Have I always wanted to be a writer? No. Have I always written? Yes. Writing is for me simply a part of how I process the world around me, so it’s a natural task. Becoming an author eventually appealed to me when I was home with young children and had recently learned I was neurodivergent; both of these realities meant 9-5 office work (which I’d done before kids) was not ideal for my mental or emotional health or my pocketbook (childcare is so expensive!). I loved reading romance but I felt a gap in inclusivity of representation in the genre, so I decided I would try to write love stories that show people like me, with chronic conditions and neurodiversities, finding romance. Once my books met with enough sales success to financially merit writing being my “job,” I made the leap to being a full-time writer.
Some aspects of the couples’ characterization and stories, I know lots; others, I know only a little. For instance, I know all the astrological signs of the Bergmans and their partners, even the ones I haven’t written yet, as well as their main tropes and overall plot arc, but for some I still haven’t decided their name or some of their core backstory. Others, I have lots of details figured out and developed.
Like any writer, I have plenty of incomplete projects that may one day get developed and published, others that I never felt ready to hit publish on and that I now feel I have outgrown as a storyteller and which no longer reflect my voice or style.
I like to leave my options wide open for what I’ll tackle in my storytelling!
Like other details of my books, I daydream and visualize the covers as the characters develop for me. Each cover, the colors connect thematically to the stories and characters, and then I work with my good friend on the concept before she brings it to life!
As I mentioned earlier, as a romance reader, I felt a lack in romance’s range in portraying people who feel realistic and human, and I don’t like the implicit message that sends that only certain folks who fit a very narrow idea of success, ability, or beauty can be loved and desired. I know lots of folks read romance for escapism, but I think we can both escape our reality while enjoying the gift of seeing our reality, too (especially when our more vulnerable realities are too often underrepresented in art/media/culture or only represented as unlovable, unsexed, or as a “problem” to be “overcome) as lovable, desirable, and worthy of being center stage in a love story. As someone with health issues who is also neurodivergent and who loves folks who are chronically ill, neurodivergent, and disabled, I want to affirm everyone’s worthiness to have a love story if they want one, to reflect friendship-based, familial, and romantic love for all, not just the cliched, airbrushed, oversimplified characters romance often portrays as getting a sexy happily ever after. Another aspect of my inspiration, particularly to write open door romance, is that like many I was raised in Western Christianity’s purity culture which teaches so much shame and stigma about sex, rather than healthy education about safe sex, communication, intimacy, consent, and sexual pleasure. I think this is so damaging and I want to encourage others to feel safe and unashamed to read stories that portray healthy sexuality, that portray people having vulnerable, trusting, healthy conversations about sex and also enjoying the pleasure of whatever kind of sex they and their partner consensually share. Not everyone needs that in their romance, but to me, it’s a powerful intersection of inclusive representation, to show folks who culture often desexualizes and marginalizes from love stories having both romantic love and sexual intimacy, if they want it.
I don’t have a favorite couple, because I fall in love with each of them as I write, but I think there’s something adorably quirky and tenderly lovable about Ren and Frankie; while I wouldn’t call them my favorite, I would say I feel “closest” to them still, even though their story has been out of my hands for some time.
That very much depends on how quickly the book “comes” to me as well as how much childcare I have. With the pandemic, my process slowed considerably. Now that my children are preparing to safely return to school, I anticipate my writing process will speed up again. Sometimes I write a draft in a few weeks, other times, it takes months.
Romance! I love historical, contemporary, fantasy, and I’m starting to dip my toes into alien/monster romance and having a blast.
That’s tough. I admire so many writers, but a few whose craft, ethic, and storytelling I truly can’t get enough of are: Tessa Dare, Alexis Hall, Talia Hibbert, and Helen Hoang.
It would be a dream come true if I could see the Bergmans become a sibling-based series like Bridgerton is being adapted for Netflix–one season per sibling and their love interest!
Chloe is the author of the bestselling Bergman Brothers Series, standalone contemporary slow-burn romances that pack a punch of heat and heartfelt emotion as much as laugh-out-loud humor. Reflecting her belief that everyone deserves a love story, Chloe crafts inclusive romances that embrace the diverse spectrum of sexuality, neurodivergence, disability, and mental health. She’s an avid reader, lover of leggings, and can’t eat enough mint chocolate ice cream. She also supports #OwnVoices writing to represent neurodiversity and other marginalized voices.