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Interview with Danika Bloom, author of The Billionaire’s Shrubbery

Welcome back to my Author Spotlight series, where I shine a bright light on the talented authors within the indie romance community. This series aims to celebrate authors who bring their unique voices to the romance genre, connecting them with readers who crave diverse and enthralling love stories.

Today, I have the delightful opportunity to introduce you to the USA Today bestselling author, Danika Bloom. Known for her rom-com series about bands of brothers, Danika’s writing showcases her love for vibrant characters, quirky humor, and irresistible chemistry. With her upcoming release, “The Billionaire’s Shrubbery,” she takes us on a journey that intertwines enemies-to-lovers, workplace dynamics, and the allure of a billionaire’s empire.

“The Billionaire’s Shrubbery” promises a delightful mix of steamy encounters, witty banter, and a dash of horticultural magic. It introduces us to Virginia Beach, whose superpower is her ability to communicate with plants, and the grumpy yet undeniably charming Will Power. Set against the backdrop of Virginia Beach itself, this enemies-to-lovers rom-com explores the challenges and unexpected sparks that arise when two captivating personalities clash.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey as an indie romance author and how you found your passion for writing in the genre?

I didn’t have a plan or burning desire to write romance until 2019. My background is as a technical ghost writer for progressive not-for-profits in Canada and although I’d indie published a paranormal women’s fiction novel (in which all the men die!) in 2016, my plan was to write a book in the style of AJ Jacobs and Mary Roach—a fact-based book with personal anecdotes. My working title was, “Girls Who Get Themselves in Trouble: The Untold Communion of Sex, Religion, and Politics.”

After two years of research and working on the book, I realized that what I wanted to communicate would be so much more fun—and palatable—to deliver in romance. In my mind, the romance genre is a gentle and yet subversive way to talk about and celebrate female pleasure and sexual autonomy. And that’s how I started writing romance.

The synopsis of your upcoming release, The Billionaire’s Shrubbery, promises a quirky and fun enemies-to-lovers romance. What drew you to this particular trope, and how did you put your own unique spin on it?

Honestly, I don’t start with tropes. I meet characters and they drive my stories. It’s their histories that determine whether their HEA will be with an enemy or best friend.

Will Power introduced himself to me while I was doing a program with a personal development guru, like a mini Tony Robbins. As I sat through about 15 hours listening to this guy, Will Power started to talk to me. Boy was he grumpy! And when I asked him what his issue was, he said he had killer insomnia. 🤪

As a woman of a certain age, I am quite familiar with how hard it can be to be perky and fun when you’ve only slept for four hours and that’s been a pattern for weeks. I knew Will needed sunshine—literal and figurative.

I love quirky heroines and always write women I’d love to be friends with, so Virginia the plant-whisperer was born in my imagination!

In the book, the hero, Will Power, is described as both charming and grumpy. How did you develop his character to make him an intriguing match for Virginia Beach?

Knowing my husband won’t be reading this, I’ll tell you the truth—the charming grump is my husband—that’s how I figured out when Will would be grumpy, what he’d be grumpy about, and how he’d still be a man that Virginia would want to spend time with. He’s never grumpy at Virginia, he’s grumpy about life, but when he’s with her, she helps him see how to look at life from a different perspective.

Humour plays a significant role in your rom-com series. How do you strike a balance between comedy and romance in your writing?

Honestly, it took me several books to really figure out how to strike that balance. My first series is tricky since it has lots of scenes you’d expect in a rom-com, but overall, they’re more humorous romance than pure rom-coms.

I think what makes The Billionaire’s Shrubbery a real rom-com is in the set-up—how Will and Virginia meet—and in the silliness of Will’s goal which is really to just be able to get a good night’s sleep. And of course, the banter. In all my books, the heroines are quirky and the banter is witty and fun, even for serious conversations.

As an indie author, what challenges have you faced in the publishing industry, and how have you overcome them?

For the years before I indie published my first novel it was the isolation and feeling like I was on my own—had to learn 1001 things about the business of being an author without knowing where to look or whose opinions to trust. There is a lot of contradictory advice out there!

In 2021, I had the amazing fortune of being accepted into Skye Warren’s Romance Author Mastermind, a three-day conference for romance authors who’ve published five or more titles. The friends I’ve made in the rom-com sub-genre are my lifeline. I’m pretty sure I’d have quit writing were it not for the support from that group of women.

How do you navigate the publishing process and market your books to reach a wide audience? Do you have any tips or strategies that have worked well for you?

I’d say my strategy is pretty iterative and I think the most important tip for success is to keep trying new things, be open-minded, and treat your books like a business—be an authorpreneur.

I focus my ongoing marketing on building relationships with readers on my email list. I write (almost) weekly notes to them that get dozens replying, telling me their stories, related to whatever I’ve written about. And I reply to every single person who writes me back. Some weeks it takes a couple of hours. I’m not sure if that’s the best use of my marketing time, but for now, it feels right.

One tip I highly recommend is to find your sub-genre peers and develop real relationships with those authors. I’ve been meeting every Friday for over 18 months with a group of rom-com authors.  Over time, real friendships develop. We truly want to see each other succeed. We share each other’s new releases with our audiences, we read and review each other’s books, and we share tips that have worked and places we’d avoid spending money.

What can readers expect from your writing style and storytelling in The Billionaire’s Shrubbery? And are there any hints you can give us about your future projects or upcoming releases?

In The Billionaire’s Shrubbery, readers can expect puns and play on words, cultural references, and characters who are masters of self-deprecation. The story is low angst and a great pallet cleanser after a hard read like one of Colleen Hoover’s amazing, gut-wrenching stories (I always need days to recover after reading CoHo!).

The next book in the series is Aiden’s story. He’s the youngest of the four brothers and he’s been underestimated his whole life. He’s got some proving to do! He is meeting his match in a young woman named Joan who was a friends-with-benefits pal in university until she pulled a prank that went too far and ended the friendship. It’s a road trip romance and the working title is The Billionaire’s Bobblehead.

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring indie romance authors who are looking to pursue their writing dreams and build a successful career in the genre?

It may sound a little self-promotion-y, since I host an online community for pre-published romance authors, called Author Ever After.

I started that community because of my deep belief that success in any venture is easiest when we have people who are experiencing what we are supporting us. It’s hard to find non-romance writers who understand the emotional ups and downs of writing a novel; who know what to say—and more importantly what not to say!—when our inner critic is kicking our ass; and who understand the business of launching a career as a romance writer.

There are a lot of invisible moving pieces at play and having people at your side to point out helpful next steps or productive ways to use your time when the writing muse is on holiday is invaluable.

Don’t miss out on the chance to discover the enchanting world crafted by Danika Bloom in “The Billionaire’s Shrubbery.” To stay updated on her releases, visit her author page on Amazon. For more about Danika and her other works, you can visit her website, follow her on Goodreads, and connect with her on BookBub.

You can also catch her on social media, where she shares insights, book updates, and engaging content. Follow Danika Bloom on Instagram and like her Facebook page. For a chance to connect with fellow readers and fans of Danika’s work, join her dedicated Facebook group.

If you’re an indie romance author seeking a spotlight for your own writing journey, I invite you to fill in the form found on my Author Spotlight page. I look forward to hearing from you and exploring the wonderful world of indie romance together.