This blog post is a copy of my August Author Spotlight. Please enjoy!
Brianna Hale first came onto my radar via a sponsored ad for her book Midnight Hunter. I read the blurb and couldn't not pre-order it immediately. Then I promptly forgot about it until it downloaded onto my Kindle and completely changed my world. I then set about reading her entire back list of books and frothing at the mouth for her upcoming releases (which she graciously allowed me to read early).
When it came to choosing who to feature as my first Author Spotlight I had to have Brianna Hale. It seemed absolutely essential to my survival that I get the answers to some burning questions about what it's like to write such taboo novels. I got those answers and more. Keep reading below to get to know the woman behind the kink.
Romantically Inclined: Whenever I read especially kinky novels I always wonder what the author tells their friends, family, and strangers. Do your family and friends know that you write Daddy Dom romances or do you keep them in the dark? How do you approach acquaintance's questions about your job?
Brianna Hale: LOL. My parents definitely do not know. I can't even begin to wonder how I could explain it to hem. It's a shame because I would have liked to share Midnight Hunter with them, especially my dad because he's a history buff. But if I give them that then they'll google my name, ha! Some of my friends know but mostly I tell people that I write romance under a pseudonym, and then I add a coy smile.
Romantically Inclined: What inspired you to start writing taboo romance? Taboo/forbidden romances are gaining more popularity these days but they aren't exactly mainstream. Did you face any criticism from the mainsteam romance world or readers regarding your choice of characters, relationships, or plots?
Brianna Hale: I was trying to get my vanilla Historical Romances picked up by Harlequin/Mills & Boon but kept getting rejected. The Regency romance market is highly saturated with popular authors so it's hard to edge your way in. Then one day I stumbled across a gif of a man pointing to his knee and flexing a belt in his hands, and it was tagged #ddlg. I didn't know what that was but I DO like kinky stuff *wink wink* and after a bit of investigating I got the idea for Little Dancer and wrote the first draft in a week.
Criticism, well, there was backlash against Midnight Hunter. I don't mind being asked about it but I don't say much because I spent 90k words on Evony and Reinhardt and their relationship. I would do them a disservice if I tried to add anything else. I love those two characters and that book very much and I'm very thankful to my readers and their support.
Isabeau and Laszlo [The Protege] are another controversial couple, though less so than Evony and Reinhardt, I think. It's so interested to me to take a couple that have so many obstacles to falling in love and see if I can get them past that in a way that makes the reader fall in love with them, too. Isabeau has been in love with Laszlo since she was eight and waited ten years to make a move on him. I can't get behind underage sex in fiction when the other person is older than eighteen, but I do remember being eight or nine and being in love with grown men in the most heartfelt way. They had no idea, of course. The Protege is about exploring what happens when you're all grown up and you have years and years of that baggage and heartache to bring to a proper relationship.
Romantically Inclined: What was the first romance novel you ever read? What was your most recent read?
Brianna Hale: The first one!? Hmm. It would have been my mother's books so the Brontes, Jane Austen, Rosamunde Pilcher, Georgette Heyer, of Daphne du Maurier. Or my grandmother's Harlequin/Mills & Boon paperbacks.
The last romance book I read was Tormenter Mine by Anna Zaires *heart eyes*. Despite his many, many, MANY faults I fell in love with Julian in Twist Me and I couldn't wait to meet Peter in this new trilogy. Reading about Julian gave me the guts to write Reinhardt. Peter is making me fall even harder! He's kind of a Daddy. I adore him!
Romantically Inclined: What do you look for in an alpha when choosing a romance to read? What should people expect from your alphas should they choose to pick up one of your novels?
Brianna Hale: Alphas with a big heart! Alphas who need to be loved and have so much love to give in return. Alphas who lead and protect even though they are sometimes a bit sadistic or cruel or harsh (looking at you Frederic [The Protege] and Reinhardt [Midnight Hunter] but who want to open their arms to their heroines and have them step smiling into their embrace. Alphas who want to bring out the best in the women they love. Alphas who are very unselfish and are often noble even when they're OTT [over the top] protective and possessive. Alphas who want to tell you how sweet and pretty and good you are and then do and say the most filthy things to you... [Author's Note:anyone else getting hot from this description?]
Romantically Inclined: The Protege--the story of Laszlo and and his ward Isabeau--releases July 27, 2018. Your books always read like you're an expert on the world you're building. In The Protege we are thrust deep into the world of music, was that something you were already familiar with or did you have to do research into the subject to ensure you did it justice? How does Laszlo rank among your other doms and how do you ensure your alpha males stsand out from one another while still filling that Dom role?
Brianna Hale: Thank you, I really enjoy working on world-building. My friend Bear knows about music and helped me a lot with the orchestra politices and language. The viola jokes bite? Her idea. I also read several music biographies and watched interviews with conductors like Simon Rattle on YouTube. World-building is important to me because I love feeling like I'm with the hero and heroine as I write them. Especially he heroines. There's so much of me in all of them, especially Evie in Soft Limits.
I did play in the school orchestra for a year or two (I sucked) and I took ten years of dancing lessons and performed here and there so I enjoy writing about the stage. I go to the theatre a lot too and find the spaces so lush and inspiring. I love writing about creative people.
After Reinhardt had been stomping around in my head in his big boots, shooting people and smoking cigarettes for months on end, I wanted Laszlo to be a very sweet, supporting sort of man, but a very strong person, too. The funny this is, I wasn't expecting him to be quite so *ahem* that way in the bedroom when I set out to write him. He was meant to be my sweetest dom of all. And he is, but he also has an ego the size of a London bus. The good thing is he knows he has an ego the size of a London bus and tries to temper it. He knows he could make things all about him while he's working and abuse his power, because he's in a position of great power. But he respects his musicians too much todo that. He likes to lead in a way that lets him nurture. He's a very responsible man.
However *horned emoji* in the bedroom he rather enjoys flexing that ego of his. And, oh boy, has he got some things to say.
Romantically Inclined: Often books in the BDSM world are criticised about not accurately reflecting the world and/or giving it a bad name among readers less knowledgeable about the subject. Many of the reviews of your novels touch on how well you manage to convey respectful, accurate, and realistic relationships between your doms and subs. How did you manage this?
Brianna Hale: I'm a very sex-positive person and I have always been very fond of strong men, so I have done some, ah, hands-on research! Mr. Hale is a wonderful man and he's been very inspiring for all my heroes. When you're a feminist but also a girlie-girl you think a lot about contradictions, such as the need to be strong and independent but also, for instance, slapped across the face by someone you trust. Making sense of those contradictions is a big part of my writing.
Romantically Inclined: What other projects do you have on the horizon that we should be excited about?
Brianna Hale: I'm very pleased to say that there are a few things coming up! I'm hoping to put out my first series which is exciting because everything so far has been standalone. I've posted a little on my Insta and in my Facebook readers group about a story I've working on. It's a novella and I'll release the title in a few weeks. The characters are called Ciara and Mikhail and their story revolves around sugar daddies and sugar babies, a world that's new to me so I've been doing a lot of research into it. Both Ciara and Mikhail are thrown into the "sugar bowl" as it's called against their will. Neither are looking for love. They have other specific goals. There'll be some Brianna Hale angst because I love high emotion and angst! But there will also be humour and smexiness, too!
Brianna Hale is going down as one of my absolute favorite authors for two reasons. One, she writes some damn dirty books and two, she was such a great sport about my blundering my way through my first Author Spotlight. The Protege releases July 27 and I thoroughly encourage you to check it out, but Midnight Hunter will always be my absolute favorite. *sigh*. Check out below for ways that you can respectfully stalk Brianna Hale
Connect with Brianna Hale:
Follow her on Goodreads
Join her Facebook group
Follow her on Instagram
Check out her books on Amazon
Author Blurb:There's nothing Brianna Hale likes more than a large, stern alpha male with a super-protective and caring streak, and when she's not writing about them she can usually be found with a book, a cocktail, planning her next trip to a beautiful location or attending the theatre. She believes that pink and empowerment aren’t mutually exclusive, and everyday adventures are possible. Brianna lives in London.