Q&A with Laurelin Paige

Posted by Goodreads on September 18, 2017
Laurelin Paige There is a certain type of man who steals hearts with his sweetness—he is a nice guy, and what he lacks in money he makes up for in thoughtfulness and easygoing charm.

Laurelin Paige is not interested in that type of man. She wants her heroes very dirty, very filthy, and very rich. Her appropriately titled new book, Dirty Filthy Rich Love, continues Sabrina Lind's seductive saga. Readers first met her as a poor scholarship student caught between the desires of two powerful men, Donovan Kincaid and Weston King, in the also appropriately titled Dirty Filthy Rich Men, which came out earlier this year.

Now a little wiser (and less innocent), Sabrina is ready to turn the tables. She's the one with the power: She knows Donovan's dark, dirty secret. But are their cat-and-mouse games leading to love…or heartbreak?

Paige, who also wrote Fixed on You and First Touch, answers your questions about which sexy actor she imagines as Donovan, why she's drawn to alpha males, and how she "secretly stars" in all of her romance novels.



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Allie: I. Need. This. Book. Now. Why is Donovan Kincaid so irresistible, and why can't I meet my own Donovan in real life?

Laurelin Paige: Right? If you find him, send him my way when you're done.

First of all, Allie, thank you for reading Donovan and Sabrina's story and for enjoying it as much as you have. Donovan is the ultimate alpha a-hole. He's an alpha and he's an a**, but underneath it all, he's fragile and broken.

We women have a primitive need to nurture creatures who are in pain—we're made to be mothers. And we're drawn to the male of the species who will best protect us and care for us, though we don't need to be protected and cared for in the same way as we did in days gone by. It's a basic instinct that we can't always completely escape, even when we learn to live above it.

I actually have this theory that the stronger and more independent we are in our lives, the more we are drawn to reading and fantasizing about these stories that tickle the base parts of our brain. At least, I am.

Mel: I'm obsessed with your books. I've read everything. Have you changed the way you write and think about romance since your first book was published?

LP: Thank you, Mel. I'm flattered.

I think that the way I think in general has changed over the last several years. I'm always growing and reevaluating what I think about people and how they relate to each other. And really, every time I sit down with two characters, it's an examination of something that I am interested in exploring. You'll see repeated themes through my story—psychological issues, rape fantasies, power play, strong women, broken people finding broken people who understand their brokenness, and so on.

As I've explored these issues, I've learned a lot about them, changed my mind, progressed deeper in my theories, and I'm sure that shows up in my writing. My books have become edgier and darker as I've pushed boundaries. I always want to push the things that make us uncomfortable because I think that every time we do that, we find that we have a bigger space to live in and a larger world to write in.

Katie: What was the most fun scene to write in Dirty Filthy Rich Love?

LP: I really like banter. I like the scenes where very little is revealed, but what is revealed shocks the reader.

There's a scene in the backseat of Donovan's car where Sabrina and Donovan have a heavy discussion. It's the very first scene that I had pictured when I finished Dirty Filthy Rich Men, even though it's not the first scene in the book. It happens early, and it was the one I was eager to get to. It's probably not that exciting to anyone else, but it was what I enjoyed writing.

Brianna: What's your recipe for perfect chemistry between two characters?

LP: Perfect chemistry always requires a little bit of combativeness, as far as I'm concerned. The characters have to disagree a little bit. There has to be something about the other person that scratches at them. It's irritating and yet intriguing.

I really like to write about people who shouldn't be attracted to each other but are—and that is the best kind of chemistry. They have to figure out why. That's always the fun part.

Madison: I read on your website that you love to watch Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. Me, too! Do you ever get inspired by character relationships in those shows or feel tempted to try your hand at fantasy or horror? (Romantic zombie apocalypse? I'd read that!)

LP: Oh, yeah, I'm always into the buzzy shows. That's something my husband and I can do together, and I'm definitely inspired by TV shows as much as I probably am by reading books. Especially because I don't get as much time to read. Watching shows or movies can be a source of inspiration. I even get inspired by songs. I just like good storytelling.

The first full novel I ever wrote was a middle-grade fantasy novel, and that was when I discovered that I do not have the skills to write fantasy. There is so much worldbuilding and detail needed in fantasy novels, and I'm better at character and plot. So you probably won't see a fantasy or horror novel from me, but I will definitely be reading them!


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Sara: I love imagining what actors would play your characters. Do you do the same? Who do you think would make a good Donovan and Sabrina?

LP: Oh, definitely. Actors help anchor the characters for me—what they look like and how they move.

In my head, Donovan was always a young Michael Fassbender—who I mention in my bio as being someone I really adore, but it's the first time I've actually used him as the inspiration for a hero. For Sabrina, I imagine Emmy Rossum. If you watch the show Shameless, she's the star of that. She's amazing: smart, spirited, beautiful. I'd love to see the two of them together…swoon.

Liz: What was the first story you ever wrote? Was it a romance?

LP: I don't know if I remember the first story I ever wrote because I've been writing stories all my life. I remember writing a sci-fi story about being from Jupiter when I was in middle school. I wrote a lot of stories about friendship. I suppose I was always consumed with some aspect of love in my stories. Even that middle-grade fantasy book had a little romance going on in it.

Helen: Your book covers are always ON FIRE. How do they get chosen?

LP: I go through stock photos until I find what I'm looking for. I'm really stubborn about them. I usually have a feeling of what I want the book to look like, and I know that sounds really vague, because it is. I just know what the right image is when I see it.

And I can spend hours looking through stock photos to find the photo that captures the feeling I'm trying to invoke. The Fixed on You covers definitely were instrumental in getting those books out to fans and readers.

Kath: This may seem like a silly question, but I'm so curious about how you come up with your character names. Do you try a couple "on for size" before landing on the right one? Do you ever have to go back and change a name when it doesn't feel right after a while?

LP: Choosing names can sometimes take days. I won't even start writing the book until I have the names of the characters. Donovan Kincaid took a while. I tried a bunch of names until I found the one that really fit. I never change the name after I start writing because the character is already formed by that point.

Sometimes the names have specific references. Sabrina is named after the character Sabrina in the movie and play Sabrina—because this duet was very loosely inspired by that story.

Jess: If you wrote a romance novel starring yourself, what would the title be?

LP: Pretty much every romance novel that I write secretly stars myself, so take all the titles of my books and each of those are my story. It's always changing. Right now I'm working on Dirty Filthy Fix, so that's my current romance novel. And, yes, the title's fitting.



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