I don’t often blog, but I wanted to talk a little bit about my new series – Corrupt Empire – considering the first book in the trilogy releases in less than a week. And also because this is a new sub-genre of romance for me – dark romance.
What possessed me to start writing dark romance? It was a number of things. My best author friend, Sab, recommended I start reading Pepper Winters. I did start out by reading her two coming of age stories which aren’t dark romances, but once I started on her first book – Tears of Tess – I was more than a little bit hooked by the dark elements and the intensity of Q and Tess. My love affair with dark romance did not end there, I read several other author’s offerings and I just thought to myself, this is something I’d like to explore further. I’ve always had a thing for alpha males, tortured souls and anti-heroes in literature, so this was just an extension of that. I would even go so far as to say that reading in this genre started to bleed into my paranormal romance series – After Dark. I mean… I wrote the a book about the original bad boy himself, Lucifer. Let’s just say his preferences are not vanilla and he’s the first male character I wrote who was really into kinky sex. And the follow up – Blood Magic – which isn’t out yet, has characters who definitely have an intense and not so vanilla sex life.
So, Sarah, how did you come up with the idea for Corrupt Empire? Funny you should ask… It all started with a single question.
What would happen if you fell in love with the man who murdered your parents?
I ask myself weird questions, it’s true, but I’m a writer so I think I can be forgiven!
This gave me an interesting idea to explore and thus, Avery and Aiden were born. Aiden – a man with a darkly disturbing background and Avery – a innocent rich girl caught in the crossfire. When I set out to write this story, little did I know it would end up spawning into a three book trilogy with a complex plot which I’m still juggling. I’m currently in the midst of writing the final book. Not sure if I’ve ever explained how I write before, but I’m not someone who plots any of my books. I just tend to write into the wind and it works for me. I let my characters lead me where they want to go. I often call my writing style as writing like I’m the reader. It makes it exciting for me as I want to know what happens.
Writing these books has been a challenge. I’ve never really told a love story over the course of three books nor have I had to write about such dark themes. I’ve written some disturbing characters in the past, but this was different. This was about a man who people will be in two minds over because of his actions. I’m not going to call Aiden a saint or anything. He’s not and he makes no apologies for who he is either. He’s been through a lot, but I don’t necessarily think that entirely excuses his behaviour. But that’s exactly what dark romances does, blurs the lines between what’s acceptable and what’s not. I think that’s what makes it so interesting for me. You don’t pick up a dark romance expecting there to be morally sound characters. No, you pick it up knowing you’ll be put through your paces and pushed out of your comfort zone. You’ll wonder if you should really be rooting for these characters to be together or not. At least that’s how I look at it.
I don’t want to give spoilers or anything, but I’ve not held back in this series. It’s not just about what Aiden does, but the whole cast of characters who have their hands in many pies and who are in no way saints themselves. There’s a very fine balance between what you show your readers and what you imply. I like to think I’ve created a very visceral experience told from both Avery and Aiden’s point of views. If I decided to tell this story thorough only Avery’s eyes, I don’t think it would’ve had the same impact. It would’ve also been incredibly difficult to explore Aiden’s backstory and I felt it was really important to tell his story through his eyes. To show that whilst Aiden has issues, namely with control and emotions, he’s not just a sick individual who can’t see right from wrong. Yes, he’s a killer, but he has his reasons. And when he takes Avery captive after he kills her parents in front of her, he’s not just doing it because he can. It’s more nuanced and complicated than that.
I’ve talked a lot about Aiden, but I’ve also got a couple things to say about Avery too. She’s been an interesting character to write. She is broken down by the man who killed her parents. I didn’t want to write a heroine without a backbone, but I had to keep in mind that Aiden essentially made her reliant on him by keeping her captive. Again, this is a dark romance so this kind of thing is par for the course for the genre. It doesn’t mean that I take the issue of consent lightly. Even Aiden admits at one point in the book that he isn’t sure whether her feelings towards him are genuine or not because of what he’s done. It was something I felt necessary to acknowledge.
A lot happens to Avery throughout the course of this series and I hope in many ways, this makes her a stronger person. She learns a lot about herself through her relationship with Aiden and what he reveals to her about her family. And in the words of Avery herself – ‘This isn’t a story of love, sunshine and roses. This is a story of of betrayal, murder, lust and deceit.’
Now, I have had some reader feedback through ARC (advance reader copies) and so far, people have enjoyed Betrayal, the first book, even if it did give them all sorts of conflicting emotions. I like to think I’ve achieved what I set out to and I can only hope that continues with the next two books.
Betrayal releases on the 20th March. The following two books will be released in April and May 2019.
You can pre-order all three books now and check out my other series via my Amazon Page: http://author.to/sarahbailey