Amena Brown: Hey. Normally y'all know I don't do separate intros for episodes, but today deserved a separate intro for two reasons. Number one, because you're about to listen to a really, really great episode. I'm talking with romance fiction writer Adriana Herrera. I cannot wait for you to hear our conversation. I loved it and enjoyed it so much, learned so much about not only romance fiction but the plus of why it's important to write unapologetically, happy endings.

Amena Brown: Speaking of that, we're doing a book giveaway for Adriana's Dreamer series. This book giveaway does include the first two books in her dreamer series. Book one, which is American Dreamer, and book two, which is American Fairytale. So listen, if you want to be a part of this book giveaway, and I know you do, go to where you can click on the show notes, follow the instructions there. Or, go to the episode description in whatever app you're listening to this podcast on right now, go there to the episode description there will be a link there that will also take you to the show notes. Follow the instructions there. Make sure you do all of the things to enter yourself into this book giveaway because you definitely want a copy of this, and enjoy the episode.

Amena Brown: Welcome everybody to another episode of season three of Her with Amena Brown. I am your host, I hope I'm your host with the most, or they would say your hostess with the mostest. I hope I'm that. But you all will have to tell me if that's true. I am really excited this season as you know, if you are getting yourself knee deep into this season we are talking to all of these amazing women of color who are creating and founding and building all the things in the world. And I am excited to welcome social worker, world traveler, fiction romance author who loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people. Welcome Adriana Herrera to the podcast. Woo.

Adriana Herrera: Yay, thank you for having me, I'm so excited.

Amena Brown: Oh my gosh, part of what's great for me about having a podcast is it just gives me a good channel for how nosy I am. And so, as soon as I was like looking into your writing and your story I was like, "Oh, I have so many nosy questions I want to ask Adriana, this is going to be great."

Amena Brown: So, I want to give a shout out to my friend, our mutual friend Leigh Kramer, who also does amazing work as a virtual assistant. Which basically means she's my friend and she fixes my life. So, one of the ways that she fixed my life is I was just going through the different guest lists that we had, and she was like, "Oh, I know who you should interview." So, thank you to Leigh for connecting the two of us. I think the two of you are online friends. She said you've never met in person.

Adriana Herrera: Yeah. We have never met in person, which is a very common occurrence in the romance world. Or as we call it, romancelandia. You meet a lot of people through Twitter, and it's basically all very connected to love of books. So Leigh and I know each other through our love of romance, which is super awesome and is one of the things that I really love about the romance community. But yes, she's amazing.

Amena Brown: And she really has educated me so much on just the romance community. Like, when she just starts rattling off to me the different authors that she knows, and of course I'm just so proud of her for the book she's also written. So, I'm so glad that you are on the podcast because I have so many things I want to know about what it's like to be a romance writer, and the things that inspire you.

Amena Brown: So, let's get into it. I want to- First of all, I always like to start with an origin story. And one of the themes that's been coming up whenever I talk to other women who are writers, there's this interesting relationship we all have as writers to the moment that we realize we were a writer, or the moment we felt comfortable to call ourselves a writer. Do you remember what the moment was when you discovered you were a writer? Was it early on in your life? Or was it later in life?

Adriana Herrera: It was later in life, and I think it was very connected to my upbringing. I grew up in the Dominican Republic. I came to the U.S. when I was 23 on my own to go to grad school. So I lived my whole life there, I went to college there and everything. And in the Dominican Republic, and I think that's a big developing world thing. Like being an artist, or being a creative person is not something that's to a degree really encouraged. Especially I think for middle class, upper middle class, where you really need a solid profession. Like, you want to be a doctor, you want to be a lawyer.

Adriana Herrera: Even though my entire life, books were the most important thing in my life, I never even dreamed the dream of being a writer. I just thought that was not for someone like me. So, when I came to the states, I came to the states a long time ago, I was 23, so I've been here for 17 years almost. I also kind of toyed with it, 'cause I was here in grad school. There's a lot more space for creativity. There's creative writing degrees, things like that. Which in the Dominican Republic it's not even a thing.

Adriana Herrera: So, I think then I felt like, okay, just regular people can be writers. So I think as the years passed, I started blogging about books. I had a couple blogs where I reviewed books, and those were really well received, and people really commented on how I wrote. And I was like, oh, maybe I could do this.

Adriana Herrera: So, that was a little seed that was planted a long time ago. But my moment where I decided to do it seriously was probably two years ago, right after the election. And I think a lot of people had cathartic moments after the election. So many people saw the light. But my thing was, I was just so troubled by the narrative around immigrants that was happening at that time. And it's gotten worse, which is really sad. But I really was feeling compelled to bring Afro-Latinx stories. Like the type of stories that I know from my family that came here in the 60s, of my own passage, coming on my own. I just wanted to place those stories in the romance space. Because I really- I felt really compelled to present stories of people of color thriving, and getting unapologetic happy endings. Like, we work for our happy endings so vigorously.

Adriana Herrera: So, I think that was kind of- it was a combination of me having this idea that I couldn't be a writer, and then coming into my own. Like I'm 40, I just turned 40 last year, and I'm feeling like in a good moment to reinvent myself. So I thought, this is a good time to finally do this. And romance has always been a great space of self-care for me. Reading romance. So, yeah. That's my long origin story answer.

Amena Brown: I love it. And I love that you described for you that reading romance is a self-care practice. Because I think I've been looking at my library a lot lately. Leigh and I were actually talking about this when she was in town last. And so part of it is decolonizing your library. So I got rid of a bunch of things that way. And then some of it was also just now that I've gotten rid of a bunch of stuff, it's like looking at what's on my shelves now and thinking like, well what are the gaps? What are the holes of books I wish were there? And I realized, I need more fiction and more poetry. A lot of the books in my library are non-fiction which is great and has its use. But I think there is so much that just reading fiction gives to us, and it gives to us in a different way than reading an autobiography does, or then reading just a non-fiction book does.

Amena Brown: So, I think that's a really powerful idea to remember, listeners, that reading fiction and reading romance can also be a self-care practice. So, you are a writer and you are a social worker in New York City. You work with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Would you say your vocation informs what you write? Or is it not necessarily an escape, but is it an outlet from your vocation? How is the relationship there between what the day gig is and your life also as a writer?

Adriana Herrera: Yeah, no it definitely influences it. I've always been a romance reader, but I'm a very voracious reader. So I've always read a lot. I'm known for my reading appetite, like I read a lot. But romance has always been a place like I said of self-care, but something that I always do for fun, like re energizing, 'cause I also read a lot of heavy books. My work is in trauma, so I'm constantly reading books on trauma. And so romance is kind of my way of- I don't know if cleansing my palette, but almost re imagining life. I hear so many things that are tough on a day to day basis.

Adriana Herrera: So, one of the things that I think my work really helps me with, is it really makes me thoughtful and mindful about how I present and render relationships. Like, power dynamics in relationships. Power and control, consent is something that I think a lot about. I've been having this conversation, because of course my debut novel just came out, so I've been having some conversations about the book. And people are curious about that connection, and I've been talking about not just consent as a yes, which of course we always want affirmative consent in any type of intimate relationship. But it's also the undergirding and building of a foundation for a yes that has substance.

Adriana Herrera: So, from the moment that the relationship begins, in romance we call that moment the meet cute, when the two people meet for the first time, the two romantic characters that are having the romantic relationship. So, I see it almost as a series of contracts, verbal contracts that happen between those two people, and they are going on back and forth until the moment of the big yes, where there's about to be physical intimacy. But there's been already kind of like a building up of consent because the relationships been balanced and there's been a- power and control has been aligned. So, that's something that I think about a lot, and I think it's because I see so much in my work.

Amena Brown: Yeah, so many moments where those power, in control dynamics go wrong. But in the writing, you are able to write about moments when that goes right, goes well for a character.

Adriana Herrera: Yeah. And kind of also like the pieces- specifically in men and women where they [inaudible 00:12:42] I think we live in a patriarchy, right? So if the women's only power is the ability to consent to sex, then is that yes really that powerful? Because if he has the power in every other aspect of life, he is the billionaire and he's like a magnate, and he's gorgeous, and he's seven feet tall. And she's the women, and the only thing she can consent or deny is her body. Then how powerful is that? You know what I mean?

Adriana Herrera: I like to play with those ideas of kind of dismantling the patriarchy a little bit, as I create those relationships.

Amena Brown: A word, using romance to dismantle the patriarchy, yes. Yes. We are here for everything about that. I want to as you, as a reader, and now as a writer of romance, why do you think it's important to have works of romance out in the world? What do you think that brings to the reader and being involved in a community of other authors who are also writing romance? What does it bring to the writer?

Adriana Herrera: This is something that is not something [inaudible 00:14:08] that Sarah Wendell is her name. She is the founder of this website called Smart Bitches Trashy Books. And it's a website that's dedicated to the romance genre. And she talks about happily ever afters being revolutionary. Like, the idea that you are not only happy, but that all that happiness is absolute and yours, is revolutionary. And the moment that we're living in, unapologetic happy endings, like saying all of this happiness is mine and I've earned it, because I'm me. Not because I had to change myself, not because I had to erase my identity or because I'm this type of person. Who I am, my sexual identity, my gender identity, all of that encompassed still gets me my happily ever after, I think is incredibly powerful.

Amena Brown: I think so too. And I never, until just hearing you describe this, like I don't know that I ever thought about this or put language to it. But I think that you're saying is so right. Like, I remember when my husband and I were first getting married. We were in that first one to two years, that newlywed time. I remember the first several months, I had to have a talk with myself. Like, this is a beautiful and happy moment in your life. You've married somebody that you love, that loves you, that respects you, that gives you this space, that you need in your life.

Amena Brown: And I think there was this part of me, sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop, you know? In life. And you know, and sometimes the other shoe does drop, that's how life is. But that there are also these moments that you can just be inside of exceeding joy and happiness, and I just had to have a talk with myself at that time of like, you know you have not been married 20 years like this crusty woman that you talked to about her marriage. And she's like in a terrible relationship, she hates it real bad.

Amena Brown: So, she's looking at me and my newlywed time like, "Oh well, I hope you enjoy it while it's good." And I sort of took in her sentiments in a way, and I had to just take whatever that was I took in and put it back out and say, "Hey, this is my happy ending right here, my happy beginning in some ways too." And I should enjoy that moment. And I think there are a lot of times in our real lives that we're not enjoying that happy ending.

Amena Brown: And maybe that's a way to your point that reading romance can teach us how to do that. How to be even in those happy moments, right?

Adriana Herrera: Yes. Brene Brown is real popular, and she's a social worker, but she writes a lot of self- and it's not self-help. But in one of her talks, she talks about love and how none of us would want to live without love. Like if any one of us asked, "Do you want to live for the rest of your life without love?" None of us would say, "Yes." Right?

Adriana Herrera: And I think we've created this idea that being able to sit in our happiness is almost something that we don't describe. Like we have to continue to brace ourselves for when it- because it's so wonderful and it's so life changing to find that type of love. And we've been taught and almost socialized to expect it to be taken away almost.

Adriana Herrera: and I think for women of color, or marginalized people, women, a person of any gender, that's living on the intersections of marginalized identities, it's not just that we're told. What we see is that the people that get to be in the movies or in the magazines, getting those happy endings don't look like us. And so, we are taught that this- it's almost like we're imposters. This is not supposed to be what we get.

Adriana Herrera: And I think that's also the power of romance, and romance that has diversity and own voices. Because when we can see ourselves. Like literal reflections of ourselves in people that are getting to have the gigantic happily ever after. And affirming, it's so affirming to see someone in the story getting that kind of happy ending that is just like you, in real ways.

Amena Brown: Oh, I mean, Adriana got me out here like, can I find a romance about a black women married to this red headed man? I'm just like, let me go looking and find my life today, because I'm here for all of it.

Adriana Herrera: I am here for the ginger and the black lady in love.

Amena Brown: Yes, yes. I was literally thinking like, 'cause my first- Actually, to be utterly honest. Adriana, my first thought was, "Could I write that?" And then I was immediately like, no sis. I mean, I could write it. But I didn't get a chance to finish your book, but I did read some of your book. And when I'm writing fiction, it don't sound like what you're doing, okay? It's bad.

Adriana Herrera: No, it's good, do it.

Amena Brown: So I could try and then one day, what I'm planning to do is just release a series that's like, "Here's all my really bad novels, guys." And I'm not going to try to make these non-cliché, I'm just going to leave all the cliches in there. Please enjoy. But you were encouraging me to find some stories to read, to take in. I think that is such a powerful reminder. I want to talk about your book, and I want to make sure my listeners know that this book that has just released, American Dreamer is in the Dreamer series. So you are going to release more books that go along the lines of this one.

Amena Brown: So, talk to me about American Dreamer. Like, tell me listeners a little bit. Just we want to give them a little taste right here that will make them go buy it right away. So tell us a little bit about that, and then how does American Dreamer as a book sit in the series of books to come?

Adriana Herrera: Yes. So American Dreamer is an LGBT romance, so the two main characters are two gay men. And Ernesto Vasquez is a Dominican entrepreneur, I'm Dominican, so I felt like the first one should be a Dominican guy. And he grew up in the South Bronx, and he put himself through culinary school, and he has a Afro-Caribbean food truck that he wants to make a success.

Adriana Herrera: So he moves upstate to try to make a go of it. His mom is already there, and he's just giving himself six months to get it off the ground. And if things just don't work out, he might just have to go to his regular job. So, as soon as he gets there, he meets Jude Fuller who is a librarian in town, and is also trying to get his own project off the ground. He wants to get books to the rural areas, to the use in the rural areas of the county where they live. It's a striving story is what I'm starting to call it.

Adriana Herrera: It's like two people who are striving to be their best selves in terms of their dreams, but also along the way, figure out also different things that are valuable and should be priories. And for Ernesto, he's an immigrant. So he's all about the hustle. He's out there in those [inaudible 00:22:45] streets trying to make this truck be a success. And Jude is someone that grew up in a really conservative family, so he's still kind of grappling with the emotional wreckage of coming out and being disowned by his family.

Adriana Herrera: And so it's a love story, but I think it's almost kind of an American Dream story.

Amena Brown: Oh, I love that. I love that. Just the parts that I had a chance to read, I was like, oh man. And knowing a little bit more of your story too. One of the things I really loved about writing my bad fiction was, you have all of these experiences, places that you've been, things that you've done, and you're not writing something that's necessarily a fictionalized account of your life. But you can take these bits and pieces of your own things you've seen, stories you've heard. And you can put that into this whole world that you get to create when you sit and write a fiction story. I mean that is just so inspiring to me.

Amena Brown: So, talk to us about how did you know- I guess I'll start with this. Did you know when you were first writing American Dreamer that you had enough stories here for a series. Like, how did you know, this is not just a book, this is going to be a series of books?

Adriana Herrera: Yeah, so romance tends to be kind of like a genre where there's multiple books. For the most part, unless you're writing a very specific type of sub-genre like fantasy or something like that. Books will come out standalone. But usually, there's a series. So, I kind of have that idea in mind.

Adriana Herrera: And then when I started thinking about this book, my hope was to be able to render, not just Ernesto and his own experience, but I wanted to show thriving communities of color. I wanted to show- Ernesto's story is not just his story, but it's his community story. His mom, his friends who are like his brothers. And it was important to me to show queer communities of color that were thriving.

Adriana Herrera: Because even in LGBT romance, which there's a lot of, it's very white. And when you do have a character that's Latinx or black, it's kind of like that friend, you know? So I wanted to show- create a community, create a world where the norm was Afro-Latinx queer people. And that's the space that I was in, and these people were striving and thriving.

Adriana Herrera: So, that's how I kind of came up with the idea. And then for Ernesto, I gave him three best friends who are all Afro-Latinx. The second book is actually coming out in May, and it's a Cuban/Jamaican social worker, and he works in New York City. He basically is kind of like my same job. And then the third character he's Asian, he came to the U.S. as a refugee with his mother when he was a child, and he is an Ivy league professor. And he's an economist. And the last character is a Puerto Rican man who works for the Yankees.

Adriana Herrera: So I wanted to show people who were doing well. Like, I didn't want to show a struggle story. I keep saying this, and I really truly feel like this. I don't want to write stories of people of color that are earning their happy ending through brokenness.

Amena Brown: That's powerful.

Adriana Herrera: I am tired of seeing broken black and brown people in fiction. We have struggle, of course we do. Our lives are full of conflict. But there's also so much joy in being who we are. And I really wanted that to come throughout of the gate.

Amena Brown: Let me ask you a question that I've never had the opportunity to ask a fiction writer. When I was in college, I studied English with actual intent to be a novelist, and became a poet in the end, which is most of my writing is poetry. But we watched a documentary, I cannot remember the name of it now. But I remember part of it was this interview with Alice Walker. And she talked about how when she writes fiction, her characters talk to her.

Amena Brown: And when she said that, 18, 19 year old me is like, "That's crazy. No, that is not. Whatever she's talking about, that's crazy." But later on, as a writer, I understood more what she meant. Do you find that to be true? Do your characters talk to you when you're sitting down to write? Or even if you're not sitting down to write, do you have moments that a character might sort of reveal themselves, or a piece of the plot kind of comes to you? How is that part of the creative process?

Adriana Herrera: There are authors- I think there's pantser's is what we call them. People that kind of just sit down and they're like channeling a character and they're just in it. I find that my process is a little bit different than that. Because I need to really build scaffolding for me to start writing. So I kind of have to really think about origin stories and what's the wound? Who hurt you character. That sort of thing.

Adriana Herrera: And then once I'm really feeling like I have a grip on the emotional arc and stuff like that, then I sit down. And it really kind of comes through in my head. Like I can think of what's happening in this scene, and I can really see it play out. I don't have voices, but I know that there are writers who do kind of- are so in tune with their characters that they're just kind of like rendering what they're seeing. But I'm a control freak, so I need to have an outline and a plot, basically.

Amena Brown: Which I also- when I wrote my first nonfiction book, I thought I was going to have the experience you watch writers have in the movies. Where they sit down and it's like, some bolt of inspiration hits you, and you just start click clacking at your typewriter, obviously. You know, it has to be a typewriter for people you see in the movies. That that's how you wrote a book.

Amena Brown: And I quickly discovered, oh no sis. Like, you need to have an idea of what you is trying to write today. Like, you need to have an idea, or you're going to drive yourself crazy and then you're going to procrastinate, and then you're never going to get this book written. So, that's also a good point. Scaffolding's a great word for that.

Adriana Herrera: That's me. I'm the person with the outline. I wish that I could- I mean, one of our most beloved romance authors is Beverly Jenkins, and she is an African American woman. She writes everything, but her historical are my favorite. Some of my favorite books. And she's a pantser. So she like sits down, and she talks about having arguments with her characters, because she is so in tune with her muse. I have to do a lot more work. Although, of course I wouldn't even allude to being in the same category as the [inaudible 00:30:51]. She's like a treasure, and basically royalty in romance. But her process is very different than mine.

Amena Brown: You mentioned something, and I think we were talking about this before we started recording. You mentioned that you just turned 40 recently, and I just have to ask this question for my own sake, but maybe for some other listeners too. I'm turning 39 this year, so I'll be 40 next year. And it was really wonderful for me to hear you say that a part of the process of you beginning this book and now this series of books was you were like, "I'm turning 40, this is a great time to reinvent myself."

Amena Brown: But now that you are on the other side of 40, I remember being in my early 20s, and 30 feeling like, whoa. I had some thoughts about what I thought life was gonna be. It is not that. But then it also turned out to be this totally new decade for me of going, well I don't need to hold myself to whatever I thought 30 was going to be.

Amena Brown: And for some reason in my mind, I had an idea that 40 was gonna be this like, I only have an airplane metaphor for this. But I just thought 40 was like, we've reached 10,000 feet. We unplug our seat belts now, we move about the cabin. Like, there was some sort of cruising that was happening, you know. In my 40s. And now, in my late 30s looking at 40, knocking on the door of 40 feels like, I feel like my whole life is about to reinvent itself. Can you talk more about what your thoughts have been about that, as you are entering this new decade of your life?

Adriana Herrera: Yeah, so I also had that- I think it's because our age. I think maybe our generation that you saw 40 as something like, well you have to be an established person, and you have to have all your things figured out by 35. And I think, as I was reaching my- as I was in my 30s and starting to really find my voice in terms of my work and the things I believe in, and how I wanted to show up in the world. I felt, I don't have enough time. I need the entire decade of my 40s to really polish this new person that I feel like I'm becoming.

Adriana Herrera: And so, I wanted... I have a thing, I was like, I think I'm gonna have to push back this cruising altitude as you mentioned, kind of timeline. And so I went back to school two years ago, I'm actually finishing up my master's in social work. I had a master's in international relations and then I did social work for a long time, and then I decided to go back to school.

Adriana Herrera: So, I thought the going back to school time was a good moment for me to kind of do the writing thing. So I kind of used this two years moving into my 40s to do something that I had wanted to do, that I hadn't done. I feel like I'm in my best moment. I feel like I love who I am, I've found my voice, and I think I want like another 50 years. I'm not done.

Amena Brown: Right, yes. Ah, that is so inspiring. Ah. Thank you for answering that question, because I hadn't planned to ask you. But as we were talking I was like, you know, let me circle back and ask her. Because I think it's good to process what we- in a way, what we expected our happy endings to be. But then maybe realizing which is a lesson that we can learn from just brilliant writers like yourself, realizing in our real life, we can also rewrite some things. We can also reinvent where we thought we might be headed, and find ourselves down a totally different story that may have totally different happy endings, but they are wonderful happy endings nevertheless.

Amena Brown: So, thank you for answering that for me. That was a little nosy question I needed to know. Okay, what tips do you have for other people that might want to also not only write fiction, but write romance? What tips would you have for writers who are interested in this genre just getting started?

Adriana Herrera: I think get out of your own way is one thing that I had to tell myself. I think, and this I think is a very woman of color thing. I think we really never feel like we have enough credentials to do what we want. So like, "oh well, if I'm going to write, I need to get an MFA. Oh well, if I'm going to write, I need to get a PhD or whatever."

Adriana Herrera: And it's like, because we are- I mean it's a reinforced message that we're like, you don't belong here. I just finished that Michelle Obama memoir, like two or three weeks ago. I've been thinking about it a lot, because she kind also had that experience of having to tell herself, like no, I belong in this world. And I think for us, for me, for any fiction writer, you have a story to tell. You can just tell it. And of course there's structure, there's technical things that you need to do to make that story polished and strong and have good pacing and plot points and all that. But you can tell your story, and then you can build it into a book that you can put into the world.

Adriana Herrera: So I would say just tell your story and get out of your own way. Like, you belong here too.

Amena Brown: Yeah. And not like, building these barriers in front of yourself, 'cause that's definitely a thing for a lot of women of color I know who are entrepreneurial or in creative work, or just even in business and all sorts of fields . I feel like there can be this idea of like, I gotta add 10 steps to myself before I move on whatever this idea is that I have and I want to put out in the world. And even when you talked earlier just about your initial writing being on your blog and about the books that you loved reading. That also was really inspiring to me too, because I think we have a lot of tools at our disposal now to be able to say, hey this is a thing I want to do, let me give it a shot. Let me try and see and see how people engage with that, and see how you feel in the process. Like I really think that's a dope way to think about it, is really, what can you do to just start.

Adriana Herrera: Yeah, right. And I think I heard, I think it was Elizabeth Gilbert, I think she wrote Eat Pray Love. Someone was at a talk with her, and she said something I think is so great. She said, "Perfectionism is fear in a bad mustache." Like, poorly disguised fear. And I think, again, I think for a lot of women of color, we really have this ingrained idea that we have to show up perfect. And not because we made it up, like it's something that we are told by all of society.

Amena Brown: Absolutely, yeah, yeah.

Adriana Herrera: Like the twice is good thing. You know? Like you need to be five times better than everyone else, just so you can sit there and feel like you belong in the room. And I think that turns into a fear of failure, and a feel of told that we're not good enough. That really puts us- kind of hinders us. Just going for us stuff.

Amena Brown: Yeah, yeah. So listeners, whatever your thing is, if it's a book, a business idea, something you want to do in your community, whatever it is. We are telling you, start today. Pick something and start today. You deserve to be in the room, I love that.

Amena Brown: Want to ask you the three questions that I'm asking every guest this season. Question one, what inspires you to create?

Adriana Herrera: I am going to say my community. Like the people that I have around me, the people that I've been around and all the places that I've lived and worked and where I come from. I want all those stories to have space in our world, and there's not enough them out there I think.

Amena Brown: Question two, what is one thing you've made that you are really proud of?

Adriana Herrera: I'd say my book, American Dreamer, I'm really proud of it, and I'm really proud of myself for seeing that through.

Amena Brown: Question three, if you could give another woman a 'She Did That' award, who would it be and why?

Adriana Herrera: I'm gonna go with Janelle Monáe, because-

Amena Brown: It's a good one. That's a good one.

Adriana Herrera: Because I've just been living for her music, basically, and her aesthetic. Everything about her I find is everything I want for women of color for the next 1000 years.

Amena Brown: Janelle Monáe, she did that. She definitely did.

Adriana Herrera: She so did that.

Amena Brown: She Did That Award. And you also deserve a 'She Did That' award, Adriana for not just having the idea for a book, but sitting down and doing what I know is the hard work of writing one, putting it out there, and I'm so excited that we have more books to come from you. If people are listening to this, they want to buy your books. They want to buy more than one copy of our book, because they want to have one for themselves, they want to buy one for a friend. They want to follow you, where should they go? What should they do?

Adriana Herrera: So I have a website, it's, and there you can find everything that you would want to know about my books and my writing, what I'm working on. I'm pretty active on Twitter, and my handle is @ladrianaherrera. L-A. Like ladriana. Those are the two places I'm on.

Amena Brown: Awesome. People, go there. Go there and do the things. Go and buy these books right now, and I just want to thank you so much, Adriana, for being on the podcast. I have learned so much for answering all my nosy questions, thanks for joining us today.

Adriana Herrera: Thank you for inviting me, it was so wonderful to talk to you.

Amena Brown: HER with Amena Brown is produced by DJ Opdiggy for Sol Graffiti Productions. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, write a review and share the podcast. Thanks for listening.