[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have authors Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, Louisa Edwards, Tessa Gratton, and Sierra Simone hanging out on the site today. They’re in conversation about what it was like writing their latest anthology, Naughty Brits.]
The last six months have been hard for everyone. What ties together the five contemporary romance novellas in our anthology, Naughty Brits? A need to escape and find a bit of joy in this wild world—which, for us, meant a fantasy trip to the U.K. full of secret dukes, movie stars, ex-soldiers and spanky professors.
While our everyday writing varies—from romps through Victorian England to fantasy lands of magic and intrigue, from small town contemporaries to erotic and taboo—we all came together for Naughty Brits, an anthology where all the stories are loosely interconnected, and set outside of our ordinary worlds.
Sarah MacLean, whose first contemporary romance begins the collection, advises, “If you can, write with a common thread! The most fun part of writing Naughty Brits was when we’d connect and say ‘What is your heroine wearing to that gala?’ or ‘Is it possible our heroines met two years ago?’ or ‘Is it ok if I put your hero on a magazine cover in my story?’ Suddenly writing (and the world!) wasn’t so lonely anymore.” Sophie Jordan, author of Better With You, agrees. “When you’re working with a group of friends it hardly feels like work at all!”
As Tessa Gratton, new to the romance genre and author of Songbird, put it, “Building a story based on a single or several rules and parameters is a great way for me to expand my repertoire and challenge myself.”
“We started our anthology knowing only a few elements that we wanted to include in each story, which was such a fun way to explore the potential and possibilities of the premise,” says Louisa Edwards, author of Not a Bad Boy. “Every writer’s take was different; I was surprised and delighted by every story, even though we discussed them all beforehand!”
“Each novella was supposed to have a steamy scene set at the British Museum,” expands Sierra Simone, “and I knew immediately that for Supplicant I wanted to draw inspiration directly from what makes the British Museum so compelling, which for me is the collection itself. But what made it better was the challenge of knowing that everyone else was writing something sexy in the museum, and so trying to find an angle that would be so unique to my style and to these two history-loving characters that it would still feel new and fun to readers, even after they’d read four other museum sexytimes scenes!”
Not all of us were so directly inspired by the historical artifacts. For instance, Sarah decided to set her story on a British farm in autumn for one critical reason: “Sweaters! I didn’t know that sweatercore was my aesthetic kink until I wrote Max…largely because sweaters don’t really have a place in historicals. The promise of sexy men in cozy sweaters just might get me back to contemporary again in the future!”
For Louisa, it was a series of photos of actor Tom Hardy cuddling dogs that got her primed to write. “There’s just something about a man who loves animals—the way even a real tough guy can let himself be vulnerable when he’s got his arms around a dog. It gets me every time.”
Tessa drew on memories of past trips. “In 2009 my wife and I drove a huge circle around northern Wales from dawn to dusk visiting as many castles and ancient sites as possible–we made it to even more places than Daniel and Elspeth in my story because we were dedicated to the game and not distracted by sexy times. I’m sorry, but I would never do that at historical landmarks.”
As for Sophie…who was the inspiration for her hot British bodyguard hero with strong thighs? “That’s easy. Henry Cavill.”
So if you’re feeling stuck, either at home in lockdown or in your creative process, we highly recommend getting some friends together and writing an anthology! If writing isn’t for you, try reading Naughty Brits, which is available now, and let yourself be swept away on a fun, sexy adventure…complete with a very hot accent.
About the Authors:
Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages. Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. A romance columnist and co-host of the weekly romance novel podcast, Fated Mates, her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s Sheroes list and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “the elegantly fuming, utterly intoxicating queen of historical romance.” Sarah is a graduate of Smith College & Harvard University. She lives in New York City.
Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.
Louisa Edwards is the award-winning author of the Recipe for Love contemporary romance series. Under the name Lily Everett, she also writes the Sanctuary Island books. She stole her first romance novel from her grandmother at age eleven and never looked back. Louisa lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, their toddler, and an ancient terrier.
Tessa Gratton is the author of adult SFF, The Queens of Innis Lear and Lady Hotspur from Tor Books, as well as several YA series and short stories which have been translated into twenty-two languages. Her most recent YAs are the original fairy tales Strange Grace and Night Shine from McElderry Books. Though she has lived all over the world, she currently resides alongside the Kansas prairie with her wife.
Sierra Simone is a USA Today Bestselling former librarian (who spent too much time reading romance novels at the information desk). She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City.
Naughty Brits, out now!
Get ready to have your knickers knocked off with this scorching anthology from five of your favorite authors, including Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, Louisa Edwards, Tessa Gratton, and Sierra Simone. A collection of sexy contemporary short stories, NAUGHTY BRITS has all the seductive Brits you could possibly wish for, just a hop across the pond. Whether you’re in the mood for a contemporary twist on the secret duke trope, a dapper bodyguard, or a repentant yet sexy professor, look no further. Filled with sharp, snappy banter, swoon-worthy romance, and those gorgeous British accents we can’t ever get enough of, NAUGHTY BRITS will have you falling in love over and over again.