Author interviews

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ELLEN O’CLOVER // chatting with debut author of Seven Percent of Ro Devereux aka my first favourite of the year on release day

So so excited about today’s post so I can yell about this wonderful book that you all nee to read RIGHT THIS SECOND!!! We have a very special guest so why I shut up and just get started?

Big thanks to Harper Teen and the author for gifting me with an eARC
of Seven Percent of Ro Devereux via Netgalley!

Title: Seven Percent of Ro Devereux
Author: Ellen O’ Clover
Page count: 320
Date published: 17 January 2023
Genre: Young adult contemporary romance



Ro Devereux can predict your future. Or, at least, the app she built for her senior project can.

Working with her neighbor, a retired behavioral scientist, Ro created an app called MASH, designed around the classic game Mansion Apartment Shack House, that can predict a person’s future with 93% accuracy. The app will even match users with their soul mates. Though it was only supposed to be a class project, MASH quickly takes off and gains the attention of tech investors.

Ro’s dream is to work in Silicon Valley, and she’ll do anything to prove to her new backing company—and the world—that the app works. So it’s a huge shock when the app says her soul mate is Miller, her childhood best friend with whom she had a friendship-destroying fight three years ago. Now thrust into a fake dating scenario, Ro and Miller must address the years of pain between them if either of them will have any chance of achieving their dreams.



Hi hello Ellen! Before we get started, I wanted to give a big thank you for being here today and a congratulations on the release of your debut Seven Percent of Ro Devereux! I am absolutely in love with this book and am so excited for everyone to love it too. Let’s get into the questions.

First off, can you tell us about yourself (where you grew up, where you are now, your hobbies) and your book Seven Percent of Ro Devereux? Give us the elevator pitch!


Thank you so much for having me Ruby! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed Seven Percent of Ro Devereux and honored to be chatting with you. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio but live in Denver, Colorado, now—where I take advantage of hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and just generally enjoying the outdoors as much as I can. I love to read (of course), cook, rollerblade, and hang out with my French bulldog, Puffin. 

My debut novel, Seven Percent of Ro Devereux, is about a senior in high school who creates a future-predicting app based on the game MASH for her senior project. When it unexpectedly goes viral, she and her app-predicted “perfect match,” who also happens to be her ex-best friend/worst enemy, are thrust together as the app’s spokespeople—which leaves them to navigate both their senior year and the years of pain between them as the app spirals out of control.

How did you come up with the idea for Seven Percent of Ro Devereux! Do you remember the day the idea popped into your head? How did the book come together?


I got the idea for Ro Devereux when I was working in the marketing department of a software startup. It was my first experience in the tech world, and I got completely consumed by this notion of a tech-savvy young girl who creates an app that takes on a life of its own and kind of runs away with her. I wanted to combine the high-tech world of app development with something more lo-fi and nostalgic, which is how I landed on MASH—a paper-and-pen, future-predicting game that I loved to play growing up. 

How did you first get into writing and when did you realise you wanted to be an author?


It feels like something I’ve always known! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write books. I was lucky to have so many wonderful writing resources in my hometown, and did all sorts of writing camps and workshops growing up. I also studied creative writing in college! And then I got serious about novel-writing a couple years after I graduated, in 2017.

What was your favourite part about writing this book? Are there any moments that stood out to you whilst writing?


Drafting is always my favorite part of the process. I love watching the story unfold, getting to know my characters, discovering the nuances of their personalities and uncovering important themes. I had so much fun writing the romance between Ro and Miller, so I think I’d have to say that was my favorite part. I won’t spoil anything, but there’s one chapter in particular when Ro and Miller have to “train” for something that was absolutely delightful to write. 

Did you have a character you loved writing the most and why?


It was such a joy to get to know Ro while writing this book. I love her scrappy little self so much—she’s brave, impulsive, headstrong. She makes a ton of mistakes. Writing her arc was incredibly rewarding. But maybe it’s lame to say that the main character was my favorite to write, so… I also absolutely loved writing Felix, who’s basically Ro and Miller’s babysitter at XLR8, the software company they work with. He helps them with media prep and a whole bunch of other things along the way. He’s snarky and has a big attitude and was so much fun to write. 

The novel is about an app inspired by the game MASH, what are your MASH predictions?


I’ve played MASH a few times in the last couple weeks and have wound up with lots of fun predictions. That I’ll live in Dubai, marry a spy, work as a pilot, and have 12 children… just to name a few. 🙂

Ro and Miller have electric chemistry and a beautiful history, if you could transport your characters into another rom-com, where would they go? Movie and book if you like!


Thank you so much! I love this question. It would be so fun to drop Ro and Miller into Rachel Lynn Solomon’s See You Yesterday — can you imagine the two of them stuck in a time loop? I think Miller would try to read his way out of it, and Ro would probably code some program to crack the space-time continuum. They’re complete opposites, but make such a good team.

And in terms of a movie… I’m going to say Kate & Leopold. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a 2001 rom-com with Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman, where Hugh Jackman’s character—a Duke from the 1800s—falls through a crack in time into modern-day New York City and ultimately falls in love with Meg Ryan’s character. I guess I really want to see Ro and Miller deal with space-time issues?? But I think Miller would be so charming as a confused, royal dude trying to navigate the modern world. He’s already such a nerd for the past!

What is your writing process like? Are you plotter or a pantser? What went into the process of Seven Percent of Ro Devereux?


I’m a recovering pantser! Seven Percent of Ro Devereux is the first book I ever wrote with a beat sheet and complete plot synopsis—and it’s the first book I ever sold to a publisher, which is no coincidence. Having a clear plot map is so crucial for my process and helps me be even more creative, because I don’t have to worry about what’s happening when I sit down to write—I only have to think about how it should happen. I wrote Ro Devereux in about three months, made some slight changes with my agent, and ultimately did a round of revisions with my editor. But they weren’t big changes, and I think I owe that to starting the whole process with an air-tight synopsis.

What books have you read recently that you would recommend?


A few recent favorites have been Harper Glenn’s MONARCH RISING, Jessie Weaver’s LIVE YOUR BEST LIE, and Jenna Miller’s OUT OF CHARACTER.

Lastly, now that your debut is out, can you tease about any upcoming releases or another book in the works?


I have another standalone contemporary YA coming in 2024! I’m so excited to talk more about it soon, and think that readers who enjoyed Ro Devereux will be happy to find a similarly strong, ambitious female lead, plenty of family secrets, and—of course—romance. 

And there we have it. Thank you so much for being here today, I loved chatting with you and so excited for this book to be out in the world!

I write YA novels about finding your people, falling in love, and figuring it all out (or trying to, anyway). But I wrote a lot of other stuff first: I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where I wrote piles of angsty love poems at the Thurber House Young Writers’ Studio, and then moved to Baltimore where I spent four years writing grim, minimalist short stories at the Johns Hopkins University. Since then, I’ve written a bunch of ads for a bunch of brands.

But always, always my heart has tugged me toward YA and the types of stories I grew up reading. The ones that made me fall in love with writing in the first place. And soon you’ll be able to read my debut novel, SEVEN PERCENT OF RO DEVEREUX, out in early 2023 from HarperTeen!

Writing—like so much in life—is a journey. I’m really glad your journey brought you here.


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