What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve pretty much always written in some capacity, whether it’s just journaling, or something more formal, like stories and essays. I got serious about it in the summer of 2015. A lot of heavy personal stuff happened that summer, and writing regularly provided an escape from that and helped me a lot.
You’ve written a number of books, do you have a favourite and why?
Lol. People like to ask this question, and I think I answer differently every time. For today I’ll say that Summer Fling will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s (very) loosely based on how my husband and I got together, and it was the first thing that got a lot of outside interest and made me think that maybe people actually did like my writing.
Both the Players of Marycliff University and The Rebound series are romances, what initially drew you to the genre and what made you want to return to it?
I’ve been reading romances since I was in middle school. I’ve always loved love stories, and I started reading romance more and more since I had kids. I have a vivid imagination, so anything that has bad things happening to kids is not going to be on my reading list these days. And I really crave the happy ending anymore, and non-romances don’t guarantee that. Romance is often derided as silly, but there is a lot of depth and breadth in the genre, and love and relationships are central to life, so there’s a lot that can be done with it.
I (Ashleigh) personally love the style of series you have adopted, stories that link together but can also be enjoyed as standalone novels. Yet I’ve always wondered if this style was created because authors found it difficult to let go of certain characters, was this the case for you?
It’s a pretty common series style in romance. And I think the readers are as loathe to let go of characters as authors. At least that’s been my experience based on reader feedback. It’s fun to see your friends again, and when readers fall in love with characters (which they’re definitely meant to do in a romance), they feel like friends. I enjoy working old characters into new stories, too.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books?
People will actually pay money to read about people I made up in my head. I’m probably supposed to say something more profound or philosophical than that. But that still surprises me.
What do you find most difficult about the writing/publishing process?
Slogging through the parts I don’t want to do. The technical stuff is annoying but necessary, and I whine a lot through the last half of the production process when it’s all details and little in the way of creativity. I have to make schedules for myself so I hit my deadlines.
What advice, if any, would you give to aspiring writers?
Finish your stuff. There’s a point you get to in the middle of a novel where you think it’s complete crap and no one will ever want to read it and it’s the worst thing ever and why should you bother to finish when it’s such utter dreck. That’s not true. Everyone goes through that, even the bestsellingest author out there. Finish the book. It’s probably not crap, and if it is, then you can figure out where it all went wrong a lot more easily if it’s done. Plus, once you finish one, it gives you the confidence that you can, in fact, finish a book. And if you can do it once, you can do it again.
Besides writing, you also love to read and you have your very own book club! Tell us why we should join.
Because it’s awesome. But seriously, you get a free book from me just for signing up, plus gobs of book recommendations. I do tell people about what I have coming out and events I’m involved in, but I always include updates on what I’m reading and recommendations based on that. And I love love love when people write me back and tell me what they’re reading and what they like. I do my best to respond to everyone.
It sounds right up our street so expect two new members!
And what are you currently reading?
I’m rereading At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey because now I have most of the other books in that series and it’s been a while since I read it so I’m refreshing my memory.
What have you got planned next?
My next book, Managed Hearts, comes out on October 24. I also have a short story in the charity anthology Because Beards coming out November 1. Opening Hearts, my story in the anthology, is a prequel to Managed Hearts (though you don’t really need to read them in order if you don’t want to wait). I’m currently writing the fourth book in that series, which revisits Lance and Abby from Book 1. I’m planning a January or February release for that one, and will firm that up once I finish writing it and have a title.
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