Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Featured Guest: Ella James #Interview and #Giveaway

Diverse Reader is thrilled to have USA Today Bestselling author Ella James on the blog today. I was able to interview Ella for today's post and her answers are pretty awesome. There's an outstanding giveaway at the bottom so be sure to check that out as well.


1.     Where did the idea of Worship and Adore come from?

I wanted to write a book about someone in Luke's position back in 2007. Someone who is not at all who they appear to be. Someone who is, to put it unkindly, a total fraud. It was one of my first-ever book ideas. But I was intimidated by the story's religious elements. Over the years (and 20+ books), I learned you don't have to address a topic head-on in order to write a novel where that topic is part of the story scaffolding. You can lean into it or lean away from it. I got invited to participate in an anthology early this year, and I had to write a story that was spring break or beach themed. I enjoy writing heavy, challenging, emotional stories (NOT beach stories), so as soon as I created Vance and stuck him on the island...I decided a mysterious stranger in a yacht would need to rescue him. And immediately I knew who it would be. :) 

2.     Is there a book 3 or is this it for Sky and Rayne?

LOL. That's the question! As soon as I finished Adore, I dropped back and zoomed in on the time when Vance is still in the (place where he is for a few weeks near the end of Adore). I believe that in Adore, I said Luke's mother visited (this place) around then. And I wanted to see that. I wanted to see, just for myself, what Vance and Luke's first interaction would be like after they were able to talk about the event that happened. (I'm trying to spoiler-proof this). I wanted to see Luke caring for Vance and know what that would look like. I am happy with Adore, and I think it's a good book. I think the reviews reflect that. But I wanted more of the story. I've been writing fiction since 2007 and publishing since 2011, and I've never felt this way before. Like I just want to go on and on with a couple. So I'm not really sure. I'm writing for myself, but there is a chance some of this material will be released. Maybe a novella that overlaps Adore a little? I want to see their wedding, so I'm sort of writing toward that. I would also be interested in seeing them later down the road. 

3.     Where would you put these guys in say 10 years?

I would like to see them settled, comfortable, happy, very "out," and probably with children. They both want children, so I'd love to see them with two or three kids, both thriving in their careers and doing some advocacy for younger people who are in the position Luke was in the past. 

4.     Evermore. Tell us about this thought process. Religion is tricky to write but this felt well researched or almost personal. Was it?

Well, I'd been thinking about Evermore since 2007. I interviewed a megachurch pastor who was kind enough to speak with me "off the record" for this book. I also read a number of theology books about the Bible and what various parts of it say about gay relationships. I tried to read about that from all possible angles, from dry interpretations of ancient texts and language to more "pop" type pieces, like articles by people who believe various things. This was a situation where, in the final product(s) (Worship and Adore), only the tip of the iceberg was visible in the story, but for me to be able to write about this topic with any authority, there was a sizable iceberg below the surface of the water informing my writing. One of my best friends' husbands is an Episcopalian priest, so she read for me to be sure I didn't get any details seriously wrong from a church/organizational perspective. I also put an excessive amount of thought into how to tell Luke and Vance's story in a way that would not (needlessly) offend anyone, nor demonize any group of people, nor excessively espouse my own personal views.  But I'm evading your actual question, I think, which was are these topics personal to me. And I think I will simply say...yes. 

5.     Do you plot your books or sort of just wing it?

I mostly just sort of wing it. I usually know what the ending will look like, and early-ish on, I often know what the conflict will be. But I try to work from a character-led perspective. I try to know my characters as well as I can (which sometimes takes months), and once I know them, I try to know how they interact and how they relate to one another as well as I possibly can. And from that point on, I just try to weave a story that is based on who they are, how they relate, what their individual and couple conflicts are, and what the book is "about" in terms of subject matter. Like if one is a fire fighter, it's fairly likely the book's plot may feature a fire. I'm not a fan of plotting, at least personally. I find my brain can usually work a number of subplots and tie them off reasonably well at the end of the book with no need for an outline. The risk here is of getting things wrong, and sometimes I do. But a lot of times I don't, and I really enjoy the journey when there is no set plot. 

6.     You've written both MF and MM. Are you going to be writing in both areas now or leaning toward one?

I feel most passionately about my MM stories right now, but I will be writing more MF for sure. 

7.     Can you tell us a little about what's next for you?

I'm working on an MF book for probably a late January release. It's an enemies to lovers story with an interesting premise. I have another MF partially finished, which I'm thinking will release in April or May, and it's what I call my twelfth chance romance. And then I'll be releasing my next MM. It's got a challenging premise with high stakes, somewhat like Worship and Adore, so I'm looking forward to it. I expect it to be more challenging than Worship and Adore--to the degree that I don't know how to find this unlikely couple's HEA (yet). But I'm working on it. I think it has the potential to be a beautiful story. 

8.     If you had to cast Sky and Rayne in a movie who would you cast?

Man, I honestly don't know. I don't watch as much TV or as many movies as some people do. Not for lack of interest, but because I'm usually hanging out with my kids or working, and I do a lot of work in the evenings. I think I'm going to punk out on this one and go with Instagram models. In my mind, Luke looks like Christian Hogue (check out those recent pics of him in suits), and Vance looks like the model Vincent von Thien, who seems like such a nice (and also gorgeous) guy.  

9.     What would you say the hardest part about writing these books?

I wrote the first part of Worship for an anthology. I liked what I had written, but I wanted the story to be more. I spent two or three months trying to figure out how to develop that night together into something that felt more significant and more meaningful. Vance carried the material. Luke felt fully formed, but was a closed door. Ideally in a story, every character has active motivations and goals that (not by accident) serve to drive the plot. But I like to write characters who are kind of stuck sometimes, and those characters are typically difficult to maneuver because their goals and motivations are to not feel a certain way and not return the affection of the more actively seeking person. I wanted Luke to be a more active participant in the story, but ultimately what he was pursuing for some time was not Vance. That felt realistic for him, so I let him go with it. I even showed him in some scenes like that, despite feeling that reviewers would probably fault me for it. Then there is that scene in the townhouse, at the end of Worship (trying to avoid spoilers), and Luke is at a loss. Many people focused more on Vance's feelings and motivations in that moment, and I understand why. But I was more interested in Luke's. Because really, that moment is more life-altering for him. 
Then after Worship came out, and before Adore did, a number of readers made it known that they wanted certain things to happen at the beginning of Adore. They wanted to see Luke in a certain role and Vance in a certain role, because they empathized more strongly with one of the men and were frustrated with the other (again, avoiding spoilers). I was worried about the beginning of Adore, because I knew I would not be giving these people what they wanted. There was no realistic way to put the men in the situation these readers were hoping for--largely because of Luke. I won most people over, but I know there were a few who didn't like the direction of Adore. Luckily, most reviewers seem to have enjoyed it, and I've even seen people say it's one of their favorite reads of the year. 

10.  What's the best advice you've ever gotten?

There is a quote, and I think it's Tina Fey. "Do your thing, and don't care if they like it." I'm a people-pleaser by nature. I want to be liked. I want approval. I don't view that as a fault. It's a personality trait. But over time I've been able to cultivate an outlook where I largely do my thing and truly "don't care if they like it." Life is way too short to try to fit a certain mold or spend time with people who don't "get" you, or pursue something that's not your real passion. I've tried to focus my day-to-day life so that what's at the center is my family, my work, and the pursuit of happiness. I tend toward working too much, but I try to add the extra day onto the vacation, take that excessively long bath where I keep re-filling the hot water so I can read another chapter, and drive five miles out of my way to drop by my favorite donut shop if I want. I think life should be about loving each other well and grabbing every handful of happiness we can reach. 


Worship on Amazon: Worship on Amazon
Adore on Amazon: Adore on Amazon
Facebook: Facebook Profile
Facebook group: Facebook Group
Instagram: authorellajames 
Newsletter: Newsletter 
Worship on Bookbub: Worship on Bookbub
Adore on Bookbub: Adore on Bookbub


An epic, forbidden MM romance from USA Today Bestselling Author Ella James... 
You think you know me.
That's the way I want it.
Making you feel like we know each other--like we could go grab a beer sometime--is part of my job. Maybe the most vital part. It doesn't hurt that I'm easy on the eyes, single at 35, and born richer than sin. My aesthetic matters much more than it should, but all the better for my worthy cause.
And it's a worthy cause.
I've made an art out of making you feel good, and my influence makes you want to be good. Good like me. You think you know me, but you don't.
Everyone has secrets. Mine could cost me everything.
So I'm a fortress. No one's ever even gotten close.
Until tonight.
See that man, the tall guy dripping on the bow of my yacht? The one I just pulled from the ocean?
He's the one who's going to cost me everything.


To win a signed paperback copy of a combined book with both Worship and Adore 
Enter the rafflecopter below.
Contest will end on December 3rd
Thank you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I enjoyed these books WAY more than I expected to!

  2. Wow!!! What an amazing duet! Loved it!

  3. I love this Ella! Thanks for sharing some insight. This duet is in my list of Top Reads for 2019!

  4. Loved the Q&A I adored this duet!❤️

  5. I'm looking forward to reading these! I hadn't realized the beginning of the story was in the Spring Fling anthology- I remember wanting more from it!

  6. I am just dying to read these books. I loved the novella in Spring Fling sooo much.

  7. Oh my!!! These are two of my all time favorite books!!!! The chemistry 🔥🔥🔥

  8. Sherrie Watkins MerrellNovember 26, 2019 at 8:03 AM

    I'm InLove
    Read/Reviewed both and my new Favorites of the year
    Thanks bunches

  9. Still need to get Adore! Great Q & A ��

  10. Loved Luke & Vance's story and can't wait for more of them.

  11. I love your books and I'm always ready for the next one.

  12. I absolutely loved this Duet 😍💖💖 Rayne & Sky!!

  13. I just read Worship and I'm ready to dive into Adore. Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity.

  14. I'm really looking forward to reading this duet.

  15. love the original storyline for these books

  16. Am looking forward to reading this.

  17. Thank you for the interview! They look great!

  18. Great interview! I just finished both and Loved both Luke and Vance's story!

  19. Great interview!
    Can't wait to read these

  20. these sound awesome, I'd love to read them

  21. I love Ella's books :) So freaking much. I'm so excited to read this one.

  22. I loved both of these books and hope to some day see more of Luke and Vance.

  23. Love her books <3 thanks for the chance!

  24. I am so in love with Worship and Adore! I can’t seem to move on! ❤️❤️❤️

  25. I'm new to you, but I absolutely loved your interview. The book sounds seriously outstanding! I've known frauds, too..in the religious realm, and this sounds eerily like Televenge..

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