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Carola Lovering Discusses New ‘Tell Me Lies’ Hulu Adaptation

Book-to-film adaptations have been a great way to breathe new life into a novel that has been published for some time and adaptations are even a chance for the book to be brought to a new audience. That is the case for author Carola Lovering. I was able to talk with her about revisiting her debut novel Tell Me Lies which first came out in 2018 and is now being turned into a Hulu original series. Tell Me Lies follows the story of Lucy Albright, focusing heavily on her college years which are haunted by the guy she fell in love with and the potential of what he could’ve been. The story unfolds in the past and present and alters between the two main characters’ points of view, as readers witness their relationship unravel.

Now, bringing this sensual and destructive love that Lucy and Stephen DeMarco have found within each other may seem like a daunting task. Translating a book to film without losing its meaning is difficult but, Lovering feels that the cast does a great job at bringing a toxic love story to screen stating, “The cast and crew did a phenomenal job portraying a toxic love story – it’s so spot on. I feel very grateful that they nailed the casting for both Lucy and Stephen – their acting blows me away.”  I then asked, what could be said to viewers who may romanticize the relationship they see on screen and how might the show combat that romanticization. “To those who romanticize that kind of relationship, I would say they need to read my book, ha!,” she continues, “But no, in all seriousness, I’ve been there, and it’s so hard. The reality is that sometimes you’re not over someone until you finally are…some things just have to run their course. But ultimately, being so far removed from any kind of toxic relationship at this point in my life, I would strongly encourage people to put themselves first and avoid getting sucked in by someone charming and manipulative like Stephen. People like that don’t change.” She ended by saying that she hasn’t seen the last few episodes of the show yet and therefore cannot speak on how the show combats romanticizing Lucy and Stephen’s relationship. 

Behind the scenes, Lovering got to work as a consulting producer on the show, and when I asked what it was like she described the position by stating, “I was basically on standby if anyone involved in the adaptation had questions for me about the book. I wasn’t involved in the making of the show on a day to day basis, but it was still incredible and fascinating to be a part of it in some capacity.” Book-to-film adaptations that remain true to the actual product and don’t stray too far, are a beloved extension of novels for the book community. And fans of Tell Me Lies can rest assured, as Lovering comments, “The emotional themes in the book really stay the same in the show; i.e. the sexy, super toxic dynamic of Lucy and Stephen’s “relationship” and the shame and emotional isolation Lucy feels.” However, there will be slight differences and new additions with some of the characters as she continues, “The character of Macy changes in the show; instead of being someone from Lucy’s past/hometown like in the book, Macy is Lucy’s freshman year roommate at Baird. There are a few new characters introduced in the show, including Wrigley’s younger brother Drew. Drew’s character adds a whole new mystery storyline in the adaptation (no spoilers!).” 

And the last question I got to ask her was how it feels seeing her debut novel being turned into a TV show adaptation and what she hopes that this show will bring to its audience. She says, “Witnessing Tell Me Lies become a TV show has been the most surreal experience of my life. It’s incredibly exciting and rewarding, and I mostly just can’t believe it’s happening. I’m so grateful! Obviously I want the show to help my book find more readers, but overall I just hope this will be an opportunity for many more people to connect with Lucy’s story.” 

Be sure to stream the first three episodes of Tell Me Lies on Hulu on September 7th. And if you are looking for more to read by Carola Lovering check out Too Good to Be True (2021) and Can’t Look Away (2022) 

Hi, I'm Ashley! I'm the Editor-in-Chief/Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Pace. Follow my Instagram @ashleygeiser