What was the inspiration behind Wild for You?
One day I was waiting to board a plane with Himself and he’d been reading a newspaper. He mentioned a farm in England where they’d let the land return to nature and were now running a very successful eco-farming, free range meat, and holiday rentals business. I asked what that process was and Himself explained it’s called rewilding. I read the article and it seemed like an interesting setting for a ‘fish out of water’ townie character to try and do himself. This is the article https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/15/the-magical-wilderness-farm-raising-cows-among-the-weeds-at-knepp
Meanwhile, I started following someone on Instagram who I found very attractive. Although I have no interest in bodybuilding, I suddenly found myself wanting to watch this man weight lifting, or jumping up and down. I can’t imagine why… https://www.instagram.com/lexlederman/?hl=en If someone climbed into my head to create the perfect body type and build of a man I would find most attractive, you’d end up with a man who looks like Alex.
So there was that.
And alongside this, I had recently discovered retro category romance novels. A friend had kindly given me a box-full of ones she was looking to get rid of. I even made this picture to show the variety of their covers in a heart shape. Because, in case you didn’t know I am all about the romance!
I started to think about how an author who wrote romance, could find himself with the challenge of rewilding a farm, and being completely clueless. And obviously, the neighbouring farmer would look like the guy in the Instagram link. So my brain immediately clicked to some tropes I love writing: opposites attract, friends to lovers, hurt comfort. And then I had the story!
What was the hardest part to write in Wild for You?
I tend to write little description in my early drafts, adding it in layers as I self edit. But because Wild for You is set in a farm on the outskirts of a small town, I needed to include that from the start. It was almost as if the farm and small town are characters in the story. I think the hardest part to write was the slow burn between the characters. It’s a sort of push and pull between them both being attracted to one another, while becoming friends, alongside their internal conflicts keeping them apart.
I wanted to keep the attraction between them natural feeling, as it grew, while also being something they both resisted. Balancing that was difficult.
I usually ensure my main characters have a friend they can discuss their feelings with. This was easy with Luke as he lives with his sister. However, for William, he’s left his London life behind, so knows no one. Although he is in contact with his late husband’s family, as an ongoing connection to him, he doesn’t want to discuss his feelings for Luke with them. So William is more reflective and quiet, which meant I had to ensure his introspection was balanced with him doing things because long periods of reflection alone can sometimes slow down the pacing.
What were the characters like to write?
As soon as I had their jobs clear and what they looked like, I thought about their conflicts; what internal issues / would from the past, would keep them apart.
I wanted there to be a reason for Luke the farmer to help William the author, so I thought being recently widowed with a mission would make William determined, while also needing some help. William’s biggest conflict about why he can’t be with Luke is the memory of his late husband. William worries it’s too soon, that he should grieve his late husband and by being with someone else he’s somehow denigrating the love he felt.
With Luke, he was clearly going to be the big strong gruff type of man who’d run a farm. Plus I wanted him to be completely opposite to William in terms of interests and appearance bc who doesn’t love an opposites attract romance? Luke, although not shy of attention, but having witnessed his parents’ marriage dissolving before his eyes, he’s thrown his energies into the farm with his love live remaining non-existent. He’s managed this long without a relationship, so why would he want one now?
But William is, at heart, a total, head-over-heels romantic, because he writes and reads all the romance...
What helped you make the decision on how to write the sensual scenes in Wild for You?
I enjoy writing a variety of levels of sensuality. It depends on the story and the characters. Because Wild for You is a slow burn, friends to lovers, I didn’t want to let Luke and William have a quick ‘happy ending’ too soon. I wanted to tease and allow their sensual feelings for each other to grow as their friendship blossomed too. I wanted them to work together help each other. William is grieving, so he’s angry, upset and determined to the point of being a bit blinkered. Luke is cynical about love and relationships, plus a total workaholic who gets his attention from social media likes and comments. But as their friendship grows and they can no longer resist, I felt Luke and William had earned their sensuality together towards the end of the book. I went back and ramped up the heat in these scenes because it felt right, since they’d both been edging themselves and each other for the rest of the story… I hope you enjoy it!
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