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 such as Halloween, murder, cemeteries, and witchcraft. Not necessarily in that order.
Most of her time is spent making up stories in her head or researching obscure historical topics. The results of those efforts usually end up in a book as some sort of weird Easter egg or symbolism. Anything to make Edgar Allan Poe proud.
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. Supernatural elements may or may not play a role in my books.
Why write Male/Male romance? aka: How the hell did the Leander Welles series go from M/F to M/M?
I get this question/criticism a lot. A lot of new-to-me MM readers don't understand why Lorelei was ever involved or why I "wasted" time writing a book for her.
The truth of the matter is, Lorelei came first. When I wrote her book, MM was a genre that wasn't even on my radar. I thought I was writing an MF romantic suspense. And I did. (And that book actually placed as a finalist for suspense, by the by...)
Then I wrote Rationale just to challenge myself, to get inside Leander's head and see what was going on in there. The story, at that time, was still MF romantic suspense.
I was 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 of his incarceration, 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 in my mind Leander really did shut himself off from Bennett by focusing all of his attention on Lorelei as part of his grand plan. But the pieces of Bennett 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. That's why I say Rationale is the beginning of the MM angst. It may not be obvious when you read it, but it becomes much clearer after you've read Damnation.
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 MM 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!)
And that's why I "wasted" my time with Lorelei and how one character — Bennett — changed the course of the entire series and my writing career.
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 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 audiobook?
I hope so! It all comes down to cost and demand, unfortunately. Audiobooks 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 original or "vintage" version of The Coventry Carol myself since it was such a last-minute project. but Teresa did the updated version with the dark cabin. 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 and promotions 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 email@example.com 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.