Sylvia Day has accomplished a self-published (or really any) author’s dream. Within days of the release of Bared to You as an eBook and print-on-demand title, it jumped into the list of top 40 bestselling ebooks on Amazon. Shortly after that, the rights were purchased by Berkely books/Penguin, and she was self-published no more, with new cover art, an e-book and trade paperback edition (a dream for all aspiring authors).
Before the publication of Bared to You, Day was already an accomplished bestselling author, known for her romantic and deeply emotional novels, written under several different pen names.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Sylvia Day.
1. I know that your book is being billed as 50 Shades Hotter. Were you inspired by James’ books? Where do you see the similarities and differences between the two?
My inspiration for Bared to You was one of my own works, Seven Years to Sin, which follows a couple with abusive pasts. In Seven, the characters’ histories brought them together, but I wondered later what it would be like to explore a relationship in which the characters’ pasts pushed them apart instead. What if the defining trauma of your life impeded your ability to connect with the person you love? Can two abuse survivors have a functional and healthy romantic relationship? That’s the core question of the Crossfire series.
Similarities between Fifty Shades and Bared to You… A tortured millionaire hero? Fifty Shades and Crossfire are fundamentally dissimilar stories. The Fifty Shades series is a Cinderella tale. There’s a very uneven dynamic between the hero and heroine, from their social and financial standing, to their sexual histories, to their personal back stories.
The Crossfire trilogy (which is just 1/3 of the way along at this point) will follow the journey of two individuals whose life circumstances are near mirror images of each other, yet they’ve adapted to similar traumatic experiences in very different ways. They are equals in every respect, but they’re both so damaged and dysfunctional it seems impossible to find a solid middle ground, despite their overwhelming commonalities.
Aside from that essential divergence in structure, the characters of the two series aren’t alike. Gideon and Christian are very different men, from their business interests to their sexual proclivities. Their torments are not the same and therefore their coping mechanisms are worlds’ apart. Eva, too, couldn’t be more different from Anastasia in every aspect.
There are so many authors and stories out there, with more than enough room to love more than one. Readers should never feel that they have to choose one work over another.
2. Your ‘hero’ is quite young to have achieved the business and financial success that he has, which sometimes makes the story hard to believe. What made you decide to make him under 30? Did you have trouble placing yourself in his shoes, as it were?
There are a few reasons why Gideon is so young. For one, I would personally have a hard time buying into a hero who’d made it into his thirties still so dysfunctional and avoidant to therapy. I’d expect him to be set in his ways and staunchly resistant to change. Another consideration was the age of the character he’s based on–Alistair, from Seven Years to Sin, who is twenty-two. That was too young for Eva and for the comparable level of success transferred to a contemporary setting. Twenty-eight seemed the best age in relation to Eva, Gideon’s social position, and the need for flexibility in his character. As for having trouble placing myself in Gideon’s shoes… absolutely! He’s the toughest character I’ve ever worked with in regards to getting inside his head. He fights me all the way. He only lets me see him through Eva’s eyes.
3. What made you focus on a theme of a relationship between childhood abuse victims?
It’s a personal topic for me. I’ve skirted around the edges in a few of my previous books and it was time to tackle it head-on.
4. Gideon and Eva are so obviously damaged, however by the end of Bared to You, so many questions about them individually are left unanswered. Do you plan on diving deep in the next book?
Absolutely. Eva has been where Gideon is; she understands how it feels to be unready to discuss something painful and so she hasn’t pushed him. But she also knows that their relationship is founded on their equality. They’ll falter if she’s fully committed and he’s holding back. Eventually, Gideon will be faced with a choice–either let down his guard or lose Eva.
5. What’s your process? Outline or wing-it? How much do you rely on your thesaurus? I won’t even ask how you put in so much detail into your sex scenes (but answer if you must…)
I consider myself more of a narrator than a creator. The characters tell me the story and I just try to type fast enough to keep up. I’m as surprised by what happens as any other reader is.
Editor’s Note: Sylvia Day did not answer my question about how she knows so many details about sex. And I don’t blame her at all. But, do you blame me for asking?
6. How much of love at first sight is lust? Is it even possible, or is it just a romantic ideal?
A lot? Seriously, chemical reactions have a great deal to do with physical attraction and emotional attachment. They draw us together. From there we have to decide whether it’s worth it to find the rest of the connection necessary to live happily with someone.
You can talk to Sylvia Day on Facebook and Twitter:
Sylvia Day is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of over a dozen novels written in the romance and urban fantasy genres under several pen names. A wife and mother of two, she served in the U.S. Army and lives in California. Visit her website at www.sylviaday.com.
Read my review of Bared to You and WIN a copy of the book here.