Alessandra Torre is a new author who has already made a name for herself with her first self-published book called Blindfolded Innocence. Blindfold Innocence is a coming of age erotic novel that instantly became a best seller on Kindle selling in the top 25 among such top selling authors as E.L James, and J.K Rowlings. Her book caught the attention of agents and publishers. And was just ranked #14 on Everydayhealth.com's 35 Books to Read After Fifty Shades of Grey. As promised, I've posted an interview following my review of her book.
Read my interview to learn more about this author and how she's dealing with the success of her book and plans for the future.
Natasha Brooks: Can you tell our readers about yourself and your background/career before you published your first book?
Alessandra Torre: Hmmm….let’s see. I’m 28, married for seven years, live in a beach town in Florida. Before I published Blindfolded Innocence, I worked as an administrative assistant. I spend a lot of time with my husband and stepson, we enjoy SEC football, I am addicted to organizing, and enjoy horseback-riding, reading, and watching movies. I was lucky enough to find, and marry my best friend, so we are constantly together.
Natasha Brooks: What inspired you to write Blindfolded Innocence? Was it based on your personal experiences?
Alessandra Torre: Stephen King’s book “On Writing” was the catalyst to get me to actually put pen to paper. When I sat down to write, the characters and plot of Blindfolded just poured out. I got into a zone where I ate, drank, and lived the characters in the book. The story is certainly based on some personal experiences in my life, and Brad the main character definitely has some similarities to my husband but other than that it is mainly fiction.
Natasha Brooks: Are any of the characters like you?
Alessandra Torre: Julia, the main character, is very similar to where I was in life at age twenty-one. She is sarcastic, and has no problem putting the Hero in this book, in his place. She starts out the book very set in her thoughts and ideals regarding sex, and it was fun to record her sexual exploration.
Natasha Brooks: As a first time author, were you hesitant to self-publish your book? What made you finally decide to go ahead and publish it?
Alessandra Torre: I had very low expectations for Blindfolded. I loved the story, and was attached to the characters, but I had no idea of whether the book was any good. Given the erotic nature of the story, I didn’t send it out to any friends or family to get feedback, so I really ‘put it out there’ in hopes of getting some kind of feedback. I planned on Blindfolded being the first, practice step of my future as an author – I had no idea it would blow up in the way that it did. I wrote Blindfolded in six weeks, and published it three weeks later. It took me ten years to actually write a book, but once I had the story written, I was really anxious and excited to get it out there and get some reader feedback. That’s one of the great things about self-publishing, you can publish something, get feedback, and then make changes and fix issues.
Natasha Brooks: Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
Alessandra Torre: I have been a bookworm since age eight. I read a little bit of everything. My favorite authors include John Grisham, Kristin Hannah, Jennifer Cruisie, Gillian Flynn, and J.D. Robb. But that list is constantly changing and expanding. I like any author who steps outside the norm and surprises me.
Natasha Brooks: I first heard about your book through word of mouth, and have heard that it has done well on Kindle in the top 25 among such top selling authors as E.L James, and J.K Rowlings. How does that make you feel as a first time self-published author to have your book among top selling authors?
Alessandra Torre: It is surreal. I went through a month-long period where I went to bed every night pinching myself. After my first month of sales, I had sold a total of four hundred books. I remember purchasing champagne and toasting the success with my husband. Six weeks later, I was selling two thousand books a day! My pie-in-the-sky dream was to one day be able to make enough money that I could write full time. To already be at that point is insane, and something I am grateful for every day and will never take for granted.
Natasha Brooks: What was your reaction to gaining the attention of industry agents and publishers that have heard about your book?
Alessandra Torre: Getting my first call from an agent, and then from a publisher, was really exciting. I framed the first email from Simon & Schuster that I received. But what was initially exciting turned stressful very quickly. It was like walking a minefield, wanting to make the best decision for my book, and being so worried that I would make the wrong choice. To add stress, Blindfolded Innocence was banned on Amazon the day before the publisher bidding began. For almost a month, Blindfolded was barred from search results and rankings, due to its graphic content. I felt so helpless during that process, and was so worried that the ban would kill the possibility of Blindfolded making the transition to print.
Natasha Brooks: Tell our readers what Blindfolded Innocence is about. Is it similar to Fifty Shades of Grey?
Alessandra Torre: Blindfolded is similar to Fifty Shades in that it is written for mainstream audiences, and has an alpha male as its Hero. Other than that, they are very different. Fifty Shades explores the BDSM fetish, Blindfolded explores the world of threesomes/swinging – and society’s reactions and mindsets on sex. Blindfolded explores a forbidden relationship between Julia, an intern and Brad, an alpha male attorney. Brad, while pursuing Julia, ends up taking her into this deviant world and really expands her sexual boundaries.
Natasha Brooks: Was Blindfolded Innocence the first book that you wrote, or just the first book that you actually gotten to publish?
Alessandra Torre: First book I ever wrote. Since then, I have been unable to stop, and have two books in the wings.
Natasha Brooks: What do you like to do on your spare time when you are not writing?
Alessandra Torre: I read as much as I can – I have a young stepson, and spend a lot of time building Legos, playing laser tag, and trying to improve my skills at Madden. I have also been working on our house, which is currently in the last stages of renovations.
Natasha Brooks: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to write stories and/or self publish a book?
Alessandra Torre: Read “On Writing” by Stephen King. It is incredible. One of the first concepts he addresses is finding the stories. Open your mind and imagine – stories lie in random comments, de ja vu, dreams, fantasies, and secrets. Grab ahold of a thought and follow it and write the story down! NOW – not later, because you won’t remember it later.
Advice on self-publishing – don’t publish a trilogy unless you have the whole thing written. The better the story, the less patience readers have, and you never want to risk not finishing the story. EDIT, EDIT, EDIT – don’t do what I did and publish the story before it has been professionally edited. Spend the money and get a professional to proofread and check the grammar. It is one of the few expenses in this business, so invest in it. Assuming the content isn’t the sort to get you kicked out of the country club, have your friends review it and give you feedback. Not polite, friendly feedback – but hard to hear, brutal feedback. Actually listen to and process this feedback. And, once the story is written, rewritten, and the book is edited, get a great cover and then jump off the cliff – expecting to crash to the ground the first few times. That’s normal, and healthy, and will make your next story even better.
Natasha Brooks: Do you have any new projects that you are working on? How can readers learn more about you?
Alessandra Torre: I just finished a mystery about a webcam model with murderous inclinations. Her clients have a variety of different fetishes, and it explores those fetishes while progressing through the story. Facebook is a constantly updated feed into my projects; I have an Author page set up there. Or, readers can visit my website, at alessandratorre.com .
Natasha Brooks: Is Blindfolded Innocence available anywhere else besides Kindle? And what are your future plans for the book?
Alessandra Torre: Blindfolded is on iBookstore, as well as available on Nook. In June 2013, it will be available in print, through Harlequin Publishing, as well as in over thirty different countries.
Natasha Brooks: Where do you see yourself in terms of your career in the next five to ten years?
Alessandra Torre: I hope to publish three to four books a year and develop a regular reader base. My ten-year goal is to have a movie made from one of my books.
Learn more about the author on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/pages/Alessandra-Torre/344117675672437