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  • Writer's picturePodcast Librarian

Hot and Bothered: So much more than tropes

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

On Hot and Bothered, we encourage people to write Romance novels as a sacred practice. Each episode, we follow the experience of one of Vanessa Zoltan's friends who is writing their very first romance novel. Vanessa is joined by Julia Quinn, her favorite Romance novelist, to discuss romance novel tropes and what it takes to write a Romance novel. Along the way, we find meaning in the mundane, treat the secular as a sacred, and build communities of supportive and creative friends.⠀⠀

Series or standalone:


Begin listening to:

Any episode




Vanessa Zoltan & Julia Argy

Sound/production quality:

Very good

Rating/age suitability:


Approximate length of episodes:

45 minutes

Curricular ties:


Similar recommended pods:

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text; American Girls

Podcast Librarian’s Review: This is a sneaky pod. You think that it’s just going to be a fun “let’s write a romance novel” podcast, but each episode digs into the lives of Vanessa (host) and her guest to uncover history that leads to their romance writing choices. However, the pod asks much bigger questions. Part instructional how-to-write, part storytelling, and part advice show, this is a compelling listen. Come for the cheesy romance tropes; stay for the real-life stories of people going through stuff. You can follow along and write as you go, or you can do what I do—just listen and enjoy others talking about their writing and their personal lives. If the concept of treating low-brow literature as a sacred text sounds familiar, it’s because Vanessa is also involved in Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, a very popular podcast which I have previously reviewed. By treating romance novels with respect, rather than dismissing them as junk or trashy bodice-rippers, Vanessa is able to draw out compelling stories and universal truths from guests. The result is a pod that is funny, uplifting, and surprisingly touching.

Update 11.1.2020

During quarantine, Vanessa has been reading the Twilight series in the same book-club-on-a-higher-level way as she does with the Harry Potter series. I haven't listened yet but am looking forward to revisiting those poorly written books that I loved so much in high school!

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