Author, podcaster, gamer, and all-around creative powerhouse Jamie Sands swings by for a conversation about their latest release, Recipe for Chaos, writing romance novels, hosting podcasts, and what they’re working on next.
What are some of your favorite romance tropes?
Enemies to lovers is probably the biggest most favourite one of mine. Something about the passion involved…I also like ‘there was only one bed’ and similar forced proximity tropes. I kind of love fake dating as well, but it’s really easy to do it wrong. Oh my God, and bodyguard and guardee. Love that one.
If someone were to read other books which aren’t yours, but feature some of the same elements, what would you recommend?
Oooh, this is tricky. Maybe Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston for the wit and passion. I’ve really enjoyed The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen for the sweetness which I think I have in my books.
Compared to your other works, what are some ways that Recipe for Chaos is different from your other work? How is it similar?
Well, it’s my first time writing a billionaire romance and I haven’t read many so I’m sure I got the tropes wrong, but I really liked having this character—Max —who had all the privilege and all the resources and comes up against Charlie and here’s this one thing in the world he wants and can’t have. Charlie’s just like, “eh. You seem too shiny, too good for me, I’m gonna pass.” It was also the first time I had the experience of a character absolutely ignoring my plot planning and doing his own thing. Max made me replan about four times.
It’s similar in that it’s a shared world with the other Fairyland Romances, so you have that familiar setting of a theme park, and the characters from the early books show up. I also got to tease at the next one a little, which is always fun.
For your podcast, what are some of your favorite topics that you’ve covered?
I think my favourite stuff I’ve covered is in my Hearts and Dice podcast which is currently on hiatus—it’s a role-playing podcast about social contracts and looking after the humans at the table.
In Writing Troubles, I’ve loved talking about things I’ve learned—especially about how writing and publishing can be really hard emotionally. I don’t think we talk enough about our struggles, and it’s so important to show people that they’re not alone.
Is there anything that hasn’t come up that you would love to talk about on your podcast?
I mean, I’d love to be able to complain about how much money is pouring in and how people are begging me to accept awards, etc but that hasn’t come up yet.
I guess I’d like to tackle something where I have a really solid solution. Lately, it’s been a bit like ‘here’s a thing which bugs me and maybe this will help?”, but because so much of it has been emotionally based there’s not a solid takeaway all the time.
Creating the Next Thing
Do you have any writing rituals? For me, I always need a notebook and mineral water.
A drink nearby is essential. I like to have my bullet journal on hand to record progress, and my planning notebook so I know what I’m writing. I’ll often put on a particular playlist off my Spotify which is gentle music I can largely ignore. Then if my wife is nearby I’ll tell her “I’m doing an hour,” and she knows not to interrupt unless there’s an emergency. Doesn’t work on the cat, though.
What kinds of projects are you working on now?
Let’s see, I have Fairyland Romances book four which I’m aiming to get done very soon for a Christmas release, book three in a series for another pen name, and my goal for Summer is to go through all my old manuscripts, give them edits and publish them all. So that’s some travel journals, a superhero romantic comedy, an urban fantasy mystery set in Auckland and the sequel to my Young Adult novel—The Suburban Book of the Dead.
Then there’s my podcast and my Patreon, so. I’m not bored!
What’s your Hogwarts house?
I’m a proud Gryffindor, but I have strong rising Hufflepuff so, I’m confident and will rush into things but I love to eat and look after my friends as well. Plus, everyone says I have a good work ethic so, that’s very ‘puff.
If you could have coffee (or tea, pick your poison) with any of your characters, which would it be and why?
Hrm, that’s tough. Because I love Max the ridiculous billionaire, but in real life, he might be a bit much. I think I’ll choose Nate from Rival Princes, he’s the most easy-going sweetheart I’ve ever written and I just think he’d be really nice company. We’d get hot chocolates and talk about how much we love our partners. Maybe Dean from Mischief and Mayhem could come along as well, he’s adorable.
Jamie Sands grew up in Wellington, New Zealand and was a library devotee and constant reader of fiction from a very early age. Their fiction covers Romantic Comedy, Horror, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, and Cozy Mysteries. They published a Young Adult horror novel and have stories published in Baby Teeth horror anthology, Enamel literary magazine and self-published a number of role-playing games. They live in Auckland with their wonderful wife and a cat called Mochi. Jamie’s visited Japan three times and would like to move into Tokyo Disneyland.
Places to Read and Listen to Jamie: