Creative Corner – A.D. Ellis
This month, my interviews will spotlight a few folks skilled in helping romantic dreams come true…all in the pages of a book. To kick off this love-fest, I’ll be chatting with a delightful woman whose books show that love comes in all forms.
Meet: A.D. Ellis
I’m a 30ish wife, mother of two, inner city alternative school teacher, and now an independent author. I love to read and I love to write. I live in Indiana and have my entire life. I enjoy thrift shopping; can’t beat a good deal! I love Fall and Spring, pizza, Mexican, and chocolate!
- Welcome, A.D. Thanks for joining me here on Creative Corner. What should my readers know about you?
Thanks so much for having me today, Clara! Your readers should know that I write very real-life romance, with very real characters (which means they aren’t perfect, and we don’t always agree with their choices and actions) and very real issues.
Your readers should also know that I have a fairly inappropriate sense of humor, and I speak fluent sarcasm.
- What are the 3 words that best describe you?
Well, since redundant doesn’t describe me, I’ll skip the descriptors from my first answer. Let’s see…three words to describe me…well, busy working mom are three words which would work, but those are slightly boring. It sort of depends on who you talk to I think. I can be talkative or shy and quiet depending on the situation.
I’m going to stop beating this answer to death and go with POSITIVE, CONSISTENT, and DEDICATED.
- Tell us about your work.
I’m the author of a four book series called A Torey Hope Novel Series, and its spin-off series titled Torey Hope: The Later Years (which will have four books at completion). My books are very real-life contemporary romance meant for ages 18+ due to adult themes, language, and situations. The majority of my work revolves around male/female couples, but one of my favorite stories in the series is a male/male romance. All of these books can be read as a standalone, but many readers suggest reading them in order.
- Which piece of work are you most proud of?
At the time of this interview, I’m most proud of two of my stories. Actually, that’s not true. I’m proud of each story for different reasons.
For Nicky I’m proud of because it’s my first attempt at publishing a book, and I had no clue what I was doing. Is the book obviously from a first-time author? Yes, but it’s also a heartwarming story of love, family, and standing up for what you believe in.
Because of Beckett is the second book in the series, and I’m so proud of it because it gives a horrible, hated character from the first book the chance at redemption.
Most of the other books in my series I’m proud of just because they are proof of hard work and dedication. I’m proud that I was able to continue the stories of these families, and I’m proud that my writing improves with each book.
That’s a long lead-in to my final answer. I’m the most proud of book 4, Loving Josie, and book 6, Sawyer.
Loving Josie was a very emotional book for me to write, some of the scenes are from personal loss and experiences. This book took home the bronze medal in the prestigious Readers’ Favorite 2015 International Book Awards, so I’m extremely proud of that.
Sawyer was my first venture into the male/male genre. This was not a genre I planned on writing, but I knew in my heart I had to tell Sawyer’s story honestly, and be true to who he is. Reading male/male stories, talking to gay men, and writing Sawyer’s story was so much fun. I adore reading the male/male genre now, in fact it makes up 75% of what I read lately. I met a reader’s son who is gay, and now consider him a close friend; he was instrumental in getting Sawyer’s true story on paper. Nothing makes me prouder than to have readers say they’ve never read a male/male story or they were scared to read a male/male story, but they were touched by Sawyer’s story in the end.
- What other creative endeavors do you enjoy?
I like to make most of my own swag. I enjoy an occasional evening of wine and painting at my local Wine and Canvas. Other than that, I wouldn’t call myself terribly creative.
- What would people be most surprised to see on your Kindle or bookshelf?
Well, as mentioned above, I have a strong love of male/male romance stories, and I *know* that would shock a lot of people who know me in real life. Most of my bookshelves are filled with romance of some sort, although in college I was sucked in by The Jungle by Upton Sinclair which is definitely NOT a romance.
- How about your playlist?
Eclectic would be the best way to describe my taste in music. I grew up with my dad being in a bluegrass band, and later in a country band. I learned to like other types of music through high school and college. Recently, a friend introduced me to The Mountain Goats, and I love to turn them on if my mood is right.
The main thing about my musical tastes is that if it’s got great lyrics or a fabulous beat or catchy/haunting/touching tune, I’m probably going to like it. Doesn’t matter the genre, if I feel because of the song, or I find myself singing it, or tapping along with it, it will likely find its way to my playlist.
- In the story of your life, who would you like to play you?
Um…so I don’t watch much TV these days. As in, I don’t watch TV at all unless the news is on while I’m fixing supper. I’m not in-the-know with actresses at all. Maybe Sandra Bullock? Really, I’m grasping at straws here.
The Glamorous, Dangerous Romance Section:
- Which celebrity would you most like to end up with in a highly-publicized romance?
Please see disclaimer above about not watching TV/movies much these days. That being said, I’ll choose Shane West please.
- What would be your “couple nickname?”
Shane + A.D. = Shady J
Shane + Ellis = Shellis
- Would the romance be more likely to be chronicled in Vanity Fair, People, or The National Enquirer? Why?
Well, being a fan of realistic stories, I’d probably have to go with People in hopes they’d focus on the real-life drama and romance of the story.
- Being part of a celebrity couple puts your life in danger. What is the danger?
Most likely, I’d be in danger of dying from hyperventilation on the red carpet or talking to celebrities/reporters.
- How do you neutralize the threat?
I hang on Shane’s arm, and just smile. Which would then lead me to self-loathing because I don’t do the “arm candy” mentality. So, I better get used to speaking in public.
- Which would you rather own: an Aston Martin, a Corvette Stingray or a Bentley?
Cars don’t really do it for me. Because my dear friend, Brett, lusts for an Aston Martin, I’ll choose that one and let him drive. But only if he promises to keep me well supplied with story ideas.
- Do you have a chauffeur or drive it yourself?
Mostly, I’d drive myself. I like the control. However, if it means I can get some writing done, I’ll let someone drive me around. Occasionally.
- Which celebrity would you most like to spend the night having drinks with?
Referring back to my lack of in-the-know about celebrities….I think it would have to be someone funny. Justin Timberlake? Jimmy Fallon? Will Smith?
- Where do you hang out, and what do you talk about?
Somewhere comfortable, nothing pretentious. Somewhere I can get my favorite Red Electra Moscato, a plain old vodka tonic with lots of lime, or an amaretto sour. We talk about anything that keeps me laughing, but occasionally I’d like to see their serious side.
- We have front row tickets to Fashion Week in NYC. Who are we sitting with?
Okay, these questions are making me realize just how much of a homebody, small town girl I am. I probably would give my tickets to someone who is DYING to go, because they’d likely be lost on me.
- Whose collection are you most looking forward to seeing?
Would now be a bad time to mention that I love nothing more than finding good clearance sales at Kohls or a steal at a thrift store?
- You’re given to chance to star in either Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. Which movie do you choose?
Has to be Star Wars. I’m not a diehard fan, but I enjoyed those movies more than LOTR. Remember that part about me being very realistic? I have a hard time with fantasy stories, and I actually fell asleep on LOTR. Please don’t hate me LOTR fans.
- Which role do you play?
Oh, can I live with the Ewoks please? I can be like the Snow White to their little furry beings.
- Who is starring in the movie with you?
Harrison Ford for sure, don’t fix something that isn’t broken J And let’s have Shane West play something. And, throw in Channing Tatum, Taylor Lautner, and Wentworth Miller….yeah, I’m sure we’d be able to work them in there somewhere.
Interviewee’s Choice: (please answer 3-5 of the following questions)
- If you could have your portrait painted by anyone, living or dead, which artist would you choose?
Bob Ross. I’m not sure he painted portraits of people, but I could watch that man paints for hours after school on my local PBS channel. “Happy little trees.”
- Which would you rather see make a comeback – disco or psychedelic rock?
I think disco. The dancing, lights, flashy clothes always look fun.
- You’re the lucky winner of the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. What’s the first thing you do after receiving your prize?
Pay bills for the next year, put aside money for kids’ college, invest, and take a year or so off work to write full time. Oh, and if there’s enough left, I want to go on a cruise.
- Your house has been sucked into a tornado and transported to Oz. What’s the first thing you do when you land?
Find out if there’s cell reception, and by any chance is there wifi? Figure out where I’m going to eat and sleep, find a trusted resident, then enjoy exploring for the rest of the day. Stay for a couple days, then call for help.
- What color best describes your current mood, and why?
My Many Colored Days comes to mind here. Right now, I’m sort of blue. Down to be heading back to school. But, I’m also a comfy color like navy or deep green, brown or orange, something that shows satisfaction. I’m very satisfied with my life. I always want to grow and learn and be better, but I’m blessed and happy with what and who I have.
The Personal Touch:
- What has been the most romantic moment of your life so far?
There’s a reason I love romance as a genre, it’s slightly lacking in my real life. Hubby and I aren’t great romantics in our everyday lives. No huge romantic gestures here, but I love the little things.
- What is your favorite Valentine’s Day gift to give?
We aren’t big gifters on Valentine’s Day. I’d probably be seen giving my students pencils and candy, or my own children a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant.
- What is your favorite Valentine’s Day gift to receive?
Good chocolate. Emphasis on good. Not the cheap stuff with berry cream filling. Doesn’t have to be super pricey, but something with toffee and almonds is always good.
- If you could have a book signing anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Somewhere all of my author friends could attend with ease. There are so many authors I’m friends with, I’d love to meet them all. And the location needs to be somewhere my readers can get to so that I can meet each and every one of them.
- Who is the first person you would like to see standing in line?
Oh, geesh, I can’t name just one in this case. I have some favorite readers, huge fans of Torey Hope, and I’d like to look up and see them all there.
- If you could have anyone star in your next book trailer, who would it be?
What I’d like is for each character in my books to magically come to life and materialize right in front of me. Then we could spend the day making the trailers, and the rest of the week just chit-chatting and hanging out. The people of Torey Hope are ones anyone would love to be friends with.
- If you could spend a week living in one of your books, which one would it be, and why?
Any of the books would be great, because all of the characters are family/friends. I’d probably pick Sawyer so I could be there for him when he’s having a really rough time. And, of course, I’d spend some time in Kyle Martin’s tattoo shop getting some new ink. No trip to Torey Hope would be complete without a legendary dinner at someone’s home…I think I’d pick baked potato bar night.
- What is the most challenging part of your job as a teacher?
I’ve been teaching for seventeen years. The overarching challenge in teaching over almost two decades remains the political junk of which teachers have no control. The politicians making decisions about things they’ve never dealt with or experienced, that’s a huge challenge.
Day-to-day, I teach in the inner city. I work with alternative education students. These students, due to behavior challenges, have been kicked out of their previous schools. My challenge is that I spend 50-75% of my day redirecting behaviors, trying to reteach socially acceptable actions, attempting to change a lifetime of habits and conditioning….and just when we make some progress, factors I can’t control (home life, homelessness, poverty, domestic disputes, arrests, shootings, etc) come into play, and we start all over.
Then, add to all of that, I’m supposed to be getting them “up to par” with standardized state testing, and it all seems like a monumental slap in the face a lot of days.
- What is the most rewarding part?
Smiles from kids who have never been given a chance. To see their faces light up when a score gets higher, or to have them give me a hug, or make a good choice, those things make it worthwhile. When a parent who has never had positive relations with a teacher says, “Thank you for taking time to get to know my son.” When my “bad” kids (not the label I give them, the label others have given them) support me, support each other, work together. When I read to them each day, and they are so very into the story they can barely contain their comments and questions.
Alternative ed is a new position for me, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But, I’m able to laugh (if not, I’d cry!), and I’m lucky to have support from colleagues. There are days when I get to the end and count it a blessing that I at least only got hit in the arm from the thrown chair, and not the face. But there are days when my students use manners, make good choices, and make academic gains, those are the days that keep me from totally losing my mind.
- If your writing career allowed for you to quit your teaching job, would you? And if so, what would you miss most?
Yes. That’s the simple part of the answer. The hard part would be actually leaving. I wouldn’t miss the politicians trying to tell me how to do my job. I wouldn’t miss the stress of more and more and more piling on as requirements with less and less and less materials and support.
I’d miss the kids. The smiles, the hugs, the progress. The easy back-and-forth I get to have with them, the laughter. I’m blessed to have gotten to know 400+ kids these last seventeen years. Every year, I’m convinced that God has put me in their lives or them in my life or both.
Reach Out & Touch Someone:
- Where can my readers get more information on you?
My website is a great place to start.
- What social media sites do you use? How can my readers follow you?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram mostly.
- Where can my readers purchase your work?
iBooks is bit.ly/ADEllisiBooks
Amazon is bit.ly/AmazonADEllis
- Please provide any other links my readers might find useful.
Thank you so much for joining me, A.D.! Best Wishes on all your future endeavors!!