It’s June and that means it’s time for another year of Pride Month spotlights! I’m so excited to spotlight Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake and share the interview with the author!
Welcome Ashley! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
I’m Ashley Herring Blake and I’m an author and teacher. I live on a tiny island off the coast of Georgia and have two kids and two cats. I love cold weather, which is pretty odd considering I live on a southern island. Alas.
How would you describe Delilah Green Doesn’t Care in one sentence?
A cranky New York City photographer returns to her small hometown to photograph her estranged stepsisters wedding, but she didn’t plan on falling for a bridesmaid.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care?
Delilah Green is a lonely (though she’d never admit it) photoprapher trying to make her mark on the art world in New York City. She lost both parents very young and was raised by her distant stepmother and spoiled stepsister (ring any Cinderella bells?). She comes back to photograph her stepsister Astrid’s wedding, mostly for a large paycheck she desperately needs at the moment. She plans to glide into town, shoot the wedding while annoying her family as much as possible, and glide back out. Enter Claire Sutherland, one of Astrid’s best friends and one of the girls who didn’t exactly make Delilah’s childhood any easier. But now, Claire is a single mom running a bookstore, and she and Delilah have immediate chemistry. Chemistry Delilah plans to use to get underneath Astrid’s skin…until some very real feelings get in the way.
What representation will readers find in Delilah Green Doesn’t Care?
Delilah is a lesbian and Claire is bisexual. Iris, another member of the friend group, is also bisexual. And in Astrid’s book, which is out in Novemeber 2022, there are even more queer characters!
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I have a plan for the ending, yes. I used to be quite the pantser, but my process has changed over the years, and now I write a pretty complete synopsis before I start writing. This makes drafting a lot more enjoyable for me–less panicky! That being said, the novel that ends up on the shelf is never an exact match for that synopsis. Things change as I get to know the characters, and they very often surprise me, which is exactly how I like it.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
That’s a hard one! I honestly love the meet cute in this book, because Claire doesn’t recongize Delilah and Delilah knows exactly who Claire is–it was so fun to write! I’m also a sucker for any first kiss scene, writing or reading. And sex scenes, I mean, come on, they’re always going to be a favorite. I also love the reconciliation scene at the end, which also has one of my favorite exchanges.
Claire felt something in her chest start to crack, but she rolled her shoulders back, lifted her chin. “I’m sure you could’ve found a date.”
“Oh, I’m sure I could’ve too.”
Claire pressed her mouth flat.
“But I didn’t want a date,” Delilah said, “I wanted you.”
I just love this exchange. It’s simple, but it’s so very Delilah–the confident, suave, womanizer that she is (or was), and how she’s shifted into someone who wants something very different from how she’s always been, all because of Claire.
What is something readers will find in Delilah Green Doesn’t Care that they may not realize based on the synopsis?
While this has funny moments and sexy moments, and 100% has an HEA, it’s very much a book about finding where you belong. It’s a romance, and (not “but”) it’s a book about home, friendship, family both inherited and found, and it’s a story about choosing oneself.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from Delilah Green Doesn’t Care?
Happy feelings, of course, but I also hope that readers see the complexity and beauty of queer life, friends, and family. I tried to infuse that experience into the pages–not just with the characters’ labels, but with the things they say, why they say them, and how they move through the world. I also hope they see this book as a queer romance that everyone can and should read, not only queer audiences. While I wrote it for myself and for queer readers first and foremost, books with mariginlized experiences need to be consumed by readers outside of that identity. That is how we learn empathy. That is how we learn to be truly human.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Delilah Green Doesn’t Care?
I can’t recommend Talia Hibbert’s Brown Sisters series enough. They are three of my favorite romances and if you like Delilah, you’ll love Talia’s sexy, smart novels. Anita Kelly’s Love and Other Disasters is also a favorite of mine, a f/nb romance set on a cooking show. Finally, I am a huge fan of Courtney Kae, whose upcoming f/f holiday romance In the Event of Love is so charming and fun, everyone will love it.
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
Yes! Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail is coming out on November 22, 2022, and it is truly one of my favorite books I’ve ever written. I love Astrid’s surprising journey and it’s one very close to my heart. I also have the third Bright Falls books, Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date, coming out in 2023 sometime, and I’m currently working on this one. I love writing my brazen Iris and her love interest, Stevie.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A clever and steamy queer romantic comedy about taking chances and accepting love—with all its complications—by debut author Ashley Herring Blake.
Delilah Green swore she would never go back to Bright Falls—nothing is there for her but memories of a lonely childhood where she was little more than a burden to her cold and distant stepfamily. Her life is in New York, with her photography career finally gaining steam and her bed never empty. Sure, it’s a different woman every night, but that’s just fine with her.
When Delilah’s estranged stepsister, Astrid, pressures her into photographing her wedding with a guilt trip and a five-figure check, Delilah finds herself back in the godforsaken town that she used to call home. She plans to breeze in and out, but then she sees Claire Sutherland, one of Astrid’s stuck-up besties, and decides that maybe there’s some fun (and a little retribution) to be had in Bright Falls, after all.
Having raised her eleven-year-old daughter mostly on her own while dealing with her unreliable ex and running a bookstore, Claire Sutherland depends upon a life without surprises. And Delilah Green is an unwelcome surprise…at first. Though they’ve known each other for years, they don’t really know each other—so Claire is unsettled when Delilah figures out exactly what buttons to push. When they’re forced together during a gauntlet of wedding preparations—including a plot to save Astrid from her horrible fiancé—Claire isn’t sure she has the strength to resist Delilah’s charms. Even worse, she’s starting to think she doesn’t want to…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and cold weather. She is the author of the young adult novels Suffer Love, How to Make a Wish, and Girl Made of Stars (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), the middle grade novels Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World, The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James, and Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea (Little, Brown), and the adult romance novels Delilah Green Doesn’t Care and Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail (Berkley). Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World was a Stonewall Honor Book, as well as a Kirkus, School Library Journal, NYPL, and NPR Best Book of 2018. Her YA novel Girl Made of Stars was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @ashleyhblake and on the web at www.ashleyherringblake.com. She lives in Georgia.