Today I am so pleased to welcome Annika Martin & Joanna Chambers to Joyfully Jay. Annika and Joanna have come to chat with us about their latest release, Enemies Like You (which I reviewed yesterday and loved!). Please join me in giving them a big welcome!
Welcome Joanna and Annika!
Joanna: Hi Jay, it’s great to be here!
Annika: Hi! Thanks so much for having us!
Annika: This is the ultimate enemies-to-lovers story. It’s two really hot, dangerous men with opposing goals. They really should kill each other…or at least get each other out of the way. Or at least not be lustily mauling each other! That would be utterly out of mission parameters!
Joanna (gravely): That wouldn’t be the thing at all, no.
Annika: And kissing when they should be killing. I don’t think that’s in the CIA handbook at all!
The enemies to lovers trope is one of my favorites and I think this one takes things a step further by putting these guys in an almost impossible situation where one’s success means the other’s failure. Can you talk more about enemies to lovers and the conflict in this story?
Annika: I think the passion is just heightened in enemies to lovers. There is such a fine line between love and hate, and enemies to lovers exploits that.
Joanna: In our book, basically, Kit’s job is to protect this billionaire called Sergei Polzin–and Will’s mission is to kill him.
Annika: Billionaire Polzin sold secrets that caused the deaths of soldiers under Will’s command. So Will is out to kill him, and Kit has to protect him for complicated strategic spy reasons. That’s one of the struggles we enjoyed between these guys–Kit often likens Will to a bull in a china shop, just rampaging around. Kit is more about strategy, chess moves. He feels like Will is wrecking everything.
Joanna: Yes, but he admires Will’s directness too, and sort of despises his own deviousness…
Annika: They both have strong feelings about everything! Nothing is neutral. I think that’s the beauty of enemies to lovers.
Can you tell us more about how your guys approached co-writing this book? The chapters are alternating POV between Kit and Will. Were you each responsible for writing one character, or did you write the whole story together?
Joanna: In our first draft, we took turns at writing in chronological order (so we both wrote Kit and both wrote Will) but then, in our later draft, we took charge of one character each and yes, I took British Kit while Annika took American Will.
Annika: Yeah, we wrote the whole story together. But I was such shit at faking that English way of speaking. I wanted to say bloody hell all the time and use phrases that probably sounded Victorian. Joanna, what did you say? You had some comment that was hilarious. And Joanna sometimes made Will sound like 1950s John Wayne.
Joanna (laughing): Yes Annika’s Kit was a bit… duchessy sometimes, and my Will was like something out of a black-and-white noir movie: You think you’re smart, huh? Some sorta wise guy? Why I oughtta slug you right here!
Along those lines, Kit is a Brit and Will is American and you guys chose to use language and spelling reflective of their country in their chapters, which I thought was interesting. What made you decide to go in that direction?
Joanna: We both naturally wrote in our own spelling, and it would’ve felt weird to me as a Brit to change everything over to US spelling at the end–that would’ve undermined Kit’s British voice. But we added a foreward up-front to explain this because we didn’t want readers to think we just hadn’t noticed!
Annika: Yes, it felt more authentic. Also, I kind of hate that so many UK writers get their stuff revised into US English. It doesn’t seem fair!
Before the release of Enemies Like You, you guys published the first nine chapters as a prologue. What made you decide to release the story that way?
Joanna: When we first started writing this story, we actually planned it to be a series of 3-4 novellas and that first section–which is pretty distinct and can stand alone as a novella–was going to be book one. We then took a lengthy break on the project and when we came back to it, we decided to write it as a full length novel instead. So when the idea of a free prequel came up, we figured that first section was just perfect for it.
Annika: Yes, we thought it would be fun to do the prequel, to let readers meet our duo on a small adventure before the full story.
Do you plan to write more books featuring these guys? I, for one, would love to see more adventures with these guys teamed up.
Joanna: Thank you! It’s a definite possibility. When we were doing our final revisions, I took out a couple of sentences and said to Annika “Let’s not wrap that up completely. Let’s leave that … unsaid. You know… just in case…”
Annika: We really do love writing these guys! This story stands alone with an HEA, but that doesn’t mean more things can’t happen to them.
Joanna: And writing this book with Annika has been SO much fun. Our process was really creative and energetic–I love Annika’s writing so getting a new section from her was always a joy and we constantly had new ideas sparking between us to kick around. It never really felt like work to me–not till we got the blurbs and cover stage anyway, lol! OMG, Annika, our cover discussions!
Annika: LOL We both had specific ideas on the cover and you can’t even imagine the ideas we’ve had over the months. Our first vision was for something totally pulpy. Writing with Joanna has been exciting and fun, but I knew it would be. She and I have been critiquing each other’s stuff for 7 or 8 years, and her ideas are always so creative and insightful and her bullshit meter is great, too.
Can you tell us what is coming up next from you both?
Annika: I’m writing a new dark mafia book. I guess I just can’t get enough of hot criminals.
Joanna: My next release in August will be a second (as yet untitled) book in Riptide’s Porthkennack series–a contemporary this time. Then I’ll have short stories at Hallowe’en and Christmas, both historicals. I’m also pretty busy getting my Samhain backlist back up for sale…
If my readers want to learn more about you and your work, where can they find you?
Thanks so much for joining me today!
Thank you for having us! We so appreciate it!
They’re dangerous men. Absolute enemies. And totally hot for each other.
Will has never met anyone like Kit. He’s arrogant. Gorgeous. Lethal.
The most expensive bodyguard money can buy. And Will can’t seem to resist him.
A simple command in Kit’s cut-glass accent makes Will want things he’s never wanted, do things he’s never done. Their red-hot chemistry is off the charts.
Just one problem: Will has vowed to kill the billionaire that Kit is hell-bent on protecting.
And Kit has secrets, too—his own reasons for sacrificing his soul, piece by painful piece, to keep one of the worst men on earth alive.
This is a stand-alone contemporary M/M romance.
About the Authors
Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding a proper grown up job, getting married and having kids, she spent many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens. That changed when she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna’s muse likes red wine, coffee and won’t let Joanna clean the house or watch television.
Connect with Joanna:
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/Chambers Joanna
- Website: https://joannachambers.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joanna.chambers.58
Annika Martin is a NYT bestselling author who enjoys writing dirty stories about dangerous criminals and hot spies. She loves helping animals and kicking snow clumps off the bottom of cars around the streets of Minneapolis, and in her spare time she writes as the RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.
Connect With Annika: