Sept. 22, 2021

Plotting heists with Sloane Steele

Plotting heists with Sloane Steele

Come for the capers, stay for the steam

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Sloane Steele joins me and spills ALL the tea on book-to-TV adaptations. (Guess who liked the Virgin River Netflix series more than the book?) She shares how Nora Roberts was her gateway to romance, how the TV show Leverage inspired her to write a heist romance, and how writing sex in public doesn't phase her. And we talk about pre-writing with enneagrams because writing heists are hard!

Connect with Sloane:


And check out It Takes a Thief on Amazon



Elle 0:00
Sloane Steele is the pen name for contemporary romance author Shannyn Schroeder. Sloane is a part time English teacher, part time curriculum editor and full time mom even though her kids are pretty self sufficient teens in her downtime she bakes cookies reads romance and watches far too much TV. Welcome Sloane to Steam Scenes and thank you for being here.

Sloane 0:20
Thank you for having me.

Elle 0:21
I'm very excited to be here today. Very curious. What do you what TV I'm always looking for new shows. What's your favorite?

Sloane 0:28
When I say I watch far too much like, literally I could go on for days. The DVR by far is that like the best invention ever. Although we did cut the cord this year, or late last year, so it's streaming which there's commercials not as bad as regular TV. So I was really spoiled with a DVR because I could watch so much more TV because I never had to watch commercials.

Elle 0:57
Well, what are you? Are you on Hulu? Is that where you're getting it?

Sloane 1:00
Yeah, Hulu, we have Hulu, we have Netflix. Obviously Netflix doesn't have commercials. So I like Netflix. For Paramount and stuff. We have like a bunch of streaming, which is still cheaper than what you're paying for cable, which is fine.

Elle 1:18
You know, for a few dollars more. You can get Hulu without commercials, which is what we do.

Sloane 1:23
I know. And I've been thinking about it, but I'm like, I don't know, let's see how many were streaming things that end up adding.

Elle 1:32
So have you discovered anything? I'm just like, seriously, we're big TV household too.

Sloane 1:38
You know, um, my daughter and I, my youngest is 16. And so we're always looking for like a show to binge and we just finished Well, at least caught up to A Million Little Things. Which is an ABC show. So we never watched from the beginning. So we just did so that was actually really good, although kind of depressing. But you know, because it starts with like the one of the characters committing suicide

Elle 2:03
That's what I yeah, I haven't watched that one yet. Because I was like, Yeah, I don't I'm not right. I don't. I'm not ready.

Sloane 2:09
Which is why I was like, I did not watch it the first time through. But she's like a huge Grey's Anatomy fan. So she's fine with all the depressing crap. Yeah,

Elle 2:19
I've been so I've been belatedly we just got into and it's like going off of Hulu this month. So like we're like rushing through it is Hannibal

Sloane 2:29
Oh, you know what? I watched part of the first season when it first aired and then I came back to it. Um, think the old seasons might be on Netflix. And the dude is just creepy. Like, like, I know he's Hannibal and he's supposed to be creepy. But you know, like, I like I know Hannibal Lecter from sounds of the lambs. And he was creepy with charming I can't like there's zero charm in this guy. He's just creepy.

Elle 3:02
He is like a super cold and he is a total like, I don't know is this sociopath? psychopath? I don't know what. It is. So gross. It is so great. Like, I can't stop watching it. It's so disgusting.

Sloane 3:15
Yeah, see, I like to have like, I'm gonna watch Hannibal Lector, I want him to have some charm like the Prodigal Son is awesome. Unfortunately just got canceled. So won't have a new season. But it is I love Prodigal Son because of Martin Whitley is like he's, he's a charming serial killer. Like he's hilarious.

Elle 3:34
I think we're gonna do Dexter next because we never got into that one either. We kind of like ran out of newer stuff. So now we're going back, like through the archives and trying to figure out we never watched that. Let's do that. Next.

Sloane 3:47
Skip the last season because it's so bad. Anyway, okay. It was just, um, and part of it just got a reboot. That's gonna air later this summer is gonna bring Dexter back and I'm really looking forward to it because everyone including like, the stars of the show. We're like, Okay, that was a really crappy ending for this. Like, it was just so bad.

Elle 4:08
It's kind of like Game of Thrones. Did you get into that one?

Sloane 4:11
No, I never did Game of Thrones.

Elle 4:12
Okay, see, we I was like totally obsessed with it. The books the series. And that last season? I was like, I hate everyone. I hate you all.

Sloane 4:24
Yeah, that was like Dexter just it really went off the rails with weirdness.

Elle 4:31
Oh, so Okay, so since we're talking TV, on a romance steamy novel, podcast. Do you have any? Was there any adaptation of a romance novel that you've watched that you're like, yeah, that's really great. I really like that. Um,

Sloane 4:47
you know what? I've watched the Bridgertons and Virgin Rivers and Sweet Magnolias, but I have to admit that I never read any of them. So I was coming into it as just a few But I think they were all done like Bridgertons, I think, was phenomenal. And I watched it. I'm not a historical romance person, that's part of why like, I can't read it. I shouldn't say I can't, it's very rare for me to read it. Like, I have to write it and I will read, but it's like, I always get hung up on that. Do they? Like they didn't bathe? Yeah. So I get hung up on that in my own head. But the Bridgertons sell it, you know, and of course, it was like, the rich people do it like, okay, but I don't want to read all about all the rich people. But the Bridgertons very much I know that a lot of viewers who came to it not from as readers, right, it's very much like, expecting it to be like a regular TV show where we're gonna get to see the same couple over and over again, where it's very much like that first season is a book. That couple got there HEA. And next season's gonna be a different couple. So you're not getting you know, you're not going to get to see Simon again. So people are like, what? No, I'm like, that's the way books work.

That is the way the books work. Yeah, exactly, exactly. I watched I have not watched Bridgerton I did watch Virgin River and I just started Sweet Magnolia. And I'm the same with you. I have not read any of those books. After I watched the first season of Virgin River. I picked up the books and the books are so different from the series.

Yeah, that's what I heard. Like, they were like, kind of like, because that's such a long series, I think they were picking and choosing different things from different books and bringing them into the season.

Elle 6:38
Okay, because I didn't really read much about it. I just was sort of like flipping through. I was like, Oh, that looks interesting. And then I was like, oh, wow, I really like this for season one. And then I was like, I'm gonna get the books. And I was kinda like, Oh, this is really different.

Sloane 6:51
Yeah, that's, I heard from a couple of people that it's like, oh, no, that like, happens way further on, and they just brought it forward. And it's like, okay, so they I've never read the books.

Elle 7:01
I almost like the series better.

Sloane 7:05
Is I know, it's like blasphemy, right? Because I am one of those people who says the book is always bad.

Elle 7:11
Yeah. Probably why'd go back and read the book. Like, I feel I feel like I'm admitting like a big, deep, dark secret when I'm like, I really I like the series. I haven't even finished the first book. And I think I bought like the I bought the box set. Because I was like, I this this up, the show is so good. So I ended up buying the box. And I'm like, I can't even get through the first book.

Sloane 7:38
Yeah, see, that's why I just stayed away from going back to remember the only thing I would say the only time I've done that, where I watched and then picked up the book many years ago when True Blood came out, and I was not at the time reading paranormal at all, but it was like, I don't want to say it was like, like a free HBO weekend or something and I was folding laundry. And it was on so I was watching it was I'm like vampires are not my thing. And then I watched the first episode. And I was like, stuck. And I was like, Oh, wait, wait, these are these are books.

Elle 8:08
Oh vampires are my thing.

Sloane 8:11
So then I got the books but in that case the books were better than the show.

Elle 8:16
I loved them both equally. And I was writing urban fantasy at the time, which is actually how I started writing. And I was like obsessed with True Blood because I just thought the books were phenomenal. And I thought the series was really well done.

Sloane 8:30
Yeah, it was. I mean, there were some things that I didn't like, like, towards the end. Yeah. And again, when they start, you know, it when it takes a while and you're in a few seasons, and then you're like, Huh, I don't know about that. But yeah, so I mean, I definitely liked it. And I think that like the portrayal of the characters, for the most part, really did jive with the way the books were written.

Elle 8:55
Especially like that first couple of seasons. I do think it kind of derailed towards the end and I do know I stopped watching I actually have not finished watching the series.

Sloane 9:04
Oh, I did. I it was like one of those things that you know, I like I had to like as I was out there that long I had to.

Elle 9:13
I totally love that you're a TV nerd because I am too and I try and hide it.

Sloane 9:18
No, I do not hide it at all.

Elle 9:21
Maybe I shouldn't be more open about it because I will like, like, my favorite thing to do is like, oh, a whole Saturday and it's raining. I'm just gonna sit here and watch TV all day.

Sloane 9:33
I used to be able to do that. But then I went and had kids so.

Elle 9:36
Yeah, well mine are older too now. So well my one so she's kind of off on our own, which is fine with me. I can catch up. Okay, so you're an English teacher and curriculum. You're in education. I'm guessing you had the writing bug early or am I making an assumption?

Sloane 9:58
No, you're not making the assumption. I mean, I suppose you are, but it's correct assumption. Um, so I always I wrote when I was younger, like little kid, you know, crazy stories, whatever, um, high school I was a poet like that that was my medium I wrote poetry, there was something about playing with the conciseness of language, which, of course, now comes back to bite me in the ass. But I could never do prose because I always felt like, whenever I was writing dialogue, it sounded stupid. And I hated it. So I avoided doing any kind of assignments where I was going to have to, like write a story with dialogue and stuff, which is funny, because no dialogue is my favorite thing to do. And so, like that carried into college, and but I mean, like, I walked into college, knowing like, I'm going to be an English teacher, high school teacher, that's what I want to do. And I knew people like so I had friends in college, who were education department, and then English department. And not too many of us overlap for whatever reason. So it was like, but I clicked with the, with the English people better. But they were all I'm like, What are you going to do with an English degree? I'm going to be a writer. And I'm like, What the hell, I want a paycheck. So I know at 20, I want a regular paycheck, which is where being the teacher came in. And then once I started teaching, like, forget it, there was no writing. I mean, my writing was, you know, writing curriculum and grading papers, and going back to school and then writing my own papers for my graduate degrees. So like, I did not write at all for many years. And so it didn't really come back until I was at home with my small children.

Elle 11:40
So when you came to, you know, professional writing again, later on were you still plowing forward with poetry? Or when did you decide that you're going to go with novels?

Sloane 11:53
I was a total fluke. I came to the romance genre very late, compared to most people again, I was at home with small children. And prior to that, I was an English major. So I read literature. And you know, all the dead white guys. And like, that was, I mean, even that, like that was even like my summer reading. Because like all through high school and college, not because I had to, but because I was very focused on I'm going to be an English teacher. I have to like, know, all of these books, because what if I'm expected to teach them and I've never read it?

Elle 12:28
You have to know the canon, right?

Sloane 12:30
Yeah. Like I made it all through high school. Never having read Romeo and Juliet, because I was in an honors track and we read what did we read? So many other Shakespeare things?

Elle 12:46
Probably it was tragic.

Sloane 12:47
We read Merchant of Venice. And so every other freshmen read Romeo and Juliet. Of course, I knew the story, but I never read it. Not that I ever tortured myself with that over the summer, but it was like that idea of like, what if someone expects me to teach a book that I didn't know? So I spent a lot of time reading all the classics and I definitely turned my nose down at romance, because, ew. When I was at home with my children, I started I was reading like, thrillers and suspense, um, what I was reading like, Tess Gerritsen and Iris Johansen and, you know, so those were all writers and Tami Hoag, those are all writers who came from romance. And were writing like romantic suspense. I didn't know I didn't know that's what it was.

Elle 13:40
So you're kind of like knowledge were sort of the bodice rippers or Yeah, Danielle Steele or something like that.

Sloane 13:47
Exactly. So it's like the skinny little Harlequin books. And you know, like, what, how could I never even picked one up, you know, and of course, I was just Captain Attitude about it. Um, and so I was reading those not knowing that it was romantic suspense, and then I, being the cheap person that I am when I was at Costco, it was like a two in one book by someone named Nora Roberts.

Elle 14:15
Someone named Nora Roberts.

Sloane 14:18
Real I knew nothing. I only read the dead white guys. Always love it. So it was The Return of MacKade. I'll never forget. And I like oh, my god fell in love, really. So the second book was one of the other MacKade brothers probably Jared or something. It did not have as much of an impact on me as as Rafe did. And I was like, Oh my god, this is so good. And then I went to like borders. I'm going to find more books by this author. And lo and behold, where do I find her but in the romance section, and oh my god, she's written 4 million books.

Elle 14:48
Okay, so first of all, you saying you had no idea like that gives me hope. Like nobody knows who I am right now. I have. So you know, I'm in a class with Nora Roberts right now. That feels pretty goddamn good!

Sloane 15:01
It's not a bad place to be because at some point someone's gonna be like, Oh, wow. Oh wait, she has other books.

Elle 15:06
So what did you love about it?

Sloane 15:09
You know what I think it was all of it was that watching that relationship and then ending on the happily ever after. And I think for me that's always been the draw because like even when I was with the romantic suspense like I was not reading in terms of genre fiction, I was not reading things where you know, your main character dies. Like, and don't get me wrong, I've read some of that like I've read some Nicholas Sparks and never again.

Elle 15:42
I've never read him I have no like I see the movie, like the movie adaptations and I'm like, Ooh, that just looks real treakly not my thing.

Sloane 15:52
And sad. Just like, someone's gonna die. You pick it up. It doesn't matter. It's a love story. Yeah, that's great. But someone's gonna die. No I don't don't want that.

Elle 16:00
He has such contempt for the romance genre too like, it's kind of, I don't know, it's kind of like, yeah, you know...

Sloane 16:09
He's better than, than all of us. Yeah. He's actually richer than all of us.

Elle 16:15
I mean, with the exception of his, you know, lack of happily ever after is doesn't he sort of sit squarely in the romance realm?

Sloane 16:23
Why, and that's just it is that like, that is like the one hard and fast rule of romance is to have to have Yeah, you have to have happily ever after. And he doesn't,

Elle 16:34
That's probably why he doesn't because he's so disdainful. He's like, I will definitely never be romance. I'm gonna kill everybody off. But I'm gonna use every single manipulative tactic to get there.

Sloane 16:45
Yeah, so yeah, so for me, it was really about, like, even those other books that I was reading it, you always had that relationship and the happily ever after. And I just, I guess I just didn't, I mean, again, I read all the dead white guys, people were always dying, there was not a guarantee of anything. And so it was like, wow, this is like happy. It's just good. Um, so I just, like I just devoured books, you know, when you have it, I had a toddler and a newborn. And you know, like, when you're there, it's just like, constant like feeding and diapers and you're exhausted. And so yes, it was like, Oh, wait, I have to feed you again. I can read. And so I was devouring one or two books a day. I was just like, burning through them. And I mean, it went on for, you know, a couple years. And it was really my husband's like, you know what it like? You're reading so many damn books, why don't you write one. And he said it totally flippantly. He did not mean anything. He's probably being a smartass. But I had already had these ideas in my head. And I just not really knowing what to do with it. I knew nothing about like, what a book was, I mean, you know, like, how many pages is a book? Like literally what when I started writing, I was probably about 10,000 words in my first manuscript. And I literally, like emailed some rando agent of the internet and said, so how many pages is a book?

Elle 18:17
Did they respond to you?

Sloane 18:18
They were so awesome. Oh, my God, he's like, we usually go by word count. And if you're looking at a single title book, you're looking at at least 70,000 words. Like they were totally like that same night, they responded to my email. It was awesome. I don't know that that would happen again. Now. Because that was like, way back. Like, when I started writing, you still had to mail in queries. It was I was just okay, at that bridge of mail versus email. So it was really still just like a communication versus here's my query. Here's my stuff. Right? Oh, I think that's why I got an answer. Like, I would not suggest people do this. Especially because there's so much available freely, readily available on the internet, like back then it was just, it was just emerging as it Yeah, because this was 2006 2007.

Elle 19:08
Yeah, like barely, like using email professionally at that. Like, I think it's probably only like five years that we had been using email really professionally at that point.

Sloane 19:17
Exactly. And so that I think that's why it worked. And I got away, but so like, I really knew nothing. I didn't, I was just writing. And needless to say that never she'd left.

Elle 19:30
But you finished it.

Sloane 19:31
But I did. And I finished it fast. Like I was writing it. I didn't have a laptop back then. And so I was like early on I always did writing like when my kids were in activities or you know, and then at night I would test so I was hand writing everything and then I would type it up at night after they went to bed. Wow. But it went fast. Like I wrote that entire book like over the summer. But it's really bad.

Elle 19:55
So you still have it?

Sloane 19:58
I have it buried somewhere. We're on a heart like I like that was like three computers ago.

Elle 20:02
It's like an old hard drive somewhere.

Sloane 20:04

Elle 20:07
So, okay, so you finished your first book and then you were was as I'm guessing it was a romance.

Sloane 20:12
It was romantic suspense because again, you know, you're like, write what you know, and that's what I knew because I had read so much. And that's what I wrote and it made no sense and that was really bad.

Elle 20:24
So okay, so was it steamy? did was it open door? closed door?

Sloane 20:28
I did it open door because everything that I had ever read was open door, even like romantic suspense, you know, like Allison Brennan and stuff like that. So everything was open door. So that's just like, what I figured it was supposed to be, so that's what I wrote.

Elle 20:46
I love it. You know, in a way, like, It ink it's so really refreshing to kind of step into writing and kind of not know, and so you end up breaking a lot of rules to a degree. And I actually think that that's really great.

Sloane 21:06
Sometimes, like if it turned out well, maybe.

Elle 21:09
No, but I mean, I think that it gave you a chance to experiment and play and realize, you know, oh, that's not working. That is working. You know, I just kind of love it when people like go into something and they go, I don't know what I'm doing. But the hell of it, I'm doing it anyway.

Sloane 21:21
Right. Well, that was exactly like for me. And the second manuscript I wrote was also romantic suspense, but that was, by the time I was writing that like, halfway through it, I knew it was wrong. And I knew why it was wrong. Like it was not suspense-y enough. I didn't have the, the words for it at the time, but like, it was not my voice. Like I was trying to be romantic suspense author, but that is not my voice. Okay, I was still figuring out my voice. But so but as a reader, I knew that it wasn't holding up. So then I was trying to make it more suspense-y. And it just that one fell apart, too.

Elle 21:57
So I know but you have a bunch of books under Shannyn Schroeder. We're talking to you as Sloane today. But you do have a bunch of books under, under Shannyn. And these look like sports romance. Like, tell me about these a little bit.

Sloane 22:12
They're all straight up contemporary romance. Um, so after I wrote that second book, and I had this idea for what I wanted to have, I knew in my head, this idea of contemporary romance. Have I ever read contemporary romance? Do I know what that looks like? So obviously, I read some Nora. But you know, like, Nora is good when you're a reader and you want to rethink but when you want to learn she's not the one to learn from because Nora plays by her own rules.

Elle 22:37
Yes, Nora does.

Sloane 22:39
And she can so so it was like one of the things that like, oh, maybe I need figure this out. I'm like, okay, who do I look to when I want to write contemporary romance. And so I started reading like Jenny, Jennifer Crusie. And at the time, I want to say, Julie James might have had one or two books out and she's a local to me author. So I started like, I just dove in and started reading all the contemporary romance to kind of see like, cuz I knew in my head, that's where this book was going to be. But I didn't really again, know what I was doing. So, so that book, but once I started writing it like I knew it was like, I found my voice like this is where I belong. And that was the first O'Leary's book, More Than This, which when I envisioned it, it was only going to be a trilogy. It was nothing O'Leary's It was about these two women and their friend, it was like these three women and that was a trilogy. But halfway through that book, I'm like, Oh, no, man, I need to know where all these O'Leary's are. And so big family of six siblings, and, um, and it just, it took off from there and I created this neighborhood and, and the neighborhood is northwest side of Chicago. I when I envisioned I vision the neighborhood that I grew up when I was young, like up until the time I was nine and we moved. So every time I picture like the houses were the family, like I'm picturing that neighborhood. So it's a very Irish American neighborhood. So the families have big you know, like, large numbers of siblings. So like the O'Leary's have six across the street, the O'Malley's they have five, they have five because there's overlapping books. I had to think about that for a minute. So like that, that's two of my series right there. And I'm working on a new family for that neighborhood that hopefully will come out later this year.

Elle 24:37
Oh, wow. So this is still like this. You have not abandoned Shannyn, you're okay. Oh, I just one clicked More Than This because I'm, like, totally ready to read this. I'm so down with us.

Sloane 24:52
And for me that like no, I'm not going to abandon Shannyn because that I mean, that's my real name. But like for me, like I love that like that, that idea of family and all of the messiness that goes with it. So even in my other series, they may not be family by blood, they may be friends, so like my Hot and Nerdy, or like college age friends, and I've got the daring divorcees who are all older, like over 40 I've lived life and they've come together as friends. But their family that found family is huge for me. So yeah, and I after writing all these other books, it's been a couple years since I've been in that neighborhood. And I'm like, I miss it. Like, I've missed those families. So I have another family if you've met a couple of families that I'm introducing, and I'm working on those books now.

Elle 24:56
That's super cool. So did you self publish the first ones? Or did you go through the gauntlet of trying to find an and agent publisher and all of that?

Sloane 25:48
More Than This landed me my agent. We had and that was right, when all of the big New York publishers were like, Oh, wait, this ebook thing really does matter. Um, and so they all started having like their own like digital first arms.

Elle 26:08
Oh, I remember that.

Sloane 26:09
Yeah. And so we had an offer really fast like we went out on submission. I want to say like, November and January right after the holidays, Kensington came back with an offer they wanted to acquire it. Um, but it would be with their digital first arm which then was back then was he Kensington they bought out Lyrical and then it was Lyrical like it. Yeah, things change. So I saw and I my, my agent was like, but I think if we keep shopping, we could probably get a print deal. I'm like, You know what? I am debut. I am a nobody. I have zero platform. I'm not on social media. I think going digital first is a good move. It gives me time to build and it's so low risk for the publisher. they'll stick with me and they did. So yeah, so my first so I did all six O'Leary's with them. I did the Hot and Nerdy books with them. And then my second series or my third series with them went into mass market paperback. That's the for your love, which is like an offshoot of the series. It's the O'Malley's that live across the street. So they didn't name it. They did not want to name it the O'Malley's like people might get it confused. So yeah, so I've gotten all the rights back for the O'Leary's in the Hot and Nerdy. And so that's why they're self published now.

Elle 27:29
Got it. Okay, so your rights finally came back? Oh, that's so cool. What a wild sort of trip. I mean, it's really kind of, it's actually really unique to hear about, you know, debut author who then goes on to continue publish it, you know, because I think that, you know,

Sloane 27:46
if you don't go gangbusters like JK Rowling or something, you know, publishers are quick to drop you was definitely now because the the whole landscape for publishing has changed. And in romance, especially, most of the publishers I think, have kind of like given up unless they think they're unless they think, Hey, this is going to, we can make this big, and they're not doing that mass market paperback is gone. So that's all trade, which is like the bigger size. And they're not signing like, three or four books. Yeah, like contracts are doing like one or two books at a time. Right. And for me, like back then, like I said, like that was, I'd already heard stories about people getting like big advances, and then they didn't earn out and then why would the publisher like, they're not giving me an advance, it gives me time to build and figured out, you know, so it was definitely a business decision on my end, because I knew nothing about any of it. And I wanted that security of having, you know, an editor kind of like, work with me and teach me all of that. So, yeah, it was a good path for me.

Elle 28:56
That's really cool. Um, so tell me about writing your very first door open, steamy scene. What was it? Like?

Sloane 29:09
I don't even know if I remember my very first because for me, anytime I sit down, even in those early books, I, as I said, I always ended up writing probably places where I shouldn't have been writing sex scenes.

Elle 29:28
Isn't that the worst?

Sloane 29:31
Well, nothing fazes me. Like, if you're gonna be dumb enough to read over my shoulder, you've got to coming. But yeah, I would absolutely be writing, you know, sex scenes, like I remember. And sometimes I was writing at once I actually got a laptop and I was able to just type like, I would be sitting someplace and my daughters would be doing like, you know, like, like an art studio place where you just buy a couple of things and then go make a mess. I'd sit in the mom section and I'm just gonna do it. All right, and sex scenes and oh, yeah, okay. My kids are still alive. So yeah, absolutely. If you're seriously, if you're gonna be dumb enough to be that nosy, I don't want to hear it.

Elle 30:07
I was writing the naughty bits like riding like commutes out of like suburban New Jersey into New York City. And I was always like, I don't know if I can do this in public, I don't know if I can do public.

Sloane 30:20
You know, and it the the writing of it never bothered me because I think that for me when I'm writing, I'm so into the scene. And I'm, I'm visual that way. So like, for me, it's like a movie in my head. And I'm trying to describe what that looks like, inside the character's head, who was ever point of view seen it as. So I don't really even pay attention to what's going on around me so that for me, it was just another step in the process. So I don't have a problem writing them. When I'm in the stage of like, copy edits, because when I get to the copy edit stage, for any book, I actually read the entire thing aloud, because that's where I catch like, the repetitive words that I although I already searched for the word just and found 3000 of them, and I cut them, I will find other words, I'm like, how did I miss that, or just clunky sentences and stuff. So when I'm reading it out loud, I don't like having to read the sex scenes. Yeah, that's just like, it sounds dumb to my ears when it's my voice.

Elle 31:22
I have a program that reads to me. So I run it through that because I was like, I can't read my own work. Like I can barely read it to myself to have to read it out loud, I think I just curl up and die.

Sloane 31:33
Well, my children have all learn, that when I'm talking to myself they better just keep on going or they might hear something they don't want to hear.

Elle 31:46
So okay, you moved from writing, you know, contemporary romance into your new series, which is heist romance.

Sloane 31:57
Yes, which is the voice is still very much the same. And if you look at some of the reviews, people are like so this is being marketed as romantic suspense, but it really reads like every romance. And that's because it's not like it's, it doesn't have that kind of dark and dangerous feel to it. Like the series is called Counterfeit Capers for a reason. It's very light and fun. But for me, it was a big shift because it requires like some kind of plotting, which I can't do. Well, I

Elle 32:29
mean, this is this is Okay, so first of all, when I saw that I was like heist romance. This is brilliant. It reminded me of sort of, like Ocean's 11. Or, you know, like, I love capers. And, and I would love to write one, but I'm like, how, like, how do you even come up with what the heist is? Like? I mean, if I if I was able to plot out a heist, I wouldn't be sitting here writing books, I'd been multimillionaire, you know. So how do you do the research for that? Like, how do you do this?

Sloane 32:56
Well, for me, I'm the inspiration behind this is the TV show Leverage, which I watched when it was first on air, and I loved it. And then when my kids got a little bit older, like my youngest, like, she would binge it. And so I'd be like, Oh, wait, it's on. Let me sit watch it again. Oh, it's a show that I love. But I was like, for me, it was always like, there is definitely found family. They do elaborate cons. And you've got complexities of their relationships, which I like, but it's not always on screen kind of thing. So like, there was this part of me that always thought like, what if it was leverage, but all women leverage is five bits, two guys, or three guys and two girls. And I was like, but what if? And so it was like one of those things where I had notes in my little notebook of ideas. And you know, but I'm like, I can't do that. Because that requires plotting. And I know I can't plot like, that's just not who I am. As a writer. I've tried it. I failed every which way, I can't do it.

Elle 34:01
So you're a pantser.

Sloane 34:03
I am a pantser. I do like I do a lot of prewriting. Now though, to save myself having to chop 30,000 words and delete it and start over which I had to do.

Elle 34:17
What does that look like? Like what is pre writing?

Sloane 34:20
For me, I start for me, I always start with characters. And so I spent a lot of time with my characters, so I don't and I'm lazy. That's the other thing you have to know about me as a writer. So like I am a lazy writer. So like there are some people who will like they'll do Myers Briggs on their each character or they fill out extensive character sheets. I use enneagrams. I did. I went to a workshop many years ago by a given by Laurie Schnebly Campbell, and she has a book on it now. But so she took enneagrams and she kind of tweaked the descriptions of each personality type to really fit romance and it's so it's really just 10 questions for any exam. So it's fewer than 100 questions, but it's just like literally you go down the list. And it's just like, yes, this applies to me. No, it doesn't. So I would do that for me, it takes like 15 minutes tap for the to do it for the hero or the heroine. Like I said, I'm lazy. I like things fast. So I kind of figure out what are their personality types. And then I kind of I write that out for myself. And then I let them play in my head a little bit, I always create a playlist for each book. And that takes a lot of time. Like, I listened to so many different songs and like, what is the feels of the book and what sets these characters and then I saw, I develop that. And once I have that, then I drive my family crazy, because I listened to it like non stop. So every time my kids get in the car, they're like, oh my god again. Because as that music playing, I'm thinking characters. I do. I do collages. So I placeholder characters, like, you know, famous people or whatever to be these characters and quotes and things like that. And I have that up on my bulletin board above my desk. But I will spend weeks just really listening to the soundtrack. And I might take notes about some certain scenes that I that I envisioned for the book. And I'll write those down. But I don't I have never been able to plot like the few times I've actually plotted out a book that I didn't write the book. Oh, interesting. Yeah. So it's just, it's just not for me. Um, so I spend a lot of time those characters in my head, and I get to know them really well. So that when I sit down and I start writing, and when I'm doing all that listening, like I said, I do have ideas like, Oh, that's a scene that's going to be pivotal, or, you know, so I do like, I have those ideas. Like, where's this going? Like, what's the purpose? Why are they together? Why are they not together? And I kind of let that play in and mess around in my head, and I start writing and even the notes that I take in my notebook of scenes that might happen. A lot of times they don't block, but they're there. So if I ever get stuck, and I'm like, Did I make some crazy notes three months ago? Oh, yeah. Oh, that seemed might work. And then I you know, and then sometimes I pull things back out. Um, so yeah, so for me that prewriting is really just really, really getting to know my characters because I learned through a revision class that I was doing many years ago, and I was writing the second O'Leary's book. That was the book that I hate. I love the characters. I hate the book, because it kills me. Like I literally, I wrote half the book and had to delete almost all of it, wrote two thirds of it again, and had to write and had to, you know, cut about another half. It wasn't right. It wasn't working. And it wasn't working. Ultimately, because I was breaking my character I kept saying the character is doing is this way this is who this character is. But then she wasn't acting that way. Basically, she was a very flighty character. And Shannyn is not very flighty. And her being practical, and that's why it wasn't working. So I had to, like, I have to learn my characters more. So once I learned to do that, it became much easier, and I no longer have to write, you know, 30,000 words and then delete

Elle 38:10
Your process because that sounds kind of close to mine. But I don't think I think I will kind of like you are talking about with like, with your second book, like, I don't let myself go too far with that. Because I am like, No, you need to plot and I'm not like I don't do well plotting, I will plot something and then, you know, I'm into it five chapters, and I've already gone off someplace. That's why I don't want. So I'm actually finding this very fascinating. And I'm like, ooh, taking notes. And I'm like, I have to get this book. And you because I have wanted to use in the exams, but I, you know, it's I was like, Well, no, you need to plot.

Sloane 38:50
No, no. For me, it's like, once I once I figured out this process that works for me. And sometimes I could take shortcuts like when I wrote my Hot and Nerdy novellas, there were 30,000 words. I didn't create playlists for those. I didn't really even do a full like collage, because I knew that I was gonna write them in like a month, right? So I can take shortcuts, sometimes depending on what I'm doing, but it's still about really knowing those characters. And once I found that process, I'm like, this is what works for me. I always just go back to that. So anytime I'm stuck in a book and I say, Okay, what, what would these people have to do? I always go back to what are their personalities because that's going to dictate how they're going to react or how they're going to act in any situation.

Elle 39:40
So for your heist then, to go back to that what did you end up doing in terms of because you You do have to come up with the caper.

Sloane 39:47
I wrote myself into the corner a few times. So, again, for me, I still started with characters. So I created my team. So I knew going in that there, me and Jared are cousins, and their fathers were indicted for, for fraud, various types of fraud for running a Ponzi scheme, they built people out of millions. And so I knew that Mia, she's the driving force behind everything, she's the mastermind, she, she wants some kind of revenge, she, like she is just mad. Um, and so, from the time her father's were, her father and uncle were indicted, they fled the country. It's five years. So our books actually take place five years later, because she has to wait for her inheritance for her mother's side of the family so that she can fund her operation. So for five years, she's been kind of plotting, like what she wants to do. And all of her father's friends all benefited from the scheme. They're not indicted, they don't have to pay for anything like nobody's looking at them. And so she's like, I'm gonna steal from them. I'm gonna steal from them. And I'm gonna embarrass because I'm not gonna walk in and steal, I'm gonna steal artwork, replace it with a forgery. So when they think they're gonna go sell something, they're gonna look like idiots. And so that's, that's kind of like, where the idea came from is like, you know, wanting that kind of revenge that that. And then, of course, when they sell it, they use those profits to anonymously, anonymously, pay back the victims. Okay, so we've got a robin hood thing going on. So for me, it's like once I had those characters, and I knew who they were, that it became in the first book really was an experiment for me, because I didn't really plot it out. I just knew like, Hey, this is they need to steal, they need to replace something with forgery. And then I just started thinking about what kinds of problems are they going to run into. So the first book really is like, the first half is just trying to figure out that first keeper, that first heist, and ends up being very key pressure, because you have people who are not used to working with others, they don't play nicely with others, they all work alone, right? Now they're forced to work together. So it's like, you know, they each want to do things their own way. And so they learning to work together as a team is really what what ends up happening, what comes out of the first book, so there are two heists in the book. So the first one, they're successful, obviously, with both of them, otherwise, we would not have a series. But the first one really goes haywire, or the second one, just a little bit less haywire. But it but it works. And it's about getting them out of their comfort zone and doing what they normally wouldn't do to make things happen. So, so it was it was hard for me because like I said, there were times when I did, I wrote myself into court. I'm like, Okay, well, I gotta have this happen, but I don't know how because it would just be dumb.I can't just say I've got to go this way, because

Elle 42:59
So did you research like, like, famous heists? You know, when I saw that it was like stolen artwork, I immediately thought about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist in Boston,

Sloane 43:08
Which by the way, there is a Netflix Yes, documentary, which is awesome on it.

Elle 43:12
Yes. I have not watched it yet. But because, you know, I grew up in New England. And so that was a really big deal when that happened.

Sloane 43:19
The document is really good, because I did just watch it recently. Um, so yeah, so I did I, you know, went to the library, and I checked out some books, about, you know, heists, and forgeries, and did lots of like, that kind of research online to learn about famous things. And then of course, you know, I got to watch I rewatch leverage. And I watched The Italian Job, and I watch all the oceans movies. So I was like, it was, it was watching all of those kinds of things. Again, not just for, hey, this is really cool. But how was it put together? Right? You know, how, how do we know we want to get from A to B, but in between those two, there's a lot of steps. And how do I translate that if you look at a lot of them, if you look at leverage, and the oceans movies, they always like they get you to be and then they show you a flashback of how they got there a lot of times, and so I'm like, Okay, well, how do I write that flashback? Put all those steps in order. So yeah, so so there was that level of plotting for me and that I had to like really kind of think about, like, how was this going to happen? How are they going to fix this? How are they going to overcome this obstacle? Which was hard, but then it was like I gave myself the freedom to just be wacky with it like so it's not total slapstick, but together like as they're starting to work together as a team, they go, they go way overboard make things way more complicated than they need to be because they, again, they're not used to working together, right? Um, you know, and the thief Nikki, she's like, Look people like I walk in and I walk out with the prize, I don't give a fuck, like you're making, like, you want me to do all these other steps and so I don't know what you're talking about, which is very weird like this the way she is throughout the entire series like that kind of like, I'm just I will walk out right in front of people with it, I don't care. Um, so but trying to cover all those bases to keep secrets and, and keep people hidden, you know, keep me and Jared hidden. And I mean, there's just lots of lies and secrets going on and everything gets more convoluted than then most people would want it to be. I mean,

Elle 45:34
I think this is kind of like really interesting, because yeah, like, heists are complicated ane there seems like there's a lot of balls in the air, not only as the writer, but for the characters. So how do you keep the romance, you know, the romance in there? I could imagine that easily being lost.

Sloane 45:53
And it was and it was absolutely, like, I when I wrote and I'm, I'm a very linear writer, like I write from page one to page 300. Occasionally, I might skip one scene, and then like, write another scene and then come back to it and then decide either I need to write the scene or it doesn't belong there. Don't worry about it. But I'm, I can't jump around kind of thing. But when it came to this, I absolutely. Although the romance was always there, it was very, very shaky for the first and the first go round, because I was really because I was so worried about getting the heist wrong, that I that's where I put all my energy in figuring out what that needed to look like. And then I went through and said, Okay, now let's look at the relationship and how is the relationship working in the context of all of this other crap that's going out? You know, because it's not just a straight up, hey, you're cute, but like each other. Right? You know, there's, there's so it was it really was it was about looking at not just, ooh, I have pants feelings, let's screw around. Um, there's some of that, but then it's complicated by all of the other exterior stuff, which I'm not really used as a writer used to dealing with all of that exterior stuff. Um, so yeah, so it was it was it that was one of those things that just happened through you know, second draft stage, after I had the plot pretty well done. Then I went back and said, Okay, now let's just look at the relationship piece.

Elle 47:25
Wow, did a lot change because you realize that something needed to happen, you know, something needed to happen to make the relationship move forward that necessary that maybe what wasn't able to because of the plot points you had already written in?

Sloane 47:39
Not lots. Because, for me, it was really about using those plot points in the highest to complicate the relationship. So I already had so I had them there. I tried to like kind of feed in like, what, what was the impact of those plot points? And I will say that, like the first book, Jared and Audrey, they were the hardest of the three because all three books are done. They were the hardest relationship to write. Mostly because like I said, the whole book is about these people coming together. The other two books were the relationships were far easier for me to tackle. It was yeah, Jared and Audrey were hard.

Elle 48:23
Well, I imagine it's just because it's the first high spec you're writing to, like, I imagine that has everything to do. Really, you know, yeah, there was a lot there. Yeah, yeah. And I also find, like, you know, for like, in my series, I'm going through this right now, where I have four books, and I feel like there was so much setup in the books about the other care like characters that follow through and now sort of onto my fifth one. And I'm like, wow, I don't think I've spent as much time with these characters as I did with the other characters. So this is much harder for me to write now. Yeah, it definitely Yeah. You know, so you also have that part where you've spent time with the characters and you know, in the first book, so yeah, it does get a little bit easier if you if you're able to do that,

Sloane 49:09
right, because there are established you know, who they are and you kind of get it.

Elle 49:12
Yeah, yeah. Oh my god, I love this. I'm like so I'm so excited. But I mean, is that are you like kind of ground breaking ground in this genre? Because I feel like I don't know of any heist romances.

Sloane 49:28
Um, there are some because I read them. Again, part of research, right? I'm the one that a lot of them that I read. Lauren Blakely has won the Sapphire high still blue Sapphire high, something like that. Um, Tamra Morgan has the Penelope Blue Series. And I want to say that for those a lot of times they end up being like written in like first person, which is not something I can do. I'm definitely a third person past right? Okay, so I did not see a lot of incepted don't exist. They do you just kind of dig around for Smart Bitches back in 2018 did a rec league, where they're like, Hey, we want heist romances. And so that I went back in through that thread to find some to read. So I wouldn't say that I'm necessarily breaking ground. I am hoping that more people will write more, because I think there are a lot of people out there like me who want more of it. Because they're like, oh, high school romance. I mean, I hear that a lot. And I'm like, it's a heist romance. Oh, wait.

Elle 50:42
I think I think you know, and you're seeing less of it. But I think that the, one of the sort of, I don't know, if you the evolution, let's call it the evolution of romance is we're moving from, you know, female main characters who are kind of like, you know, they don't really have high powered jobs, maybe they're waitresses, maybe their retail clerks, you know, they're not, you know, and it's always the men that are in these high powered positions and kind of almost, quote unquote, save the women and I, and I love writing women who have their own agency who have their own high powered careers who have these things that the men typically have in their books, and I feel like heist romance really like lends itself to that part of things that I love.

Sloane 51:27
Oh, absolutely. They and that was part of why I wanted to, to do like an all female crew like, okay, so there's Jared. He's the token man. He's got money. I mean, that's part of why he's there. She's got money. Um, he's a negotiator. So like, he does handle the sale of everything. Not that Audrey couldn't because Hello, she hangs out on the dark web she could have. So he really is like the token man. But I really, for me wanted to have this group of women who were at the top of their field. Yeah, as shady as their fields are, you know, that they are really good at what they do. Yeah. And it was just that piece was just fun, even though there's a lot of fumbling and messiness along the way, like I said, because they're used to working alone. Now I have to deal with this other person and, and how what I do impacts this other person. And Gee, I kind of like are to become friends. Yeah, so so that for me was a big part of it. And, and I'll tell you that when they first the trailers in the announcement for Ocean's eight first came out, I was like, that's my idea. written anything? Yeah, it was just a note and a note. Oh, but yeah, so like, I like that, that you have this group of women who can totally do every bit of what the guys could do and, and do it spectacularly.

Elle 52:56
Yeah, yeah. Okay. So let's I want to dig into your intimate scene. It's from It Takes a Thief, which is book one, can you set this up for us?

Sloane 53:07
So Jared, and Audrey, they have worked together, online for months. Always flirty, banter via messaging. So they've been working together, face to face now trying to get this first heist out of the way. They shared a couple of kisses. They messed around in the car once when he went to drive her home. Where she ended up happy, but he did not. I'll just leave that there. And so it, so hanging over them has been this, we have some unfinished business kind of thing. But they're still trying to plot this heist. So Nikki, the thief has run into problems with how am I going to make this swap without anybody knowing that this painting has been swapped. And so they're kind of troubleshooting and making things up. So the team has kind of split. So Nikki is hanging out with the forger trying to figure out problems with the frame. And Audrey has come back to the apartment that is their headquarters to try and figure out how to get her more time before the alarm in the house goes off. Okay, and Jared is with her. And so like she's running in circles, and she's frustrated. So he suggested take a break, and they're gonna play video games together. And she's like, Oh, yeah, fine. Let's play video games. Because of course, she's a girl and when she know and so they, they place a bet and he's like, okay, for every Dude, I kill you have take off an article clothing and, and she's like, Yeah, what do I get? And he's like, and she's like, oh, cuz she wants money, because she's always broke. Um, and so she's like, you pay me $100 for every every guy. So she so they end up playing and she has, or by the time she takes off her clothes, like what she lost like it she's wearing strategics like, shoes, socks, bra pants. So she's still covered, you know, right. Um, and so then it's like, you know, that was my break. I'm going back to work kind of thing. Oh, no, honey. Oh, thanks. So, okay. So for them, so, so they go to the bedroom, but the thing is at this point, actually, for three quarters of the book, they there's still a lot of lies and secrets and for obvious reasons, like, she does not know, Jerry's name is Jared, she calls him Jay. She knew him online as Mr. Green as an alias. She goes by the name data, because that's her hacker name. So that so there's a lot of, and they just have an agreement, you know, like, we have our secrets, and that's fine, we can still have a good time together kind of thing. But for her, you know, like, she's, she's ready to, like, jump on him on the couch. And he's like, oh, wait a minute, there's a bedroom. And so for her, it starts to make it very real. Like, that's, like, an actual bed. That's like, that's like intimacy versus getting off, you know? And so she wants it but she's very leery because that's going to require, you know, a level of vulnerability that she doesn't give up. You know, like, she keeps people at a distance. She is very much a loner. And she likes him. And so yeah, so that's kind of where we are when we get to the scene in the bedroom.

Elle 56:23
Okay. So we are I think, I think they might be on the couch still, at this point.

Sloane 56:34
Oh, yeah. I think I think the scene that I gave you is right before. Yeah. Like, to the bedroom.

Elle 56:38
Yeah, it's right before so Okay, so I'm just gonna get started. They touched and nipped and sucked at each other, and then Jay suddenly broke away. This isn't going to do what she asked breathlessly, her body throbbed with need, sitting on a couch when Nikki might come in. I want to spread you out and enjoy myself. He stood dislodging her from his lap and holding her steady as she got her legs under her. What do you suggest we do? There's a spare bedroom. Remember? Bad that made it seem like they were going to they would spend the night together which was way more than she bargained for. He pulled her by the hand toward the room he stroked inside of her palm with his thumb gentle circles. Well, logically, she knew it shouldn't have an effect on her. In reality, little zings of pleasure zipped up her arm. inside the room. He closed and locked the door behind them and remove too sharp. She stepped back and watched him undo his belt. Something about the action fascinated her. Maybe because she couldn't remember the last man she had sex with who wore a suit. She had known that guy well enough to stand and ogl him, Jay. He just smirked as his pants at the floor. As much as she might not want to give him the satisfaction he had reason to smirk. She whipped off whipped her shirt off and he closed the small distance between them. He trailed kisses over her neck and down to her breasts pausing to suck each nipple into a stiff peak. She ran her fingers through his short dark hair looking to hold on to something anything. Please tell me you have a condom? She whispered. He grunted and stepped away for a moment she thought it was over then he held up his pants offering her a look that said he couldn't believe she asked he fished a condom from his pocket. I've been carrying one with me since the first time we cast so in your head this was inevitable Absolutely. It's so cocky I'm like you know that tells me everything that I kind of need to know about him. I was wondering At what point in the book is this? where like, how Where are we here?

Sloane 58:41
This is I want to say probably at about the halfway point. Okay, a little bit before the halfway point. So if things happen pretty quickly after this mean that between like heist So, so they figure things out. And once like right before they're ready to go for the heist she figures out who he is and she it pisses her off. Okay, so so I want to say this is probably about the halfway I didn't actually clock it Okay, no,

Elle 59:22
I was just kind of curious because I was like oh my god, like this is so that told me everything about him and just that little bit you know and I was like that's really cool. Like he is a cocky mofo.

Sloane 59:32
Yes, he is. Very much so but she she gets even, um, because when they're done, she like, pops out of bed like, Oh my gosh, I have it and like, up out of bed. He's like, What the hell was that? later? about it. She was like, Hey, man, you said take it a break would be good inspiration and it was

Elle 59:56
like, Are you being right at all? Get reading a bit more. Get on the bed he said sharply the command putting her back up. But as he stuck closer she did it not because she felt she had to, but she wanted to see what awaited her for doing so. She lay down and he followed trailing open mouth kisses up her body, he slowly dragged his fingers through her slick heat before circling her clit. her brain fogged over in a haze of lust and pleasure. She vaguely recognize the sound of the condom wrapper. Then he hovered over her close to her face, open your eyes. She hadn't even realized she'd close them forcing her lids up. He stared she stared into a stormy dark eyes. What's your name? She felt him pressing it her opening and she was close. She wanted this needed it. Why? He gripped her chin and a firm but gentle way, because I like to know who I'm having sex with. You know, whoa, you're right. I know you but I want a real name. She debated briefly. Am I supposed to believe you haven't told Nikki your name? I don't think you've been this close with her. Have you? The head of his deck product her rubbing up and down keeping her on edge. He bumped her clit and she almost would whimpered. That's different. How Nikki and I our know how, how else to explain the weird, cautious trust they shared. We're like, we're criminals. She used the word even though she rarely felt like a criminal. She was simply doing her job. She didn't consider the right or the wrong about and I'm not we're stealing a freaking painting together. It's not like us and you you're not like us and you know it her chest rose and fell barely touching on his on touching his on each inhale. The hair on his chest offered an additional point of pleasure. And that means I'm not entitled to at least know your name. When I'm going to be inside you fucking you hearing you scream my name. Her blood pounded as he spoke part of her worried he might walk away and she didn't want that. She didn't even know why she was holding out and that moment looking into his eyes. She felt like it was okay to trust him. It was just a first name after all. So she whispered Audrey. Oh, gosh, I was wondering if she was gonna tell. I was like, well, she will she will she like is this, then I was kind of I mean, would this be a deal breaker? She was like now

we kind of already talked about the whole gender gender reversal. Because this was something that I like really like was kind of like, really into with this and that that idea of having, you know, a female thief. Because again, you know, I feel like it's kind of novel even now. And it's kind of interesting how she is letting her guard down in the bedroom, which makes sense. And, and being vulnerable, which was very, like you said the very thing that she feared.

Sloane 1:02:50
Yes. And it definitely it comes back like the next day to bite her in the ass.

Elle 1:02:57
She's so calculating about how much of her vulnerability she's going to expose, you know, which I was like, Oh, okay. Yeah, like, if you were a thief, he would totally do this.

Sloane 1:03:06
Right. And this is like for her because she is so private. I mean, and he's right. Like Nikki had her name like, day one. Like they were having pizza or Chinese or something. And she's like, Look, I am not calling you the robot from Star Trek. It's like, no, it's from duties. So like, they like share, like because Nikki's Nikki like she she doesn't use a fake name. That's just who she is. Um, so Nikki had her name early on because they feel like like I said that they have this trust because they're the same. And she she's just not sure how much she can trust him. And of course he he proved that maybe she should have withheld a little bit longer.

But we have a happily ever after yet. Yes, we do.

Elle 1:03:57
Okay, last little bit, was a little bit.

He reached under her knee and lifted her leg he slid into her saying her name. It was barely more than the whisper she'd given him low and close to her ear. The sound center chill down her spine. J was fully seated in her filling her butt not moving. Her blood pounded through her veins. She needed the release he'd promised, wrapping her legs around his waist. She booked her hips. All he offered in return was a slow guide out of her. He was tormenting her so she slapped his ass. We don't have all night. I don't need all night. Not this time anyway, but I'm not rushing either. He grabbed her right leg and pulled it up on his shoulder. Then he sank deeper and rocked. He braced above her propped on his arms muscles flexing as he created a slow torturous rhythm that felt so damn good. He shifted again and lowered his mouth back to her nipple and sucked on a stiff point. She saw stars. For the first time in a long time, Audrey was on the receiving end of being cared for. And the realization clogged her throat. Oh my god. This was super hot. And then this final moment where it's like her feelings works like just for that, like she really exposed her feelings here. Um, you know, like the realization clogged her throat like she's she's starting to let herself go and she's starting to let herself kind of melt into this man and I was really curious what happens to her and to them you know now that she has this realization is she going to go all oh shit and pull back is she going to continue to cautiously move forward? Like I'm like, well what is she going to do next?

Sloane 1:05:35
Well, she's very, um, like I said she, for her in this moment. Like she tries to push thought away like cuz she was totally fine with it. Let's just screw and we're good and it will be releasing. But we see for her that this is more at this in this moment. And it freaks her out, of course. And so after this he basically wants to you know, hang out in bed for a little bit duty so well what's your snuggler she gets her ID and she jumps out of bed and so there's some more kind of like joking. Like, we're, she's backing on even footing it that you know, like the joking and the banter. She can do the soft and vulnerable she's not really good at. But it's one of those things that as she's getting ready to go back to work just like you can't use my name. You cannot let other people know that you know my name. And he's like, Well, why not just a name? He's like, present no, Mel don't know, we fought. So and and sure enough, then, you know, part of what leads to that black moment of her kind of like unraveling things. His his disregard for that request. And, and he doesn't do it maliciously. You know, because once he's there like that's now how he thinks of her like she's Audrey. And so yeah, so that, that that right there. That one point of vulnerability really starts in motion. What ends up being the unraveling of the Secrets and Lies.

Elle 1:07:24
Amazing. Oh my God, this was so cool. love a good heist book. So I'm excited to read this one. All the way through. I hope you enjoy it. So okay, so what do we Okay, so April 27 was when it takes a thief came out and counterfeit came up. Sorry between two thieves, which is the second book this is the counterfeit keeper series comes out June 29. Correct? Yes. That's Nikki's book. Cool. How many total? Do you are you writing?

Sloane 1:07:59
Um, there are three. That's what Kareena has contracted. So the three women, Audrey Nikki, and Mia each get their own book on London, the forger. My plan is to write a Christmas novella that will be hers that I'll self publish in the fall. Now that I started it not that I have any idea really what it's going to be. But that's the plan. Plan.

Elle 1:08:25
So when did you know when Book Three will come out? It's August 24. Oh, wow. So these are in pretty quick succession.

Sloane 1:08:34
Yeah, yeah. Those that Kareena has planned when they contacted them was since I already had like, the first book was done. And I was more than halfway through writing the second book. Um, you know, they looked at the calendar and said, Hey, what do you think about doing a semi rapid release? Not like, you know, back to back months, but to you know, every other month? And I'm like, sounds good to me.

Elle 1:08:55
Oh, that's fantastic. How have readers responded to because I mean, this is a very different heroine, I think then we're used to seeing again, like, I think we're only now just starting to let our female you know, female mountain main character is kind of be the thief or be the power woman in the boardroom. And so I'm kind of curious, has, was there any pushback on that? Or were they happy to see it?

Sloane 1:09:18
Um, people are happy. Um, I like as as an author, and I know a lot of authors, like, don't read the reviews. Right? I do. I'm a glutton for punishment. And for the most part, I fix skin and you know, like some people like DNF my book and you know, you do you that's fine. Okay. But it's definitely some validation on my part. When I started seeing the reviews come in, and people were like, hey, this was it. I felt like I was reading The Italian Job or this was so much like leverage if you like, I'm like, that's what I was going for. Thank you. Oh, excellent. And absolutely, I would say that that so many people fell in love with Nikki like, it's She does. She's one of those characters that like, it's like chapter. I should probably be chapter one. Like when she can't like she burst on the page and like she, like steals the same because she's hilarious. Um, so people are like, I can't wait for Nikki's book. I'm like, I loved reading. Audrey, you're cool and all but Nikki's fun.

Elle 1:10:22
Did you do your character, your deep dive character work on all of the women before they even before the first book was written? Or did you sort of...

Sloane 1:10:31
I did, I did the entire I did the entire team. So I did all five of them. And then when I got to writing Book Two, and I'm like, okay, who the heck am I putting with Nikki? It Like, I had an idea when I when I was writing book one. And you know, sometimes I would love to say that there was some brilliant plotting involved. But sometimes I just write something in a book, and then later, but later on, I go back. I'm like, Oh, that's it. That's the link to where I'm going with the next book. And it's totally accidental. It's like something just working. I don't question that. I just let it go. Um, but yeah, so I knew that in like Nicki's pairing would be her ex. Coming back, so it's two thieves after the same paint painting. Oh, nice. So so so that I did so I had to do my deep dive like okay, who was this guy? What split them up? Why is he an x? Where is he now and so that so I did all of that. Like, right before I was writing napal because I already knew who Nikki was because I already done that like work.

Elle 1:11:44
Oh my god. Fabulous. That sounds awesome. Okay, so Sloane where can readers find you on the internet? Sloane hangs out mostly on Instagram. Or to share them hang out.

Sloane 1:11:59
Shannyn hangs out on facebook page I'm on Twitter as both so my Twitter handle has is at s Schroeder underscore because Shannyn shoulders too freaking long for Twitter. Of course my name but it does say Shannyn Schroeder slash sloane steel. So yeah, so I so those are the places are you to go to my website, you can either go to Sloane steel calm or Shannyn Schroeder dot com and you'll find all the information for all the places because again, I'm lazy so I don't really pretend to be to people.

Elle 1:12:30
And I will have links to all of this in the show notes. Well, Sloane, thank you so much for doing this. It was really fun to talk about heists.

Sloane 1:12:39
It was it was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me.