Successful, hybrid-published erotic romance author Alessandra Torre, or A.R. Torre, for her latest book, “The Girl in 6E,” has set bits of it in Brooklet, with a character from Statesboro. Released July 8 by the Hachette Book Group under its Redhook imprint, it is her first thriller and first book in hardcover.
Now a resident of Destin, Florida, Torre did some growing up in Bulloch County, but casual acquaintances may not realize it. Alessandra Torre, you see, is the pen name of Carnella Trimble, a 2002 graduate of Southeast Bulloch High School, where she ran track and was the 2001 homecoming queen. But from here out, she will be called Torre, the name associated with her books.
“I never wrote until about 2½ years ago when I sat down to write my first book,” Torre said in a phone interview. “That was the first time I ever did any writing other than creative writing courses in high school and college.”
After SEB, she went to Florida State University, where she received a degree in hospitality and business administration. She worked in banking for two years and then did office work for a developer before her husband sold his real estate business and their new financial security allowed her to quit her job.
Searching for a new direction, she found herself reading rabidly and was impressed by author E.L. James and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Torre said. Her husband suggested she try writing a book.
Another title she picked up at the time was Stephen King’s “On Writing.” She was about halfway through that book when she became convinced she could write one.
“So I sat down and just started writing and, in six weeks, I wrote my first novel and that was ‘Blindfolded Innocence,’ and that book exploded,” Torre said.
Self-published in July 2012 as a Kindle e-book, “Blindfolded Innocence,” quickly hit the Amazon Top 20. It was selling about 3,000 copies a day, which led to a bidding war among publishers, Torre said.
This resulted in a two-book deal with Harlequin, including “Blindfolded Innocence,” published in paperback that fall, and what turned out to be a sequel, “Masked Innocence.” Dissatisfied with the months it took for the second book to reach print, Torre said, she self-published the third book of the trilogy, “End of the Innocence” without seeking a print deal.
She self-published two more books, “Sex Love Repeat.” and “The Dumont Diaries.”
So Torre is a “hybrid author,” to use a trendy term. She both self-publishes through electronic formats and makes deals with traditional publishing houses for print editions.
“But in my heart, I’ll always consider myself what they call an indie, which is an independent self-publisher,” Torre said. “I’d prefer self-publishing, as far as having complete control, but traditional publishing can take me much further.”
Three of her books have made the USA Today’s Best-Selling Books, which lists 150 top books each week. “Blindfolded Innocence” hit No. 1 for two weeks on a list specific to erotica.
If that fact and some of the titles are not strong enough hints, be warned, Torre’s books contain explicit descriptions of sex, and she has a no-words-barred style.
“The Girl in 6E” is positioned as a departure from her previous five books. Besides being published in hardcover, it shifts the pen name from Alessandra to A.R., at the publisher’s initiative, to emphasize that it is a thriller, not a romance.
“You want a thriller to be released in hardcover in the summer, in June or July,” Torre said, indicating that this is a big deal for her.
Both the Harlequin and Hachette deals have brought her six-figure returns, she reports. The Hachette deal also includes a second book beyond “The Girl in 6E.”
Despite the shift in emphasis, Torre acknowledged that the book can be classified as “an erotic thriller.”
It describes very little actual human contact, but an abundance of cybersex between adults.
The central character, Deanna Madden, has experienced psychological trauma and knows she has a problem. “She has this obsessive desire to kill people,” Torre put it.
So Deanna sequesters herself in Apartment 6E, with someone hired to keep her locked in most of the time. From the apartment, Deanna supports herself as a “cam girl,” undressing – to say the least – in front of a webcam for clients who interact with her over the Internet.
In the course of her work, Deanna, whose apartment is nowhere near Statesboro but in another state, discovers that one of her clients has pedophile tendencies. When a young girl from Brooklet is kidnapped, Deanna is forced to make decisions.
“Readers like her. She wants to be a good person. She is not the bad guy,” Torre assured.
Besides hardback, the book has been published in e-book and audio formats.