by C.L. Donley Genre: Contemporary Romance
The Halcyon program has only grown in respect and mystique over their now fifteen years of matchmaking. When I went through it six years ago, they were still boasting 100% success of all the participants. Single, usually hopeless, candidates leave the program as part of a couple. The foolproof methods Halcyon uses to guarantee a soulmate comes from a blend of technology, biology, psychology, and, of course, sex. Naturally, with its high price tag, extensive, invasive testing, and painstaking process, only serious participants make it through, and everyone found success. Until us.
C.L. Donley is a future New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of multicultural and interracial romance, who believes romance novels that are impossible to put down are the only kind that should exist! Armed with a B.A. in English and M.A. in Writing, she is new to the romance game, having written her first novel, Amara's Calling, after discovering the romance genre in September 2017. Donley writes in a style she calls "romantic realism" that is sophisticated yet simple, grounded yet unaplogetically escapist, and character-driven rather than plot-driven. This style creates a unique, modern reading experience ideal for book club discussions, personal epiphanies, satisfying re-reads, and the occasional spiraling reviewer! Love it or hate it, fans and critics alike can't deny her talent, and always find themselves coming back for more!
She loves hearing from readers and discussing her favorite parts of her own books, so feel free to indulge her.
What inspired you to write this book?
This book is about two characters that go to a program called Halcyon, which is this sort of intensive matchmaking service that’s 6-months long and is pretty expensive, so only well-to-do people can afford it, which both of these characters are. It really started out as a small kernel of an idea in my mind, and it’s the first book I’ve done that isn’t directly inspired by an existing trope. Which gave me a pretty big challenge because it’s much harder to get an audience to connect with a concept they haven’t seen before. Being original is not exactly a walk in the park! It’s much easier and simpler to write something already in line with people’s interests and expectations.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie? I’m very visual in my approach to writing, so I imagine all of my books as movies, down to the trailer and score, haha.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
You know, I thought the names were really clunky at first, and I still do in some ways. The hero’s name is Cliff, and his best friend’s name is Felix. I have no idea where those names came from, but they started out as placeholders and never changed. I went through a few names for Bria, the heroine, before I settled on it. It was actually Nia for awhile. And her last name is Forrester. It took me a minute to Google that name because it was naggingly familiar. Turns out Nia Forrester is the name of another romance author. Who’s great, by the way. And then, while I was writing Bria’s mom’s dialogue, I just heard the nickname “Bri.” And I thought, “well Bria’s a pretty name.”
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead? I used Adam Driver as the inspiration for the hero in Halcyon. For the heroine, I used a plus-size model by the name of Precious Lee. I spend a lot of time finding real-life inspirations for the physical descriptions of my characters, and sometimes to inspire their personalities. I use Pinterest to find visual inspiration for places and people. You can check some of them out at pinterest.com/cldonleyauthor/book-inspirations.
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