Today I’m very happy to welcome Kristen Ashley to Bookish Temptations. She’s one of my and Tamie’s favorite authors. Just FYI, this my first time interviewing an author so I’m really glad and excited that it’s Kristen fraking Ashley. She’s that author that can do no wrong for me. I love the crap out of every freaking book she writes, as you guys may noticed when you read my reviews of her books (totally fangirling here). I hope you guys enjoy this interview as much as we do.
PS: I didn’t pass out when I got the news that I’m gonna interview Kristen Ashley. Just squee-ing and dancing. You know, like any normal fans.
Thank you so, SO much Kristen, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview. Tamie and I here at Bookish Temptations are such a huge fans of yours. The questions below are from the both of us. It’s a pleasure to have you at our blog anniversary.
And it’s a pleasure and an honor to be asked to be a part of your anniversary! Thank you!
Lord knows I love all your books, but your Unfinished Hero series is kinda stand out for me. It’s not your typical romance story or even any romance story out there. Where did the idea for the Unfinished Hero series originate? What draws you to this genre?
I had always wanted to write an anti-hero. Although I always wanted to do that, it concerned me. I’ve been drawn to anti-heroes for years, they fascinated me, and frankly, I found them attractive. Like Tony Soprano. On the face of, considering that character is a pretty vicious criminal with significant moral issues, I still was drawn to him. I found him fascinating and attractive. Then, of course, there are characters like Jax on “Sons of Anarchy” and Boyd on “Justified.” Exactly the same thing.
But how do you make such a man the hero of a romance novel? That’s a challenge, a huge one.
I had a friend ask me what I’d never done with a novel that I’d always wanted to do and that was my answer. Then I wondered why I didn’t just do it. That was when Knight came to me. And the way he came to me I knew his book would explore the sexual relationship he’d share with his heroine in a way that was far different than my other work.
Of course, that made me nervous too! Double whammy of writing an anti-hero and taking on a far more erotic romance.
But lucky for me, I had a posse of friends/readers at my back who cheered me on along the way, not to mention supported me through the process, and KNIGHT the hero and the book were born. Even luckier, he and the ones who followed were well-received. Yippee!
Which book was the easiest for you to write and which book was the hardest? Why?
Actually, they all start out easy but then they all have their moments where it isn’t so easy. In nearly every book I’ve written there comes a time when I struggle. I’ll be going gangbusters for chapter after chapter and then suddenly I’ll go from writing two to three chapters a day to finding it difficult to get through one!
It was such an issue I had to sit down and think about it in an effort to figure out why that happens and stop it from happening. What came to me was that about mid-way/two-thirds through the book, my subconscious realizes that it’s going to be done soon. And I love writing, I love my stories, my characters, and this is not something I look forward to. Although I do revisit my characters, bring them back frequently, give them cameos in other books, I’ll never have that time again. That time that’s just me and that hero, that heroine, their story. So I close down and draw it out so I’m not winging my way to say goodbye.
I’m writing Joker’s story from the Chaos series and am right now in that part. The beginning of the book flew from my fingers. Now, I’m dragging it out because I’m enjoying it so much.But I’ll finish it and find my way to say my farewell. And then onward!
Describe your favorite place to write. Is music playing or is it silent? Do you prefer to write at a certain time of day?
I write mostly at my desk in the Rock Chick Lair (my office over my garage). I have a view of Camelback Mountain and a fridge filled with flavored water and there’s lots of pink all around. I may, very occasionally, open up my laptop at my kitchen island and tap away. But I prefer to be at my desk where I have all my familiar things around me.
I do not have any distractions outside of my two cats who allow me to write and then come to a time where they’re not so fond of it and let me know. 🙂
I’m most productive if I start in the morning. That means life things and work things aren’t on my mind, nothing but the story is on my mind. If I pay bills, work on my website, head out to the grocery store and come home and try to write, the rest of the world intrudes and it’s harder to get into it. I’ll find my mojo, of course, but it takes longer. But if I get going first thing, my fingers fly!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm…good question. I don’t know if I have one! Outside of needing total concentration and quiet (when I was married, my hubby would wear headphones to watch TV because I couldn’t even have the TV downstairs sounding). I wish I had a quirk. Not having one is boring!
If you were single and could have one date with one of your guys who would it be and where would you go?
Another good question! And since I am single, I can think of these things. 🙂 🙂
But as good a question as it is, it’s totally impossible to answer! My first thought was Luke from ROCK CHICK REVENGE and I don’t know why. Probably just because he’s Luke. My second thought was Hop from FIRE INSIDE because I’d hope he’d take me to a bar where he’d get up and sing to me. Sam from HEAVEN AND HELL gives good dates. I’d love being at a restaurant in Lake Como with him. Same with Ren from ROCK CHICK REVOLUTION.Not to mention, Lee from ROCK CHICK would probably take me to Las Delicias and I love that restaurant (and Mexican food on the whole). And if I had a date with Hawk from MYSTERY MAN, he might bring me a pair of shoes.
Clearly, this is impossible. It’s like picking your favorite dessert!
In 10 Things You May Not Know About the Rock Chicks, you mentioned that Tex and Mr. Kumar are real people. How about your alpha males? Are some of your alpha males real people too *crossing fingers and say a little prayer*?
The actual characters, like Tex and Mr. Kumar, I’m sad to say no. But my life is filled with alphas who give me a lot of fodder for hero traits. My heroes might be exaggerated, but not much!
What are you most proud of in your books?
I think it might take me a year to answer this. I’ll try to make it short.
I’m very passionate about my writing. My characters and I sometimes don’t get along but I’m proud of the fact that I’m a control freak but I’m able to let that go and allow them to use me to tell the story.
I’m also proud of the subtle messages I can relate that people read. Like flaws are beautiful and we should be proud of the ones we have, own them, let them show, because they’re our brand of beauty. Like a woman doesn’t have to have what is considered in today’s society as the “right” kind of body (or age, or height, or style) and she’s still amazingly beautiful. Like we shouldn’t judge each other and be far more accepting. And when someone in our lives messes up, it’s a waste of life to hold a grudge, hold on to anger, and instead we should be forgiving (for, when we mess up and realize it, we’d wish for the same thing).
And last, I feel great pride when readers contact me and tell me how deeply they relate to my books. Or that they get so immersed in them, my work help them through tough times (and some of these times have been tough). That’s an amazing (and unexpected) privilege.
What is the best experience you’ve had since becoming an author?
Finding readers. As a writer who’s wanted to be just that since I could remember, I first just thought about telling my stories. Then writing my stories.Then finishing them after I started. Of course, you hope people will read them, but you can’t possibly imagine how that will feel when it happens.
Recently, I was watching the “Sons of Anarchy – Afterword” that aired after the season premiere. Kurt Sutter was asked how he felt about the intense love and loyalty the show gets from its huge number of fans. Mr. Sutter is exceptionally talented (as “SoA” attests) but I was delighted to hear his words…and see his body language. He’s openly humbled by the devotion his watchers give his show. And watching him, even though I have the same but on a much smaller scale, I thought what he said (I wish I remembered it verbatim) and the way he was when he said it was exactly how I feel finding loyal, dedicated readers of my novels. It’s humbling. In the most beautiful of ways.
Fast and Furious:
Show or Tell? I’m a writer. Definitely tell 🙂
Dream Vacation?Right now it’s Fiji, where I hope to take my first real, relaxing, get away from it all vacation in years next spring!
Fingers or Forks? If you can eat it with your fingers, I will like it.
Truth or Dare? I’m a big proponent of truth.
Hot or Cold? Cold in summer, hot in winter.
Beverage of Choice? Coffee or Diet Coke…unless you’re talking alcoholic then it’s Fat Tire, sparkling wine, Beaujolais, whipped cream vodka and diet orange or Captain Morgan and Diet Coke
Favorite: Sound, Song, Color, Number?Sound: Waves lapping on the shore; Song: Impossible to pick; Color: Pink; Number: 3
One word to describe yourself?Loopy
Thanks for a GREAT time, ladies! And again, many congratulations on your blogiversary!