Ebony LaDelle, author of “Love Radio.”
Author and metro-Detroit native Ebony LaDelle is debuting a new book with the city at its core. Rooted in positive Black imagery, “Love Radio” tells a story of two teenagers who find themselves on the path of self-discovery, ambition and hope until they are hit by Cupid’s arrow.
“Love Radio” focuses on two teens who are destined for greatness. Dani Ford is focused, driven and determined to finish her senior year in high school with a bang. Prince Jones, a 17-year-old self-proclaimed love doctor, has his own show on Detroit’s radio airwaves. Giving dating advice to his listeners, Prince has aspirations of becoming a DJ and finding a love of his own.
With dreams of moving from Detroit to fast-paced New York City to become a famous author, Dani soon finds herself the center of Prince’s affections. Now, Prince must find a way to Dani’s heart but he only has a short time to do it. On a road to discovery, both teens find they must deal with personal challenges before taking a crack at love.
“I think it’s a story that everybody can resonate with. I think it’s a love story where people can really look inward and figure out are there things that I’m doing to self-sabotage my relationship? Am I ready for a relationship?” said LaDelle.
Choosing Detroit as the backdrop of this young love story came as no coincidence. LaDelle, who grew up in the Southfield area, is also a marketing and publishing professional. Employed at a publishing house, the new author was unable to find stories about Detroit and decided to take it upon herself to pen a positive story about the city.
“I kept looking for stories about Detroit that weren’t negative stories; that showed the positive side to the city that I love so much. I just wasn’t seeing it,” said LaDelle.
“Love Radio” captures iconic aspects of Detroit such as its lingo, hotspots and restaurants. With fond memories growing up, the author wanted to highlight the city’s bright spots and produce a novel that displayed Detroit’s character.
“There’s the tree lighting ceremony, that’s one of their dates. They go to Northland Skating Rink; Coney Island is in there; like a general Coney Island. I know how hard people rep their high school, so I didn’t want to do an actual high school from Detroit, but the fictional high school is Mass Tech,” said LaDelle.
Though “Love Radio” is designated for young adults, readers of all ages will be able to find themselves in its pages. The book challenges readers to look within and examine their own love stories while getting lost in its pages. Choosing a timeless piece like ‘Harry Potter” and “Twilight,” young adult books have shown they can stretch to adults of any age.
“The reason I made it young adult was because young adult reading is so important to me. That was when I had my love for reading. Also, young adult, it has mass appeal whether you’re a teenager or adult,” said LaDelle. “People have read it. People from Detroit have read it and said ‘what I could have given to have this book at 16, but also, I needed this book at 25.”
“Love Radio” and its intentional display of Black love breathes new life into Detroit literature. Typically rooted in drugs, violence and sex, rarely is the city portrayed in a positive light through literary means. Hoping it not only adds to the appeal of the city, the author also wants the book to encourage other Black authors across the city to write stories with Detroit in mind.
“I want people to look at artists in Detroit and say let’s talk to them. I want to see more stories like this come out of the city. That’s really what my hope is for all this is to be able to meet other Detroit authors who are trying to publish and put them on the map, too,” said LaDelle.
“Love Radio” will be available for purchase May 31. The author encourages readers to support local indie bookstores. The book can be pre-ordered at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Target and Books-A-Million now and will ship out on its official launch date.