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Katee Robert on mafia stories

There’s a new mini trend hitting all over the place right now—mafia books. It seems like every time I turn around, I’m hearing about an author selling a mafia-based series or seeing another release with that theme. It’s so exciting! Yes, I’m totally biased. I have a mafia series, and I love reading them. They’re like catnip to me.

I have a theory on why these types of books have become so increasingly popular. Contemporary romance has been going strong for several years now. We’ve seen billionaires, MMA fighters, motorcycle gang members, and men in uniform, and readers have consumed them by the legion. But, like with anything, the wheel eventually turns. I think contemporary is going to be around for a while yet, but it’s starting to take on darker tones that are more in line with romantic suspense than what we’ve seen in the recent past.

That’s where mafia books come in. They are naturally in a darker vein, because the characters who populate these types of stories walk through parts of life that aren’t pretty and are sometimes downright scary. It’s the perfect setting for anti-heroes to flourish, and I think readers are really responding to that type of man—and the type of woman to make him rock back on his heels and give him a run for his money.

I had always wanted to write a mafia book, but it was one of those things that kind of sat in the back of my mind and never went anywhere. Then one day I was driving and suddenly had this scene in my mind. It was of a woman in a strip club, confronting her fiancé and ending up killing him in self-defense. I may or may not have broken some speed limits while hurrying home to put it to paper. But once I had it down, I had to start thinking about the greater world she’d live in—and what kind of hero a woman like that would end up with.

And so Teague was born. I knew he was one of seven children, and that unlike some of his siblings, he despised the life he’d been born into. This was a good man moving in a very bad world and doing his damnedest to survive—and keep the people he cared about alive.

As soon as he and Callie met on page, sparks flew, and I could barely write fast enough to keep up with the story as it unfolded in my head. The rest, as they say, is history.

Katee Robert is the author of the O’Malley series.