Scarlett St. Clair Is Heating Up Greek Mythology with a Steamy Twist on an Old Story (Exclusive)

The author of the 'Hades x Persephone' series dishes on why no one should be ashamed to read romantasy

<p>Bloom Books;Chris Andrews @onflymedia</p> Scarlett St. Clair and her latest book

Bloom Books;Chris Andrews @onflymedia

Scarlett St. Clair and her latest book

You may know Scarlett St. Clair for her steamy takes on Greek mythology, where she turns up the heat between the likes of Hades and Persephone with lots of adventure in between the heat-inducing scenes. But before her books were rocketing onto bestseller lists or making the rounds on BookTok, St. Clair’s writing journey began in the world of self-publishing.

“I started self-publishing back in 2014,” she tells PEOPLE, noting that she was writing young adult fiction at the time, because she was still a college student herself. But the road to finding readers was rocky at first.

Even as her books began to find an audience, she still struggled to secure support from the traditional publishing world. “I remember querying all these agents, and publishers would even  reach out to me, and they would decide that they couldn't help me for one reason or the other,” she says.

She finally found a home in Bloom Books, which will release her latest book, A Touch of Chaos, in hardcover on March 12.

<p>Bloom Books</p> 'A Touch of Chaos' by Scarlett St. Clair

Bloom Books

'A Touch of Chaos' by Scarlett St. Clair

Related: Romantasy 101: Here's Where to Start Reading the Hottest Genre of 2024 (Exclusive)

As a former librarian, St. Clair takes a research-focused approach to her work, but emphasizes that readers don’t need to be mythology experts to love her books.

“A couple of people have said that [my books have] encouraged them to learn more about Greek mythology or mythology in general, which I do definitely encourage,” she explains. “But I think it could just be a launch pad, for a greater interest in mythology. I try to be very informative, probably because I was a librarian,” she adds, with a laugh.

St. Clair is also quick to point out that she’s not out here to teach history lessons. More than anything else, the bestselling author sees her books as a point of genuine connection between writer and reader, and an opportunity for her fans to form real relationships with each other.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

“I set out to make genuine connections, because I think that’s what makes us human,” she explains. “That's why I think so many of us love reading any sort of book that has a fandom attached to it, or is part of a series, or anything that has some social aspect. It's community.”

Related: PEOPLE’s Best Books to Read in March 2024: RuPaul’s Intimate Memoir and a Tribute to Luke Perry

The community that has formed around St. Clair’s work is legion. Her books have taken off on TikTok and Instagram, and more readers are discovering her work each all the time. That might be because St. Clair, who’s a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, makes a concerted effort to ensure her books reflect the world she lives in. She believes that’s what draws readers in and keeps them coming back.

“I want everyone to feel like they can see themselves in some aspect of my books,” she says. “At the end of the day it comes down to people.”

That mutually supportive community lies at the basis of everything she does — and it enriches her own life, too.

“When you write romance, which is something people downplay all the time as just not important enough to be considered literary, you're still over here saving lives,” she says. “You're still over here impacting people. And that is greater than any award or any bestseller list.”

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.