Every author has a graveyard of stories untold: idea snippets put to the page, short stories unfinished, books three-fourths written but not completed, even new series waiting to be built-out with more than just an idea.

The working title for Fierce Competition was “Taking A Hike”, because the idea was something I had been toying with in the back of my mind for weeks. Honestly, the story was just that, an idea. I had no intention for this little romantic short story idea to become its own book, let alone the beginnings of a new series I’m calling The Fierce Professions.

But that is exactly how new things often get created within the imagination of a writer. Authors are sometimes fickle. We start something and don’t finish it because the plot fizzles, or we get bored, or some other project pops up that takes our interest totally away from whatever else it was that we had been working on.

Fierce Professions was one of those things that just popped up out of nowhere pushing everything else off my plate. It was a chance for me to once again push my own boundaries and expand my wings with something new and intriguing.

This was again one of those stories, like PRISM, that took a hard turn in the middle of the story and took me in a direction I had no idea was coming. The story was supposed to be about people on a hike, but it quickly morphed into much, much more. In fact, you’ll notice that the main subject of the story, the incomparable Peter Fierce, doesn’t even show up within the story until we’re well into it.

The truth is, Peter was a bit of an accidental or incidental character within the story as it was taking shape. But as the story progressed, it was clear that he was the real main character of the story and by the end of the book I really needed to see more of the guy. In fact, Peter Fierce became the reason for the story in toto. Peter became, or rather is, my entrepreneurial hero, based in part on a real-life entrepreneur, Peter Thiel; and the amalgamation of perhaps other prominent entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk.

I have a good number of paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy romance novels both published and laying peacefully in my so-called graveyard of forgotten stories, just waiting for the light of day. But this was my first novel that one could actually call “normal”. Well, as “normal” as a Harley Austin novel will ever get. Fierce Competition was one of those stories and now series that got me excited about new relationship possibilities and allowed me explore some unbelievable romances that are very much—possible.

Finally, a brief word of warning for those of you expecting something from this first Fierce novel, it’s a little different in the sense that although the book falls solidly into the AWAKENED milieu, there is very little in the way of paranormal or sci-fi within this first novel. Again, it was for me, a kind of attempt at writing something that was, well, normal. However, when the beta reader team was unimpressed with the lack of my typical paranormal and “tech” within the story, I agreed, and the second novel dumps in spades what the first novel held back with.

Still, that being said, I did write Fierce Competition with the idea that the people would be on the periphery of the AWAKENED universe. As such, it doesn’t take too much to see this in the story. Anyone who is a fan of the Awakened Series will pick up on the nuances immediately.

I hope you enjoy these Fierce novels as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

~ Harley

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