Butterfly in Frost author Sylvia Day on the stories that changed her life
Sylvia Day is in love with a good love story.
The romance author, who rose to fame with her best-selling Crossfire series, read her first romance novel at a young age, and she’s never looked back — Day published her first novels in the mid-2000s and since then has built an empire with her erotic romances, hitting best-seller lists with everything from contemporary to paranormal stories.
After taking a break following the conclusion of her mega-popular Crossfire series, Day is back with Butterfly in Frost, a new novella that introduces readers to two new characters, Dr. Teagan Ransom and artist Garret Frost. As with all of Day’s books, they exist in the same world as her Crossfire series, and readers will quickly note ties to Gideon and Eva — but it’s new territory as well, allowing Day to explore some of her favorite themes, namely romance and redemption.
Ahead of the Aug. 27 debut of her latest title, EW delves into Day’s personal bookshelf to get a glimpse at the books that have inspired, intrigued, and shaped her as a writer.
My favorite book as a child
Anything by Shel Silverstein. I was a huge fan of his — A Light in the Attic, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree. The Giving Tree would probably be up there at the top. That was the first time I had my heart broken.
A book I read in secret as a teenager
It’s kind of in secret. It was called Desert Hostage. My mom gave it to me when I was 12. She told me to read it, but I don’t think she wanted me to read it all night long. I was addicted to it. I couldn’t put it down. I did the whole thing where I went out to the garage and I got a flashlight and I hid under the covers and I read it that way.
A book that changed my life
[Desert Hostage] made me decide that I wanted to be a romance novelist, so I guess it would also be that one.
A book that really cemented me as a writer
Something from Lisa Kleypas. It would have been one of her Onyx titles before she moved to Avon [Kleypas began her career publishing with Onyx]. You can’t get them anymore. I still have a few of them. They’re my treasures because she never reissued them. I would have to look up what their names were. They would be the original Lisa Kleypas historicals that she wrote for Onyx [titles include Where Passion Leads and Forever My Love].
A book that I’ve read over and over and over again
Kathleen Woodiwiss — her old novels like A Rose in Winter, definitely Shanna. I named my daughter Shanna after that book. Those books I’ve read twice. As far as re-reading, that’s about as far as I’ve gone. There’s so many great books out there that there’s always a new one to read. Even though I have my favorites that I keep on my shelf, I remember them fondly, but I don’t pick them up and read them again.
A classic that I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read
The Brothers Karamazov. The reason why I’m embarrassed is because it was a gift. It was given to me by my step-mother. She wrote this lovely inscription inside there. It was just beautifully packaged and gifted. I have it on my shelf. It’s a treasure to me because she gave it to me, but I tried to read it and it wasn’t happening. I’ve never admitted to her that I never read it.
A book I’ve pretended to have read
Catcher in the Rye — but here’s the thing, I did read it. I could not for the life of me tell you anything about that story. Nothing. I remember nothing about it, but I did read it. I’m telling you the truth when I say that I read it but then it’s kind of like not really because I can’t remember any of it.
A book people might be surprised to learn that I loved
The Bad Place by Dean Koontz. If you haven’t read that, you’ve got to read it. That is the craziest, wackiest book I’ve ever read in my life. It is out there. It’s really nuts.
A book I consider to be grossly overrated
The Catcher in the Rye. [Laughs] Because I can’t remember it. It was so unmemorable. Nothing. Nothing about it at all.
A book I wish I’d written
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. There are so many quotes from those novels that I would love to tattoo on my body. They just resonate with me. If only I had written them.
The first romance novel I ever read was…
That was Desert Hostage, and the author was Diane Dunaway.
Favorite literary love story?
Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke from the In Death series [by J.D. Robb]. They’re probably tied with Raphael and Elena from Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter Series.
My literary crush is…
It would be Raphael [from Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series]. He has wings. He’s an archangel. You can’t beat that.
The sexiest book I’ve ever read…
It’d probably be The Fifth Favor [by Shelby Reed]. It’s all sexual tension. It’s an entire book of seething sexual tension. It takes so long for them to get to the point where they actually culminate that relationship. You’re just hanging on by your fingernails. That to me is so sexy — the anticipation.
The last book that made me swoon was…
It was the last Guild Hunter novel by Nalini Singh. I believe it was Archangel’s Prophecy. That one actually broke my heart because Elena lost her wings. That really sucked.
My favorite movie adaptation of a book
Gone With the Wind. I love it. I have a framed poster of Gone With the Wind in my house too. It’s so good. We don’t make movies like that anymore. I wish we would — those big, grand sweeping historicals with those huge, wide shots and those epic locations. We just don’t [do that] anymore.
The last book I gave as a gift
I obviously can’t count mine. [Laughs] We just got a box of author copies for Butterfly in Frost. Of course, immediately the texts started coming in, “I want a copy. Send me a copy.” We sent out a bunch of those. The last book that I gave as a gift I would say would be Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. That is the sequel to You, which I think a lot of people might be familiar with from the Lifetime/Netflix show that was just done. I gave it to a friend after gifting her You because I wanted her to keep going with the story. She’s as addicted to it as I am. We’re so excited that there’s two more to come.
Have I ever bought my own book in a bookstore?
Yes, if I have to. Recently, a gal that I had worked with wanted to gift an autographed copy for a friend of hers. I did not have any copies of the book where I was at the time, so I had to stop by a bookstore and pick it up. My son, because the books have my big author photo on the back, he was like, “When you put the book on the counter, put it face up and let’s see if they notice that it’s you.” I’m like, “I’m not going to do that. That would be embarrassing.” He grabs the book, and he puts it on the counter face up, the back side up. No idea. Nothing. I was laughing so hard. The guy at the counter was probably like, “Why is this chick laughing at me?”
The book I’m reading right now
Connections in Death by J.D. Robb. In preparation for Vendetta in Death, which I actually have sitting right here in front of me. It comes out in about two weeks but I have an [advance review copy]. But I can’t get into it until I finish this one.
The book I consider to be the gold standard in romance
I always lean toward the J.D. Robb but those kind of straddle the line between romance and police procedural, which is fine. But a gold standard romance. If you’re going to put a poster on a shelf and say, “Listen, if this is the only romance you’re ever going to read, if this is going to be the epitome of the genre for you,” it’s going to be one of Nora Roberts. She writes paranormal, she writes historical, she writes contemporaries, she writes suspense. Really, depending on what your flavor is, there is a gateway for you.