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Oct 31, 2016

Bob Boland, at middle age, is a mess.

Fortunately for him, the life-long bachelor and radio station engineer has hit a sweet spot where every woman he’s been meeting lately wants to fix him and make him all better. His co-worker, Irene, for example. And his neighbor, Leonie.

LOUIE CRONIN podcast excerpt: "Tom Magliozzi was very outgoing and used to come and talk to me and joke and laugh. We were friends before I started working for them on 'Car Talk.' I got to know Ray more slowly because he was quiet and more the straight man. But he was every bit as smart and funny as Tom."

But Bob is just shuffling through life at this point, indecisive, indifferent, f-able but ultimately ineffable.

Bob is at the core of Louie Cronin’s first novel, the Cambridge, Massachsetts-set story, Everyone Loves You Back. It’s a charming, easy read and I daresay we all probably have a Bob Boland in our lives.

Making Everyone ever more interesting is its workplace setting: an FM radio station in the throes of conversion from jazz to an all-news format. That’s particularly compelling because the author spent 10 years as the producer of “Car Talk” the long-running NPR show host by Tom and Ray Magliozzi. More recently, she is a technical director for PRI’s “The World.”

She must have been taking a lot of notes over the years!

LOUIE CRONIN podcast excerpt: "I'm in a writing group and I read the book to them, chapter by chapter, as I wrote it. I often had times when the men in the group said, 'No, no! He wouldn't care about what the guys had on! He would be thinking more like, 'Who could take who in a fight?' They corrected me as I went along."

Key interview moments:

• 5:05 First-time novelist Louie Cronin talks about how her writing group helped her get the inner voice of the book's male lead character correctly;

• 16:10 As a long-time producer for public radio's "Car Talk with Tom and Ray Magliozzi," Cronin was asked to make a Sophie's Choice between the brothers;

• 25:10 That time her writing coach told her that if she was going to write literary fiction, she better not quit her day job.

Louie Cronin WebsiteTwitter • Goodreads