Is Comfort Food really the OG (original gangster/the first) dark romance?
I published Comfort Food in early 2010. At that time there was no genre, no such thing as “dark romance”. There was no market, no audience. I got the book out to a few book bloggers with big followings, and then it started to spread. People whispered about it. They’d never read anything like it before.
Many people were “scared to read it.” (though by now, dark romance has become such a thing that readers would be unlikely to be “scared” now, nearly 14 years later. This was just its reception “at the time”.)
Then other books like Comfort Food started to appear that were directly inspired by it (As told to me by those authors directly.) Slowly an entire new genre came into being around Comfort Food and the books like it that came after.
I respect that it takes many books to create a genre, but Comfort Food lit the fuse. And the early impact of the book inspired others who wrote stories of a similar nature. And then stories were inspired by those stories and it spidered out.
As more and more dark romance books get published, so many of them by such wonderfully talented authors who I admire, it’s important to me that people remember Comfort Food because it came first. I won’t just fade into the background and not speak the truth about this book and how this genre originated. I understand we glorify people who are “humble” in the west, but I don’t consider humility a virtue. There is nothing virtuous in denying your own achievements. And I don’t think being the “good girl” buys anyone anything in life.
What books or ideas inspired Comfort Food?
I was inspired in part by erotica novels, primarily books like Story of O and Nine and a Half Weeks. While I appreciated these stories, I was annoyed that these kinds of books never let the hero and heroine be together, I assumed because it was socially and morally “wrong”. It was like the book was allowed to excite the reader but then it was ripped away as though it had to be morally sanctioned, and the only way to do that was to make sure the characters didn’t end the story together.
Alternately books would have one of the characters be “healed from” whatever their twisted issue was. So there would be a redemption arc that softened the hero beyond recognition. And I wanted to see the story where they end up making their own rules because they aren’t really integrated into society anymore anyway.
The rest of Comfort Food’s inspiration was this image I got in my head about this captor who didn’t speak to the captive. I think my biggest strength in my writing is dialogue so to write a book that is so much inner monologue was a huge challenge.
Almost always when I get inspiration for a book, it’s “audio in my brain”. I hear the characters having conversations in my head, and then I have to rush to the computer and start typing. I’m basically a glorified secretary. I just follow these imaginary people around and write down what they do and say.
I’d already been publishing PNR on another name, so while Comfort Food was my debut novel on this name, it wasn’t the first thing I’d written or published. And it was profoundly weird to have a whole novel coming together in my head without any dialogue.
So I’m asking myself, why doesn’t he speak to her? I didn’t even know initially, only that he wouldn’t talk. He wouldn’t talk to me. He wouldn’t talk to her. As for his real name… people have asked what his name is because she only knows him by the title he demands from her. And to tell you the truth, I don’t know his name either. He never told me.
I also had some things going on in my life at the time, some breakdowns in communication in my personal life. And so much of the raw emotions of that got churned into this book. Most days I was only getting about 750 words in and then I’d be tapped out. It was a really emotionally dark and intense book to write. It was so draining, but I’m so proud of the final product.
Where is the best place to follow you to hear about new releases, sales, or to interact with you?
The BEST place is this blog or my newsletter. Other secondary places are Bookbub, Goodreads, Instagram, or my Facebook page (check socials at the bottom of the website or the “Follow Me” tab at the top of the page). You are most likely to actually hear from me if you’re following my blog and newsletter and the deliverability is pretty good on Bookbub. The other sites should not be relied upon because all social media venues limit reach of posts and updates.
I don’t know where to start. What is the reading order of your books?
Here is a link to my reading order page (there is also a downloadable PDF that I keep updated): READING ORDER
Are your books BDSM fiction?
No. Many of my books are captive stories, but they are not BDSM fiction.
Obviously I don’t endorse kidnapping and this kind of thing in real life (just like Dexter and “You” aren’t meant to endorse vigilante serial killers).
When are you going to write a Comfort Food sequel?
While I appreciate that Comfort Food has connected so deeply with so many readers, I said what I had to say in that book. A sequel would ruin it and there is nothing I could write in a sequel that wouldn’t piss off half my readers and destroy the trust they’ve placed in me, so no.
What about sequels to other books?
Usually, no, but Blood Mate NEEDS a sequel so that’s on the agenda at some point.
Where can I get signed copies?
I sometimes offer limited signed book sale opportunities. Subscribe to the blog (gray box at the bottom of any blog post) to hear about those opportunities when they show up. You also can win them from me during release week when I run contests here at the blog and in my newsletter.
Are your books in audio?
YES! I finally have books in audio. Here’s the information about my audiobooks.
Are your books in other languages?
Note: If you are a foreign publisher interested in licensing translation rights to one or more of my titles, please use this sub rights inquiries form and contact me directly. I do not use an agent. Thank you!
What kind of books do you like to read?
I read mostly romance. I read romcoms, dark, erotica, paranormals, reverse harems, some alien/sci-fi, some mythology/fantasy. And I’m probably leaving something out.
What is your favorite book?
I have a lot of favorite books but I really loved You by Caroline Kepnes. I thought it was completely brilliant. It’s very rare to write an engaging book in second person, but I was riveted. I listened to it in audio (my preferred format for my pleasure reading) and I just was so wowed by it. They chose the perfect narrator. If you’ve read this one, I really really recommend it in audio.