When I developed the idea for my January 20th release, POTUS, Hillary Clinton was barely a glimmer in the eye of the primary storms. There was no way to know that she would become the first major party female nominee for president, nor the general chaotic mess that the US presidential elections would become. I was in the midst of writing a political series and knew that a president would need to be a major player in one of the books, but I didn’t want to do the same old tired trope of a super sexy, alpha male president and his Anastasia Steele-like assistant.
So, I did something we call “flipping the trope.” I took a tried and true romance ideal and flipped it on its head by creating the first female president of the United States. Then I thought about what kind of woman would end up as the nation’s first female president. It took a while for Jessica Hampton to reveal herself to me, but when she did I fell in love with my own heroine.
I have to admit here that I’m usually a guy’s girl. I love my boys, from the rock stars to the surfers to the political powerbrokers. I hung out with a lot of boys in high school and college—I understand them, I have a fondness for their weaknesses. But I haven’t always been as passionate about my heroines. I write strong women, but they just haven’t intrigued me to the extent that Jessica Hampton did.
So who is Jessica Hampton? She’s the widow of a Kennedy-esque Senator. Her in-laws are a political power family, and when her husband died unexpectedly so did their dreams of having a Hampton in the White House. But Jessica stepped in and made those dreams come true for them. And as we all know, when you’re living someone else’s dreams your life is never truly your own.
But what I love about Jessica is that she’s you, and she’s me, and she’s your best friend down the street. Jessica Hampton is an ordinary woman put into extraordinary circumstances who does what women always do—she makes it work. Because women are some of the hardest workers I know. We hold families together, we put food on the table, we survive assaults on our bodies, our intellect, and our self-worth. Women are warriors, but the field they battle on is everyday life, and Jessica became the embodiment of that ideal for me.
Of course if I was writing the perfect heroine I had to give her the perfect hero. Enter Kamal Masri, the sexy, wealthy Ambassador from Egypt. She’s not sure what to do with him as first, but she can’t deny his appeal. He’s supportive in the Oval Office and bossy as hell in the presidential bedroom. It’s a pretty tough combination to resist!
So, our first female president is suddenly faced with a temptation like she’s never seen before. And when she decides to take a risk and follow her heart she learns that she really is all the things everyone else has always seen in her, and she’s also a lot more than someone’s widow. She’s the first woman president of the United States, and she’s a badass.
POTUS releases January 20th and you can preorder it here: