Just before Accidentally in Love released, I sat down with another author in the series and chatted about the writing process, story inspiration, and why an axe throwing club is the innuendo gift that just keeps on giving….
LH: What was the most exciting part of plotting your book for 425 Madison?
KA: The romance, of course! I had Arya and Gavin’s meet-cute in mind for months before writing the book, playing with all the ways their unconventional first meeting could go. I wanted to start their story with a bang–with surprises, and humor, and sexual tension–so planning the best way to do that was, in and of itself, a lot of fun.
LH: What inspired your characters/plot line?
KA: Despite having lived in a major city for ages–and having a mom who was raised in NYC–I’ve never set a book in an urban environment. When the concept for the 425 Madison series came up, I started thinking through all of the ways people in cities meet. So much of the urban lifestyle comes down to basic proximity. There’s a whole lot of people shoved into a relatively tiny amount of space. The consequence is that, without even trying, you see (and hear) way more of your neighbors than you probably should. That fact sparked an idea, and I was so curious about where it would take Arya and Gavin that I just had to write it.
LH: Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?
KA: Oh, this is hard. Accidentally in Love has a lot of scenes featuring my favorite story elements: banter between the h and H, hints of intrigue, lots of sexual tension, humor, heart, and all the feels. Picking amongst those feels impossible, but I’m going to have to say the scene at the Battle Axe Club. Putting stern and protective Gavin and bookish Arya in a place where hipster New Yorkers throw axes? It was a blast to write, and I still laugh every time I read it. (And what romance writer doesn’t love playing with all the innuendos for ‘wood’…?)
LH: When writing, are you a panster or a plotter by nature?
KA: A little bit of both. Before I start writing, I spend a lot of time developing the story in my head, working out the major plot points. I often put them in an outline so I know where I want the story to go, but I don’t lock myself into the plan, either. It sounds kinda nutty, but when I’m immersed in writing a book, the characters often tell me what needs to happen next. For me, that’s when it becomes less about confining the h and H to my original outline, and more about playing traffic cop and making sure they don’t crash on the way to their HEA. It can get nerve wracking and I sometimes start to worry I’ve lost control of the story, but then I remind myself that’s what editing is for. Plus, I’ve learned that many of the best scenes happen when you just let go and write.
LH: Each book in the series features a different trope. What’s your trope? Is it a new-to-you trope or have you written about it before?
KA: Accidentally in Love is an ugly duckling romance, and it’s definitely the first one I’ve written! I’m familiar with the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, of course, but I took me a while to figure out how the trope should shape Arya and Gavin’s story. Once I decided I wanted to do a slightly different take on a classic, I let myself play with all the ways people can be made to feel “ugly” by those around them, and how it impacts the way they form relationships. Especially romantic ones, where accepting love is so often about overcoming painful experiences in the past. It sounds like heavy stuff and certainly is, at times, for Arya and Gavin, but I hope I also wrote them a love story that brings readers a ton of smiles along the way to their HEA.