High above the crowd in the ballroom of the Statler Hotel, in downtown Dallas, the dark curtains that hide the balcony ripple and part. The writer Colleen Hoover’s head emerges directly under a fluorescent light, looking white and lunar against the fabric. She props her right elbow on the railing, rubbing her hand at a spot under the high neck of a frilly white dress. She leans forward, surveying the crowd like a child before a recital.

The hundreds of women below—I count four men including Hoover’s husband, Heath—begin to notice her one by one and gaze up at her like she’s a deity. The event, titled “Mani-fest 2024: Main Character Energy,” has been organized by the nail polish brand Olive and June to celebrate Hoover’s collaboration on a new collection inspired by her books. The ballroom is dotted with stations where attendees can make vision boards, contribute to a “gratitude wall,” build bouquets, and snag free Olive and June products. But most did not come to the Statler just to marinate in saccharine Taylor Swiftian feminism. They came to meet Hoover.

Her books have sold more than 50 million copies globally, and some have been translated into 45 languages. Of the 24 titles she has published in the past twelve years, 17 have been New York Times best-sellers. In 2022 alone she sold 14.3 million copies, as tracked by Circana BookScan.

Plot summaries of her books read like a Days of Our Lives writers’-room brainstorm:

It Ends With Us, about a young florist struggling to navigate a relationship with a tempestuous and ultimately abusive neurosurgeon; Verity, in which a writer tasked with completing a catatonic author’s unfinished works uncovers terrible secrets about the family she has unwittingly invaded; It Starts With Us, a sequel detailing the young florist’s relationship with a squatter turned successful chef from her past; Ugly Love, about a woman who falls for a pilot with a troubled history; and Reminders of Him, whose heroine tries to repair her reputation and reclaim her daughter after spending five years in prison after a terrible accident.

Hoover’s fans, who call her CoHo and refer to themselves as CoHorts, have catapulted the 44-year-old writer from a job in social work in East Texas to an echelon of genre-fiction success enjoyed by very few—a lofty plane populated by Dan Brown, of The Da Vinci Code; and E L James, of Fifty Shades of Grey. She is likely to find an even broader audience this summer, when a film adaptation of It Ends with Us starring Blake Lively is released on August 9.

Hoover would rather everyone paid less attention to the woman behind the curtain. She says she doesn’t often participate in events such as the Olive and June celebration in March. She did it, she says, because she has loved nail care since she was a teenager: “This was all just me being excited to have my name on a nail polish.”

Earlier in the evening, she had seemed cheerfully ill at ease when Olive and June’s founder and CEO, Sarah Gibson Tuttle, welcomed her to the stage for a short panel discussion. She would face a tribunal of perfect-haired emissaries from BookTok, the literary community within the social media platform TikTok, which has helped buoy Hoover to her current heights. As Hoover stepped out, she struck a quick “ta-da” pose, holding out her palms and smiling. “Sorry if I flashed y’all—I’ve never worn a dress before,” she joked as she roosted on a white couch, pulling her minidress over her knees.

Her hair was swept back in a homecoming updo and her makeup and pink nails were impeccable. Once seated, she looked around the room as if walking into a friend’s new home for the first time, casting about for something to ooh and ah over. “This is so pink,” she marveled, before her eyes settled on the rug underfoot. “I have this same rug in my office!” During the panel, Hoover responded to Tuttle and the BookTok fans as if they, not she, were the ones everyone had come to see. “My mom loves you,” she told one of the women, Kierra Lewis, who wore a thigh-length gray blazer and knee-high black leather boots. “Shout-out to Mama Hoover,” Lewis said with a laugh.

Hoover with a fan at Book Bonanza
Hoover with a fan at Book Bonanza, in Grapevine, on June 23, 2023. Nitashia Johnson
A line of people waiting for a panel with Hoover at the 2023 Book Bonanza, in Grapevine.
A line of people waiting for a panel with Hoover at the 2023 Book Bonanza, in Grapevine. Nitashia Johnson

Now, perched above the sundressed masses waiting in line for a Jack in the Box feast provided by Olive and June—Hoover is a longtime fan of the chain and recently shot a commercial with the mascot—she studies the faces in the crowd anxiously, seeking out that of Claudia Lemieux, her executive assistant. When she spots Lemieux, she whisper-shouts her name several times. Then the curtains clap together again.

Hoover reemerges in the ballroom a few minutes later, having changed from her dress into a more comfortable flowy chartreuse blouse and jeans. Lemieux, looking Barbie flawless in a black crocheted blouse and a pink floral miniskirt that nods to the neon pastel outfits worn by most of the Olive and June staff at the event, stands behind Hoover at a large table.

A line has rapidly formed, making a great U spanning across the ballroom. She says she expects that Hoover will sign books for the next four and a half hours. 

A stout stack of books is available for purchase for those who have not come with their own, but most have brought their allotted five books to be autographed. Later I ask Hoover why she did the signing: the event was meant to promote her collaboration with Olive and June, not her books; she has not published a new one since 2022’s It Starts with Us. She explains that she hates to disappoint. “I just feel like if people know I’m gonna be somewhere, it would be weird if I didn’t.”

And so Hoover and her team slip into a mechanical fugue: Stephanie Cohen, Hoover’s former boss from when she worked as a nutrition counselor for a federal program called Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), writes on small pieces of paper the names women would like for their inscriptions. She wears a pink sweater, woven through with rainbow yarn, and she works efficiently, bent over the table as she writes. A volunteer takes photos using the fans’ phones, and Hoover looks up at each phone and smiles. 

The line moves slowly. One woman says she traded her nursing shift to be here. Another, wearing plastic floral glasses, is toting a wheeled crate with 38 books in it. (Attendees were told about the five-book limit, Lemieux says, but Hoover gamely signs them all anyway.) The woman, Emily, explains that she has 38 books with her today; she has more at home—multiple editions of each title, in fact—and hopes to get the entire collection signed and personalized. Several guests tell me that Hoover’s books drew them to reading, either for the first time or after a long hiatus.

“I went through a really low point of my life where a lot of things were going on, and I just needed to get back to reading,” says a young woman named Nayeli with big silver hoops peeking out from her shoulder-length black hair. Switching the five books she’d brought from arm to arm, she says she heard about Hoover on TikTok and, after learning that Hoover grew up close to her—in Saltillo, thirty minutes away from Nayeli’s hometown of Mount Pleasant—she bought her book Ugly Love, then Verity, then Confess

At the signing table, Hoover never pauses to rest. Someone has placed three cartons of fries on the floor behind her and three burgers on a folding chair nearby for her and her team, auxiliaries at attention, but they go cold, the fries turning limp. “The smiling is the worst,” Lemieux says. “Your face. . . .” She trails off, watching Hoover rhythmically sign, then pose, for one of the hundreds of women in line.

Hoover later says she often feels concerned about her “resting bitch face” in photos. “I’ll think I’m smiling really big, and then I’ll see the picture, and I’m, like—” she makes a barely perceptible grimace, as when one is trying to emote while on novocaine. Sometimes she is photographed in between signatures, looking at the floor with an expression of apparent despair. On Instagram her fans call this the “CoHo death stare,” and some of them request that she make it in photos. It is one of the “regular girl”-isms—along with her bewilderment over her own rapid and wild success, her trips to Walmart in her pajamas, and her Jack in the Box advocacy—that endear her to fans.

Later I ask Hoover whether she plays up these quirks, the way politicians sometimes hide behind an unpretentious “I’m just like you” image. “There was a comment in one interview that kind of suggested that, and I was like, ‘What?’ It shocked me,” she replies in her friendly accent. “I think, for me, it’s hard to be professional, and that’s why I say no to everything. Because I’m not good at that. I feel very much like a normal person that has weird things happening to her that are public.”

Ideally, there will be more “weird things”—more meteoric best-sellers, more films. Hoover is poised to continue her ascent, and she’s grateful. Really, she is. There’s just one problem.

Colleen Hoover in her home office on April 17, 2024. Photograph by Jasmine Archie

That one of the best-selling writers of the twenty-first century has chosen to live in the woods east of Dallas—she would rather I did not specify where—is baffling to me until a few weeks after the signing, when I arrive at her home. Her house is on a leafy lane that looks, as does much of East Texas, surprisingly like swaths of New England. It is perched on a lake that is quiet on this overcast day, and the side of the house facing the water is all windows. It is the kind of peaceful place where something jarringly brutal might happen in a Colleen Hoover novel.

Once we settle in her living room—“I don’t do this a lot; what do you want to do? Would you like a water? Should we sit?”—Hoover sinks into the vast white sectional in the middle of the room, putting her sneakers up on a chaise. She is wearing a Louis Vuitton scrunchie, a chambray minidress, and bike shorts. She is watched by her dog Bendy, a German shepherd with soulful brown eyes and a long, pointed face (even for a German shepherd), who stands panting a few feet away.

“She does not listen to me at all. She is my husband’s baby, and she will only listen to him,” Hoover says. “Bendy, go lay down,” she commands the dog sharply. Bendy takes a small step toward a twin mattress–size dog bed by the far window, then looks back at Hoover, who points, raises her brows, and purses her lips. Bendy takes a few more steps, then looks back again challengingly. Hoover laughs.

She moved into this house in April 2023, she says, and she has not written a single word since before then. I gawp at her: she has produced two books a year since she started publishing in 2012, and I had assumed she worked with machinelike regularity, probably writing 1,500 words a day like Stephen King.

“I read about these writers who have a routine, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, why can’t I be that person?’ ” she says. Instead, she waits to be inspired and then slogs through the first 20,000 words of the story, writing and rewriting the opening chapters until she gets into a groove. “That’s when I have to have complete solitude. I will lock myself up in a hotel room. I just will hole myself up for weeks at a time. I can’t have anything on my schedule, anything that gets in the way of my creativity.”

But she tells me she hasn’t experienced a bout like that in about a year and a half. I ask whether this time off was a decision—whether, after publishing so many titles in such a compressed period, she chose to pause to avoid burnout. No, she says. She has been ritually telling her editors she’ll get them something “in three months.” She is egregiously behind on every deadline. Her editors are being kind about the delays, but Hoover is terrified.

“I’m absolutely in that moment of panic now that I know how many people are going to read it,” she says. She speaks dryly, with only a comical widening of her already-wide eyes to signal actual panic. “Before, release days were kind of fun because I felt like I was writing for the people that love my books, but now it’s almost like I’m writing for the people who are just waiting to put out that negative video of my books, because it gets views. It’s just the popular thing, to hate, right now, and I wish I didn’t let that get in my head, but I do. Because at this point I’m like: It doesn’t sound fun anymore. Release days don’t sound fun. So I’ve been dragging my feet. It used to be so exciting, and now it’s not. And that’s the saddest part.”

Her home is full of dreamy workspaces and warrens that look lifted from Pinterest and primed for furious productivity—it is an ideal habitat for someone who currently feels capable of creative work but likely a mocking one for someone who doesn’t. When I ask her for a tour, she springs from the couch to show me the bright craft room, which, she says serenely, she has never used. “I had good intentions,” she says as she approaches the room, struggling briefly with its glass door.

She did want to get into crafting, she explains, and she has been accumulating materials to begin doing so—the room is dotted with baskets of fabric, small clear containers of glitter, and rows of ribbon—but she has yet to produce a craft. When I admire a shiny multitiered sewing box, she says, “I don’t even know what’s in there.” 

She then walks down a flight of stairs and through a foyer to her office, which, like the living room, overlooks the lake. Everything is painted white, and built-in shelves behind a vast desk are packed with her titles. (She quickly explains that she staged the shelves like that for the Jack in the Box ad she shot recently and has yet to unstage them.) On several walls she has hung photographs featuring disconcerting blank white billboards in different landscapes. “I was like, that’d be perfect for my office. I don’t know what I’m gonna write,” she says.

She guides me back into the foyer, through a dark home theater and into a tiny antechamber that is almost entirely occupied by beige suede seating. The room is windowless and there is nothing on the walls. Here in this small burrow, she says, she feels more capable. “I can’t hear anything. I can’t see anything.” But even in this cavern of neutrals, she has not gotten past the outlining stage on any of the ideas that have come to her.

Her writer’s block seems to be fundamentally an issue of scale. Hoover began her career as a self-published indie writer with a contained, devout fandom; now, thanks in large part to BookTok, she is a global phenom. Hoover is often asked how she manufactured the social media machine that kept her books on the best-seller list for years. “It wasn’t what I was doing on TikTok,” she says. “Not a single bit of it was because of any kind of marketing I was doing. I just benefited from it.”

She did make a critical—if perhaps unintentionally shrewd—move in 2020. At the beginning of lockdown, anticipating that readers might be bored while stuck at home for “a couple of weeks,” she decided to offer free downloads on Kindle, then posted about it on social media. Hoover still owned the rights to these books, which included Verity, a quick psychological thriller that has, for those who claim little interest in romance, served as a gateway to her books.

Her work was also well tailored to a platform that favors “big feelings,” says Allison Hunter, the Austin-based cofounder of Trellis Literary Agency. Hoover writes about characters who are subsumed by their tragedies, traumas, and loves. “Think about what you feel like when you’re a teen or in your twenties, where everything matters in this huge way. She sees that and acknowledges that and gives permission for that,” Hunter says. “That’s what Colleen Hoover does better than anyone.”

Hoover on the set of It Ends With Us, with director and star Justin Baldoni.
Hoover on the set of It Ends With Us, with director and star Justin Baldoni. Jojo Whilden/Sony
Hoover with Judy Blume
Hoover with Judy Blume at the Time100 Gala, in New York City, on April 26, 2023. Courtesy of Colleen Hoover

It Ends With Us, for instance, opens with the main character, Lily Bloom—the young florist, natch—meeting Ryle Kincaid, the neurosurgeon, on a rooftop: she has just buried her father; he has just lost a young patient suffering from a gunshot wound, and it has dredged up a traumatic event from his childhood. They flirt. 

“Love has never appealed to me. It’s always been more of a burden than anything,” Ryle tells Lily. “I envy you,” Lily says.  

It is indulgent dialogue, reminding me of imaginary back-and-forths I had with my crushes when I was a teenager. (It Ends With Us is punctuated with diary entries from Lily, each addressed to her hero, Ellen Degeneres.) But scenes like that provide a counterbalance to Hoover’s often wicked plotting. She mercilessly and inventively piles obstacles on her characters—twisted upbringings, tragic accidents, financial woes—and flings her heroes into harrowing climaxes.

In Too Late, which Hoover initially published episodically on Wattpad and which she rereleased in 2023, the protagonist endures a parade of near-constant abuse at the hands of her boyfriend that rivals, in its horrors, those in Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. And Verity evokes the dark twists of Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn. “I hear the crack of his skull before the spattering of blood reaches me,” Hoover’s novel begins, building into a plot à la Shutter Island.

Hoover is often approached by readers who tell her that her books are the first they’ve finished in years, but her success has puzzled some fellow authors. “A lot of writers will read my books, and they’re like, ‘Why is this so popular?’ ” she says. “I don’t want to use big words. I don’t want to use flowery language. I hate description. Hate it. I’m a very ADD reader. I have ADD in my real life. And if I have to read more than two paragraphs without dialogue, I will skip it.”

All of which made Hoover a natural patron for the literary community on TikTok, an app particularly well suited to those of us with terminally short attention spans. One day, she recalls of her rise on the platform, she had five thousand followers. “The next day, I had ten thousand. The next day, I had twenty thousand.” From there, her audience and sales compounded. She had already been a New York Times best-seller, but this was different. And it wasn’t all good.

Our tour complete, we return to the living room, and Hoover’s middle son, Cale, drifts in wearing a green hoodie, having just taken Bendy for a walk. She tells him she has prepared a roast and potatoes—actually, she clarifies, Heath had started the roast, but it was her idea. She proceeds to the kitchen and opens the refrigerator to grab some cheese as a garnish. “It smells so bad,” she says to Cale: the last time she and Heath traveled, they’d left some fish in there by accident. “I sprayed room spray into the fridge.”

“Really?” he asks, looking alarmed.

“It probably isn’t good,” Hoover says. She points to a glass bottle on the counter. “This is the stuff I was spraying in there. I thought this was perfume and I used it for a year. I just discovered it when I was like, ‘Oh, I’m almost out of perfume.’ I went online. This is room spray. I’m not kidding.”

Another of her three sons, Levi, walks in the front door with his father, who had picked him up from the airport. Heath is tall, with a kind smile and a bushy beard, and he and Hoover greet each other warmly; she hurries to the door and pulls Levi, who lives near Detroit, into a long hug. Her sons and husband dive into the roast, and after eating, Hoover announces that she needs to go drop off something her mother ordered—would I mind? I would not.

She steps into her garage and walks around the back of a lavender Porsche Taycan with a mauve leather interior. (“It’s just my weak spot,” she says of cars.) She puts on sunglasses, and for twenty minutes we zoom along the two-lane roads to meet her mother, Vannoy Fite.

Fite’s waterfront home, which Hoover bought for her after she and Heath decided to move to the lake, is woodsy and dark, evoking a boathouse. Fite has added a new screened porch on which Adirondack chairs and hardy-looking plants have been arranged. She is dog-sitting Hoover’s sister’s small, ancient white terrier, who, after Fite guides us to the screened porch, folds in on itself in the middle of the floor and is instantly asleep. Fite, who is slender and sharp, with shoulder-length gray curls, settles into a bright pink Adirondack chair, clutching a mug with long, elegant fingers. I take another chair, and Hoover perches on a high bench by the screen, her right foot on the ground and her left foot swinging beneath her.

As the two women discuss the porch’s virtues, Hoover’s Texas accent gets thicker. Hoover would like to have a screened porch too but laments the swarms of tiny bugs that cover the doors and windows of her home when the lights are on at night.

“Which Simpson boy is it that works for Terminix?” Fite asks.

“Simpson boy? Mom, he’s like seventy-five.”

“He’s sixty-eight, Colleen. He’s not seventy-five.”

“You’re still calling him a boy,” Hoover says, pronouncing the last word petulantly: bo-ee.

Any detectable friction in their relationship has been burnished away by decades of near-constant companionship. They tell me they were once classmates: Hoover attended University of North Texas, in Denton, for a semester, but she missed Heath and home and returned to the area to continue her studies, at Northeast Texas Community College, in Mount Pleasant. (She eventually graduated from Texas A&M University–Commerce.)

Her mother decided she would start college at the same time, and they shared several classes, both graduating with degrees in social work. At one point, Fite’s mother joined them too. “My granny got bored, and she was like, ‘If y’all are gonna go to college, I’m gonna go to college,’ ” Hoover says. Hoover’s aunt even joined one class.

After graduating, Hoover held a number of jobs, including in hospice care, which she admits she was not suited for. “I just felt so disconnected. I was like, I’m not the right person for these people,” she recalls. “I felt like I was pretending in every role I was in.” She started writing in earnest while employed by the WIC program, where she coincidentally worked in the same office building as Fite. She would write at night, once her three sons were asleep.

When she finished a few chapters of her first book, Slammed, which she self-published in 2012, she shared them with her then-supervisor, Stephanie Cohen, and with Fite, who was stunned. “It was probably one of the most shocking times of my life, to read these three chapters,” Fite says. “It was like a real book.” She was just as stunned the day six strangers bought Slammed and the day a few months later when the New York Times contacted her daughter to tell her the book would be on the best-seller list.

“I am a Colleen Hoover hater first and a person second,” one woman said in a video.

Hoover still seems jarred by the volume of attention her books receive. “I don’t feel like I’m the type to be writing books to, like, shape and educate people. That’s not my intention,” she says when I ask about concerns that her younger fans, drawn in by her books that have been categorized as “new adult,” will find their way to her more mature work. “That’s not why I got into writing. I just wanted to write fun stories. And now it feels very, like, ‘Oh, these stories are reaching an audience that I never expected and reaching an age group that I never expected to reach.’ And so it’s a whole different experience now.”  

BookTok has been good to her, but for every TikTok user who enthusiastically reviews her books, there is an influencer posting a ruthless vivisection; the criticisms of Hoover’s books are as acerbic as the praise is breathless. 

Sometimes TikTokers will simply pull a piece of text from a book and pose impassively beneath it, letting viewers draw their own conclusions about the prose. “This TikTok is asking why Colleen Hoover gets so much hate,” one woman starts in a “stitch,” a type of video that references another TikTok, from October 2023. The woman’s face floats beneath a section of dialogue from Ugly Love: “The only thing he got from me was his balls,” one character tells his girlfriend as they admire their newborn baby. “ ‘Oh, my God, I know,’ she says. ‘They’re so big.’ We both laugh at our son’s big balls.” The TikTok ends with the woman asking, “What the f—?”

Leigh Stein, a novelist, cultural critic, and BookTok enthusiast, has observed posters poking fun at other romance writers popular on the platform, such as Tessa Bailey. But, Stein says, “people don’t define themselves as anti–Tessa Bailey the way they do anti-CoHo.” For a huge part of BookTok, she explains, Hoover has come to signify all that is lowbrow.

Some users have posted videos of themselves walking through bookstores, turning Hoover’s books around so that the titles can’t be seen. (“Helping the girlies out,” said one poster.) “I am a Colleen Hoover hater first,” one woman said in a video. “And a person second.” 

Readers have accused Hoover of not identifying and vilifying domestic violence strongly enough. “Hoover’s books are extremely popular and leave an impression on young women—Hoover’s primary audience—by casually portraying abuse as ‘just how a relationship is supposed to work,’ ” a writer for Cosmopolitan.com opined in May 2023. “Hoover’s work describes abusive situations through rose-colored glasses and ultimately doesn’t really define them as abusive—rather, they’re deemed romantic.” 

These concerns primarily orbit It Ends With Us, in which Lily, as her relationship turns abusive, oscillates between moments of panicked rationalization and periods of righteous clarity. The book was inspired by Fite’s relationship with Hoover’s abusive father, to whom Hoover remained close and who has since died. (“I wanted to write something realistic to the situation my mother was in—a situation a lot of women find themselves in,” Hoover writes in an afterword to the book.)

She has also been accused of “profiting off domestic abuse,” both after an abortive attempt to create a coloring book based on It Ends With Us and after the Olive and June collection was released. “I can finally have nail polish the color of Lily’s bruises,” one TikTok user joked. 

These criticisms are standard fare for a public figure in 2024, but they target Hoover in an unusual volume: BookTok is a magnifying glass, and she is an ant. Hoover says she never wanted to be famous. Before her books took off, she had watched E  L James’s Fifty Shades series ascend. She and James had been in an online writers’ group of twenty indie authors, several of whom have since hit number one on the New York Times best-seller list. (Hoover won’t tell me the names of any others in this genre-fiction cabal, explaining that some of the writers are “very private”; she was invited to join the closed Facebook group after befriending a few of the women in the group online.)

She watched James’s ascent with apprehension.“That was terrifying,” she says. “And I’d been saying for years, ‘I’m happy how it is, I don’t want to get bigger, I don’t want to get bigger.’ And then, bam, it blew up overnight. And I’m like, exactly what I didn’t want to happen happened.” She compulsively peppers our discussions with caveats that she is not complaining. But she’s also not easily adjusting.

Colleen Hoover
Hoover on the land she grew up on, and now owns, on April 17, 2024.Photograph by Jasmine Archie

After a half hour, Hoover and I leave Fite and walk out to the car—Hoover calling out Easter-related plans for the following day—then drive fifteen minutes to the one hundred-acre parcel of land she grew up on. After leaving the main highway, we bump over a train track so heavily wooded on both sides of the rails that it looks like a green hallway straight to the horizon. After a minute, Hoover slows and then stops in front of a modest white house surrounded by trees and wildflowers. This is the house she lived in after her mother left her father. 

It should be easy for Hoover to insulate herself from commentary on her books out here in East Texas, among the places and people she was raised with. But, she says, “It still somehow finds its way to me.” Sometimes friends send her posts making fun of her books, assuming she’ll laugh at them. “I think a lot of people in my life think that it just kind of rolls off my back.” 

I’d asked Hoover earlier, in her living room, whether she has considered stopping writing altogether, pulling a Philip Roth at age 44. She brought up a post shared by the singer Lizzo on Instagram a day earlier, decrying “lies being told about me for clout & views” and announcing “I QUIT.” (A week later—no doubt after entreaties from her publicist—Lizzo clarified that she was not quitting music, but was rather quitting “letting negative people win.”) Hoover was unsettled by the post. “I hurt for Lizzo,” she said. She does enjoy the writing process, she said, and wanted to be an author long before she started writing, but she conceded that she could retire now fulfilled and happy. 

It should be easy for Hoover to insulate herself from commentary on her books out here in East Texas. But, she says, “It still somehow finds its way to me.”

The friends she has hired have told her not to worry about them—that they will find other jobs if she decides to quit. But she would still feel selfish. “To financially get to a place where I can do that but then to never give my readers who got me there anything else? I just feel like I owe it to them.” 

As she steers her purple Porsche through the countryside, she explains that she is trying to view this period of stasis as a break, and that she is trying to toughen her skin. But, she says, “Something that has really shocked me is that this huge thing has happened in my career, and there’s no, like, therapist on call?” 

I suppose there are few resources for someone in her position, because so few people have ever been in her position.“I don’t know how to talk about it. I want to be a role model for other authors in the sense that I don’t want people giving up on their careers because they got some hate online or something. Because that would be very sad. But I also feel like there’s a little bit of toxic positivity in pretending it doesn’t bother you. But then if I say, ‘Oh, this stuff does bother me,’ am I viewed as weak?” 

Sometimes she really is unbothered. After she gets out of the car to say goodbye, she looks yearningly at the lake, where several jet skis await. 

“I’m not a water person, per se. I can’t really swim well, and I get scared on boats. But the most peaceful thing in the world to me is getting on a jet ski and just riding across the lake,” she says. “I’m so glad it’s not cold right now, because I’m going to do that this week.”

And she finds peace in other ways. A month after we meet, as buzz about It Ends With Us crescendos, I drift to Hoover’s TikTok. It’s private now.  

This article originally appeared in the June 2024 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Will Colleen Hoover Ever Write Again?” Subscribe today.

Hair and makeup: Lisa Williams for Independent Artists