Cover of the new book She's On Top by Susan Lyons

She's On Top

 

 

BEHIND THE SCENES

From the beginning of the Awesome Foursome series, I felt like I knew Rina quite well. She’s every woman who has body image issues and was raised in a world that says a woman should be model-thin, yet have a centrefold bosom. I knew Rina lacked self-confidence about her own beauty and sexuality.

I also knew, right from the beginning of Champagne Rules (the first book in the series) when the girls talked about the best sex in their lives, who Rina would end up with. I bet it wasn’t a big surprise to readers, either. If the best sex in her life was almost a decade ago, with a magic-fingered pianist who gave her three orgasms atop a grand piano, that man had to re-enter her life.

But the path to love of course can’t be easy. We as readers of romance want to see character growth and struggle. We want to see our heroine and hero work hard to earn the love they deserve. Obviously, Rina’s growth arc had to involve coming to terms with her body.

As you probably know, each couple in the Awesome Foursome series has a set of rules that govern their sex lives. Or at least, they start out with rules but then find their own rules are too confining, and that it’s more fun breaking rules than obeying them. Rina’s rule was obvious: she’d only have sex in the dark. If a man could actually see her abundant flesh, she’d feel fat, self-conscious, inhibited. But in the dark, she could let loose and feel sexy. She could be a different woman.

I could have given her a hero who demanded she become slim and helped her figure out how to do it. But hey, we aren’t all designed to be slim. Some women are naturally bigger, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, a lot of guys prefer soft, curvy female bodies over too-sleek ones.

So that’s the kind of man I gave Rina. Giancarlo had been attracted to her when they were teens, and he’s even more attracted now. He doesn’t want her to be a different woman. The thing is, Rina can’t believe him. He’s utterly gorgeous and, as a music video producer, he’s constantly exposed to glamorous entertainers. How could he possibly find her attractive? If she was to believe that, she’d have to overcome a lifetime of insecurity.

 

 

Rina’s “lights off” rule made it very interesting to write the sex scenes. In the beginning, making love in a pitch-black room, the lovers had to rely entirely on senses other than sight. Then Giancarlo set himself two goals. The first was to help Rina get over her obsessive dieting and enjoy food – so then I got to incorporate some taste treats like strawberry yogurt into the sex scenes. His second goal, of course, was to bring her into the light (i.e., to help her accept and love her own body, and be happy to make love with the lights on). So, I helped him find sneaky ways of bending her strict rule bit by bit, as he showed her how truly beautiful and sexy he found her, and helped her enjoy and appreciate her own curvy body. I had a lot of fun with those scenes!

Of course, I didn’t want Rina to be the only one with tough issues to face. He started out saying he was Peter Pan and would never grow up – and of course I couldn’t let him get away with that! He had to do some growing too. I gave him some problems relating to his family and his career – and of course Rina was the one woman who could motivate him to finally deal with them.

I should also mention the ending. And no, no spoilers here!

I’m not a person who plots a book ahead of time, so aside from knowing that I’m writing romance and the two of them are going to get together, I never know exactly how that’s going to happen.

With this book, when I was about 2/3 of the way through, I realized I still didn’t know the ending – and not only did I have to finish this book, but I was tying up a 4-book series. Talk about pressure!

Well, Giancarlo came to my rescue and told me what was going to happen. At first I didn’t believe him, but he insisted – and in the end I think he was right.

What do you think? Write and tell me. I love to hear from readers.

 

Sign up for Susan Lyons' newsletter, the Champagne News