Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashlyn Chase for The Celebrity Café. Since space was limited, I had to leave out some of the material. However, the conversation was too good not to use the "deleted scenes" so here they are. I'm sure you'll like this closer look at this multi-published, award-winning author of humorous erotic romances.
She's garnered great reviews for her paranormal comedy Strange Neighbors, and she's just signed on the dotted line for a Thai translation of her novel. Add to her list of accomplishments, finalling in the New Jersey Romance Writer's Golden Leaf contest and attracting the interest of a Hollywood producer who wanted an Advanced Reading Copy of her novel.
You heard it hear first: Strange Neighbors might be coming to the big screen some day soon.
Book & Author Scoop
You can visit this author at AshlynChase.com or chat with her at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ashlynsnewbestfriends/ or catch her blogging at Naughty Author Chicks and Casablanca Authors.
Joan: Tell me, Ashlyn, what number book for you was Strange Neighbors? 1st, 3rd, 7th?
Ashlyn: Try 17! I published a few under a different pen name at first. Then I found my voice was in comedy rather than suspense and reinvented myself as Ashlyn Chase. This is the dozenth Ashlyn Chase book. . . although not all my stories are full novels. There are a fair number of novellas in that 17. Strange Neighbors is my longest book to date at about 90,000 words.
Joan: Tell us about your book please.
Ashlyn: I came up with the title first when talking to one of my real neighbors. It was barely more than an idea when I met a Borders bookseller who said, "I have a friend who's an editor. Do you have anything?" I told her about my idea and she told me to write up a proposal. Her friend turned out to be Sourcebooks editor Deb Werksmen and she loved the idea! She requested a look at my first 3 chapters and last published book. (Love Cuffs from Ellora's Cave.) Three days later she called and offered me a contract for a series. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time.
As I said, I had never written a book that long and to write 3 of them? Whoa! But I did it. I just finished the 3rd book in the series and it's due Sept 30th. My agent told me it's being called "the paranormal Friends." I guess that's a good hook. An old brownstone converted into an apartment building in an upscale Boston neighborhood attracts paranormals of all ilks. A professional baseball player buys it as an investment and remodels the top floor to be his penthouse. He re-signs all the present tenants' leases without realizing the building houses a werewolf, a vampire, a shapeshifting raven and two witches who are phone sex actresses.
Joan: What are you working on now?
Ashlyn: I have a couple of projects in the brainstorming stages. Another series I'm calling the paranormal Sex and the City, which begins with my already published book Vampire Vintage. I hope I can find an advance paying publisher willing to republish that and the rest would be originals. I'm starting book 2 in that series now. Plus I'm writing a ghost story with Dalton Diaz, my writing partner for Love Cuffs and Strokes.
Joan: We know this business is rife with rejection. Sometimes, it's hard to take. What keeps you going when you get rejected?
Ashlyn: That's a reality that could drive oversensitive people to suicide! Writers need perspective. Rejection happens for a reason. Usually your story isn't what the publisher is looking for — that doesn't mean it's bad. Rejection isn't as big a deal to me as an unkind review. That's like telling the world your baby is ugly. It doesn't happen often, but when it does how do I cope? I get angry. I cry. I vow to fight the person in a duel. Then I calm down and realize it's their opinion and they have a right to it. Not everyone will agree with me all the time. (I don't understand that since I'm always right. LOL) That's what makes this country great. The book one person hates might be one others love. But they're all available for us to sift through.
Joan: What's your favorite "oh crap I got a rejection" food and/or drink to soothe the savaged ego?
Ashlyn: You're going to make me admit I down a couple of rum and cokes aren't you? Sigh. Well, sometimes numbing helps. And the time spent doing it allows my perspective to return. I just shut down the computer first. I have a little statue on my desk of a woman glugging down a bottle of wine. The caption reads, "Merlot and email don't mix." Ain't that the truth!
Joan: Who are your writing influences?
Ashlyn: Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series was the first romance I ever read. I was raised by intellectual snobs who turned their noses up at romance. I'm glad I didn't realize I was reading romance novels until I was into the sequel! LOL I was amazed a romance could be so intelligently written and so entertaining. From then on, I was hooked.
As far as who influenced me to write like I do? Annette Blair inspires me, loads of writers in my RWA chapter have helped critique and improve my writing, especially Sylvie Kurtz, Jessica Andersen, Emily Bryan aka Mia Marlowe and Dalton Diaz. Mary Janice Davidson is who I want to be when I grow up and Delilah Devlin is my hero. Does that answer the question?
Joan: I think it does. So tell me, what's the best thing about writing?
Ashlyn: Being home during the day. Yes, I quit my day job. Most of us can't do that without a sugar daddy, but thank goodness I've got me one!
Joan: What's the worst thing about writing?
Ashlyn: It's hard (she whines.)
Joan: If there's someone in the audience who's interested in writing, what advice would you give them if they're just starting out?
Ashlyn: The same thing I was told. Write the book, then send it out and write another. Rinse and repeat until you have a contract. Meanwhile, all those rejected manuscripts become your back list when your publisher wants to see what else you've got! Don't. Give. Up.
Readers, I hope you've enjoyed meeting storyteller Ashlyn Chase, and I hope you'll get her book.