Valentine’s Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean romance is dead. If you had any doubts, buckle up. I got to talk to Sonia Palermo about her debut novel Hot Girl Summer and all things romance!
Your debut novel is coming out next month. What’s been the most difficult part of marketing your first novel?
SP: Aside from the fact that I currently don’t have a reader following from any previous books, I would have to say that the most difficult part of marketing Hot Girl Summer has been keeping consistent with posts so that they continue to get seen. I like to take mental health breaks every now and again from social media, but have found it’s been more difficult for me to walk away from posting and interacting so close to release day without feeling guilty that I’m self-sabotaging. But I just need to remember – as we all do – that our health takes priority over anything.
What’s your favorite UNPOPULAR trope in romance novels? What’s your least favorite POPULAR trope?
SP: My favourite unpopular trope would have to be unlikeable leads. I want to know what makes them tick and all the embarrassing moments of their life that has led them to be the way they are. Then I want to be drip-fed their insecurities and vulnerabilities and to see them emerge stronger and more accepting of themselves with someone equally as accepting.
I’m not sure if I have a least favourite popular romance trope, but I’ve never felt drawn to secret baby or marriage of convenience.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self, whether it’s writing related, love, life lessons, etc.?
SP: I know it’s probably a cliché, but don’t waste time and energy trying to please everyone, because you never will. That, and don’t forget to love yourself first.
I love the aesthetic of your IG. I get the bookish, romantic, and authentic girl vibes. What is something that people wouldn’t expect to learn about you, based off of your social media presence?
SP: Thank you! I’m a bit of a metalhead and I love horror films. I also used to play drums in a girl band in High School.
I think one of the things that helps authors grow and find their voices is, literally, reading. Who has been the most influential author to you?
SP: I can’t choose just one! There are four authors who really influence and inspire me; Sarah Smith, Stefanie Simpson, JL Peridot, and Skye McDonald. They each have such a unique way of storytelling and I learn from them every time I read one of their books.
Do you have any future projects planned or already started after Hot Girl Summer makes its release? Anything you can tease us with?
SP: I’m currently working on a dark romance for a multi-author series due to be released next year, and book two of the (still unnamed) Hot Girl Summer series, which is a “long lost love” second chance foodie romance with the same heat, heart, and humour as Hot Girl Summer. I also have plans to write Luke’s story at some point, too.
What’s something you’re hoping readers will take from your debut novel?
SP: I hope that Hot Girl Summer inspires my readers to change the narrative and take back their power – whatever that might mean to them. We all deserve to take agency over our own lives.
Out of all the spice and drama in Hot Girl Summer, what was your absolute favorite dynamic or scene to write [no spoilers, of course]? What was the most difficult for you to write?
SP: I love the relationship between Sophia and Kiki because it’s the first time we see her completely open and vulnerable. Aside from that… I thoroughly enjoyed writing THAT music studio scene.
The scene when Sophia visits Kiki at her parents house was really hard for me to write because it hits so close to home, so I had to practice a lot of self-care around writing that part of the story.
Last, but certainly not least, what does your writing routine look like? Are you a morning writer? Do you set word goals? Do you edit as you go?
SP: I’m terrible for routines, which is very un-Virgo of me, so I tend to write as and when I have time. I work part-time, so I’m very lucky to be able to write on my days off – and I’ll write all day if I can. I set very vague word goals, which is probably why it took me so long to write Hot Girl Summer, but if I can get at least 500 words down I count it as a productive writing session.
Want to know more about Sonia Palermo and her spicy debut novel? Check out her gorgeous IG here and follow her on Twitter. If you’re interested in checking out Hot Girl Summer, click the pre-order link for its March 14th release!