Thursday, February 16, 2023


I want to first thank both Addison Wolf and Raissa Donovan for taking the time for this interview!

Addison Wolf is the pen name of Adara Wolf, for writing dark (MM)M/f romances. 

Under either name, she enjoys writing dark situations and characters finding themselves in very dubiously consensual situations. Please check her website for a full list of works and detailed content notes for them.

Raissa Donovan is the pen name for M/M writer R. Phoenix. Raissa has ventured into writing dark (MM+)M/f romances.

As R. Phoenix, she writes anything from pretty pink fluff to dark noncon twincest. She prefers to write dark — the darker, the better — but sometimes her muse takes her to some pretty strange places. Her books are primarily available on Amazon, but the especially taboo works are only at Smashwords.


I have color-coded both Addison Wolf's and Raissa Donovan's responses to the interview questions.

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

ADDISON: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. Usually fanfiction of some sort (I was very into Sailor Moon, Ranma ½, and Slayers), but I was constantly making up stories. 

I wrote my debut novel, Under His Heel (under the name Adara Wolf) when I was in a bad job situation, and a friend suggested publishing it for real in order to help me escape the job. It worked! I was so much happier after that, and now I can’t imagine not writing regularly.

RAISSA: I can’t remember not wanting to be a writer. I was always making up stories (and dear gods, I’ve reread some of them as I’ve gotten older, and my mind has always been twisted). I had a lot of that… “it’s too hard to succeed as a writer” negative talk around me, so I set it aside for a long time. I did some role playing, which I love, but I didn’t actually start publishing until I was in a… bad… job… situation… Oh, look, hi, ADDISON! LOL. So I started publishing as R. Phoenix.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

ADDISON: I picked up a lot of tropes that I like from the anime/manga I consumed, especially the BL (boy’s love, M/M) genre. 

When I was in college, I started reading a lot more published (in English) M/M fiction. Oh, and one friend linked me to The Administration by Manna Francis right during one finals week. She must have been trying to sabotage me because I wasn’t able to stop reading until I was done with the entire series 😂

RAISSA: Tamora Pierce is one of my main inspirations. I love her YA fantasy and how it’s realistic and she delves into things. 

Brandon Sanderson is my current favorite author, who I’ve learned a great deal about character- and world-building from. 

Ditto Jim Butcher, with urban fantasy with a plot. (Though sometimes those authors also teach me what not to do.)

Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

ADDISON: nope! I don’t want to know anybody like my characters IRL, they’re all awful people. The only “influence” I’ve drawn for some characters is looking at how IRL tyrants operate and extrapolating that into some of my villains.

RAISSA: On my R. Phoenix (MM) pen name, one of my books is based on my abusive relationship with my ex-husband. I poured my heart out on the page for that one, and there are definite parallels between characters and situations. Not so much with my MF/RH stuff, though. I like making new things up too much.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

ADDISON: For Spoils of Victory/Breeding Contempt, Rai and I both knew we wanted to do something dark. 

Mafia settings lend themselves well for the kind of dark romance we both enjoy, and we brainstorm together. Sometimes I’ll research stuff and be inspired, or I’m listening to a history podcast and I think “whoa that’s so cool, I need something like that in my book(s) too.

RAISSA: I usually get a line in my head, an opening, or some sort of idea that I want to play with. Sometimes it’ll come and it’ll be overwhelming. With SoV/BC, though, Addy and I had a solid idea of what kinks we wanted and we sort of built the story around how to make those kinks make sense within a story.

Do you use/have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

ADDISON: I used to not plan stories, and… it turns out, that’s a bad idea for me. Books are easier to finish if I know where I’m going! These days I try to have at least a rough outline, but a more detailed one is better because it keeps me on track and I know where I’m going with a story.

RAISSA: I don’t generally plan my solo works. I like seeing where things go on their own. But with Addy, we spend a lot of time planning and plotting to make sure we know what’s going to happen when. Without those detailed outlines, I don’t know what we’d do. (It’s almost like I should maybe start using them in my solo works or something…)

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

ADDISON: I just have these vague images of the characters in my head, and I’m bad at describing them. I need to get a little better about it. I don’t generally look up inspiration images.

RAISSA: I have something called aphantasia, which means I don’t get mental images. That means I have a hard time with descriptions of characters and surroundings sometimes, because everything is just… words? I don’t know how to describe it. But yeah! I come up with little characteristics to focus on (like Lucia’s long, dark hair, and Vanessa being tall, and Giuio’s douchey blond highlights…) and I go from there.

Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

ADDISON: I really enjoy chilling with a good video game.

RAISSA: I love cooking competition shows. I get way into them, too. I’ll talk to the TV sometimes, like, COME ON, and WHAT DO YOU MEAN, you didn’t taste your food?! (Meanwhile, in real life, I can’t cook. :-D)

Who are your favorite current authors to read?

RAISSA: I’m really picky on books, so I’m even behind on my favorite authors. But I love Bey Deckard (MM — if you want a good mindfuck, check out Max and Better the Devil You Know), Brandon Sanderson (epic fantasy), Jim Butcher (urban fantasy), and DJ Heart (MM). Those are auto-buy authors for me. I also have discovered and am really enjoying Sam Mariano. (MF).

What are your favorite books by others?

RAISSA: Max by Bey Deckard (MM), Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (epic fantasy — I have tattoos from the Stormlight Archive series plus all sorts of swag), Under His Heel by Adara Wolf (yes, I’m biased since she’s my co-author but… OH WELL.)

Do you write in single or multiple POV?

ADDISON: I think I prefer single POV but I’m mostly writing dual these days, especially for RH where it’s useful to have everybody’s POV about the relationship!

RAISSA: Multiple POV for the most part. I love getting inside everyone’s heads. My porn tends to be single POV, though.

What do you find to be your best research tool?

RAISSA: Research? What research? :-P No, I let Addy handle that stuff. I get distracted too easily.

Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

ADDISON: Yep, it’s a pen name. I have two right now: Addison Wolf and Adara Wolf. Addison is for the dark het/RH stuff, while Adara Wolf is for dark m/m.

RAISSA: Yes! R. Phoenix is for MM stuff, and Raissa Donovan is for my MF/RH stuff.

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

ADDISON: I write dark romance. I just really enjoy dark kinks etc, so that’s why I gravitated to that. It’s something I’ve been into for a long time and it’s great to be able to do that on a semi professional basis.

RAISSA: I primarily write dark psychological stuff. Some romance, some not. I love the dark side of things, and it’s extremely cathartic for me to get it out while writing. I’ve had some bad experiences in my life, and as it turns out, writing dark, dirty, terrible stuff makes me feel better. Go figure. (I promise I’m a nice person!)

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

ADDISON: I foster cats! I love fostering them because it gives me a kitty companion, and I’m helping them find a forever home, while still giving me the freedom to travel when I need/want to. 

I also enjoy painting, although I haven’t done that in a while… I need to get back into it.

RAISSA: I have a BA in English and an MS in Cybersecurity Studies. Yet here I am, writing dark, fucked-up fantasies and working myself half to death because I value my independence so much. 

I have 5 cats of my own (one is currently snoring on the bed across the room).

If you are a duo writing team, how do you share the writing process?

ADDISON: We do phone calls to plot out the novels, and then when it’s time to write we have set hours for it and kind of go back and forth depending on what’s in the chapter.

RAISSA: It’s sort of like role playing, which is probably why I love it so much. 

Here’s an example of how we go back and forth from Breaking Lucia:

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

RAISSA: Avoid Goodreads, for the sake of your own mental health. There’s a saying that reviews are for readers, and while you can learn some from reviews, it’s not worth it. 

Opinions are like assholes: everyone has them, and there’s something about GR that really brings out the troll in people. I don’t understand why, but it’s pretty sad. :-\

How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

ADDISON: Since I write dark rom, a lot of the negative reviews are people who complain about exactly what’s on the tin. I ignore them or laugh about them. Not all books are for everyone, and if the reviews keep others who hate dark rom from reading, that’s a net win.

RAISSA: I don’t read reviews unless I’m feeling particularly masochistic. I’m thin-skinned. Addy reads them and shows me the good ones.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

RAISSA: Oof. Getting focused. We supposedly start around 9 a.m. with writing but sometimes we don’t end up getting started until much later because of admin stuff and FB and whatnot.

What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

ADDISON: Yeah! I set up an office for myself that’s really helped with productivity. And it’s pleasing to look at.

RAISSA: My back says I need my desk, my brain says I need my cats. I used to sit on my bed to write with my laptop, but my back was like uhhhh nope! So now I just longingly watch the cats across the room on my bed.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

RAISSA: Brandon Sanderson, though I’d be too awed to say much of anything! 

I’d love to really get into his head and ask him some questions he might not want to answer in a public forum, though. (No, no, they’re not filthy questions. :-P)

What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

RAISSA: We usually meet up in the mornings, from around 9-12 a.m. Mon-Sat. Then we write for… most of that.

Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

RAISSA: Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t! It can be distracting, but sometimes it helps me get into the mood.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

RAISSA: Allll the time. Three of my cats in particular like to join me while I’m writing. Two of them get on the back of my computer chair and just sort of settle there after I pet them a little.

What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

RAISSA: Mean reviews. Not bad reviews like, eh, I wasn’t fond of the characters. 

But bad reviews like, SHE IS ENDORSING RAPE by writing this. Because no. Just no. I’m not. :-(

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

RAISSA: I’m not that crazy.

How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

ADDISON: I like to take a few days off after I finish a book for the first time. I’ll probably play video games to chill for a bit.

RAISSA: I love taking time off and napping. I love naps.

I hope you enjoyed this interview! 

Check out all my interviews/reviews for Addison Wolf & Raissa Donovan!

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Addison Wolf & Raissa Donovan
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R. Phoenix

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