Today's newsletter is chock-full of answers to the questions you asked me a few weeks ago!
Want to know how many books I'm releasing this year? How I choose the names of my main characters? Teasers on what tropes I'm working on right now? I've answered all of that and more below!
It gave me a lovely break from my editing and writing cave, where I'm currently holed up. I'm on two hard deadlines for the end of this month (one editing, one writing). Which means I've said goodbye to watching TV, doing laundry, or hanging the new painting above my couch.
But I'm getting a lot of face time with brand new characters! 😉
Have the best week, Olivia
The ending of 12 Days of Bossmas had me curious if we will seeing future stories for the children?
That ending had me curious, too! 😂
I didn't intend on ending 12 Days of Bossmas with the kids being teenagers, but once the idea came into my mind, I just couldn't resist. Writing it from Theo's perspective felt super natural too. I have a little story seed for a second generation series that includes characters from all of my series. Marchands, Winters, Conways, St. Clairs, Cole's, Park's...
But while exciting, it also seems like an enormous project, and I wouldn't want to get it wrong. Those characters got their happy ending and I don't want to accidentally tarnish that. So, to cut a long story short... the answer is maybe!
How do you get your inspiration & how much research do you invest in? I love your characters!
Thank you! My inspiration comes from books I read, movies I watch, TV-series I binge. Sometimes all I have is the very beginning of a story. What would happen if two characters who hate each other, are forced to work together on a big work project...? That kinda thing.
There are a ton of tropes I really love, and I enjoy experimenting with putting them together in different constellations. It's almost like a recipe, where you take different ingredients. What happens if I take an explosive meet-cute, a really cool character that's been living in my head, and combine it with the single dad trope or the enemies-to-lovers trope... and see what happens!
Sometimes a story idea might be really exciting to me, but it's not quite ready to be written. In that case, it lives in my little garden of ideas, and I'll tend to it now and then by adding new characters, tropes or elements. I have at least five stories that are in this phase right now.
How much research I do will depend on the book (boring answer I know, haha). I really love incorporating things in my books that are big in my own life, or that I would really enjoy learning about. Sophia played tennis in Suite; when I wrote that, I'd just started getting serious about playing myself. In Red Hot Rebel, Rhys and Ivy travel to places I've been to myself and some I haven't. Including some of my favorite tidbits, or researching about the locations foreign to me, was so much fun. Especially because I wrote it during the height of the pandemic lockdown, when international travel was non-existent.
Have you ever based your stories on a true event that either happened to you, or someone you know?
This is a good one. I wish, lol! The real answer is "kinda." I've never based an entire story on something from real life, but I've definitely taken inspiration from real scenes and situations. Sometimes relationship dynamics, like between siblings or parents. I do have a book coming out later this year that has lines of dialogue practically lifted from my own life, haha.
But I've never had a steamy, illicit relationship with a billionaire boss 😂 I have worked in offices though, with all the dynamics that sometimes accompany them, and I use that as inspiration all the time!
How many books are you planning to release this year? And might one of them be a fake relationship romance?
My plan is three full-length books, and one novella for Christmas. Tentatively, the release schedule is a book in May, a book this summer (probably July), and then a book this fall.
And yes! In the new series I'm planning, one book will center on a fake relationship. It has a super scarred hero, who's just redacted from a high-profile career in redacted, and now he needs a complete reputational makeover. I'll be writing it this year, but depending on the schedule, it might release in early 2024.
How do you decide the names for your characters, especially your FMC and MMC?
I love choosing main character names! Whenever I'm out and about and come across a nice new name, I'll add to my list. I'm a bit like a magpie with names!
Sometimes, I choose names just based on what I like personally. I love the name of Tristan, so of course I had to name Tristan Conway just that. Sometimes it's an homage to a fictional character or a real person. Henry Marchand came into existence soon after I'd read The Secret History, for example. Names also have to fit the character, the world, and the place they're in—just like real names! So while I sometimes have names I love, they might not fit in with the character's background.
As for side characters... If they're not very important, I'm guilty of naming them something silly while I'm writing. Like Pocahontas or Cruella or Tinkerbell. After I've finished the story, I'll look through baby name lists or flip through an old school catalogue to find a good name that won't be confusing (it can't be too similar to the main characters name!) and I'll search and replace "Cruella" with "Ben."
Where do you find the men on your books? They are good looking!
They are, aren't they? Many of my models are from stock photo sites, like Deposit Photos or iStock Photo. More recently, however, I've been working with the super talented photographer Wander Aguiar for my model images. If the model is one of his, you'll always find their name on the copyright page of the book.
From now on, most of my books will launch with a model cover AND a discreet cover. It's just such a popular thing now, and I love being able to offer both options!
Will we get more books about babysitting? It’s a simple question I know, but I LOVE those kinds of books.
Yes! I'm actually planning a single dad and nanny book that will probably be out later this year. It has a ton of other tropes too, and includes the hero I'm most excited to write right now. Because let me tell you, this man is SO grumpy, and he does not believe in love. He lives for his kids and his job, not for himself. Until the beautiful new nanny arrives, of course...
In Saved by the Boss, Anthony and the depth of his story has stayed with me long after I read it. Where did you get the inspiration for it?
Thank you! Writing Anthony's story was one of my favorite experiences, writing-wise. The idea for his story started after reading a book with a character struggling with a degenerative disease. It was a beautiful story and the writer in me was inspired by it. I wanted to try my hand at combining an uplifting romance novel with a very real and challenging obstacle in the life of my main character. I always knew Anthony's story would be a little different from my other books, but once I saw him in my mind and could empathize with the despair he was feeling, I knew I had to get writing.
For most of the book, Anthony is in quite a bad place mentally. It was important for me not to minimize the emotions he was going through, or make light of the situation. He's struggling to come to terms with what he has decided is essentially a death sentence. That's what I think his character arc is about; changing his perception of his diagnosis. I wanted Anthony to conclude, with the help of love, that life can still be worth living... even if it might look different from the one he had originally planned. I think that's a struggle many of us can relate to, even if his particular circumstances are foreign to us.
Anthony's book is also the one I did the most research for. I read books with main characters who had lost their vision and read interviews online with real people who'd gone through the same thing. I also watched a documentary that stayed with me for a long time, called "Notes on Blindness." It follows a British professor who gradually loses his sight, and documents the process. I can highly recommend it, but it's definitely an emotional watch.
Maybe this is a stupid question, but I can’t find Billion Dollar Enemy with the new cover. Is it out yet?
It sure is!
I'm sorry about it being difficult to find; retailers roll out new paperback releases at different speeds. You can always find the links to my books in every format (ebook, model paperback, discreet paperback, and audio) on my website, www.oliviahayle.com. Navigate to the book you're interested in, and all formats will be listed there.
Me in my editing cave
Very accurate right now 😂
Have you read all of my bonus stories? These include extra chapters and extended epilogues.