[Note from Frolic: Frolic contributor Sarah Smith had the chance to interview self-published contemporary romance author Skye McDonald. Be sure to check out Skye’s debut romance, Not Suitable For Work]
Frolic: Skye! Congratulations on the release of your debut contemporary romance Not Suitable For Work (excellent title by the way!) This is the first novel in your Anti-Belle Series. Can you tell us a bit about your book and what compelled you to write this series?
Thanks so much! Yes, it’s been so exciting getting Not Suitable For Work out in the world — and also thanks, because titling is one of my most dreaded parts of writing! Not Suitable For Work is a rivals-to-lovers office romance set in Nashville. Celeste and Ben are competing for the same web designer job and trying to get their lives back on track. Neither can afford to lose, but the chemistry between them is too strong to ignore. With stakes this high, Celeste must decide what she wants, what she needs and what her broken heart is really worth.
This series started with the image of two desks in an empty office and a vague recollection of a story I wrote as a teenager about a girl who moved back home from NYC. From that, Not Suitable For Work was born; as I wrote it and met the characters in Celeste’s and Ben’s lives, their stories started coming at me at a dizzying speed. Before I knew it, I had a six-book series and four novellas!
The series takes place in Nashville, your hometown. What made you want to set your books there?
Two things: the hip new Nashville vibe and the traditions of music and family I grew up with. These days, Nashville is vibrant and exploding with culture, and every time I go home to visit, I’m enchanted with how much fun it is! On top of that, I grew up around a big family with traditions of holidays, food and always, always music. The awesome city coupled with deep roots like that just inspired me so much as I created love stories where friends and family (and music!) played a vital role.
You’ve had one heck of a publishing journey. You started out in traditional publishing with an agent and even went out on submission with Not Suitable For Work. What was that process like?
In the beginning of trying to get Not Suitable For Work published, I debated the self-publishing vs traditional route. At the time that I connected with my former agent, I was considering a couple offers from smaller presses. However, the feedback she gave me inspired me so much and made me think that working with her could really elevate the story, and so I signed with her and undertook the editing/submissions process.
That was a long, frustrating journey. And, over the almost year-and-a-half I was out on submission, I also underwent radical changes in my personal life — a “soul journey,” if you will. But, yes, to be honest it wasn’t easy hearing from publisher after publisher that my book was well written, interesting… and not something they wanted to support. So, on this side of my personal journey and this industrial one, I know without question that this is the right method and moment to bring my series into the world. I’ve learned a lot of truths about myself (a heavy theme in Not Suitable For Work!), and I’m very happy to have learned the lessons I did through the past couple years. Absolutely no regrets.
What made you ultimately decide to go the self-publishing route?
After so long and so many rejections, when I parted ways with my agent I very nearly threw in the towel on my writer’s life altogether. It had been ages since I wrote new content, and honestly I was so discouraged that I felt like I’d given it all I had to give. I really didn’t know if I had the energy to invest in another big book project. I was telling all this to one of my closest people, who said, “Okay, but ten years from now, will you regret not giving it one last shot?” I felt that. Deeply. I took it as a message from the universe, given how hard it resonated, and so I gave it “one more shot.” And here I am.
What do you enjoy most about self-publishing?
Honestly? My logo! I established Anti-Belle Books as a sole proprietorship, and having my very own logo is so freaking awesome! (HUGE shoutout to Avery Kingston for her artistry on that and the Not Suitable For Work cover!). Overall I think the logo embodies the fact that by self-publishing I’m making this my very own vision of what I want it to be. And that is super special, especially with how close to my heart the stories of the Anti-Belles are.
What character in your Anti-Belle Series is most similar to you and why?
It’s a tie between Celeste, the main character of Not Suitable For Work, and Megan Riley, the main character in book four (Shh, title not available yet!). Both of them are very independent and very certain of who they truly are… until they realize they’re quite, quite wrong. That is me in ways I didn’t even realize when I was writing them.
Fun fact? The character I’m least like is Sarah Rose, the receptionist in Not Suitable For Work. I’m so not sweet and kind enough to be a Sarah — but I am deeply proud to have several in my life!
If you had to pick a theme song for Not Suitable For Work, what would it be?
“New York City’s Killing Me” by Ray LaMontagne. Didn’t even have to think!
Is there anything from your life that you sneak into your writing?
Haha, definitely. Whiskey, lipstick and adventure are three of my favorite things. In my series, each of my ladies has her signature lipstick brand, her drink of choice (not always whiskey, to be fair!) and at least one moment where she does something she never dreamed she’d do. The spice of life, if you ask me.
We are SO excited to hear about what you’re working on next! Can you tell us about your next book? And when it is coming out?
Definitely! I’m so pumped to announce that book two of the Anti-Belle Series will be available in time for Christmas! Off The Record is a second-chance secret relationship love story:
Nick Field is a ladies’ man with a life full of music, friends, and good times. Mel Thomas works 24/7 as the media manager to America’s newest heartthrob. Ten years ago, Nick and Mel were high school sweethearts. Reunited by chance, what should’ve been ancient history reignites into a passionate present. Too bad there’s no future in it.
Check out an excerpt at the back of your paperback or digital copy of Not Suitable for Work, and stand by for the release date and cover reveal!
About the Author:
Skye McDonald is the author of the Anti-Belle books, contemporary romance novels set in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. As an English teacher, a die-hard romantic and a huge fan of Nashville’s hip new vibe, Skye’s Anti-Belle Series are standalone books featuring sassy GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) learning to love themselves before they can claim their happily ever after. (Spoiler: they always do!) Her first book, Not Suitable For Work, won the 2017 Linda Howard Award of Excellence in the Romantic Sensual and Sizzling category, and is out now via Amazon/Kindle. Books two and three will be released in the upcoming year. When she isn’t lost in a love scene or grading student essays, Skye can be found cheering for the University of Tennessee (go Vols!), exploring Brooklyn with her adorable Corgi or heading off on some new adventure.
Connect with Skye:
Not Suitable for Work by Skye McDonald, out now!
The competition is stiff. The stakes are high. And what happens on Halloween night is definitely not suitable for work.
Celeste Greene and Ben Addison are thrust into a competition for the web designer position each of them desperately needs. Rivalry these two can handle, but the chemistry between them is another story. Is the risk worth the reward for a broken ice queen and a laid back guy who cares more about friends and music than cutthroat office tension?
Book ONE of the Nashville based Anti-Belle series!