I was talking to a writer friend this week who BETA read the second book in my Upper Crust Series, Any Way You Dream It (due out April). We were discussing the book series and I was explaining to her how I came to write it.
I realised that I hadn’t actually shared the impetus here so I thought I would do that now.
About this time last year I downloaded a novel by a very successful romance author whose novels include marriages of convenience in them. Her books do hugely well, she’s an international best seller and she writes really well. I admire her work, her output and her career a lot. ( I read a lot of successful authors books sometimes for the stories and often to see if I can find the keys to the treasure chest of success.)
So I sat up and read one book in her series while my husband lay beside me snoring in a rather un-melodious way. (Yep I do paint a pretty picture of marital bliss, don’t I?) I thought the book was well written (and I have read others in the series since then) but I kind of wanted to throw the book across the room.
“Why Monique?” I hear you cry. “Why?”
These books took smart, successful business women and had them agreeing to arranged marriages with smarter, more successful businessmen – preferably billionaires. Of course the woman had a choice in the books and the ‘marriage of convenience’ is a well-known romance trope and I know it is fantasy, but it annoyed me.
“Why?” Simple, it still seemed to me the guys were getting the better end of the deal and the women tended to need a little bit of rescuing. It wasn’t simply a business translation, they needed to save a sick relative or a family business or someone else’s reputation. These were nice, smart girls but they weren’t girls with a lot of options.
So, I decided to write a ‘marriage of convenience’ story where ultimately it was the woman seeking the partner and yes there has to be quid pro quo for these relationships to work but I didn’t want there to be a massive power imbalance.
In Any Way You Slice It, Piper needs to be married to stay in America because her successful business is really taking off. Aaron who offers to marry her needs something too, but really this is Piper’s story, it’s about our heroine getting what she wants, without compromising herself along the way. Well, that was what I set out to do with this book.
I guess only the readers can decide if that worked or not.