Q&A With Jillian Cantor, Author of The Code for Love and Heartbreak

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 30, 2020 9:36:32 AM / by Suzanne

Emma can be a tricky book to retell. It's a beloved classic and Emma as a protagonist is a mess. But maybe that's why I have an affinity for Emma retellings? Whatever the reason, The Code for Love and Heartbreak caught my eye. Today we're sharing a Q&A with the author, Jillian Cantor, below, but first here's a little more about the book:


codeforloveandheartbreakIn this contemporary romcom retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma by USA TODAY bestselling author Jillian Cantor, there’s nothing more complex—or unpredictable—than love.
When math genius Emma and her coding club co-president, George, are tasked with brainstorming a new project, The Code for Love is born.
George disapproves of Emma’s idea of creating a matchmaking app, accusing her of meddling in people’s lives. But all the happy new couples at school are proof that the app works. At least at first.
Emma’s code is flawless. So why is it that perfectly matched couples start breaking up, the wrong people keep falling for each other, and Emma’s own feelings defy any algorithm?


The Code for Love and Heartbreak releases on October 6, 2020.

Pick up a copy: Amazon (affiliate link) Harlequin Indiebound Barnes & Noble Books-A-MillionWalmart Google iBooks Kobo



Now for the Q&A with Jillian Cantor!

Q: What inspired this specific retelling of Emma? 

A: My kids have both been on robotics teams for years, and I’ve spent a lot of time watching their competitions and being in awe of how brilliant and innovative these middle and high school students are in STEM. I got the idea to write about a girl who is an amazing coder but not so great with people and then I realized it could be a really fun Emma retelling if I had her create a matchmaking app! 

Q: What’s your favorite Jane Austen book and adaptation?

A: Emma has always been my favorite Jane Austen book and I love the movie Clueless. But I think my favorite Jane Austen adaptation in novel form is Bridget Jones’ Diary as a (loose) retelling of Pride and Prejudice

Q: What was the most challenging part to write in this book?

A: Well, I honestly didn’t know much about coding going in and unlike Emma, math was not my best subject in high school. Luckily my husband is a software engineer and he helped me with all the coding details in the book.

The other challenge was – and this was the first time I ever wrote a retelling – figuring out how to stay true to the original but also make the story and plot fresh in its own updated way.  

Q: What was your last 5-star read and why?

A: I just finished Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein and loved it! It’s a rom com (about gymnasts) with well-developed characters – my favorite kind of book. 

Q: How would your main character fare with a stay-at-home order?

A: I actually think Emma would handle it much better than I have. She’s super savvy with technology and would be great with Facetiming George and Jane and communicating for coding club with Discord and Zoom, and she’d be really good at navigating the tech challenges of online school. Plus she’s an introvert, so I think she’d be okay with staying at home. 

Q: Is there anything you can tell us about the book that is not a spoiler and not on the blurb? Something you'd like to share with us?

A: Even though Emma and I don’t have much in common in terms of interests (I stopped math in high school before calculus!), I was, like Emma a musician in high school. I played the clarinet (not piano) but was really involved in a lot of musical activities, and weekly lessons, and I even participated in the same competition Emma does in the book. 


codeforloveandheartbreakThe Code for Love and Heartbreak releases on October 6, 2020.

Pick up a copy: Amazon (affiliate link) Harlequin Indiebound Barnes & Noble Books-A-MillionWalmart Google iBooks Kobo


About the Author:

Jillian Cantor is the author of award-winning and bestselling novels for adults and teens, including In Another Time, The Hours Count, Margot, and The Lost Letter, which was a USA Today bestseller. She has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Cantor lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

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