We had the honor of Robyn Harding joining us live in our Goodreads Reading Group Behind the Pages with The Traveling Friends where we asked her about her book The Arrangement. She spent an enjoyable hour with us answering our questions and after our discussion I might of did some dancing. I am excited to share some of the Q & A with you here on our blog.
Brenda Congratulations Robyn on The Arrangement being an instant Canadian bestseller!! Can you share with us how that felt when you found that out? I did my famous book dance for you! Was there some dancing going on for you?
Robyn Can you post a video of your famous book dance? I was in bed when I got the email from my publisher with the news. (They are in Toronto so three hours later than it is here.) So I didn’t dance, but I felt very very happy. I think all writers have a lot of insecurities, so it feels really nice and very validating. Like… I guess I am kind of good at this after all! 🙂
Debra I know you did research for this book by learning more about the Sugar Baby/Sugar Daddy relationships. I would like to know how you found the individuals you interviewed and what were some of the pros and cons they shared with you about these arrangements. I would also like to know what was the most eye-opening thing you learned while researching this book.
Robyn The women I interviewed were very sweet. I asked if there parents knew that they were sugar babies and they said yes. That surprised me… but it’s good because at least they can tell their parents where they are going and hopefully stay safe! The pros were the money, the gifts and the trips. The cons were emotional complications and, though they didn’t articulate this, it can’t be fun to do sexual favors for someone you’re not attracted to!!
Heidi Is Natalie based on a real sugar baby you have met and talked to? Was it difficult to connect with people who are in that scene?
Robyn I wanted Nat to be a really relatable girl. I grew up in a small town and moved to the city, and while I was never a sugar baby (I don’t think it was a “thing” then), i understand her financial desperation. The sugar babies I interviewed were really sweet and open about everything.
Brenda I love the title The Arrangement and really thought it was a perfect title. It describes the story but still leaves it pretty open to what the arrangement is if you haven’t read the book or go in blind to a book. Did you come up with the title first or did the story shape the title? Was it your first choice for a title? I also love the cover! I am always curious about how authors choose the cover. How did you go about choosing the cover?
Robyn I originally wanted to be very provocative and call the book DADDY. They did a cover with the word on sugar cubes and I LOVED it. But the sales department thought it looked too much like erotica. I was so bummed, but I think THE ARRANGEMENT is a good title. We went through many cover options. I love the colors of this one and I think it’s eye catching, but I would have preferred something that spoke more to sugar relationship. The Aussie cover is great and they will use it for the US paperback. It’s so hard when you don’t agree with your publisher on a cover, but they are SO important!!
Brenda I would really like to about the names sugar babies and daddies. I feel like there is so many different meaning to it. Did you get any insight as to why they are called that? Or how those names came about for them?
Robyn In researching the origins of this term, I learned that there was a very wealthy businessman who had a sugar plantation and factory. He married a very young woman and people called him her sugar daddy. The term stuck around all these years!
Brenda I always love to know a bit about authors writing process. Did you start with the idea and then let it guide you, or does it all come together as you are writing? With the research, you did, did that guide you more as to where you wanted to go with the story?
Robyn I knew I wanted to write about a sugar baby/daddy relationship. I started writing it and then my Canadian publisher pushed me to do the research. That changed everything! With that insight, i went back and basically started over with a deeper understanding of how that life really works! This was a fun one to write! I did my research and then laid out the basic plot points and created character profiles as I usually do. Then the book kind of wrote itself!
Julie When socializing or hanging out with friends, does your book come up a lot in conversations? What question are you asked the most often?
Robyn Yes, the books often come up! A question I ALWAYS get – in a joking way – is “is this based on real life?” My next book is about a couples swap gone wrong so friends have been teasing my husband and me!
Brenda Often thrillers are purely entertaining and lately, I have noticed from hosting groups reads believably can be very important to readers. I thought you did a really good job here adding a realistic element here with the sugar babies and weaving a very entertaining thriller. Was that something you planned or did it all that come together for you as you were writing?
Robyn Realism is so important to me! I like to read about heightened reality, things that could plausibly happen. I related a lot to Nat because I’m from a small town and moved to the city and was often struggling financially. So I took that stress and fear and put it into her story line. I’m glad it felt like it could really happen!
Brenda What are you working on now?
Robyn I am working on moving into my new house! So stressful! Buuuut… last week I handed in my next manuscript that should be published next summer. It’s about a couples’ swap that goes very very badly. It will be called THE SWAP (thought that could change).
For more Q & A with Robyn Harding you can find them here Check out the group and see who our upcoming authors.
What Robyn said about us
I really enjoyed participating in the Traveling Friends Q & A. The group was enthusiastic, kind, and asked Intelligent questions! I would happily do it again.