our book allows you, as a reader and a character, a
lot of agency and expects it of you. I would hope people
have a really good time doing what they want or doing
things far outside their comfort zone as a character and
maybe take a little bit of that into their day-to-day
Why this book now?
Writing something that is meant to be enjoyed by mostly
women with the expectation that men and nonbinary people
as well can enjoy this kind of book ó we were
encouraged to make the lead character bisexual ó weíre
hoping maybe it will hit some people who normally wouldnít
have considered that part of their reading experience.
It is an entertainment book, but we wanted it to be a
little bit more wide in the experiences you get to have
and the representation you get to see.
We wanted it to be wish fulfillment for everyone or as
many people as we could. Ö You want to have everyone,
regardless of who theyíre into, to be able to read it
through and be kind of be like, "Yeah, this is the
ending that I want."