From Backstreet Boys to American Idol w/ Andria Large

April 24, 2017

 From Backstreet Boys to American Idol w/ Andria Large

 

Hi! I’m Andria Large. My new release, From War To Forever, is my first traditionally published book. I’ve been self-publishing since 2013. I write both MM and MF Contemporary Romance.

Being an author wasn’t in my plans. At all. When I was 13 years old, I was a huge Backstreet Boys fanatic and while trolling the internet one day, looking at BSB fan websites, I happened upon a fan fiction site. Completely intrigued, I started reading these stories that other people had written about the boys. The gears in my head started turning, so I found an empty notebook and the words began pouring out. Story after never-ending story filled who knows how many notebooks. The stories revolved around The Backstreet Boys (mostly Brian and Nick) and myself as the main characters.

I eventually told a couple of my closest friends at the time and let them read my stories. They loved them and began writing their own stories. We would all trade notebooks in school and read each other’s BSB fan fiction. It was a fun little secret between best friends.

When I got my first real boyfriend at the age of 16, it took me some time, but I told him about my stories and he asked to read some and I let him. Being young and insecure, he became jealous of my love for The Backstreet Boys. It made me regret letting him read my stuff. I mean, seriously, who gets jealous of a story about someone your girlfriend will most likely never in a million years meet in real life? Silly boy.

I filled up a large Xerox box with over a dozen notebooks, every page completely covered. By then, I got an old laptop and started writing on there instead. I would spend hours in my room just writing. At that time, I never finished a story. Whenever I got tired of one, or had a new idea, I would just start over on a fresh page. I was also now making up my own characters, ones that had nothing to do with BSB. And I stopped putting myself in the stories I was writing. My creativity and storytelling was expanding.

Once I graduated high school, the writing sort of dwindled away. I had started community college taking liberal arts classes because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Nothing really appealed to me as something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I didn’t finish my first semester, failing out because I stopped going to classes. I got a job instead, working in a grocery store.  I became too preoccupied with friends and work to write.

I had been working at the grocery store for almost two years when I walked in one day and there was a new guy working in loss prevention. All the younger girls that I worked with were talking up a storm about this guy because he was young and cute. I was 19 and single at the time, so I was like, “Oooh, where?!”

I met him soon enough since I was a cashier and he kept coming through my line when on his break. We started talking and I found out that he was only working in our store for a week while one of our regular guys was on vacation. He was from New Jersey (I lived in Philadelphia) and he was 24 years old. On his last night working in my store, he asked me out on a date. We’ve been together ever since. Why is this relevant you ask? Because my husband has been my biggest supporter and a big part of how I got to where I am today.

My inspiration to write again came during season nine of American Idol (don’t judge me), the one where Lee DeWyze won. I fell in love with Lee’s voice and humble demeanor. My mind started wandering and a story started to form. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and knew that I had to get it out. So, I went to my computer and started writing. It was a sweet love story about a male singer and a female ballroom dancer who had no idea who he was. I never did finish the story and I’m actually not even sure what happened to the file, but what did happen was that I started writing again. New plots and characters were going crazy in my brain. My husband knew about my writing and even encouraged it. It was an escape for me, a place for me to go and unwind.

A friend of mine then introduced me to the paranormal romance genre. There was this series that he was reading and knew I would like it, so he basically demanded that I read it. Well, I soon got sucked right in. I was reading 2-3 books a week. When I wasn’t reading, I was writing my own stories. My mom told me about this trilogy that everyone was beginning to talk about called Fifty Shades of Grey. It sounded interesting even though it was nothing like what I usually read. So I read it, and enjoyed it, and it got my imagination working double-time.

That was when Henry was born. Henry was the first story I ever finished and planned on turning into a series with his brothers. Around this time, another friend of mine was starting a book blog and wanted to read unpublished books that she could review. No one but my husband knew that I was writing. I asked him what he thought about it, if I should send her my story. His response was, “What do you have to lose? The worst that can happen is that she doesn’t like it.” Well, shit. Okay then. I sent my friend my book and waited anxiously while she read it. I honestly didn’t think it was any good, so when she came back to me and said that she LOVED it, I was shocked. She told me about how you can self-publish on Amazon. I had no idea this even existed. So being overly excited and curious about what other people would think, I put the book up on Amazon–UNEDITED! I know. I cringe when I think back on it. But remember, I knew nothing about publishing a book. I knew nothing about the authoring world or what it entailed. All I knew was that someone liked my story.

Surprisingly, the reviews started coming in. The ones that weren’t tearing the book apart for editing were actually really freaking good. People were loving the story and wanted more. I did find an editor, or I should say, she found me. She had read Henry and contacted me through Facebook, basically saying I enjoyed your book, but girl, you need help, and offered her editing services. Four years, fifteen edited books, and four co-authored books later, she’s still my editor,  best friend and go-to person when I need to hash out ideas.

I delved into the gay genre with the fourth book of my first series. Christian was the youngest of his brothers and had fallen in love with his life long friend, Shea. Some readers shied away from reading Christian because the first three of the series were straight and they didn’t read gay romance. But then, there were the other half of readers who just had to know Christian’s story and even though they never read anything in the gay genre before, they read Christian. I can’t tell you how many times readers have told me that I popped their MM cherry. I’ve been told that they never would have read MM if it weren’t for Christian. I didn’t know of any other authors at the time who were mixing or crossing over genres, but I didn’t care, I was doing what my characters wanted me to do; plus I’ve never been one to follow rules all that well.

After Christian, I started a new MF series called Renegade. While in the midst of writing it, two of the secondary characters started yelling at me, demanding I write their story. An MM story. The kind of story that isn’t about sexual preference, but more about love and the need for that other person in your life. The War Trilogy is what evolved from those two characters shouting at me and readers fell head over heels in love with Dennis and Tucker.

For Dreamspinner to pick this series up was an incredible achievement for me. I never thought that I would ever be an author, let alone a traditionally published one. And working with the editors has been an amazing learning experience for me that I am truly grateful for. The War Trilogy is now one book and has been renamed From War To Forever. There have been some changes made to the story, but for anyone who read it the first time around, you will still recognize it.

The gay genre has definitely sucked me in and I find that I have a hard time writing anything but that right now. So maybe this is where I’m supposed to be? Time will tell. I’m just glad I got here. Tell me, who was the author who popped your MM cherry?

 

Check out From War to Forever today!

 

From War to Forever by Andria Large

 

Blurb: 

Dennis
The love of my life is dead. Is there a reason to live anymore?

I’m a veteran Marine. Terrorists took not only my foot, but also my wife. Recurrent nightmares, a dead-end job, and a painful limp are all I have left. My best friend, Tucker, and my sister, Lizette, keep me afloat. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Tucker… literally. And then, out of nowhere, there are these feelings. The kind I haven’t felt in years. The kind I’m not sure I can handle, or even want to. But they’ve started wrapping around my broken heart, trying to mend it. Only they are not for a woman, but for the man suddenly sharing my bed. I’m not so sure I’m ready to give love another go.

Tucker

The war took my hearing, but I’m alive. Many of my friends are not. I am building a life with my best friend, Dennis. We have become practically inseparable. And now, we are more than friends. I’ve never had feelings like these for a man. My parents, my brother, my buddy, Duke—will they understand how I feel about Dennis? Can I risk losing my family?

 

About Andria Large:

Andria Large is a traditionally published and self-published contemporary romance author. She doesn’t always follow the rules, so you will find both M/F and M/M books mixed into some of her series. She considers herself open and friendly, so feel free to send her a message if you have a question or just want to chat.

Website: www.AuthorAndriaLarge.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndriaLargeAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Author_ALarge
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_alarge/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nyD5P

 

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