When the premise of HEARTBREAK FOR HIRE by Sonia Hartl reached my radar, I had to feature it. I’m always a sucker for an enemies-to-lovers trope, and the book also includes some delightful feminist vibes. Plus her upcoming YA book, THE LOST GIRLS, sounds great too!
Brinkley Saunders has a secret.
To everyone in the academic world she left behind, she lost it all when she dropped out of grad school. Once a rising star following in her mother’s footsteps, she’s now an administrative assistant at an insurance agency—or so they think.
In reality, Brinkley works at Heartbreak for Hire, a secret service that specializes in revenge for jilted lovers, frenemies, and long-suffering coworkers with a little cash to spare and a man who needs to be taken down a notch. It might not be as prestigious as academia, but it helps Brinkley save for her dream of opening an art gallery and lets her exorcise a few demons, all while helping to empower women.
But when her boss announces she’s hiring male heartbreakers for the first time, Brinkley’s no longer so sure she’s doing the right thing—especially when her new coworker turns out to be a target she was paid to take down. Though Mark spends his days struggling up the academic ladder, he seems to be the opposite of a backstabbing adjunct: a nerd at heart in criminally sexy sweater vests who’s attentive both in and out of the bedroom. But as Brinkley finds it increasingly more difficult to focus on anything but Mark, she soon realizes that like herself, people aren’t always who they appear to be.
What is your favorite board game and why?
My favorite board game is Clue. As a kid, I loved the atmosphere of the game, the story that played out, and the strategy involved, and it remains a favorite partly because of nostalgia, but it’s also still a lot of fun.
It definitely holds up! I love how the main character in HEARTBREAK FOR HIRE works for a service that helps jilted lovers get revenge. How did this idea come to you and in what ways, if any, did it surprise you?
It was one of those things that built over time. I first started thinking about writing a heartbreaking business book in 2018. I had originally imagined it as a YA story, but since I had other commitments I had to write first, it sort of stayed in the back of my mind. As I began to give it more dream plotting space and energy, I thought it would actually work much better as an adult romance. There were certain things I wanted to do with the book that wouldn’t work in a YA, and I’m so glad I made that decision!
Interesting! How do you know which of your stories are YA versus adult and why?
Usually my ideas start with a premise I can sum up in a sentence or two and the vibe of that premise will clue me in on which age category I should be writing for. For example, if it’s a stronger coming of age premise, I’m already thinking of it as YA.
I love coming of age premises! What are some of your current projects?
I’m not able to talk about anything I’m writing right now, but I do have a new YA book coming out on September 14th! THE LOST GIRLS is my vampire revenge story (revenge seems to be my theme in 2021, haha), which is like John Tucker Must Die, but with vampires, and make it gay. I’m really excited about it!