By Grace Marshall
I’d like to thank Kathy (it is my pleasure!) for having me on her wonderful site. It’s such a pleasure to be here, and always fun to talk about my new release, An Executive Decision.
Some of my novels and novellas have come straight out of my head brand new and inspired by events or situation that have gripped me. Eighty thousand words or more later, I have a novel. Others, however, like An Executive Decision, have evolved over a long period of time and seen lots of transformations during that time.
The original version of An Executive Decision began its life as a novella-length piece called ‘Leaning the Business.’ I wrote it while I was living in Russia. It started as nothing more than an exercise in writing erotica. I wanted to set up a situation in which a boss hired a woman, who was very highly qualified for the position, but a part of her job was sex on demand for her boss. They affectionately refer to this part of her job as ‘The Executive Sex Clause.’ This was the secret weapon that kept him sharp and on top of his game. No pun intended 🙂
In spite of my best efforts to keep it simply about sex, the two characters fell in love with each other. I should have expected that would happen, since love is an essential element in most of what I write. I also found that the wonderful character who evolved to be Ellison Thorne had his own mind, and he would never have done anything so unethical.
However, the idea of the sex clause, the idea of busy executives needing an outlet for their pent-up sexual energy, needing a no-strings way of keeping their focus, keeping their edge still intrigued me. I would need to keep these two characters, Dee and Ellis, wrong-footed with a sex clause that started out as a joke, a plan made up by a mutual friend. If the implementation of such a clause could happen almost by accident and turn into Dee and Ellis’s own little secret weapon, then I’d have created a wild romp of a story that would be fast-pace, a little bit tongue in cheek and very sexy. Secrets always make for fun twists and turns of a plot, and the Executive Sex Clause seemed the perfect secret.
Once the story had evolved to romance and to a novel, the rest was easy. I fell in love with Dee and Ellis right from the beginning, and they were both such fun characters to write. I took out a lot of the sex, populated the plot with friends, family and nasty colleagues, polished it up and sent it off under the poorly-chosen name, ‘The Executive Sex Clause’.
Almost a hundred rejections later, disappointed and more than a little disheartened, I decided to give it a rest and try my hand at something else. That was nearly five years ago. A lot has happened since then. I’ve published four other novels. And Fifty Shades of Grey has exploded onto the literary scene, making the time right to revisit The Executive Sex Clause.
One lovely agent, who will always hold a warm spot in my heart, actually took the time to critique the full manuscript before sending back a very apologetic, but encouraging rejection. Her main criticism – too many characters.
Too many characters! That was the key to transforming The Executive Sex Clause into An Executive Decision and the Executive Decision Trilogy. The story was too big for a single novel and it was ahead of its time. Five years ago, the story was too sexy and the plot a little too controversial, but in the post 50SoG era, the novel, rewritten as a trilogy has come into its own. I’ve upped the stakes and broadened the scope. I’ve put the sex back in and tempered the heat to a slow, hot sizzle, and voila! The timing was perfect!
I’ve written An Executive Decision as Grace Marshall rather than K D Grace because the focus of the story is the romance between Dee and Ellis. And though the sex is hot enough to melt metal, it’s a little more subtle. However the chemistry between Dee and Ellis is anything but subtle, even before the two actually meet, and the comedy of errors that results in the two shell-shocked colleagues implementing the Executive Sex Clause. An Executive Decision is a fast-pace romp of big business intrigue, corporate espionage and the ultimate in mergers and acquisitions that happens when the heart takes control. It’s been extremely satisfying to finally be able to share Dee and Ellis’s story with the world, and well worth the wait.
Grace Marshall lives in South England with her husband and the growing gang of hooligan birds who frequent their feeders. When Grace isn’t busy writing something sexy and romantic, she’s busy digging in her ever-expanding veg garden or walking across the British countryside. She finds inspiration outdoors in nature, and most of her best story ideas come to her while she’s walking or gardening
Grace is the author of the fast paced, quirky Executive Decisions Trilogy published by Xcite Romance. An Executive Decision, the first novel in the trilogy, will be available soon at all your favourite book sellers with lots more romance served hot to follow in the near future.
Grace Marshall’s alter-ego, K D Grace, writes critically acclaimed, best-selling erotic romance. Whether it’s sexy romance or romantic sex, between The Graces, there’s a story for you.
Title: An Executive Decision by Grace Marshall
Publisher: Xcite Books
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Sex in the contract – it’s the only way super-focused, over-worked CEO, Ellison Thorne, is ever going to get laid. That’s what his retiring business partner and secret match-maker, Beverly Neumann, thinks. She’s convinced no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity and minimize stress — perfect for a busy executive like Ellis. But she’s joking, right?
Enter her hand-picked replacement, Dee Henning. Young, hungry, gifted, Dee is the queen of no time for sex. When negotiations on a major project break down, and Dee and Ellis end up in each other’s arms, the Executive Sex Clause suddenly becomes more than a joke. In fact hot executive sex just might be the ultimate secret weapon for success. But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis soon learn there’s no such thing as no-strings where the heart is concerned.
More info, excerpt and buy links: http://gracemarshallromance.co.uk/books/an-executive-decision/