Sylvia Day Brings a Dose of Romance to Fordham


In the upcoming two-book series, “Blacklist,” Sylvia Day plans to feature a character from Fordham. (Courtesy of Sylvia Day)
In the upcoming two-book series, “Blacklist,” Sylvia Day plans to feature a character from Fordham. (Courtesy of Sylvia Day)

New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day is planning to write a new adult romance series featuring a character who attends Fordham University.

The two-book series, which will be titled “Blacklist,” chronicles the relationship of Lily and Kane, who attend Columbia University and Fordham respectively. Day was inspired by her agent, Kimberly Whalen, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’91.“[My agent] was telling me for a long time ‘You need to write about characters from Fordham.’  I’m like ‘Yes I hear you’,” Day said.

Kane will be in Rose Hill and will be a basketball player. “He’s the guy who started in life with very different circumstances. He grew up very privileged in a particular way and all of that was taken away from him. So he’s got a lot of frustration; the change in his family’s fortune is not due to anything they did on their part. They were taken advantage of. He wants retribution …  in a way, he definitely wants to reinvent himself. He’s a really tough guy to get to know because he’s wary of everybody. Lily has a soft spot for him. She is still very privileged, and that’s a rough spot for him to get over in the beginning because he feels that she doesn’t have the life experience he has.”

This series deals with a theme that Day hasn’t yet written about: college romance. “You have to look at the overall arc of the story. ‘Blacklist’ is told over two books, and in the first book, we’re following a couple at that point in their lives where the world is theirs …” Day continued, “There’s a fearlessness to that. And it gives you courage you don’t have later on because later on, you stumbled so many times that you’re a little bit wary.”

“When we see [Lily and Kane] again in the second book, it’s years later, and they’re very different people; they’re older, they’re wiser, they’ve stumbled, they’re jaded. Life has hardened them a bit … and that to me is the arc of their story and the beauty of their story.”

Day admitted it will be a challenge writing about characters who are in college, and then making a time leap. “You’re still somewhat dependent on your parents in a particular way that you won’t be later in your lives. Emotionally, financially, in a lot of different ways, there is a tie still there … and that tie will be interesting to explore. The challenge is not the earlier age of the characters but the arc of following a couple over the span of years and seeing them in that progression. ”

Day will be coming to New York to do more research for her characters, in early 2015. She said that she would love to shadow some Fordham students. “I am happily looking for students who would let me shadow them for a day or two after the new year.  Any Fordham student: I would like to get the entire experience everywhere. I’m actually going to get the vernacular of the University correct before I sit down and start writing the book. ”

Day chose Fordham and Columbia for their New York location. “It’s a magical spot and people should find all of the magical spots in the city and then you’ll fully have an appreciation for it.”

“Blacklist” will be Day’s 11th series in the 11 years she has been a romance author. “I got my first romance novel [‘Desert Hostage’] when I was 12.” After reading the entire book in a week, she realized that she wanted to be a romance novelist when she grew up.

However, she didn’t start to write until much later, after she became a Russian linguist for the United States Army Military Intelligence, got married and went to college. “Setting aside time didn’t come into play at a time in my life when I was trying to finish school and pay bills and have a steady income, and writing to me seemed like something that I had to set aside time for.  It wasn’t until I had that break in life when I was home with my kids.”

Now, it only takes Day a few weeks to finish a manuscript. “I’ve written books in as little as four weeks. The average time for me to write a book is about six weeks. And then depending on commitments and everything else, it could take as long as two months maybe three months, but it never usually takes more than that.”

Day is both the New York Times bestseller and international bestseller, and has been published in over 40 territories. She was also the 2012-2013 President for Romance Writers of America. As someone who is invested in the romance genre for many years, she said people cannot escape romance in a story. “Almost any story that you read has at least a romantic subplot to it.”

“Most great stories have at least a small romance in them. So to assume that romance genre is the only genre where you’ll find romance is completely wrong. It’s a universal human struggle. There are things that you cannot be forced to do for your own sake that you will do for the person that you love. That emotion forces us to be better people, to try harder, to work harder, to sacrifice more and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, you can relate to that.”

As advice to aspiring writers, she quoted Nora Roberts: “Anyone can publish a book not everyone can write one.” Day suggested first writing three full-length novels before trying to publish. “By the time you get to the end of the third book, one: You’ll know how long it takes to write a book. Two: You’ll understand what your strengths and your weaknesses are. And then at that point, you’re ready to be published.”