Award-winning dark romance author Ashlyn Drewek has always been a hopeless romantic. She's also fascinated by the dark, macabre things in life (you can blame a love of Halloween and Edgar Allan Poe for that one).
Most of her time is spent making up stories in her head or researching some obscure topic just because she's that much of a nerd. The degree on the wall says she's a historian, but the paycheck says she's a first responder.
Ashlyn lives in Northern Illinois with her patient husband, fearless daughter, and a house full of animals.
What is Dark Romance?
There are so many different definitions of what people consider dark romance. To me, dark romance is just what it says — romance that is dark. Meaning, it's not sweet and cozy or meant to give you warm fuzzies. Whether it's the situation or the characters themselves, something is going to be "dark" and "twisted" and probably violent. I also favor the original Dark Romantics — Poe, Shelley, Byron, Dickinson — and try to bring a bit of that Gothic/Victorian sense of beauty and tragedy to my stories.
Here is what AmericanLiterature.com has to say about the OG Dark Romantics: "Dark Romantics believed humans gravitate to evil and self-destruction...[they] focus on human fallibility, self-destruction, judgement, punishment, as well as the psychological effects of guilt and sin...There's an even darker side of the Dark Romantics: Gothic Literature, which involves sheer terror, personal torment, graphic morbidity, and the supernatural."
So, in short, I write a lot about mentally ill and/or morally gray (or outright evil, depending on your view) characters fighting their inner demons while also finding love along the way.
Why write Male/Male romance?
Strap in, it's story time!
I stumbled into the subgenre by accident, actually. I had already finished writing The Rationale of Leander Welles but was still in the editing process when I decided to do a "prequel" of sorts, showing how Leander ended up where he did in Mystery and Rationale. Since there were so many moving parts behind the scenes, I knew I couldn't do a prequel from Leander's point of view. In waltzed Bennett Reeve.
Bennett was originally a two-line character at the end of Rationale (his role/lines eventually went to Timothy in the final version), but it turned out Bennett was destined to narrate is own book. In the course of writing that book, The Damnation of Leander Welles, I began to seriously doubt the original ending I had planned for Leander. I tried to keep Bennett and Leander's relationship in the friend zone, but it literally did not feel right to me. When I finally gave in and accepted that they were meant to be together, it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.
But there was a problem. Rationale was already written. And Mystery was already published, so there was only so much tweaking I could do. I went back and wove in subtle pieces of Bennett throughout Rationale. It is incredibly subtle (until the end) because Leander really did shut himself off from Bennett by focusing all of his attention on Lorelei. But, the pieces are there and I love when readers pick up on them, especially after they read Damnation and it all comes together. Hint: olive eyes, rain, and Cezanne.
Speaking of Damnation... even if it was a "prequel," for the most part, I wanted to carry Bennett's story through to the end of Mystery/Rationale to give readers some type of closure. Maybe not what they wanted, but closure nonetheless. The lingering question from Rationale was finally answered: Did Leander love Lorelei?
So, thanks to Bennett and Leander, the M/M door was open in my brain and it wasn't long before another couple came barreling through it — aka: Roan and Sasha. (I wrote their story in one month, people. One.Month!)
Will you ever write M/F again?
Maybe. Right now I'm quite happy chilling with the boys. I have plenty of female characters in my head, but none of them are speaking to me as loudly as the male characters. I'd started the story of Leander's parents, Eleanor and Julian, and I would really like to finish it one day but it's definitely on the back burner.
Where can I get a signed paperback?
Will you ever do an audio book?
I hope so! It all comes down to cost and demand, unfortunately. Audio books are expensive and if I'm going to do it, I'll want to do it the best way possible. So... that might not be for a while. But I will certainly announce it if/when it happens.
Did I miss something? You can always shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram (it's the platform I am the most active on).