Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your book.
The Deal Breaker is a mature romance about two people who refuse to settle for anything less than they deserve. As an author, I have read a lot of contemporary romances where the reader is introduced to the couple sexually before understanding the people.
I wanted to write a slow burn romance and allow the readers to understand Jerwane and Shelia before throwing them in bed together.
I am Olivia Gaines, and I write contemporary romances about learning to understand yourself first before learning how to love others.
How long did it take you to write The Deal Breaker and what was your writing process like?
The Deal Breaker is a labor of love. It took me nearly a year to write this book because I wanted and needed the story to be right. Usually, I have one sentence which is my plot. From that one sentence, I build scenarios, which turn into scenes and slowly create the story. It’s like a road map to this special place called Happily Ever After, but the process is a quest. At the end of the pursuit, my characters need to grow from the journey and that growth leads to love.
Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters?
Of course, it would be a pleasure to tell you about Shelia and Jerwane. These characters are older and have both experienced a few relationships that didn’t work out due to deal breakers.
Shelia has an entire list of deal breakers, but the one who ended her last relationship was a sketchy sexual history. After meeting one of her former fiancé’s exes, she begins to take a count of the number of women who knew the man intimately. The figure reached over a hundred which made her skin crawl.
Jerwane, on the other hand, has only dated six people but found himself drawn to women who put their careers first over family. His mother and sister are the centers of his universe. His deal breaker is the women in his past have never understood this simple requirement in his life.
What did you enjoy most about writing Jerwane and Shelia’s story?
I loved taking my time to get to the sex. Although the two shared a bed for over a week, the quiet strength of Jerwane and his commitment to earning her trust and her friendship first, was so refreshing to write. Usually, by chapter three I have my main characters in bed, building the relationship after the hot sex. This time around, I felt it was important to remind readers about the beauty of courtship. I think we sometimes forget the loveliness of the process in a world that swipes first, then try to date later.
What inspired you to write romance and what is it that you love about writing in this genre?
I am a hopeless romantic. I believe in the happily ever after and the compromise it takes to make a relationship work on mutually beneficial terms. Often, I will post questions on my social media pages only to get the answers I already know. Most women don’t honestly understand what it takes to have a good relationship. Love is not possession, but an ever-evolving organism which requires feeding and nurturing to reach maturity.
What I love about writing romance is finding those ahh moments between a man and woman and realizing, that finally, my life feels complete with this person.
What are the challenges about writing romance?
The biggest challenge in writing romance novels is not becoming stale. Each story, each male hero, is different. I treat each man as their own person and breath life into them creating this guy who is looking for the other half of himself. Once he finds it, then his soul sings out from the harmony.
What have been some of the lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?
Readers aren’t going to love everything that I write. Sometimes the story that is inside of me wanting to come out may not pour from the vein which yields the most blood. An author must decide if they are writing the story for themselves or for the reader. The purest stories come when all of those ideas are put aside, and the story is allowed to breathe. That is the main lesson I have learned.
How would you define what being a successful writer means?
At this point, finishing a novel is being a success to me. The distractions are overwhelming and finding the time and focus on completing a story, let alone a series is tough. Being a successful writer is not about the awards, books sales or accolades, I mean those things to help the writer’s journey, but having a fresh story to tell each time you sit down to the pen, is a success. The stories can stop. The voices can leave the creator.
Finding a way to keep all the pieces alive and working takes an effort. A successful writer knows how to keep the balance.
What piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Sit down and write. I see people who focus more on how to market the book than the quality of the work. Sit down and write. Get a great editor, hire a proofreader and write some more. When you’re not writing, read. It is a process with no short cuts to success. You have to work.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Up next is my new series, which I am working diligently on called the Technicians, a group of professional exterminators with specialized skill sets. Readers met the first Technician in Blind Date, code name Mr. Mann.
In Blind Hope, the readers came into contact with Mr. Stop, a technician specializing in hard to find targets. Next up is Blind Luck, featuring Mr. Yield, a retrieval agent who fancies himself as an underpaid Indiana Jones which releases in May. I am very excited about this series.