So you read last month's interview with Katy Ames, stalked her social media, binge read all her books, and now you're left asking, "What's next?" Never fear; the fix you need is here! Katy has some insider information to share about her first novel, a steamy island romance called After the Island.
Read on to find out Katy's thoughts on romance tropes, what inspired the book's setting, and what Katy would bring on her own tropical getaway.
First off. I just have to ask: have you ever been to Saint Kitts and Nevis? If yes, what parts of it most influenced the book? If no, do you plan on going some day?
I've been to Nevis but not the sister island of St. Kitts. It was years ago now, but I was there for work and when I was brainstorming a place to set After the Island the gorgeous scenery plus the intimate environment seemed like the perfect setting for a romance.
What do you think draws people to the 'Forbidden Boss (or Client!) as a Love Interest' dynamic? What parts of reading/writing this type of relationship do you enjoy?
For me at least, it's the will they/won't they question that makes a forbidden romance so exciting. It helps build the tension throughout the story and even when the characters give in to their attraction, you as a reader still aren't certain they are going to survive as a couple. That adds a level of excitement to the story that just draws people in. As for writing it, I love the opportunity forbidden romances provide for building sexual tension and conflict. Those elements are just so much fun to write.
While the 'Forbidden Boss/Client' thing is something we love to revisit again and again (and I must say you've done a great job of it in your book!) it is a pretty recurring thing in the romance world. What's your process for taking an established trope and making it your own?
I think it's less about the trope and more about the characters. All of the classic romance tropes and sub-genres give you basic structure, but you have limitless possibilities for how characters behave within those parameters. For Sadie and Jack, taking them outside of the classic office environment helped change up the forbidden boss/client trope; the expected hierarchy of the office no longer applied. The island isn't home turf for either. Staying at the hotel gives them a sense of escape, like a permission slip to do things they would never do at home. And it gives them an opportunity to speak freely about what they want for themselves and their futures. Being free from the classic board room environment gives them the chance to fall in love as themselves, but the forbidden nature of their relationship remains strong enough - and a serious enough threat - that they still don't know if they'll survive together after they return from the island.
Sadie and Jack make some tough choices throughout the course of the novel, both in regards to their careers and to their feelings for one another. Would you say compromise is a necessary part of making a relationship work?
Haha, YES. Absolutely. Compromise is pretty much the only way to make a relationship work, at least in my experience. But, as with all things, within limitations. Going somewhere and doing something that you don't really want to but will make your partner incredibly happy? That's a perfect example of the type of compromise that keeps relationships going (as long as you get to drag your partner to your happy place just as often). But agreeing to things that you feel compromise your beliefs and values -- like Sadie's concern that her relationship with Jack will call her professional integrity into question -- never works out well in the long run.
Did you always plan on making Seven Winds into a series, or did that end up happening along the way?
I didn't, actually. It sort of just happened along the way. I'm glad, though, because I love each of the stories. They're all so different, despite being set on the same island. And it was great fun revising characters from previous books throughout the series.
Is there a message you hope 'After the Island' sends to its audience? What would you like readers to get out of the book?
Mostly, I hope readers just have fun reading, enjoy the escape (and the romance!), and fall in love with Sadie and Jack the same way I did. If I were to pick one message to take away from the book, it's that you shouldn't have to change who you are to be loved. The right person for you is the one who loves you because of your quirks and failures and fears, not despite them. Oh, and women don't need men to save them. We're strong enough to save ourselves (though we do like their help every once and a while).
Surprise! You've won a tropical getaway, but the catch is you only have ten minutes to pack. What are the first five things you grab?
My husband! Bathing suit, kindle, LOTs of sunblock, and tunes for the beach.
If you haven't already, you can pick up your copy of After the Island here, and don't forget to check out Katy's website for more information.