It is no secret that Kristen Ashley is my favorite author. Every single book she writes is pure gold. She has this way of pulling you into these worlds she creates, and these characters, who are larger than life, become your friends. You find yourself thinking about them between books. You go back and reread, falling in love like it’s the first time. You find yourself crying again at a scene you’ve read no less than ten times (Sam in At Peace??) When she gives you the epilogue of all epilogues (Hold On), you find yourself re-reading ALL THE BOOKS to figure out who the green eyed girl is that wins Ethan’s heart. So when I was granted the opportunity to ask Kristen 5 of my very own questions, I panicked. Kristen has always been so forthcoming with information, I had no idea what I could ask that hadn’t already been discussed. So, I did what any Rock Chick would do. I turned to my girls in the AAKA group and asked for help! 🙂 After much deliberation, here is my brief interview with our Queen.
5 Questions with Kristen Ashley
If you could live in any one of the worlds you created, which would you choose and why?
Oh my goodness. This is hard to answer because I’d absolutely LOVE to walk into Fortnum’s, Bubba’s, J&J’s or have a sandwich at Skippy’s Crab Shack.
But I think it’d be very cool to be able to hang in my Fantasylands (though, I’d need a sensitive warrior if I were to hit Korwahk, HA!).
In my head, Lunwyn, Hawkvale, Bellebryn and Fleuridia are amazingly beautiful. To be in a sleigh swooshing over snow in Lunwyn or on a horse through the Disney-esque countryside of Hawkvale or shopping the markets in Bellebryn…not to mention all the men who come with! I’d love that. I have no idea if I’d love that for the rest of my life. Cell phones and sushi are important! But it’d be fun for a good long while.
Do you have any deleted scenes you would be willing to share with us?
You know, the first time my publishers asked if I could give them some deleted scenes they could use to help promote a book, I was taken aback. Deleted scenes? Say what? Until that point, that hadn’t happened to me. I didn’t have any. I don’t think I’ve ever had any. A book flows and I go with it.
Though, in both LAW MAN and MOTORCYCLE MAN, I went somewhere my characters didn’t want me to go. In LAW MAN, Mitch and Mara found their way together through my force a lot sooner. And in MOTORCYCLE MAN, there’s a certain point Tyra forgives Tack for being…well, full-on TACK! that seemed more me than Tyra. So I wrote over both. I didn’t save them. I just rewrote them.
Can you tell us a little bit about your writing work space. Do you like to cocoon yourself in a windowless room, or do you move throughout the house with your laptop?
No cocooning in a windowless room! HA! My cats wouldn’t come up and hang with me if that was the case. Though, I usually do have to be at my PC at my desk in my office over the garage. Two walls of that office are windows and I have a beautiful view of Camelback Mountain, tons of sun usually coming in, bright and warm and cheery. It’s a big space and my sister/assistant, E, has a work area here so sometimes she gets to be with me. The cats have a couch to destroy with their claws and lounge on. So it’s perfection.
I wish I was one of those roaming people who could work anywhere, and I have to admit, I’d like to see if I can train myself to do that next year. Get outside with my laptop. Go to a coffee house. But for now, it’s all about the Rock Chick Lair!
When did you realize that writing could be a full time job for you? Was it a bit scary making that leap?
I actually did something very crazy and absolutely, 100% NOT recommended and quit my job to be a full-time writer even before I’d started selling any books.
Now, I’ll add a caveat to that that at that point, I’d completely written or mostly written around 25 books and I had a lot of things already going. My website was up. I’d already published a couple of books. I’d started a newsletter. I had my Facebook page running. So as I independently, digitally published my books, I had a rather large library and was very deep into a number of series, therefore if things hit, there was a good deal for people to jump into.
But my then-husband and I had a little nest egg and I’d gotten to the point where I felt it was now or never. I gave myself two years to go for it, though only one year to do it out of a day job. I was going to keep publishing and marketing after that, but I was a charity executive and it isn’t smart to be out of the game for long trying your hand to be a novelist. A year sabbatical is one thing. Longer than that might very well have made finding another position difficult.
Luckily, in six months, my books hit and I was able officially and delightfully to make it my living!
You have said before that your books play in your head like a movie when writing them, but what about the planning process? How much pre-planning goes into each book. Do you schedule which book you are writing next, or wait for the characters to speak to you?
There isn’t a lot of pre-planning. I do research on the fly as the story comes (for instance, if I need to know how someone would recover from an injury or how long it takes a professional to spray a room with paint…I’ll stop and look it up or find someone to ask questions). So I don’t deeply research a book or character beforehand. That said, there are some things that need to be done, like understanding the NFL draft because you’ve got an ex-football player in a book, so I’ll put feelers out or do some studying prior to a book too.
As for what I’ll be writing, I have a somewhat schedule in my head. I’m determined to finish out current series so I can get to other books that are clamoring to be written. This is very difficult. Right now, I have four books up there that desperately want to be written, none of them are in current series and therefore none of them are on that nebulous schedule in my head!
Sometimes, they call to me so strong that I have to write them. Jake and Josie from THE WILL were like that. I had no business starting another series but I couldn’t stop them from playing in my head. The same with a book I’m fiddling with now, my first full-on erotica, a BDSM with an alpha-sub. It’s almost complete and if it takes off (like, say, KNIGHT did), then there is definitely a foundation for a new series there.
But mostly, I try to do a rotation of the current series running with the goal of finishing them up…only so I can start more!
For all things Kristen Ashley, please visit her website!