Interview with Penelope Bloom, Author of ANYONE BUT RICH

Anyone But Rich by Penelope Bloom

An Interview with Penelope Bloom, author of ANYTHING BUT RICH.

Seven years ago, my best friends and I made a promise: No matter what, we would never date one of the King brothers. Even if they grew up to become megafamous, gorgeous, heart-stopping billionaires. Even if they crawled on their knees and begged for forgiveness.

But guess who just flew back into our lives in a private jet? And guess who just showed up to my job on my first day? Richard. King. Fortunately, it takes two seconds for Richard to reveal he hasn’t changed. Conceited. Cocky. Rude. Unfortunately, he’s also the kind of gorgeous that’s borderline offensive—with a jawline to make statues self-conscious and a grin that short-circuits my brain.


Q & A

 

1) I am so glad you could join us here at Romance Junkies. To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current project?

Anyone But Rich is the first book in my newest romantic comedy series. My goal is that you’ll either laugh, smile, or breathe heavily through your nose often. If you’ve never read my romantic comedies, I like to think they manage to infuse serious situations, real characters, and sincere romance with moments of over-the-top humor. I never want the humor to overpower the story, but I also don’t ever want it to feel too far away.

The Anyone But series is all about the three King brothers and the three women from their home town of West Valley. Seven years prior to the events of the series, each brother royally screwed up with each of the women. The women decided to swear an oath that they could date “anyone but” the King brothers, even if the King brothers became mega-famous billionaires who came back on their knees begging for forgiveness. As it turns out, that’s exactly what happens.

2) When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

This probably isn’t the most fun answer, but it wasn’t a lightning bolt moment. It was kind of a slow evolution of ideas that happened in the background of my life. I always loved reading, but I don’t think I seriously considered the idea of writing anything I believed people would want to read until around high school or college. I ended up tacking on English and creative writing as minors in college and really enjoying it.

I actually do remember one instance, which I guess would’ve been the first official moment I knew I wanted to be a writer. I still lived at home during college, and I remember walking downstairs to find my mom and dad on the couch. I kind of announced that I had decided I wanted to be a writer. My parents were always good to me, and I could tell they didn’t want to crush my dreams but they were also extremely concerned from a practical standpoint. The thought going through their head was likely that I’d never move out if that was my plan.

But, as everyone probably would’ve expected, nothing happened with my dream. I wrote the first few chapters of a fantasy book about five or ten times over five years. But life went on, and the idea that I’d eventually find a way to not only finish the book, but make it good, started to feel more and more like a pipe dream.

I worked as a high school teacher at a Catholic high school, and by my second year, I couldn’t help looking around at my co-workers. I was 25 or 26 by that point, and I was starting to realize how quickly life can pass by when you get into a routine. I was watching co-workers receive awards for 30 and 35 years of service to the school. I can only describe the way that made me feel as utterly panicked on the inside.

Was I seriously going to just kind of coast through my life? Would all those things I valued so much just become something I’d talk to my grandkids about someday? “You know, when I was your age, I wanted to become a writer!”

It was terrifying to me. Life had given me an easy enough path that I could’ve kept following, but I couldn’t help staring out into the woods and wondering what would happen if I didn’t keep on the easy route.

And the proverbial “moment” came when we found out we were having our second daughter. The condensed version of the issue is that we weren’t going to have enough money to pay for everything unless I found a way to make some extra money for us. I wish I could say I’d have had the guts to try this if I hadn’t felt like I was backed into a corner to think of something. And I guess without getting into more of my life story, since the question is just what the moment was, that was my moment.

3) Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

It was actually my brother. When I first got started, he told me something that seriously helped me. I’ve always been a perfectionist, especially with my writing. It’s why I spent five years endlessly re-writing the first chapters of my fantasy novel.

My brother told me to set a word count goal for the day, write until I hit it. Then he said to stop, even if I felt like I had more in the tank. He also said no re-reading, no editing as I go, no doubts or slowing down. Just go.

For me, I think it’s the only way I can actually write a book. Write fast and don’t look back until the end.

4) Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?

I think a lot of focus goes into things like attractiveness, bad boy status, charm, confidence, etc. Those are all fun details and they do add to the desirability of a hero, but I think of the perfect hero as something more than the individual parts. To me, the goal is that he can almost reach out of the pages and do something good for the reader.

Maybe the absolute obsession he has with the heroine gives one of my readers hope. Or maybe the way he looks past her flaws and loves her despite them helps somebody appreciate their husband or boyfriend. Maybe a gesture he makes reminds someone of one of their most romantic moments, etc. Basically, I want my stories to be great stories, first and foremost. But I also want there to be a connection for my readers, and I hope I can write my heroes in a way that they can remind us or show us some of the best parts about our relationships. They may give us a reason to remember wonderful things that have happened to us, or they may give us something to hope for with all our hearts. At the end of the day, I just want them to help stir up an emotional reaction that helps my readers feel something to make their time with my stories worthwhile.

5) What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?

I have quite a few little hobbies, even if I don’t have as much time for most of them ever since having kids. I love tennis, and I actually coached the tennis team at the high school where I taught before I got into writing. I still play some, but not as much as I used to.

I’ve also been into the whole Crossfit thing for a little over a year now. I guess I spend so much time doing it that you could call it a hobby at this point. In the moment, it’s pretty miserable, but I like how it makes me feel afterwards and I’ve found that my mind is sharper for writing when I’m staying active. So it’s just something I make time for during my work day now.

I have an electric drum set in my office that I use quite a bit when I need a break from writing as well. I used to take lessons when I was younger, but now I just kind of slam away at them for stress relief and fun when I want an excuse to step away from the keyboard.

Those are the more unique hobbies. Other than that, I spend my time doing things I’m sure 95% of people enjoy doing like eating, hanging out with my family, watching shows, eating, swimming, eating… Did I mention I love eating?

6) What has been your biggest adventure to date?

I’m sensible to a fault, which means I’ve lived a relatively adventure-free life. I guess if I wanted to get creative with my interpretation of the question, I could honestly say deciding to self publish romance books has been my biggest adventure. It has changed my life, allowed me to work from home, and have my voice reach hundreds of thousands of people.

7) How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?

Maybe I should start with the fact that it took me forever to answer this question because I kept starting a description and deleting it. The short version is, that like most people, I’m an odd blend of different things in different situations. With my family, I’m generally a complete goofball. I don’t like taking things more seriously than they need to be taken. I like making people smile, I love making them laugh. I love telling stories and embellishing a detail here or there to make it funnier. I love collecting experiences and turning them into stories to tell for years to come. But at the same time, I can be serious. I can be so nervous about my books and my career that I can barely function for weeks at a time. I procrastinate like nobody’s business and then pay the price for it when it gets near to my deadlines.

Above all of it though, I think I’ve always been a pretty intensely thoughtful person—and not in the considerate sense of the word. I just mean I spend a lot of time in my head. I tend to dissect moments instead of live in them, if that makes sense. It’s kind of like I can’t help stepping outside myself all the time and taking in the scene as a neutral observer, and maybe that has helped give me a lot of ammunition for my books. Who knows? But I do think to me, that’s one of the most distinctive things about myself. I just do a lot of thinking
 
8) What project are you working on next?

I’m writing a BDSM-themed romantic comedy series. I don’t want to say too much specific about the project, because I’m a little notorious for dramatically changing things before they’re set in stone. But my goal is to write something that’s as light and funny as my usual books, but also something that makes BDSM relatable and sexy, even to people who would never dream of participating. I’ve always kind of been interested in the idea of BDSM romances, and I’ve also written several in the past. This would be my first romantic comedy in the BDSM world, and I think it would be the perfect way to make the topic more approachable for the general public.

Maybe the natural follow-up question is why I think it’s important for BDSM to be approachable by the general public. If I had to dig up an answer to that, I guess I’d just say that writing romance books and talking to the people in my life about what I do has gradually given me some pretty strong feelings on topics I never would’ve imagined I’d care about. One is how sex is often viewed as this dirty, shameful thing. And if you ask a person on the street, the more “kinks” we add to vanilla sex, the dirtier and more shameful it becomes.

But I completely disagree. While I’m not personally into BDSM, I think sex is all about making a physical and emotional connection with somebody you care about. Any way people can find to deepen that connection should be celebrated and explored. And if something I write inspires some people to try something new that may enrich their lives, then I’m absolutely not going to be ashamed to tell anybody who asks that I’m writing a BDSM romance book at the moment. In fact, I kind of enjoy telling people and watching their reactions, haha.

Anyone But Rich by Penelope Bloom

Anyone But Rich

by Penelope Bloom

September 3, 2019

Series: Anyone But…, #1

Publisher: Montlake 

Seven years ago, my best friends and I made a promise: No matter what, we would never date one of the King brothers. Even if they grew up to become megafamous, gorgeous, heart-stopping billionaires. Even if they crawled on their knees and begged for forgiveness.

But guess who just flew back into our lives in a private jet? And guess who just showed up to my job on my first day? Richard. King. Fortunately, it takes two seconds for Richard to reveal he hasn’t changed. Conceited. Cocky. Rude. Unfortunately, he’s also the kind of gorgeous that’s borderline offensive—with a jawline to make statues self-conscious and a grin that short-circuits my brain.

He’s spent years taking what he wants. I doubt he’s hungry for anything else—except me, apparently. There’s no way I’ll let him maneuver his way back into my life. My friends would never forgive me. I would never forgive me. But did I mention his jawline?

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Penelope Bloom is a USA Today, Amazon, and Washington Post bestselling author whose books have been translated into seven languages. Her popular romances include His Banana, Her Cherry, Savage, and Punished.

Her writing career started when she left her job as a high school teacher to pursue her dream. She loves taking her imagination for a spin and writing romances she’d want to live. She likes a man with a mind as dirty as sin and a heart of gold he keeps hidden away. Her favorite things include getting to wear socks all day—pants optional—and being a positive example for her girls. Showing her daughters that no dream is too big, no matter what anyone tells them, is worth all the late nights, doubts, and fears that come with being a writer.

Stay connected! For giveaways, goodies, updates, and extras, join the mailing list at https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/a0y7m1. Follow her on Facebook at PenelopeBloomRomance, and check out her website at www.penelope-bloom.com.

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