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Ashley Herring Blake | Conversations in Character with Iris Kelly



Character Name: Iris Kelly


How would you describe your family or your childhood?

Loud. I’m the middle kid of three, and let’s just say my brother Aiden and my sister Emma probably spit up diamonds when they were babies. They’ve always had it together, had a plan, while I’m the kid who cussed out my high assistant principal about the patriarchal dress code. I tried to be well-behaved, I did, but I’ve just never been good at keeping my mouth shut, and, well, seems like well-behaved people never really get to have much fun. And I do like fun. My parents loved me—still do—but they’re not sure what to do with me. Never have been, and you know, that’s okay. I know what to do with me.


What was your greatest talent?

Oh wow, I’ve got so many. I can draw pretty well. Owned a paper shop for a while and designed planners, some of them custom made for clients. Had to close that down though, and now I write romance. Yeah, go ahead and laugh. But I’m pretty decent at it…until I ran up against some writer’s block, but it’ll be fine. It’s FINE.


Significant other?

Lol, no thanks.


Biggest challenge in relationships?

Look, I love my friends, would lay down in traffic for any one of them, but everyone thinking they know what I need and want makes me want to chew my own arm off. I need my friends to trust me. And I need my lovers to just not fall in love me, okay? Because I won’t fall in love with them…


Where do you live?

Bright Falls, Oregon, and good god, was it always this small?


Do you have any enemies?

Some of you might remember Spencer Hale? Aka, Shit Boot? Yeah, don’t like him very much. And Jillian what’s her face, she really didn’t treat me very nicely, did she? And anyone who messes with my friends, I will punch you in the nose. Just ask Josh Foster.


How do you feel about the place where you are now? Is there something you are particularly attached to, or particularly repelled by, in this place?

Look, I am fine, okay? I have lots of great sex, don’t get caught up in messy emotions, and that romance novel that’s due and I have absolutely zero ideas for is going to write itself, naturally.


Do you have children, pets, both, or neither?

I don’t. I’d like a dog. Or a cat, maybe. Cats are badass, I kind of admire them. I like kids, but I don’t want them, and no, of course, that’s hasn’t been an issue with any serious relationship I’ve ever tried to be in at all!


What do you do for a living?

According to my mother, nothing. In actuality, I’m a novelist and run an Etsy shop.


Greatest disappointment?

I’m not disappointed in anything. All those guys who treated me like nothing more than a piece of ass in college? Absolutely fine. I’m better than them. Jillian, who just failed to let me know she’s married when she slept with me over and over again? Whatever. I just…I wish…nope, never mind, I’m fine.


Greatest source of joy?

Hands down, my friends. They are the best group of queer badasses I know. Talented, funny, and perfect, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.


What do you do to entertain yourself or have fun?

I like movies. I also like the draw full of toys in my bedside table.


What is your greatest personal failing, in your view?

I don’t understand the question.


What keeps you awake at night?

I sleep like a baby, are you kidding me?


What is the most pressing problem you have at the moment?

I don’t…well, okay, all my friends are blissfully in love, and while I’m fine, it gets a little lonely sometimes. I don’t need anyone to complete me, gag, but…you know…I like holding hands, having someone to come home to. Just because I don’t wanna get married and have babies doesn’t mean I don’t want a partner. But convincing anyone I date of that? Ha, so why bother?


Is there something that you need or want that you don’t have? For yourself or for someone important to you?

Did I say I was lonely in the question above? Scatch that, I’m fine. Just want all my friends to be happy and healthy and have everything they want.


Why don’t you have it? What is in the way?

I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m fine, like I said a million times, no I’m not protesting too much! This interview is over! Thank so much.

IRIS KELLY DOESN'T DATE by Ashley Herring Blake

Iris Kelly Doesn't Date

A fake relationship after a horrible one-night stand is anything but an act in this witty and heartfelt new romantic comedy by Ashley Herring Blake.

Everyone around Iris Kelly is in love. Her best friends are all coupled up, her siblings have partners that are perfect for them, and her parents are still blissfully married. And she’s happy for all of them, truly. Iris doesn’t want any of that—dating, love, romance. She’ll stick to her commitment-free hookups, thanks very much, except no one in her life will just let her be. Everyone wants to see her settled down, but she holds firmly to her no dating rule. There’s only one problem—Iris is a romance author facing an imminent deadline for her second book, and she’s completely out of ideas.

Perfectly happy to ignore her problems as per usual, Iris goes to a bar in Portland and meets a sexy stranger, Stefania, and a night of dancing and making out turns into the worst one-night stand Iris has had in her life. To get her mind off everything, Iris tries out for the lead role in a local play, a queer retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, but comes face-to-face with Stefania, whose real name turns out to be Stevie. Desperate to save face in front of her friends, Stevie asks Iris to play along as her girlfriend. Iris is shocked, but when she realizes the arrangement might provide her with some much-needed romantic content for her book, she agrees. As the two women play the part of a happy couple, lines start to blur, and they’re left wondering who will make the real first move....


Romance Comedy | LGBTQ [Berkley, On Sale: October 24, 2023, Trade Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780593550571 / eISBN: 9780593550588]

Buy IRIS KELLY DOESN'T | Kindle | | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Love's Sweet Arrow | | | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Ashley Herring Blake

Ashley Herring Blake

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.





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