a book is a thing that is happening

So. A book that I have written is available to buy with money from shops, well, not shops, e-shops. It’s available to buy from the internet.

I’m never really sure what to write on these launch day posts. For one reason or another, I’m a bit phobic of writing about writing, and especially of writing about my own books. Basically, I’m big on death of the author and very much feel that what my books are is for my readers to decide for themselves, not for me state in a blog post.

And I appreciate that some people like to have insight from authors or creators into ambiguities in texts and, hell, sometimes I even like that myself but at the same time I find it weirdly problematic that they exist – the insights I mean, not the ambiguities. For example, I was profoundly confused by the ending of the Starz Treasure Island prequel Black Sails, in which it’s unclear whether Captain Flint has, like your childhood pet, gone off to live on a  big farm in the countryside where he can be happy. Or if, like your childhood pet, he’s just lying dead in a wood somewhere because your parents/John Silver had got sick of feeding/being led into certain death by him. And I did actually Google to see what people were saying and I did, actually, look at the response from the show runners because a lot of people felt that the ending was deliberately ambiguous (there’s a lot of stuff in that show about stories and mythologies and whatnot and we only get the Big Farm In The Country narrative from Silver, who has every reason to shoot his friend in the head, then lie about it).

The response from the show runners seems to be that they didn’t particularly intend it to be ambiguous, and Flint apparently really is living in soft focus on a big farm with all the other gays, but they were happy for viewers to interpret it as ambiguous if they wanted to. Now this is about the best way you can respond to this situation (way better than ‘no, they’re wrong and stupid’) and, obviously, it was my choice to read what the show runners said but I do feel that having that information makes the ending less interesting than it otherwise would have been. Because, now, instead of having an ending that’s ambiguous as to whether a particular character is alive or dead you have an ending that’s meta-ambiguous as to whether a character is alive, or ambiguously alive or dead. And, much as I like meta stuff, that’s probably a shade too meta even for me.

All of which is to say that, from what I’ve seen, there are some readers who are interpreting How To Bang A Billionaire very much the way I interpret it, and there are others who are interpreting it quite differently. And all of those interpretations are equally valid. Part of what I was trying to do with the book was to engage with a very well established set of tropes within the genre. And so my take on my book is my take on my take on my take on those tropes. Where another person’s response to the book is their take on my take on their take on my take on those tropes. Isn’t this fun? Attempting to walk the line between providing insight into my thought process, for the people who want that kind of thing, and steering well clear of interpretation for the people who don’t, I think it’s fairly safe to say that I was basically aiming to address a lot of the questions I usually address in my more trope-driven stories. Questions like: but what would happen next, but how would that actually work, or but how that manifest differently in an LGBTQ+ relationship.

With that out the way, there are a couple of practical questions I can also address for those who are concerned / interested. I’ll try to keep this spoiler-light but I’m a big fan of readers being able to make informed decisions about books. Because nobody benefits from a disappointed reader. So here’s a mini FAQ based on the sort of the Qs I’ve F been Aed.

What sort of series is this?

It’s specifically a fully contained trilogy, following one couple. This isn’t to say I won’t ever write other books set in the same world or about the same people. But, for now, it’s three books about Caspian and Arden, with an HEA ending.

Do I have to have read, um, any other specific works in the genre to get this book?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: ultimately this is my take on the bildom romance and I’ve read a lot of bildom romances, partly just for fun and partly as part of the process of working on the book. So it’s hard for me to know how much familiarity with the sub-genre will influence a person’s reading. Although, I suppose, thinking about it it’s hard for me to know how not being the person who wrote the book influences your reading either. I mean, basically it’s my take on billionaire romances. If you like billionaire romances, you should like because, while I’ve played around with it, I feel like I’ve remained true to the spirit of the genre (spoiler: Arden doesn’t ditch Caspian for a gardener at the end or anything). If you’re not particularly into billionaires but still like my writing, then hopefully you’ll like this because I still wrote it.

Are there are any cliff-hangers I need to worry about?

Depends what you mean by cliff-hanger really. You obviously don’t get the HEA until book three (because, then, seriously what the other books be about). I will say that this series breaks the normal tradition of the subgenre in that (mild spoiler) Caspian and Arden don’t break up at the end of book one. Obviously, there will come a point when they do break up because … well … that’s the story arc but you can read book one without worrying about a downer ending.

What’s the heat and kink level?

Um…mild to moderate? Which I appreciate is a bit of an odd thing to say about a BDSM series. The thing is, this subgenre really does run the gamut from a little light spanking to you are literally my slave now. And the book is very much pitched towards the lighter end of the spectrum. There is on page sex. I hope it’s sexy. But a lot of the kink is psychological rather physical, and that will likely continue into the rest of the series.

Are there any trigger warnings?

Abuse references, mostly glancing. But likely to become more detailed as the series progresses. Attempted sexual assault by a really posh bloke. Also suicidal ideation and self-harm, restricted to supporting characters. And drug use.

When is book two out?

The second book—which I’m happy to report will be called How To Blow It With A Billionaire—should be out in November.

When is book three out?

I don’t know. I’m too disorganised!

Obviously if you have any other questions, please free to ask them below and I’ll do my best to answer.

Otherwise, hope you enjoy the book. And Happy Easter if that is a thing that is a thing in your culture or where you come from.

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41 Responses to a book is a thing that is happening

  1. Ellie says:

    Happy book birthday and Happy Easter!
    I’m staying away from any explanations/Q&A on the series. Sometimes I want to go into a book blind, at least as blind as possible and this is one of those times 🙂

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you <3

      I tried to keep it spoiler light but, yes, the section is purely there for readers who (very reasonably) like more information before committing to a series.

  2. neverwhere says:

    HURRAY FOR THINGS HAPPENING WHICH ARE BOOKS <3 <3

    I hope everyone loves Arden (and the rest of the gang, except for Nathaniel of course, booo) very much 🙂

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Yay! Thank you!

      I think Nathaniel might bear the distinction of being the most difficult character I’ve ever written. Because, uh, honesty I kinda hate that guy…

  3. EmmaT says:

    I havent actually read a lot of this trope before, I just knew of the one obvious one, but you haven’t steered us wrong before so I know that we are in good hands.

  4. Lennan Adams says:

    Yay release day! I adore it so far. Arden!!! *heart eyes* I’m really so excited to see your take on this trope. Is there a secret baby in here somewhere? 😀

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Hahaha, Courtney keeps daring me to take on secret baby.

      But I honestly don’t think I could.

      I’m so happy you’re enjoying the book 🙂

      • Ellie says:

        I might have mentioned expecting you to write secret baby and student-teacher next in a Twitter chat yesterday. After tempting me to try other not so favourite subgenres like BDSM and billionaire romance, it seems only logical 🙂

  5. Araminta says:

    I’m guilty of having read the infamous trilogy. I suspect your series is going to be a smidgen better written (irony intended here in case that’s not clear). I’ve only read the opening chapter and am already delighted and looking forward to the further treats in store. Please don’t make us wait too long for Book 3!!!

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I’ve read a lot of bildom books – I find them endlessly fascinating. The way you can tell the same basic story so many different ways. There’s some sneaky in-jokes in HtBaB for people who are fans of the other bildom trilogy 😉

      Hope you have fun with it!

  6. christine says:

    I would also be happy if book 3 is not too far down the track 🙂 i have not read many billionaire books but am looking forward to more of Arden and all the other characters.

  7. Pam/Peeakers says:

    I am, as always, perfectly happy with all the meta 😉 And I’m loving this book to pieces, fyi, I love your engagement with the trope, and y’know, everysingleotherthingaboutthebooksofar <3 <3 <3

  8. Bungalow Barbara says:

    Just finished HtBaB. First thought – Oh no, I have to wait until September for the next book? And 2018 for the last one? Nooooo! **whine** (Sorry, I’m bad at this delayed gratification thing. Please ignore the whining and keep the part about “I loved it & I want to read more.”)

    Other thoughts – Arden is delightful, so centered in some ways and so unsure in others. Also he makes me nostalgic for my college days – partly for what they were and partly for what they might have been. I kind of want to sit Caspian down & say “Get over yourself, young man” – but then I don’t yet know what he’s been through. Looking forward to finding out. Ellery is interesting – maybe she can have a sequel?

    Didn’t catch any of the “50 Shades” references because I haven’t read it. Not sure I want to. Any “bildom” reading recommendations, anyone? Well written & entertaining a must – queer romance a plus.

    Thank you for writing, Alexis. I’ve enjoyed all of it so far, please carry on!

    • Adira August says:

      RECOMMENDED BILDOM READING:

      Sylvia Day, “Bared to You” – The 1st in the Crossfire series You can read the first three books with confidence – then move on

      Meredith Wild “Hardwired” 1st of the Hacker series for BDSM

      Adira August (:cough:) “desire for Touch” 1st in the RiverHart series

      The BILROM tropes, excerpted from first page –

      ———–

      “How are they all twenty-eight years old with ‘slabs’ of muscle? Bill Gates isn’t exactly ripped. Fifty is young on the billionaire list! Seventy is standard.”

      “And all these heroines seem to have some kind of neurological disorder. Every one stumbles, falls or collapses into the arms of a wildly attractive rich guy with a rock hard chest. If I stumbled into a man, he’d be a sweaty fat guy with halitosis.”

      “I’m also wondering how all these guys can come for minutes at a time? Or even one? And pump out veritable oceans of cum? I mean, seriously, J.J., don’t we have a big enough wet spot to avoid with the one or two teaspoons we get in reality?”

      “I mean, I like sex as much as the next woman, I think. I’d love to meet a guy who can go as long as I want, whenever I want, stay as hard as I want and be as big as I want, and be completely focused on my pleasure. But even at twenty-eight, how many men can maintain an eight-hour erection and have multiple orgasms? Every night. Every day. Multiple times a day.”

      “OH! Oh. Aaannnnnd …” Avia went on, “… the billionaires are ALL damaged by traumatic childhoods. How do so many emotionally screwed-up sex gods manage to build business empires? Who reads this stuff?”

      —-

      So, James obviously didn’t invent the genre. What’s funny is to read FSOG and then Wild and Day and you laugh because the women all do fall into or in front of the hero when they meet.

      So does Arden.

      I think early on in the history of romance, writers were stuck for believable scenarios to explain how an average woman would meet a rich guy in a way that would lead to instant-on sex attraction.

      One thing Avia misses in the tropes is the insta-obsession of the billionaire to POSSESS the heroine.

      Arden manages to achieve this with Caspian in a phone call.

      Most of the heroines are not so totally vapid as to be transparent, as Ana is, but the character she was based on is the most insipid female in the history of literature in any language.

      Day did a really good job dealing with “both” characters not only coming from screwed up childhoods, but being screwed up the same way.

      One of the other tropes is the heroine never cares one whit about the money and is uncomfortable being given – anything, really. Day solves this by making her heroine rich in her own right (though she, like all of them, wants to ‘make it on her own!’ and 10m is a pittance compared to the billions the hero has.)

      I solved it by having Avia call bullshit on the whole idea – reg folk respond to great wealth – somehow.

      Arden seem right in line with the “I want to make it on my own” trope. But then, it’s very interesting how he does use the gifts and how he handles his discomfort. Actually, he struck me as self-centered and rude, really. Apparently no one taught him to say “thank you” and move along. It’s an interesting take because, afaics, Arden isn’t a bit more emotionally available than Caspian.

      I think the attraction of BILDOM isn’t the money, really. I think the majority of readers don’t care that much about sex on a private jet or champagne or Jimmy Choos. I do think it’s a modern version of being swept away by a knight on a white horse.

      But it’s also about power, which is why it’s D/s. Only a woman with the self-esteem of a three-day dead mackerel with a bad case of acne would stay with Christian Grey. Except for her attraction to and discovery of her own, power.

      “The one who loves the least, wins.”

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you so much – I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed the book so far, and sorry for the wait between releases.

  9. Lotta Knutar says:

    I finished HtBaB literally minutes ago. Gorgeous and fun and made me think about the genre. So, my Q that I imagine you might get A’ed sort of F’ly: do you know if there will be audio?

  10. cleo says:

    Hah. I already asked two of those questions on a review this morning. So thank you for the answers.

    And congratulations!

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Thank you! And I’m pleased my question-answering was on point – I write all over the map so I feel it’s really important to readers to be able to make informed choices about what they choose to read.

      • cleo says:

        And I appreciate that.

        Armed with your answers I bought and read HtBaB and it was so much fun!

        The only downside is that Arden seems to have taken over my brain and is now narrating my life – and I actually need to be a confident seeming grown up type person this week.

  11. Carolyn says:

    Hi,
    Any chance of a smashword release? I’m keeping away from the big sellers and was after an epub copy

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Oh dear – I’m afraid my current publisher only seem to release books through the major retailers (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks). Ridiculously expensive POD paperbacks seem to be available from more indie-outlets but that seems to be it. I’m so sorry 🙁

  12. Esha Bhatia says:

    So first I was trying to figure out what “bildom” was! Didn’t figure it out until after a couple of chapters…what can I say, I’m slow, but I get there eventually! Anyway, LOVED the book, it made me a little nostalgic for my long-ago college days. Arden is delightful, but my heart aches a little for Caspian, poor thing! Thanks for the book, can’t wait until part 2!

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I have no idea where I picked up bildom … I think maybe it was a romance term that I thought was in wider circulation than it was? Oops. I’m so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed the book and that Caspian wasn’t too frustrating. He’s a cagey, cagey man 🙂

  13. Julie M says:

    I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Just wanted you to know that you’re an author that I will auto-buy/pre-order/will buy the book regardless of subject matter because your writing blows me away. Just saying. Can’t wait for the sequels, but I know they’ll be worth the wait! (I’m hoping there will be more Spires books somewhere in the future also?? A girl can hope)

  14. Lisa says:

    I read it at high speed, loved it, and am ready to read all over again. I haven’t read 50 shades, but have read the much shorter 50 shades of socialist feminism so I think I got some of the references. I loved Arden’s character. Can’t wait for next book, not just because of sex cliffhanger – am looking forward to more of an understanding of Caspian beyond being rich, messed up and gorgeous. Which matches what Arden knows about him in this book, so no complaints there. Also have to say each time I read ‘Caspian’ my brain went ‘Narnia’ then ‘no!!!’. Anyway, wanted to say thanks for your gorgeous writing.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I did actually … violate Narnia for Caspian. He had a different name in early drafts but there were several other characters out in Romancelandia with that firstname/surname combination. And while it obviously wasn’t THEFT I felt I wanted something else. And naming bildoms is super difficult because most of the bildom names are used. But I knew I wanted something slightly other-worldly and princely sounded so – yep. Caspian it was 🙂 I actually like it way better than the other name now. It suits him better. Although I do kind of wonder what kind of parents named their kids Caspian and Eleanor. I guess Caspian’s dad, being a big nerd, got to name Caspian, and his mum named Eleanor 🙂

  15. WMDreader says:

    I was wondering what the title of the next book would be! I was thinking “How to Toy with Your Twink”…

    I also note your comment that Arden is as emotionally-guarded as Caspian, which I hadn’t really noted (probably because we are in his head so we, at least, get his thoughts and feelings). But now that I have mused on it, this is his first real relationship, he has actively avoided anything that might ‘suffocate’ him….hmmm.

    Thanks for the book and the FAQs’ responses.

  16. Louise says:

    I have to say I REALLY don’t like billionaire romances, so I was nervous about the title – but I figured if anyone could take that particular trope and make it something special, it was you. I was right. I absolutely loved it, of course. Thank you for another wonderful book. 🙂

    • Alexis Hall says:

      Oh I’m so glad to hear you liked it 🙂 Yay! I mean, I think the trope is a big part of the book (and I do actually enjoy bildom books) so I can totally see you were wary, and why it might not work for some people. But I am super super super happy you had fun with it.

  17. Susan says:

    I don’t look for explanations when I start anything. I just like to let art flow over me.

  18. Blue says:

    I am generally irritated by Bildom books, but I actually managed to forget I was reading one and then surprised myself by realising half way through that Caspian is really rich, which as soon as I thought it made me feel stupid, considering the title. Which is a slightly convoluted way of me saying that the writing in this book far exceeds the quality of the average BilDom, for my money at least.

    Also, thank you for extending my vocabulary, I had to look several words up, which again is not the norm when I’m reading m/m (or indeed most any) books. But the way Arden used words didn’t come across as pretentious, just in character and I loved the juxtaposition of the slang and vagaries with the Oxbridgism and the twisted use of business speak.

    And finally, I enjoyed your musings on interpretations in the blog post above. I got thoroughly put of English lessons at school when we stopped having to just read books and enjoy them and started having to write essays about What The Author Meant By….. It totally took the joy out of reading for me plus it made me really cross, how on earth could my English teacher presume to know that the author had meant to indicate things symbolically with their text. Wasn’t it possible that they were just writing a good story and hadn’t thought too deeply about the symbolisms. Yeah, so 13 year old me sitting fuming in the back of her English class salutes you.

    Soo, now I appear to have turned into a babbling fan, so I better stop. Thank you for an excellent book. Can’t wait for the next two.

    • Alexis Hall says:

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the book – trope aside 🙂 I do think bildom romances get a bit of a bad rap. I’ve read lots that I’ve really enjoyed, but then Pretty Woman (despite all the ways it’s super problematic) is one of my favourite romcoms. I think there’s something very satisfying about the whole “I’m rich enough to have everything but the one thing I need is you” type dynamic. And I’m glad the language did bog you down – I know sometimes when someone is getting all highfalutin everywhere it can be incredibly distracting and annoying. But obviously that’s very subjective from reader to reader.
      I think I definitely approach books(and culture in general) in an analytical way but, for me, that’s definitely part of the pleasure. Or, y’know, proof I’m a scientist. I find it interesting to poke at what a good story means or how it is achieved but, equally, insisting that texts are interacted with in a particular way is a sure-fire way to kill the joy of them.
      Something I’m definitely trying to balance with my writer hat on is the ways I talk about my books. Because some readers are interested in that. But equally I’d rather just leave people free to think what they want to think 🙂
      And thank you again for the kind words 🙂

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