My debut romance novel, Lush Money, is about a Mexican-American self-made billionaire businesswoman. I would love to say when I thought her up in 2015, that I was aiming for a trope-subverting heroine; that I anticipated the 2016 election, the #MeToo movement, and the resolve of women and people of color to no longer accept the status quo of being pushed to the background.
But I’m just not that wise. I owe much to luck for the gift of Roxanne Medina, the smart and sultry billionaire heroine of Lush Money.
In the winter of 2015, I was scrolling through books and thought I saw one titled, The Billionaire’s Prince. “What’s that?” I thought. “That must be a male/male romance.”
In an instant, I realized what I’d done. Me – a self-professed feminist – had assumed that the billionaire was a man. Just as quickly, I realized that my next book HAD to be about a billionaire businesswoman. (BTW, the book was actually titled The Billionaire’s PRICE with a weird font.)
Lightning strike idea written with a purpose
While the idea was a lightning strike, the resolve to tell her story definitely came from a personal place. I’d been spending a lot of time on Wattpad, a popular Facebook-like app for the 12-25 set where writers can publish and readers can comment and engage. Stories of the alpha-hole billionaire were king on the site: an older, stronger man shoving a young, virginal ingénue up against a wall while yelling, “You will do/wear/eat what I command because I love you and I own you.” These books had millions of reads.
As a self-professed feminist, it killed me that these girls and young women were idealizing that kind of man and relationship. I wanted to show them how sexy power was when a woman held the reins.
More than a dude billionaire with breasts
But to truly subvert the billionaire trope, I had to do more than create a dude billionaire with breasts. How would a woman with all that power and self-determination behave? How would she react to people? We women nurture; that’s the heroine I’ve typically created.
But how would a woman, with so much power and ability and so many people needing her, respond to other’s needs? I realized that a female billionaire would prioritize her own needs along with the needs of other. If she’s not operating at her best, a billion-dollar corporation grinds to a halt. My billionaire was a nurturer by worrying about the thousands of employees, and by making herself a priority so she could keep paychecks flowing to those thousands.
Women are usually the linchpin of their jobs, homes, and communities. But society tells us we’re supposed to occupy that crucial role while demanding nothing for ourselves. So I made sure Roxanne Medina demanded.
Ultimately, while the idea to subvert the billionaire trope was a gift from the muse, what made it interesting to write – and, I hope, fun for you to read — was the deep dive into how a woman kicks ass in a traditionally masculine role.Buy Lush Money by Angelina M. Lopez
Bio: Angelina M. Lopez wrote “arthur” when her kindergarten teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. In the years since she learned to spell the word correctly, she’s been a journalist for an acclaimed city newspaper, a freelance magazine writer, and a content marketer for small businesses. At long last, she found her way back to “author.”
Angelina writes sexy, contemporary stories about strong women and the confident men lucky enough to fall in love with them. The fact that her parents own a vineyard in California’s Russian River Valley might imply a certain hedonism about her; it’s not true. She’s a wife and a mom who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She makes to-do lists with perfectly drawn check boxes. She checks them with glee.
Lush Money, Filthy Money #1 by Angelina M. Lopez
Book Description: A marriage of convenience and three nights a month.
That’s all the sultry, self-made billionaire wants from the impoverished prince.
And at the end of the year, she’ll grant him his divorce…with a settlement large enough to save his beloved kingdom.
As a Latinx woman, Roxanne Medina has conquered small-town bullies, Ivy League snobs and boardrooms full of men. She’s earned the right to mother a princess and feel a little less lonely at the top. The offer she’s made is more than generous, and when the contract’s fulfilled, they’ll both walk away with everything they’ve ever wanted.
Príncipe Mateo Ferdinand Juan Carlos de Esperanza y Santos is one of the top winegrowers in the world, and he’s not marrying and having a baby with a stranger. Even if the millions she’s offering could save his once-legendary wine-producing principality.
But the successful, single-minded beauty uses a weapon prince Mateo hadn’t counted on: his own desire.