International best-selling and 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? aka: How the hell did the Leander series go from M/F to M/M?
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 his 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 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. I'll never say never, but right now I'm quite happy chilling with the boys. They're far more interesting to me than your average FMC and have been ever since I started writing waaaaay back in the day. When I would write stories with my sister and our friends, I always preferred writing for the male characters.
So, it's fairly safe to say I'll be an M/M author from here on out unless a phenomenal female pops into my head. (Really, really not counting on that though... Like, ever.)
Where can I get a signed copy of your book?
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.
Who does your covers?
The fabulously talented Teresa Conner at Wolf Sparrow has done 98% of my covers, so it's easier to say which ones were not hers. I did The Coventry Carol myself since it was such a last-minute project. And the incredible Anna from @the.ravens.touch on Instagram did the hardcover for Malum Discordiae (the original artwork is by a watercolor artist MikiBeth).
Who is your PR rep?
The insanely organized and thorough Nisha at Nisha's Books and Coffee PR. All of my ARCs are being handled through her, so if you want to sign up for any of my future releases, she's the lady to talk to. You can also get on her master list for other romance authors if you're interested in being an ARC reader in general.
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). If you're interested in following me on any other platform, they're all linked below.