Romona Simon is a first-time author starting her career with 'Her Eyes Underwater.' She has had an interest in creative writing since elementary school and is just now exploring that interest. She is eager to engage readers with her unique brand of romance mixed with suspense, crime drama, and horror. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Her Eyes Underwater.
Please give us a short introduction to what Her Eyes Underwater is about.
Her Eyes Underwater follows Julia, a bored and restless university student who has a chance encounter with a captivating man at a cafe. She is completely taken in by his mysterious allure and pursues him without much regard for anything else. Meanwhile Alex, the mysterious man, has his own agenda.
Tell us more about Julia Strauss. What makes her tick?
Julia is from a wealthy family and enjoys living a life of travel, men, and shopping. She's very used to getting her own way and doesn't have much direction in life aside from doing what seems fun to her at the time. She's 30 when the story takes place, arguably an age when people are supposed to be settling down, but has yet to get out of her frivolous and flirtatious "live for the moment" mode. She sees something (Alex in this case) and goes for it without much regard for consequences.
"Her Eyes Underwater"is your first book. What has the experience been like, so far?
So far, it's been a huge learning curve. I hadn't written for years and had to teach myself how to go about it again. Now, I am trying to figure out marketing for a book, which is something I've never considered before.
You mix romance with suspense, crime drama and horror. Why did you take this approach?
I wanted to write something that is both commercial (meaning that it includes popular genres), but is also unique. This combination seemed like an ideal way to achieve that. I also watch murder mysteries and true-crime shows all the time, so I decided to write about something I know and enjoy.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Gardening and keeping houseplants alive.
What makes Alex Bowman so irresistible to Julia?
She thinks she's entitled to the best. To her, he appears handsome, polite, smart, and well-dressed. He's the ideal man that she deserves. He's also a mystery and Julia, like most people, gets drawn into a need to "solve" him.
The book touches on themes such as domestic abuse, dominance, and obsession. Why did you find this important to explore?
When I decided to write a book that would include horror and crime elements, I wanted to make it scary. For me, the scariest stories (and the scariest villains) are the ones that could happen in real life. The type of crimes that happen in the book, as much as we all wish for the opposite, do happen. They have happened. While the book is not intended to teach lessons, it probably can serve as reminder that people, women especially, should trust their gut when someone or something just doesn't feel right.
What is your favorite line from the book and why?
“I suppose your mother didn’t tell you not to take up with strange men you meet randomly in cafés,” he started, amusement coloring his speech.
Alex said this during his initial meeting with Julia. There are a bunch of lines and actions by Alex that I inserted into the book to serve as hints about his true nature and his self-awareness. After reading the final chapter, lines like this will take on a new meaning for readers.
Which character was the most challenging to create?
Julia. I knew some people would be frustrated with her obsessive thoughts and I considered making her more aloof, but it just didn't work for the story. She was intended to be someone who is normally in control of her relationships, but then she enters this tailspin when she meets an uncommonly potent and manipulative person.
Tell us more about the cover and how it came about?
This cover was made by a talented artist on the website 99 Designs. It came about when I realized a generic cover just wouldn't suffice. Originally, I gave the book a generic amazon cover because I was in a hurry to release it. When I saw how it looked next to other books for sale in my category, I knew it just wouldn't sell with such a dull cover. So, I paid an artist to make the beautiful cover I'm currently using. It was a good decision.
Are you planning on making this into a series? How will the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Yes, this book is intended to be the first in a series. This is an introduction to a scenario. Julia's pursuit of Alex is just a starting point. It's part of an overarching plot that focuses on Alex's activities.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
When I give myself a deadline to finish some writing, I make myself write. I don't wait for inspiration to strike.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment, I'm still trying to launch this book properly, but if it's well-received, I'll begin work on a sequel.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I have Good reads, BookBub, Facebook, WordPress and twitter profiles that people can use to ask questions or follow me for information on sequels.