Earlier in the week I made a post on my Instagram encouraging authors to reach
out to me to have me review their books. It was a blessing, but also a confusing
time as I attempted to sift through the insane number of emails and messages
from my blog. One of the authors that reached out was indie author
Adore Ian. She requested that I read her debut novel, Earning Her Trust.
The moment I picked up Earning Her Trust I knew that Adore Ian was going to be
huge in the romance world. Usually I find myself cutting an author a little slack in
a debut novel because they're still finding their voice and honing their talent. But
Adore Ian didn't need any slack, her voice is powerful and her talent shines. This
novel was truly a delight to read and I decided that she absolutely had to be my October Author Spotlight.
You need to order her book immediately
Romantically Inclined Reviews: Earning Her Trust, releasing 10/9, is an impressive debut novel packed full of sexiness. Can you tell me a little about your writing process? Was it your first attempt ever at a romance novel or do you have a hoard of unfinished works on your computer (cough cough like some of us)?
Adore Ian: Thank you! So this wasn't the first book I'd ever written (that one is still sitting on my computer--haha!), but it was the first romance book I'd ever written. It was a story that'd lived with me ever since college when I used to spend my nights in a vintage arcade bar (shout out to the Baxter Arcade) and my days working in a prop shop on campus. It was sort of born out of these amazing experiences I had and these weird/elaborate fantasies I'd come up with in my head. It lived with me for so long that I honestly never thought I'd write it down. Especially because it was romance and that genre has always been presented as if it wasn't good enough to spend your time on one. Like, in all my years of creative writing class, I don't recall a professor (or anyone) asking us to read and discuss a romance book. And certainly not a smutty romance book where people have consensual, healthy, sexual relationships--for shame! That was unheard of. So the idea that I'd spend time to write this romance book--instead of the next great American novel (insert eye roll)--never seemed like a viable or realistic plan.
But then a few years later, I got into a certain book fandom (of which I will not name) and started writing fanfiction. And that was a game changer.
Suddenly these short, smutty, angsty stories that'd been living with me for years were put down on the page and people were liking them and commenting. And once I started, I couldn't stop.
So to answer your question, the first two chapters of Earning Her Trust were originally written down as fanfiction. I already had the whole storyline worked out and figured I'd just insert someone else's characters and it would be fine.
Well, it wasn't.
Every time I sat down to write I hated the story because the characters weren't mine. And in order to get someone else's characters to fit, I had to change too much about the story. Months went by where I couldn't write it as it was and finally I was just like, "Fuck this." I opened it back up, stopped writing it as fanfiction and started writing it as the book it was always supposed to be with the characters it was always supposed to be about. And at that point I'd already completed and edited a few drafts of another book, so I knew I could do it. And it was the best decision I ever made.
It took about a month to complete the first draft and maybe 3-5 months of edits and getting feedback from critique partners and friends before I hired an editing service and never looked back. The process to get this book out has been hard and amazing, and I have learned so much about myself as a writer, and about what I will and won't do with the next books, and it's just been a crazy adventure. A risk that was totally worth talking.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: Marrin and Damian are both characters with troubled pasts and/or presents. Did anyone in your life (real or fictional) inspire these characters?
Adore Ian: Absolutely. I named the bar the Braxton Arcade after a nickname for a dear, beloved friend of mine who shared their story of survival with me. So if I had to pick one person who helped inspire this story the most, it would be Braxton. But Braxton certainly isn’t the only person. I think everyone I’ve met in my life has inspired this story in some way—especially my family, my closest friends and people I met in college. As I think about it now, I think many of the people who’ve impacted my life in some way are a part of these characters and their stories (regardless of whether or not they shared their stories of survival with me).
Romantically Inclined Reviews: On your website, adoreian.com, you mention a couple times that your books contain guerilla sex ed. I am dying to know the definition of that phrase. Care to enlighten?
Adore Ian: I'm laughing. So I'm not sure how it happened, but when I became a part of this online book fandom (of which I will not name) I got kind of popular. Not to toot my own horn, but I made a lot of friends and connections and just carved out a nice space for myself. And one day (I'm not sure how it came about), I decided to make a post about how the sex scenes in the books (a YA series) were great--but--unrealistic to true life. It was in now way a dis to the books author or anything like that. It just occurred to me that sex ed in my country (the USA) is terrible and that many of the younger or less experienced fans in the fandom may not realize that sex in the real work is very different than how sex is portrayed in media.
It was just an FYI kind of post and it took off. I started getting all kinds of sex ed questions and it was amazing and simultaneously terrifying because it opened my eyes to just how bad sex education is around the world and how much people are starving for information. I started making regular posts and somewhere along the way members of the fandom started calling them guerrilla sex ed posts because they'd be randomly mixed in with all the other fandom posts and just sort of pop up unexpected. Haha!
Romantically Inclined Reviews: What first drew you to the romance community? Why did you stick around?
Adore Ian: I'm complete trash for steamy romance books. Give them to me. All of them. I found a romance book on the ground outside when I was little and that was it. I was hooked. I think it had to do with the fact that in society talking about sex is really taboo. So when I opened this adult romance book and the first thing I read was a sex scene it was like...I don't know... risky and exciting. It was a whole new world. Then as I got older, I just like those kinds of books. I wanted to read a romance story or a story with a romance subplot. It has always been interesting to me. I don't know why.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: I assume that Adore Ian is a pen name (or you just have the coolest romance novel writing name in the history of the world). Do your friends and family know that you write romance? What are people's reactions when they find out what genre you write?
Adore Ian: They all know that I like writing. But as for writing romance only some of them know. Some of them I suspect know, but they haven't said anything and I haven't brought it up. (Oh, and yes, Adore is a pen name!) And I've only gotten positive reactions so far. I also think that's partly to do with the fact that my friends are all very creative, many of them are various kinds of artists. So they understand what it feels like to put yourself out there and make yourself vulnerable to criticism. So they're all very supportive.
I should say that writing romance is not something I'm hiding in any way. It's not a secret. It's just not something I talk about to everyone. Art is hard to talk about when you're not in an established safe space with people who understand. It's always hard to talk about things we put so much of ourselves into. The best piece of writing advice I ever got was something along the lines of "Don't let your family read your work until after it's published. Not unless you want them telling you how they think you should write it." So I think once the book is officially out in the world and published, then I'm fine to acknowledge it more with people who aren't in my safe space because they're less likely to think that giving me unsolicited opinions on writing is okay. If that makes sense?
Romantically Inclined Reviews: Your page mentions that you have dyslexia. Has that ever affected your ability to write?
Adore Ian: Oh, hell yeah. I couldn't read until I was in the sixth grade. I shit you not. I could read "see" "Spot" "run" but I couldn't tell you what Spot was doing. I also had dysgraphia and dyscalculia--I was a mess. But all those years of struggling to hide my disabilities and prove that I wasn't "slow" or "lazy" (as so many of my teachers told me and my parents) are what brought me to writing.
I remember very clearly the doctor who tested me for dyslexia telling me that although a first grader could beat me in a spelling test, the content of my writing was at college level. That was the first time I remember someone--who wasn't related to me--telling me that I was smart. Telling me--a fifth grader who came home crying every night because of how traumatizing the school day was--that I could out-write the entire student body of my school.
My love of writing was born from my dyslexia.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: What was the first romance novel you ever read? What was your most recent romance read? And what subgenre of romance is most attractive to you?
Adore Ian: The Loving by Sandra Canfield (I found it discarded on the ground when I was a kid) was the first romance novel I ever read. The most recent romance novel I read was The Prophet (The Cloister Book 2) by Celia Aaron. Just finished it today actually.
I love all subgenres, I don't think I could choose. But recently I've been into dark romances (hence The Cloister book). I don't know why. I"m going to blame it on it being October and on my recent discovery of the My Favorite Murder podcast, which probably makes me look like a total weirdo. LOL. Oh! But I recently downloaded Rebekah Weatherspoon's Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny and I'm SUPER excited to read it, so if we can pretend buff male nanny books are a romance subgenre then that's the one I'm 100% attracted to at the moment.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: If you only had three words to describe Earning Her Trust to someone, what three words would you choose?
Adore Ian: Hmm...(omg why is this question so hard?!) Let's go with: Smutty, Angsty, Thrilling.
Romantically Inclined Reviews: What's next for Adore Ian?
Adore Ian: Well, I'm kind of hungry so I'm thinking about ordering a pizza after this. Writing-wise... I am going to start working on the next book in the Braxton Arcade series, which will follow Elle and Conor. I started it a few months ago but had to stop because: day job/I need money to pay my bills. I plan to officially pick it back up this winter--hopefully full-time (fingers crossed). We'll see.
Connect with Adore Ian:
Check out her Website
Follow her on Goodreads
Follow her on Instagram
Check out her books on Amazon
Author Blurb: Adore Ian grew up in a mixed race family in Hawaii and has loved steamy romance novels ever since finding a Harper paperback discarded on the sidewalk when she was a kid. She’s a proud dyslexic, a loud intersectional feminist, and a lover of standard poodles. She lives with her manfriend on the east coast where she spends too much time bunny watching and not enough time writing. She believes the ingredients to good romance are too much smut, quality fluff and angst, and a dash of guerrilla sex ed. Her novels are best enjoyed with a slice of pizza and an ice cold beer.
Join her in the trash can. #iAdoreSmut