Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
Thanks Tammie. I'm delighted to get to know you and your readers better too! I describe myself as an Almond Joy bar. A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give my readers a scrumptious, entertaining experience. I had been a nurse for twenty years before reading my first romance novel and now I'm writing them as a way of "paying it forward." Romance novels saved my sanity when I was caring for my two terminally ill parents at once. Diana Gabeldon's Voyager was such a wonderful, healthy escape! And I didn't even know it was a romance novel until I was well into the sequel! It was so well written, I realized I'd been an `intellectual snob' and there's nothing I dislike more in this world than snobs, so I began reading as much romance as I could. What a wake up call! Romance novels are incredibly good!
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
I'd be Joell from Wonder Witch. Not only was she a formidable female who lived in a mansion and divided her time between writing hot romance novels, enjoying her 12 best friends and fighting crime, but she also had super powers that could make motorcycles fly and people see her in disguise. The best part, though, was a true love who only revealed himself when he needed to protect her heart.
What's your favorite genre to read?
The one I write. Erotic romance. I love the ones with humor since I write erotic comedy and can appreciate how difficult it is--and how brave you have to be to put yourself out there in the most vulnerable way there is. "Here's my mind, world. I hope you like a little insanity with your romance. Since no one else is telling you the truth, I might as well do it in a palatable way." If you can't laugh at life, the harshness and seriousness may consume you.
Who or what influences you when you write?
I write for myself and my fans. If I didn't write, I'd go crazy. Pure and simple. Not many people will admit that but it's very true of many creative people.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
I answer email first and get that out of the way. Not that I don't love emails. I do! I'm so addicted that by the time I get through them all, I have another batch waiting for me! I force myself to get writing by 9 AM. After I've written at least 1,000 words, I allow myself to check my email again. It's a reward. Can you imagine? I know. I'm pathetic. But you know what? I don't apologize for anything that gets me though the day. I'm a TV junkie and don't apologize for that either. After email and writing, I do whatever needs to be done. Laundry, shopping, etc. Don't tell my hubby that email and writing comes before housework. LOL. It all gets done before he walks in the door.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
I rarely have writer's block since there's always something else I can work on. If a story isn't cooperating, I'll do promo or work on something else--like the cookbook I'm putting together. There's always something I can do. If desperate, I can always do housework. LOL. Mostly, I don't worry about it. The muse always returns.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
I have two under contract. A sequel to Heaving Bosoms called Quivering Thighs. It's very hot. We'll see what Kendra did with all that money! And the other one is Death by Delilah. A fun ghost story. I's hard to describe. Just read it. LOL.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
A NY agent is interested in something I wrote and expressed a couple of ideas based on that. I'll see what transpires there.
In 5 years, where do you see yourself? -In general and in you're writing career
I see myself as Queen of the world. I should be ready for world domination by 2012.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
My hubby. He's real and exactly the man I wanted but never thought I'd find. He's intelligent, humorous, handsome, thoughtful, handy around the house, and-oh God! in bed. LOL.
What do you do for inspiration?
Let my mind wander and try to follow where it leads. It's always misbehaving.
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I research anything I'm not sure of. Sometimes it's difficult, such as using characters with a heritage passed down by oral tradition like Rom (gypsies) and Apache (Native Americans.) Holy cow! There's a dearth of written information and these people are tight-lipped if not antagonistic. Others, like law enforcement officers, have been helpful once they know you're not a criminal trying to get information to help you wriggle out of justice. LOL
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Hinder! Big time. I'm very self motivated. If I give myself a goal, I'll go after it and prove to myself I can do it. But I don't want to turn in "shite" (pardon my English) just because there's a strict deadline imposed. If I have a deadline, that means I have to get something, anything, turned in on time-regardless of how I feel about it. I'm not used to working that way and I'm so happy that my EC editor deals with deadlines pragmatically. If it's ready, turn it in. If it's not, keep working on it as long as necessary. She gets what she wants that way, and I'm not ashamed of my final product. I'd die if I had to put out something I wasn't proud of!
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
My dh gave me a 1 year deadline to get published. Needless to say, I told him where to stick his deadline, yet I went after it like a woman on a life or death mission. I made it. One year to the day of his "edict" I received a contract. (Insert raspberry here.) Now my dh is my biggest fan. He just had to be sure this wasn't a "phase."
What would you like to tell your readers?
If you like what I write, please tell me. I write a very difficult genre that everyone loves, but few respect. Comedy (romantic comedy, erotic comedy) has been a lifesaver in terribly troubled times for me and I consider what I do a service to others. Some people might pale at the genre. Too bad! It's the most wonderful, healthy escape I can think of!
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
Great question! Best: Write the damn book! Finish it and write another.and another. It may not be the first one that gets published but each one gets better with practice. Keep on learning, practicing and trying. Worst: Ignore your voice and write the way your critiquer/agent/editor tells you to. That's what sells.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I just start writing until I need direction. I know where I'm going, but need to know how to get there. It usually happens around the third chapter. Then I use my knowledge of plotting and do a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. It often changes, anyway, depending upon what the characters want to do, so exhaustive preplanning is useless.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I did when I was `new' and I learned a lot. One thing you learn is that 1/3 of the advice is good stuff you should probably listen to. 1/3 is neutral. And 1/3 is wrong. Ignore it.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
Queen of Hearts, July 5, 2004. Yes, I remember the exact date. LOL.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
All of the above. email@example.com, www.myspace.com/ashlynchase blogs on my website and myspace as well as www.nightwhispersauthors.com. My yahoo group (where I play the most) is www.leagueofamazingwriters.com They're like my family.
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Just ask or go to http://www.ellorascave.com/AuthorsBooks.asp?AuthorCode=ACha for excerpts of my `hot' erotic comedy stuff and www.cerridwenpress.com for my romantic comedy. I have a full first chapter on my website too!
Thank you for this opportunity you had me laughing there!
Interviewed by Tammie King