By Seija Rankin
May 27, 2021 at 01:00 PM EDT
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tia williams
Credit: Pauline St. Denis

Writing a novel about writers is no small feat, but Tia Williams makes it look easy. In her sophomore work (her debut The Perfect Find is set for a Gabrielle Union-starring Netflix adaptation), she tells a love story about two scribes getting a second chance. Eva is a single mom and famous erotica novelist, and Shane is a star in the literary fiction world. They reconnect at a party after 15 years and then spend a steamy week in Brooklyn together. Below, Williams tells EW how she drafted the Seven Days in June, and why Reese's Pieces are so important to her literary success.

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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is the first thing — ever — that you remember writing?

TIA WILLIAMS: It was a novel I wrote in one of my mom's Steno pads, in second grade. It was a 40-page saga called The Bunny and the Little Boy. For the "About the Author" section, I glued in a picture of me rocking my kindergarten graduation outfit and bragged, "Have you ever seen a 7-year-old write a book? I've been writing books since I was 4. I wrote silly books then."

What is the last book that made you cry?

The Warmth of Other Suns. Isabel Wilkerson's stories of families making the terrifying trek from the sharecropping South to Northern cities during the Great Migration are explosive. As a mother, I put myself in the shoes of these Southern women, one generation removed from enslavement, who urgently needed to get their babies the hell out of the South, but weren't prepared for city life in Detroit, Chicago, New York — and I get so emotional.

Which book is at the top of your current to-read list?

I'm saving The View Was Exhausting, by Mikaella Clements and Onjuli Datta, for vacation. It combines two of my favorite things: the "fake lovers" romance trope and glitzy Hollywood couples. 

Where do you write?

On the far-right corner of my couch, seated in a slumped cross-legged position with zero lumbar support. Terrible for core alignment; don't do this.

Which book made you a forever reader?

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. So hilarious and tricky, with perfect dialogue. It also made me a forever writer.

What is a snack you couldn't write without?

Reese's Pieces (not the cups, the PIECES), and Trader Joe's Sparkling Apple Cider. I'm fueled by sugar.

If you could change one thing about any of your books what would it be?

The length of time it takes to write them. How did Danielle Steele write a book a year? If only!

What is your favorite part of Seven Days in June?

I love the flashback when Eva and Shane first meet on the school bleachers, as wayward teens. It was the first scene I wrote! Their chemistry was so magnetic and instant that you get why Shane showing up, 15 years later, knocked Eva's world off its axis. They had the kind of soul connection that's impossible to fight. 

What was the hardest plot point or character to write?

Describing Eva's monstrous migraines was super hard. I've had them since I was 9, and my diagnosis is intractable (i.e. incurable). Living with an invisible illness is draining and isolating, and it affects every aspect of your life. How do you write about this without going dark? Chronic pain isn't funny, sexy, or light — so figuring out a way to weave this important detail into a delicious love story was a challenge.

Write a movie poster tag line for the book.

Seven days to fall in love, 15 years to forget — and seven days to get it all back.

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