Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Katerina Baker’s new novel The Corner Office. All of us who have worked in an office especially in management will recognise the themes in this book. Katerina was kind enough to take some time out to answer some questions for us and that interview can be found a little bit further down the page!
Tara Johnson’s sacrifices are about to pay off: a senior executive at thirty-five at a Fortune 500 company, she’s one of the two finalists in line for a Managing Director position. Unfortunately, her rival of fifteen years, the charming, infuriating Richard Boyd, is just as qualified, and unlike her, he’s willing to cross pretty much every line to get what he wants.
Of all the things Tara stored in the attic to make it to the top, it’s her personal life she misses the most. That is, until she starts a steamy affair with sex god Aidan, her direct report. Interoffice relationships with a subordinate can mean the end of a career, and when Richard finds out, it’s the perfect opportunity to take his high-heeled nemesis out, especially since he’s still nursing a grudge against Tara for rejecting him years ago.
But Tara’s increasingly domineering lover has his own dark secrets, endangering more than just her career. As her liaison spirals out of control, salvation will come from the man she always thought she hated, and perhaps the only one to truly understand her.
Thanks for taking joining me on my blog today, I’m so pleased to have you and hope you enjoy answering these questions.
1. Tell us a bit about The Corner Office
Thanks so much for having me. I love your blog.
The Corner Office is a story of a thirty-something year old female executive and her journey to “achieve it all”: in career and personal life. It’s about the mistakes that she makes along the way, including her affair with her subordinate that almost destroys everything she worked for. He is very different from other men she is around: a tattooed biker who is intense and domineering in bed, he is set on pursuing her, and she is initially drawn to him.
But the novel is not just about work. The Corner Office is a fun, fast-paced story that centers around two characters who spent years hating each other and fighting. They are competitors in the office, but their feelings lie deeper than hate, and each of their interactions are explosive.
I wanted to layer in fun scenes and situations to offset topics that would be dry on their own. I threw Tara into awkward situations. For example, the guy she ends up having an affair with meets her on a bike, and she refuses to get on at first. She is wearing her work clothes: pencil skirt, tight shirt, high heels. There is a masturbation scene; here is a short excerpt:
A woman had other ways to satisfy her sexual cravings. Mine came in trendy silver, with an electronically operated, “modest-sized” device designed specifically for ”her” pleasure. It was there for me when I needed it, it didn’t require any work on my part to get it ready, and it didn’t ask to rank our latest adventure when we were done. “Tara, sweetie, how was it? I feel like this one was at least a solid eight.” My Adam & Eve had a bit more common sense than that.
2. What inspired Tara and her story?
My inspiration was the many women who struggle to manage multiple priorities in their lives: whether it’s balancing their work and family or their kids and personal interests that oftentimes take a backseat.
3. Who are the men in your story and are they based on anyone you know?
I’ve read somewhere that each author has maybe ten or twelve characters in them, and they alternate them for each of their novels. There is some truth to that, although I tried to build unique characters. When I create a character, I first design their flaws. This is what makes them human and drives their mistakes which will start the main events of a story.
The main character Richard is an accomplished executive, he is Tara’s competitor who spent years fighting with her. Where she is hard-working, he uses his street smarts and relationships to succeed. On some level, he is a typical male manager who has a large network of buddies at work. He is very sharp and comes up with out-of-the-box ideas. He is always thinking a few steps ahead. On a personal level, he admires Tara, although he doesn’t outright show it. He is attracted to her, but after she rejected him many years ago, he doesn’t make another step. Instead, he spends his free time going out with his friends. He is good-looking and women are always around him, yet he never stopped thinking about Tara.
He is your worst competitor at work: bright, snarky, and isn’t afraid to play dirty. There are some good scenes centered around that.
4. Which song is the soundtrack of this novel?
I listened to Kongos Come With Me Now while driving home, right before starting to write The Corner Office chapters. I also listened to Alicia Keys’ Girl On Fire and a few other power girl songs. In general, I like to listen to upbeat songs before writing. It always puts me in the right mood.
5. What is your writing process?
My writing process is to find quiet time and lock my door.
I work full time and I have two small kids, so I usually write at nights when the kids are in bed. Because of my limited time availability, I write whenever and wherever I have time. I write on my iPad on the bus to work, while waiting for my kids at their weekend classes, or in coffee shops while they are at birthday parties.
I think having less time actually gives me more inspiration and makes me more productive when I do finally sit down to write. On most days the words flow out of me, funneled by the full day of running around and taking care of other, less creative things.
6. Why Romance novels? What drew you to the genre?
Romance is such a diverse genre. I write Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense and YA, and they are totally different. Their main similarity is that in the center of each story are two people finding their way to be together. I love Romance because I can write drier topics and make them more fun by incorporating romance. Life is far from perfect, and writing romance is a way to change reality into something more beautiful.
7. Who are your inspirations in the genre?
My earlier inspirations were Linda Howard, Janet Evanovich (although not Romance genre, I’ve learned a lot from her writing, and her style is next to none). Some of the newer authors include Sarah Robinson, Katy Evans, Camilla Monk, Jodi Linton. I was fortunate enough to meet many authors online and I’ve learned a great deal from them. They and their successes inspire me every day.
8. If you were to try another genre what would it be?
I like suspense. The first novel I finished writing was Romantic Suspense, so I could see myself writing a fun Suspense novel where Romance is not the main arc of the story.
I also write YA. I love this genre because this is where you can take more risks as an author, you can deal with more complex issues.
9. What book have you most recently read?
I’ve recently read and highly recommend Camilla Monk’s Spotless series. I love Camilla’s dark humor and voice, and this series will make up stay up reading and laughing. What can be more fun than a serial killer with an OCD paired with a nerdy IT programmer who loves romance novels?
10. What book do you most wish you had read?
The next book I read will be The Futures by Anna Pitoniak. It’s a coming of age novel about two people in New York City. One of them is working on Wall Street and the other for a small non-profit. Their glamorous life and marriage is put under test when everything comes crashing down. This is Anna’s debut novel and the writing is superb.
Thanks so much for spending time on BrizzleLass Books and wishing you all the best with the novel.
Thank you for having me on your blog. I appreciate your time and it was fun answering your questions.
About Katerina Baker
Katerina Baker is a lucky gal who still attempts to have it all: full-time project management job that she enjoys, crazy family of four (with the ongoing threats of getting a pet to upset the family equilibrium) and writing.
Although on some days she is much more successful at managing her life than on the others, she still claims that she doesn’t want it any other way.
Katerina is represented by Sharon Belcastro from Belcastro Agency, and has a contract with Lachesis Publishing, who will be publishing her Romantic Suspense novel Under the Scrubs.
Up for grabs is a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
To enter, readers need to add The Corner Office to their Goodreads TBR list and comment on the Facebook Post.
Book & Buy Links
Title: The Corner Office
Author: Katerina Baker
Genre: Romance | Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 23 June 2017
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook | Paperback
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Wordery