In just three years, Tay Marley has become a Wattpad sensation with over 130k followers and more than 30 million reads of her book The QB Bad Boy and Me (under @tayxwriter) on the storytelling platform. Today, Marley releases a prequel to her hit with The Summer of ’98—which follows Drayton’s parents and their romance. Below, Marley chats the ’90s, inspiration for the prequel and dream casting.
What was the inspiration behind The QB Bad Boy and Me series and why did you choose to post your work on Wattpad?
I chose Wattpad because I was already reading stories on the platform and I thought it was just the sort of app I had been looking for for a long time. I’ve always loved writing and to find a huge community of like-minded people was so exciting. The QB Bad Boy materialised from this conversation I had with a friend about wanting to write a cliche story with a twist. American high school and football culture has always fascinated me so once I had that idea it took off on its own.
The first book in the series, The QB Bad Boy and Me (the original edition), has been read by more than 30 million readers! How does it feel knowing your stories resonate with so many readers?
Strange! It’s pretty hard to comprehend that I just wrote a story and so many people fell in love with it and its characters. Drayton is a fan favourite. One of my dreams was to create a character people would fall deeply in love with so it’s surreal to know that I achieved that.
What inspired you to go back and write this prequel for series?
I was actually at McDonalds brainstorming with my mum (she is so good to bounce around ideas with). I mentioned that I wasn’t sure what to do next because I knew people weren’t ready for the series to end and that’s when she said: “What about Drayton’s parent’s story? They were teen parents, it’d be set in the ’90s and it could be a fun perspective.” As soon as she said that I took out my phone out and started jotting down ideas. It carried me away for sure.
How did you approach writing Ellie and Leroy’s relationship compared to tackling Dallas and Drayton? Which couple was easier for you to write?
I took from their personalities in the QB Bad Boy and sort of altered them to be younger. Ellie is more, I guess, traditional—if that’s what you’d call it—than Dallas? And Leroy is a lot more reserved than his son is. So I can’t say which couple was easier to write—they both came very naturally to me—but I did enjoy the differences in that Ellie and Leroy were fast-in-love, passionate and mature, while Drayton and Dallas were more slow burn, angsty and drama-fueled. I think it’s a good example of how different relationships can be and how no two couples are the same.
Since the story takes place in the ’90s there are a few ’90s references. What’s your favorite thing that came out of the ’90s?
This one is so hard because I love ’90s culture—the fashion especially. I really love ’90s-style clothing. I’m more into ’80s music than ’90s. Shows like Friends and Full House are two of my favourite shows. Plus, I came out of the ’90s! Haha.
Who would be your dream casting for Ellie and Leroy? How about Dallas and Drayton?
Ooh Madelyn Cline as Ellie for sure. Leroy is a bit harder, but I could see Dylan Sprayberry playing the role well! For Dallas and Drayton, my absolute faves would be Dove Cameron and Cody Christian! 🙂
Three words to describe what you’re writing next?
Trauma. Depth. Captivating.