Release Day Launch for How to Bang a Billionaire by Alexis Hall00:00
I'm excited to welcome one of my all-time favourite authors, Alexis Hall, as my guest on the blog today to celebrate the release of his next book, How to Bang a Billionaire (this Sunday, April 16). It's the first book in the Arden St. Ives series of bildom romance. Check my interview with him if you want to learn how this story came about and what can you expect from it. Read on and enjoy!
ER: Your next book, How To Bang a Billionaire, is coming out on Sunday, April 16. How did you come up with the idea about it?
AJH: I think basically a lot of my work is about doing my own take on a relatively common trope and I’ve been wanting to do a take on bildom romance for a while. And that’s kind of the whole story, really — which isn’t the most exciting answer, I’m afraid, but that’s where it came from.
I think one of the things that particularly attracted me to the trope is that, in many ways, it’s built around quite gendered assumptions. The bildom is the quintessential alpha male. And the heroine of those kind of books tends to be the quintessential everywoman heroine. And so I was interested to see how that dynamic would have to be different if you were writing about two men.
I was also interested in trying to write a proper alpha hero. Which, honestly, I kind of didn’t. In early drafts, Caspian was a lot more traditionally alpha but I didn’t much like him and neither did anyone else who read the book. I think there are lots of ways to write a hero but, for me, if I personally can’t understand what you’d see them, then I can’t really do them justice. So Caspian wound up being a lot, well, nicer.
ER: It’s your first trilogy following the same couple, right? Why did you choose this approach? What was your experience writing it?
AJH: Partially, it was just a matter of opportunity. I’ve wanted to write a “follow the same couple” series for a while but the pieces never fell into place. And part of it comes back to genre expectations. A lot of the big names in the bildom romance genre tend to be trilogies so approaching a publisher with a bildom trilogy is a non-silly thing to do. It’s not like you’re just turning up and being like I want to write three books about a pair of carpet weavers from Dagenham, where they don’t know if that’s in any way something people will want to read. But with the bildom thing the structure is already there so they know that people do, in fact, like these sort of stories told in this sort of way.
ER: You have already written a massively successful BDSM romance, how does HtBaB compare to it?
AJH: I think I’m far too British to be comfortable describing anything I’ve done as ‘massively successful.’ Can we meet in the middle at ‘relatively well-received’?
ER: Absolutely! Well-received by critics and readers is a good way to put it as well.
AJH: I think they’re basically very, very different sorts of book. And the kink elements in them have a different purpose and are approached in very different ways. One of the things that’s very important to me about For Real is that BDSM is just an accepted part of both characters’ sexualities and isn’t really a massive source of conflict. It’s essentially a May-December romance that happens to be between two people who are also into BDSM. And obviously, the age difference intersects with the kink in some ways because it’s considered unusual for the dom(me) to be younger than the sub. But that’s just part of how the age difference manifests in that relationship.
HtBaB, by contrast, focuses a lot more (and I’m aware this sounds a bit wanky) kink as a literary construct. In the kind of book it’s inspired by, the hero’s interest in BDSM tends to be presented as an outward manifestation of a deeper darkness within their character. And it’s really that trope that HtBaB responds to. I mean, without getting too glib or giving away too many, for want of a better word, emotional spoilers Caspian’s basic arc in the How To Blah A Billionaire trilogy is that he starts out strongly believing that he’s into kinky sex because he’s messed up. And, slowly comes to realise, that actually he’s into sex and, also, independently of that is messed up. Also, hopefully, he gets less messed up.
ER: I suspect that researching the billionaire lifestyle is a lot of fun, at least it would be for me, so I’m curious what was the most fun/amusing thing you had to research for this book?
AJH: Um, maybe this is my working class roots showing but I’m actually genuinely really uncomfortable about wealth. And to an extent I think billionaires are a bit like dukes and hitmen — quite cool and sexy in the abstract, but deeply problematic when you start looking into them in detail. I mean, without wanting this to get political, it’s worth bearing in mind that your average billionaire is far more like Donald Trump than Christian Grey. So, yes, on the one hand it's cool to research fabulous apartments and private jets and ludicrously expensive champagne. But it’s hard to do that without reminding yourself quite how much inequality there is in the world.
ER: Many authors have inspiration boards/fantasy casting for their stories? If you have one for this series would you share it with us?
AJH: Sure, my slightly-out-of-date Pinterest board for this one is here (mind you, it’s mainly suits and cologne): https://uk.pinterest.com/alexisjhall/restrained/
Author Bio and Links
Alexis Hall is a villainous writer of kissing books who tweets about Poirot, slugs, and the world's most surliest duck.
Rules are made to be broken . . .
If England had yearbooks, I'd probably be "Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire." So far, I haven't. I've no idea what I'm doing at Oxford, no idea what I'm going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he's brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire.
It's impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he'll be through with me.
I'm good at doing what I'm told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian's shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it's him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn't have the power to give me.