Saturday, August 5, 2017

Visit with Romance Author A.D. Ellis....

      Hello one and all! How are you today? I'm back and hope everyone is doing well and happy! It’s so great to be with all of you again. Welcome back to my writing blog page where I try to share whatever I think may interest you. Of course, by now you all know how very much I love promoting other authors. Today I interview a fellow writer. With me this time is multi-published author, A.D. Ellis, as she discusses writing and her current book, Kade & Cameron, which was released in June 2017.

      A.D. Ellis spends the majority of her days loving and wrangling two school-aged children and a husband before heading to the inner city of Indianapolis to teach a challenging group of alternative education students in grades third through sixth. Most days she hits the gym after school in hopes of running and lifting away the stress and headaches of the day before picking up her children and squeezing a whole day's worth of loving and living into the too-short hours before bed. It's no wonder Ms. Ellis lives for the slower, easier days she gets to enjoy on breaks from school.

     Growing up in a small farming town in southern Indiana, A.D. is grateful to her mother for passing along the love of reading. With her nose constantly stuck in a book, Ms. Ellis became accustomed to friends and acquaintances snickering and shaking their heads at her love of reading.

     A.D. never dreamed of being anything but a teacher, although there are certain times of the year when she laments her career choice. Ms. Ellis had a story idea floating in her head for about a year. After persistent prodding from a friend, A.D. put pen to paper and began writing her first story in October 2013. From that moment on, she was hooked. Taking the people and stories from her head and sharing them with readers is a scary, exhausting, rewarding, and fulfilling experience which A.D. plans to continue until there are no more stories banging around in her mind.
Author A.D. Ellis

     Welcome A.D! Thanks so much for joining us here. Shall we begin to learn more about you and your writing? Thanks for having me, SJ! Let’s get started!

     SJ: First, this question must be asked. If you don’t want to answer, A.D., that’s fine.  You’ve written straight contemporary romance. Now gay fiction. How did the two genres evolve for you? How does a heterosexual farm girl from Indiana write about relationships between gay men?  Do you prefer writing one genre over another?

     A.D: If someone had told me twenty years ago that I’d be writing books, I wouldn’t have believed them. However, many of my friends have stated that they knew I’d be authoring books since I loved to read so much. Twenty years ago, I was reading the mainstream type romance titles. I didn’t know there were so many subgenres (and, let’s be honest, the subgenres were fairly hidden and hard to get your hands on.)

Fast forward to 2014 when I published my first romance novel. I finished the first four books with an epilogue that introduced four male children in the family. I knew from the moment I wrote his name on the page that Sawyer was gay. I hadn’t plotted out any stories for these children in my head.  But, readers loved the first Torey Hope series so much, I was excited to extend the series into Torey Hope: The Later Years.

In doing this, I knew I’d be writing the four boys’ stories (Decker, Sawyer, Zach, Kendrick.) Many people told me to just write Sawyer as a straight man, but I couldn’t do that. It wasn’t who he was. People shouldn’t have to hide who they are. I wanted to write Sawyer’s story true to him. So, I did what authors do. I asked questions, I read in the male/male genre, and I asked more questions.
Writing Sawyer’s story was fun, emotional, and a learning experience for me. I wanted to write a short story for a friend. In this story, I took his real-life experiences with a friend and wrote the ending differently than how his real-life story worked out.

When the friend read the story, he encouraged me to publish it. With his permission, I published The Beginning (Bryan & Jase’s story) and started the Something About Him series.
As a farm girl from southern Indiana, I can’t say that I would have loved the male/male genre twenty or thirty years ago. I know I wouldn’t have appreciated it the way I do now. But, we can all admit that a couple decades of experience and maturing can change us in many ways. I’m a huge fan of the male/male genre these days. It’s pretty much all I read and write at this point. I’m in a genre I adore and I plan to write in it until the stories stop coming.

     SJ: Fascinating, A.D. and so very true, too. Now, please tell us about your newest release….

     A.D: Kade & Cameron is based on several real-life characters, experiences, and situations (as are most of my male/male stories.) There were some things happening in my life and I was thinking about them one day on a drive home from work. The story played out in my head and I spent the next week writing notes and planning it. It’s about two men who have had life-changing events take place in their lives. They’ve been friends for several years and turn to each other for support. But, they find that they need each other for more than just friendship. But, as in real-life, things don’t go smoothly.

     SJ: How extensive was your research for each one of your books? How much fact and fiction do you roll into each one?

     A.D: I’d say my books contain about 75%-95% real-life situations/characters/experiences. However, I definitely stir and mix and add to the real-life with plenty of fiction. My research varies based on each book. If I’m doing something with military, I’ll be talking to my friend in the Army to make sure I get it right. If I’m writing about a local bar, I’m in contact with the bar owner to be sure I’m getting facts and setting right.

When I wrote Kendrick, I had to be in constant contact with a reader and her husband to make sure I was getting the experiences right for an addict and his family.
But, a lot of what I write about is based on the experiences I’ve had or friends/family have had, so I know about it first-hand.

      SJ: If you could turn one of your books into a film, which one would you choose and why?

      A.D: Oh, wow. I think the whole Torey Hope series would make a great television series. People love real-life, small towns, romance, and family/friends mixed in with drama and humor and Torey Hope has all of that.
Every single one of my Something About Him books would make great movies or mini-series. I mean, hot men, romance, real-life drama, acceptance of self and others, emotions…what’s not to love?
So, in other words, I can’t choose just one. That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child. I just can’t.

       SJ: What do you love most about being a writer? Least?

      A.D: I love watching a story play out on the page. I love to see my well-laid plans get waylaid by what the characters want to happen. I love that ah-ha moment when a plot twist or resolution pops into my head.

I do not love trying to be a mom of two, a full-time alternative education teacher in the inner city, and an author all in one. There aren’t enough hours in the day! A lot of times, my writing time gets pushed to the back burner.

I also do not like writer’s block. But, I’m learning to respect the block. Toni Morrison said, “I tell my students there is such a thing as ‘writer’s block,’ and they should respect it. You shouldn’t write through it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now.” And I think Toni Morrison is a very smart woman.

       SJ:  What writer inspired you most and how?

       A.D: Honestly, it was a combination of all the authors I’ve read from the time my mom was reading to me as a child up through my reading in high school. Then, after I fell away from reading in college and as a new mother, I came back to reading thanks to the Twilight series. Authors like Beverly Cleary, Ann M. Martin, Lois Lowry, Judy Blume and books like Sweet Valley High, Trixie Belden, and even Little Golden Books shaped me as a reader and writer.

But, writing didn’t come to me until much later. I have always been a reader, but I never thought of writing as something I wanted to do. I didn’t want to spend time writing stories only to have them added to the rejected piles over and over. Self-publishing changed my outlook on that.
I’m inspired by writers the world over. Those who tell real stories, those who craft fantastical worlds and characters, those who delve deep into mysteries, I’m inspired by them all.

      SJ: If you could give just one piece of important writing advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

      A.D: Keep writing. Ray Bradbury said, “You fail only if you stop writing.” I believe this to be true.

If you’re only writing to make it big and be famous, you’re writing for the wrong reasons. If you’re writing because you can’t get the stories out of your head and you want to share them with the world, keep at it.

Also, it’s scary to let your babies out in the world, but you’ll never get better and grow as a writer if you don’t take chances and accept constructive criticism from trusted critique partners and peers.

      SJ: What is a favorite book you enjoyed reading and would recommend without hesitation? Why?

      A.D: Ohhhh, you can’t ask me questions like this! We’d be here for days if I listed all the books I’ve enjoyed. Haha!

But, I’ll pick two that always stick with me. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. This was an assigned reading in college, but I loved it. Reading about that time in history and what life was like, it was fascinating. Also, The Giver by Lois Lowry. I *loved* the world she created and I still wonder what it would be like if our society lived that way.

      SJ: In closing, and without giving too much away, do you have any more projects in the immediate future? We’d love to hear about it.

      A.D: I do. I’m working on a new male/male series. It’s planned to be a trio of books, each a standalone title, but set in the same town with three main families.

     Wonderful and thanks so much, A.D for allowing us to take some time out of your busy schedule and interview you. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you and learning about you and your books. Readers, as always, thank you for dropping by. Take note you may purchase a copy of A.D’s books through Amazon:

      A.D.: Thank you so very much for having me! I’ve enjoyed my time with you and your readers.

     But, as usual, before we go, we can’t say goodbye without posting an excerpt from one of A.D’s books and here we go.  Here’s an excerpt from Loving Josie, A Torey Hope novel. Enjoy!

I wanted more with Kyle. I knew he couldn’t or wouldn’t give me more at this point. So, my plan was two-fold. The first part was to get some real-life dating experience with a safe, attractive, friend. The second part was getting to spend time with him without it being awkward. If he thought he was just playing a part in helping me, maybe he wouldn’t over-analyze things between us and would just let us enjoy our time together. This was a great plan in theory. However, my heart knew that it could backfire terribly.
All of this ran through my head as I headed to the door. Why were my three best girlfriends standing on my front porch? I opened the door with a questioning look? “Hey ladies. Can I help you?” Audrey rolled her eyes and pushed past me.
Libby and Carly looked sort of apologetic, but they walked past me as well. I got the distinct feeling they were here to witness an ass chewing. We sat down in the living room, and I waited, not knowing what was going to happen.
“What the hell are you thinking, Josie Decker?” This from Audrey. She continued, “I just left my house after calling in my reinforcements here. Did you know Kyle’s over at my house talking to Jeremiah? He’s all dressed up, pierced up, tatted up, bleached up, and styled up. Do you know why? He’s got a date. Oh, but that’s right, you already knew he had a date, didn’t you?!”
When I didn’t respond, because I wasn’t sure if this was a rhetorical question or not, she powered on. “It was bad enough when you bought a house with the man. But now you’re going to ‘pretend date’ him?! This isn’t a good thing, Josie. If he weren’t so fucked up, I would be cheering you on. And, honestly, I think dating you would be truly good for him. But, he’s so damn stubborn, I worry he’ll never let go of the notion that he can’t love you the way you deserve and, in the end, you’re going to end up being hurt.”

SJ: Quite an excerpt there, huh, folks? It certainly has me intrigued. What about you?     
Readers, don’t forget you may find all of A.D’s books at Amazon. She has been on other platforms before and will likely be there again in the future.

Feel free to connect with author A.D. Ellis at her website:

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Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!

S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world.
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers. 
                                                         “Some secrets should remain that way.”

                      Shattered Lies has placed in many book contests. For more information, check out Black Opal Books or see the list at S.J’s website.

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And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2017 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one. It’s all for fun.

Remember: Animals don't have voices. We must be their voice. Always. Forever. Wherever. whenever. I'm one for the animals. Are you?