Author Q&A: Elle Kennedy Goes Off-Campus With The Mistake

As the RT editors can tell you, I’m an old-school historical and contemporary romance fan who can occasionally be cajoled into testing the the foreign waters of say, paranormal romance or even (gasp!) New Adult. I love Elle Kennedy’s category romances for Entangled’s Brazen imprint, starring sexy MMA fighters, so back in February I ventured out of my comfort zone and purchased a copy of her new self-published New Adult novel, The Deal.

Best. Decision. Ever.

I quickly fell in love with everything about The Deal, most especially its adorably cocky hero and tough yet relatable heroine. Both Garrett and Hannah have been through a lot, and to me, their maturity makes the story stand out from a lot of other New Adult novels on the market. Watching Garrett and Hannah grow as characters is almost as fun as rooting for their slow-building, hot-burning romance. And did I mention that they’re funny? Like, laugh-out-loud-in-public funny? Not to mention, the setting — an elite private college called Briar — seemed pretty spot-on.

So imagine my delight when I discovered that The Deal is just the first in Kennedy’s new Off-Campus series. The second in the series, The Mistake, is available now. Fans of The Deal will be excited to learn that Garrett’s best friend Logan will get his star turn. I had to know more, of course, so I reached out to Elle for details on The Mistake, and what’s next for the Off-Campus series.

You also write romantic suspense and contemporary romance. What inspired you to make the leap to New Adult?

I’ve actually written a ton of young adult and college romances—I just haven’t published any of them! The very first books I wrote as a teenager were young adult, but once I got older, so did my romances. However, my love for YA/NA didn’t go away, and I was still writing the younger-age romances for fun, usually between deadlines as a way to unwind and clear my head. The Deal was one of those fun projects. I didn’t plan on releasing it until a friend read the book, loved it and convinced me to self-publish.

One of my favorite things about The Deal is that both Garrett and Hannah sound like actual college students but are very mature for their age. (No manufactured drama!) Was that deliberate?

Hmmm, I’m not sure how deliberate that was. I tend to write the way I talk, and I try to have my characters make decisions that make sense to me. So I just wrote the book in a way that felt right to me, and true to the characters. Also, my sister is the same age as Hannah and Garrett, so some of Hannah’s behavior is based on her. For example, Hannah’s sappy crush on the football player was based on my little sis’s numerous sappy crushes!

Let's talk Off-Campus. On Twitter you mentioned that you didn't plan to write a series. What changed your mind?

This happens to me with almost every book I write—either I fall in love with a secondary character, or readers do, and the next thing I know, one book leads to a whole series. In this case, all my early readers insisted that Logan needed a book, and they twisted my arm into giving him one.

Will all of Garrett's teammates on Briar's elite hockey squad get an HEA? How about Hannah's artsy pals?

Well, Logan is getting one for sure (The Mistake). I also have a book planned for Garrett’s other teammate/roommate, Dean, and I kind of want to write one for the school’s quarterback. Other than that, I don’t have anything else planned at the moment.

Tell us more about Logan, as well as the heroine of The Mistake.

Logan is…complicated. He’s definitely a player, and he’s not in the greatest place when the book starts, but eventually that changes when he meets his heroine, Grace. She’s a freshman when they first meet, very sweet but not naive, and she’s the first girl who has ever made Logan work for it. Honestly, I think I was laughing the entire time I wrote their book.

Does Logan's crush on Hannah, his best friend's girlfriend, become an issue? Can you give us another tempting detail or two from the story?

The crush definitely comes into play during The Mistake. In fact, Hannah and Garrett appear in the book quite a lot…and that’s all I’m saying about the subject. [Laughs.]

Any hints about the hero or heroine in No. 3? (Can't wait!)

Dean! He ended up being my shining star in The Mistake, so I think readers will get a sense of his personality and what to expect from his book.

The Mistake is available now from your favorite ebook retailer. For more genre news visit our Everything YA (and NA!) page.