Many times when I do author spotlights, it’s by request. And I thank those authors for reaching out because you’ve introduced me to something new, and I truly appreciate it.Then there are those times, when the unabashed fangirl in me breaks out and goes lowkey stalker to get an author to talk.
This is one of those times.
You may not know her name or her work, but after this interview, I hope you will want to read The Men of Whiskey Row series and love it as much as I do. Let’s do this:
Musings Romance Junkie: I’m a huge IR romance fan, and one of the first things I always ask IR romance authors is why IR?
D.A. Young: I’m a huge fan of romance and a firm believer in diversity. When I write, the characters just take on a life of their own.
MRJ: Have you always wanted to be a writer, or what was that defining moment for you?
DAY: I always knew I had a BIG imagination. My mind was ALWAYS going to different places, LOL. Five years ago, I was sitting at my work desk and a story I’d been thinking about, just wouldn’t leave my mind. So I took my lunch and started to write (soooo unprofessional, I know). By the time my thirty-minute break was up, I was still writing. I informed my boss I would like to add my fifteen-minute break to extend my writing time, LOL. By the time that was over, I knew I was on to something.
MRJ: Describe your writing process? Do you always start with a concept, then outline, or are you just a write, write, write, then go back and edit type of gal?
DAY: I’m a mixer. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to write and then I’ll outline everything. Other times I just write and write, then I’ll go back and look at it, THEN outline/edit. I’m always inspired while writing so I make sure to write all the other ideas down, including what inspired them. I research and plug them in where I feel they will work best.
MRJ: Who are some of your favorite authors or what do you like to read when you aren’t writing?
DAY: This is a hard one! There are just too many, but the first romance book I ever picked up was by Beverly Jenkins. To this day, she has never disappointed me.
MRJ: Let’s talk about Men of Whiskey Row! Real talk, I clicked this book on a total whim, and truthfully, I had no expectations, but after chapter two, a sista was like WHOAAAAA! I gotta contact this author! What was the inspiration for this series?
DAY: Music, diversity, family and documentaries. When I wrote Sweet Obsession, I was exposed to artists like the Alabama Shakes, Passenger, Taylor Swift and The Lumineers. Their music inspired a lot of rustic Americana in me. Throw in the fact that I’m OBSESSED with the prohibition era, Smoky Mountains and family being everything, a concept was formed. I’m also a lover of small towns, but a lot of them lack diversity, especially in the mountains. I wanted to create a place where all of this would come together and meld beautifully.
MRJ: On the surface, this series looks like just another romance featuring a group of brothers, but you deal with some pretty serious issues, specifically, domestic abuse and the lasting effects that it leaves on the children directly impacted by it. What has the reception been like because this plays an integral part of the series?
DAY: It’s definitely not a subject to be taken lightly. The feedback has been amazing overall, but it varies. I have some people who like to address it directly, but others who focus on the book as a whole, which is fine. In writing this series, I wanted to showcase a group of people that were scarred from things in their past, how they’ve attempted to overcome it and function in society. There have been some responses where it’s like ‘OMG, it’s ridiculous, that everyone is so good-looking’ or they’re not ‘alpha’ enough. Your human first and there isn’t one of us who’s not flawed. In book one, Jack is walking the finest of lines to NOT turn out like his brute of a father, you know? He even left his wife, because he was ashamed of what he thought he was doing/becoming. In the end I just wanted to show that no matter what it looks like, let’s not judge. Everyone is going through something. It’s what you make of your situation: Either you run it or it runs you.
MRJ: You really flipped the script with this series on a number of levels. The Sullivan brothers, even with all of their accomplishments, are still the underdogs. I really felt like this was a “social justice” romance on some levels because you talked about racism, classism, body-shaming…without beating the reader in the head with it, and I felt it so refreshing and entertaining at the same time. Was that intentional or did it just “happen” as the story developed?
DAY: It was a little bit of both. We live in a society that is quick to judge on so many levels, that it just becomes the norm. None of it is okay, but it happens every. Single. Day. In my books, I’m trying to convey the message that we can all learn something from each other. Example: Darby, Avery and the photo both 😉 Too bad about all those pesky love scenes in between, LOL.
MRJ: How easy or difficult is it for you to write love scenes, because chile…I had some pearl-clutching moments!
DAY: Oh dear…are you going to think badly of me if I say they aren’t difficult at all? I think couples need to have a connection physically and mentally to work. Avery and her relationships (Pierce/ Darby) are a PERFECT example of how things can either work or go awry. When I write a love scene, I never want to give it to my readers the same way twice and I’m fully invested in making it worth their while. Fingers crossed, I can only hope I’m doing okay in this department, LMBO!
MRJ: If Men of Whiskey Row were made into a series, whom would you cast as Jack, Darby, Casey, Noelle, Avery, and (my personal fave) Sidra?
DAY: I’m sorry, but this one has me stumped! I can’t really say except for Vivienne whose personality is a mixture of Olivia Pope and Cookie Lyon, LOL! This is the reason that I don’t put complete faces on my covers. I want people to create in their mind what these characters look like. Half the fun is in using your imagination. Please don’t hate me, guys! 🙂
Sidenote: Yeah, I’m hatin’…snort
MRJ: What more can we expect from D.A. Young this year, and when is the next book dropping?
DAY: A LOT. Definitely more Whiskey Row, but I am currently finishing the very first book that I worked on (see question 2). It’s called The Farmer & The Belle and it is the first book in the Baymoor Series. Book 2 of that series will follow Casey and Sidra. In November, Lost & Found, then at the end of December, I will venture into the M.C. world.
You can also connect with D.A. Young on Facebook where she shares up-to-date info about her current and upcoming releases.