I mentioned AT ANY PRICE by Brenna Aubrey several times on Facebook already, so if you’re thinking the title and cover look familiar, that may be why.
This is one of those books (new adult romance) whose premise hooked me the second I read it–heroine auctions off her virginity. Seriously, you can’t help but be intrigued one way or the other. I was lucky enough to read AT ANY PRICE before it was released and suffice it to say, I loved it! It is a December Top Pick (check out my review) for good reasons. I was also lucky enough to have Brenna by for a virtual sit-down and here it is. 😉
**P.S. AT ANY PRICE is currently #137 in the Kindle store. Woot!!!
A: The premise, which is about a college student who decides to auction off her virginity online for financial reasons, actually was something I discussed with my critique partner, Kate McKinley. At the time, we were both writing historical (Regency) romance and she came up with the idea to have a historical heroine auction her virginity. One day I was thinking about her premise as I was puttering around the house and it smacked me between the eyes–that would make an wonderful hook for a contemporary story. I actually suggested it to her, first,that she write it as a contemporary but she told me I should do it with her blessing. I couldn’t put down the idea…The more I thought about it, the more things gelled. I started to think about who this woman was and ask questions about her: Why would she do this? How could she do this? And that’s where the idea of the Manifesto came from (which I’ll explain in question #3).
Q: Mia, the heroine, is a gamer and runs a blog, which isn’t a typical occupation for a female lead. Why did you decide on that for her?
A: Well, the gamer part comes a bit from my history as a gamer geek girl. I’ve played online games for over a decade and I thought it would be fun idea to include a bit of geekery in my premise. As a blogger, I had the idea that she could be a critic of the hero’s product (as he is a software developer) and that would afford some wonderful tension between the two. Also, Mia’s a feminist, and, as the commentary in the book explains, the gamer’s world is a man’s world in many ways. I liked the idea of putting my strong-willed heroine into a man’s world when she has so many issues herself about men and about her place in that world.
Q: I have to say, I love the Manifesto at the beginning of the book. Can you explain that a little for the readers and how it played into Mia’s decision to auction off her virginity?
A: Mia is a brilliant young woman. She’s only in college by grace of her scholarship and has worked single-mindedly during her premed program to earn a perfect grade point average. She’s a scientist. She’s logical. So for me it was important that she make the auction extremely logical. Everything, in her mind, is perfectly reasoned out. And so she takes the examples, throughout history, of where a woman’s virginity has been used as a bargaining chip by men and she makes this about those ideals: that she is choosing to profit from her own purity. In a way, she’s fooling herself because of her various hang-ups and issues but how she deals with that self-discovery is at least as important as the other things the book is about.
Q: What kind of a hero would you consider Adam? Personally, I thought he was swoon-worthy but he’s so much more than that.
A: Adam is swoon-worthy. I do believe i felt a bit light-headed sometimes when I was writing him. 🙂 He’s a strong-willed alpha male, a child prodigy who made a fortune due to his brains alone. He is completely logical in his approach to life, just as Mia is. And like Mia he finds himself in over his head once emotions get involved. Also like Mia, he likes to be in control. And this constant struggle for control between them made for the most fun chemistry as I was writing them. I really enjoyed exploring that dynamic.
Q: Can you tell us why you decided to self-publish At Any Price instead of going the traditional publishing route?
A: Ah! The big question. I’ve been asked this a lot over the past few months. Just to inform anyone who might not know, At Any Price went to auction with Big 5 publishers and I was offered a “good deal” to publish the three books traditionally. It was a very tough decision, one which I discussed in depth recently at my blog. Ultimately it came down to being able to have full control of the book from production to marketing to placement. When an author sells her book to a publisher, she sells all rights and control of her work. She has little input on covers, placement, marketing. Even things like editing or developing stories come under scrutiny. Now there are some controversial story lines clanging around in my head (yes even more controversial than the online auction, believe it or not). I won’t go into details (i.e. spoilers) but I’m not sure traditional publishers would have been comfortable supporting the direction I want to go with Mia and Adam’s story (and other stories that are coming down the pike). I also wanted to be able to write what I want when I wanted to without being tied down to a contract.
Q: How hard was it to turn down the publishing contracts you were offered?
A: It was extremely difficult. To have publishers go to auction for your book is the big dream that many authors have. I also had that dream. But in the end, facing all the things I knew, I just couldn’t do it. Walking away from sure money in the form of a contract is always difficult. I can imagine it’s even difficult for established authors who already have a reader base. For me, quite frankly, it was terrifying, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t do it.
Q: When can we expect the next book in the series to come out? Can you tell us a little about what’s in store for Mia and Adam?
A: I’m hoping to have the next two books out in the spring. I’m shooting for late March and late April or early May for Book 3. Book two, tentatively titled At Any Turn will be told entirely in Adam’s point of view, like the first book was entirely in Mia’s point of view. However it is a continuation of the story rather than a retelling from the opposite point of view. Though Mia and Adam were able, at the end of the first book, to overcome their fears in order to decide to be together, they still have to learn how to navigate life’s storms and trust in each other enough to make it through together. These next too books will show that journey.
When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she’ll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.
It’s a desperate step, but it’s the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother’s mounting hospital bills.
Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO
Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he’s sexy, driven and–as CEO of his own gaming company–he’s used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what’s happening, he’s found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she’s made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.
She can’t tell if he’s playing her…or if he’s playing for keeps.
I loved having Brenna by and I hope she’ll stop by next year when AT ANY TURN comes out. Honestly, Brenna is one of those authors you cheer for and you seriously want her to do well. She’s incredibly talented and even better than that, she has such a good heart. The publishers who bid on this book have a great eye for talent because AT ANY PRICE is definitely a winner.
Now let’s get down to the discussion question. Okay, I know auctioning off your virginity is way out there — for most of us — but is there something you would sell that is very dear to you (not a physical thing) for a really good cause — save your home from forecloseure, pay medical bills, stave off starvation of your family etc? Comment below to enter to win a digital of AT ANY PRICE.
About the Author
Brenna Aubrey is an author of New Adult Contemporary Romance and geek culture. Her debut title is At Any Price.
When she’s not dreaming up people and worlds and writing them down, she’s also a mom, wife, teacher, avid reader, a proud geek-girl, a self-confessed gaming addict, a French-speaking Francophile, lover of nature and beautiful sunsets.