The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka is a romance novel about two friends and cowriters turned enemies, reunited by their contract and their own needs to pen another novel. But what was it that led to these two losing touch, and why do they hate one another so much?

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The summary, from Amazon:

One of…
Amazon’s Best Romances of January
Popsugar’s Best New Romances of 2022
Buzzfeed,, Shondaland, and Bustle’s Best of January

Oprah Daily’s Most Anticipated Romances of 2022
E! News’ Books to Add To Your Reading List in January
Bookbub’s Most Anticipated Romances of Winter
The Nerd Daily’s Swoonworthy 2022 Releases

They were cowriting literary darlings until they hit a plot hole that turned their lives upside down.

Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten book topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven’t spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.

Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they’re forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they’d do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they’ve hated each other for the past three years isn’t easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.

While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.

Buy The Roughest Draft here.


Katrina and Nathan wrote a few novels together in the past, and their careers took off with Only Once, a romantic drama about an affair. However, over the course of writing the book, the two fell out. Now, four years have passed. Nathan’s publishers aren’t interested in any of his current ideas, though he’s published a solo title. Katrina and her fiance, her sleazy literary agent, could use the income. And besides, Katrina and Nathan owe one more book on their contract. Reluctantly, the two agree to stay in the same house in Florida where they wrote Only Once, this time to work on another romantic drama about a divorce.

Over the course of writing the novel, the two struggle to distinguish between fiction and reality. Often, the two intertwine. What they’re writing mirrors their own separation in so many ways, not just Nathan’s own divorce. Old feelings that never went away are brought to the surface, and the two have to come to terms with them. Additionally, Nathan needs to learn to communicate verbally and not just through his writing. The lesson for Katrina has more to do with the fact that fiction and reality aren’t necessarily separate.

I thought this was a really interesting read, and I related to the not-quite-romance and the longing between Nathan and Katrina. It reminded me of some of my own friendships that were better left in the past. The pining and the heartbreak was real in this one, but The Roughest Draft, unlike Nathan and Katrina’s titles, is a true romance in that we do get our happily ever after for the pair. Unfortunately, something about this one just didn’t feel romance-y enough for me, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it.

Find out more about how I rate books here.

The Roughest DraftThe Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one was one of those books I didn’t love but still emotionally moved me. I like my romances a little more direct and passionate, but the story and characters still resonated with me… and maybe I found them and their situation a little relatable. I definitely got emotional while reading this one and it inspired me to do some of my own writing for the first time in a few months, too.

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Book Club Questions

  1. Why did Nathan and Katrina stop talking and grow to dislike each other?
  2. Why is Katrina engaged to Chris?
  3. Why did Nathan’s marriage end in divorce?
  4. How does Nathan and Katrina’s relationship mirror the situation in the novel they are currently writing?

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