Erica here! I’m so honored to bring you a new author each week through the Friday Feature! I’ve reached out to some of my favorite authors and asked them to do an interview, provide an excerpt, or guest post here to introduce you to their work or to speak on some aspect of writing. This week, I interviewed Jackie Ashenden. Jackie writes dark, emotional romances with alpha heroes and kick butt heroines who aren’t afraid to stand up to them. I hope you enjoy this interview, and pick up a copy of Jackie’s newest release, Never Refuse A Sheikh, out today. You could win a copy and a $10 Amazon gift card by leaving a comment.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think probably when I was twelve, when I decided to write my own story – it was a fantasy heavily based on the Lord of the Rings and it was awful. But I loved writing it. Admittedly I stopped after the first five pages, but it was great when I started! 🙂
What is your tagline for your brand of stories?
Ah taglines… On my website it says sexy, dirty love. So I guess that’s what I write. Sexy, dirty and dark love stories.
What sort of reader would enjoy your books?
A reader who likes hot sexytimes and heavy doses of angst. Who isn’t afraid of strong emotion. Who also like alphas heroes and strong heroines. 🙂
What publishers are you currently writing for?
St Martin’s Press, Tule Publishing, Kensington and Random House. Quite a list!
What writers have influenced your writing the most to this point?
Well, definitely my critique partner and friend Maisey Yates. I also find Megan Crane/Caitlin Crews’ writing wonderfully inspiring.
Thank a teacher/mentor (because I heart teachers and think they need more thanks)
I would like to thank my 4th form English teacher (I was 14) for loving my creative writing and encouraging me. Because basically she was the first teacher I ever had who told me I was good at something.
What advice do you have for writers just starting their journey to publication?
Write. Keep writing. Then write some more. Don’t stop. Oh and if you’re after a publication contract, never, ever give up.
Do you write full-time or do you also have a “day job”?
I’m lucky enough to be able to write full time. I used to be a librarian though!
How do you balance your writing/release schedule?
It’s a tough one, especially when you have a lot of releases scheduled. To keep myself from freaking out, I work out my deadlines and how many words I need to do each day to meet them. Everything else to do with writing (marketing, social media etc,) comes second to making my word count.
What led you to write such “dark, emotional stories featuring alpha heroes?
Good question! I guess it’s because I really enjoy the psychology of it, plus I think everyone deserves a happy ending no matter how broken they think they are.
You write mostly series books, whether your own or as part of a continuity. What draws you to writing linked stories?
I think most writers are doing this these days and that’s because series sell better than stand alone stories. Publishers tend to want linked books for that reason. I like it because it gives you a wider range of stories and characters to explore.
How did you get involved with the International Bad Boys Series from Tule Publishing?
Oh that’s an interesting story. I wrote a sheikh book that I wanted to send to Harlequin Presents, but it didn’t end up being right for them so I shelved it. And then when I was at RWA in San Antonio last year I met the lovely Jane Porter. We were talking about sheikhs and I said I’d written one that wasn’t right for Harlequin and she said she’d love to see it. So I sent it to her and she ended up putting it on the Tule schedule! I was thrilled!
Which type of hero do you prefer writing the most–sheikhs, tycoons, bikers, or others?
Wow, hard question. I don’t have a favorite type when it comes down to it, I love them all. They all have their different strengths and weaknesses. I just like writing guys, period.
How do you make your heroines so kick butt and so vulnerable at the same time?
Well, the trick is to giving the heroine layers. For example, on the outside she’s a kick butt chick who stands up to the hero and doesn’t take any crap. But on the inside, she’s vulnerable and the vulnerable side comes out gradually the more she begins to fall for the hero. She’s like all of us really. We’re never strong all the time, just like we’re not vulnerable all the time.
We don’t want our vulnerabilities on the outside so we keep them hidden, only showing them to our loved ones. That’s my typical heroine basically.
You also contributed a book to The Deacons of Bourbon Street Series with writer friends/critique buddies Maisey Yates and Megan Crane. How did the idea for that come about, and how did you sell the series?
And not forgetting Rachael Johns too! (Erica: Sorry Rachael!) Yeah, they were all at RT in NOLA last year and I didn’t go because I’m in NZ and it was too far. But they got on really well and wanted to write this biker series. Maisey asked me if I wanted to join in because I write those kind of heroes anyway and I said of course! So we all wrote a pitch and a first chapter and our agents shopped it around. Yay Random House and Loveswept for buying it!
Who’s your favorite couple that you’ve written thus far?
Oh, that’s tough!!! I loved writing Vin and Kara from Having Her. I could have written them forever. (Erica prefers Hunter and Ellie from linked book Taking Him) I really liked Zac and Eva, my 3rd Nine Circles book, and writing a biker dude and a biker chick for the Deacons series was pretty great too.
Who’s your favorite fictional couple of all time?
Another hard question! I don’t really have one favorite. I do like Lizzie and Darcy. And Jane and Rochester. Phillippa and Francis Crawford from Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond series.
Any upcoming projects readers should be on the lookout for?
I have Never Refuse A Sheikh, which comes out on the 5th – today! So if you like a sheikh fantasy, you may like that one. If sheikhs aren’t your bag then I have the 3rd Nine Circles book, You Are Mine, which comes out October 6th.
What’s next to cross of your writing bucket list?
Ooooh….I thought I might try writing something in first person. I’m not a huge fan of it as a reader but it’s good to try new things as a writer. Whenever I get time…
Every writer needs a good…
Cup of coffee, chocolate, massage and finally, a large glass of wine. 😉
When the sheikh claims a wife, she cannot refuse …
Altair is a man perfectly in control both of himself and the power he wields as regent of Al Harah. Yet in order to retain his stronghold on the country he loves, he must wed a princess wilder than the Bedouin tribe she was raised in. A princess who only has one word for him: no.
Princess Safira knows what freedom means and it isn’t a palace or a crown. Neither does it mean being told what to do by a man with more ice in his veins than blood. Safira is innocent in the ways of men, but the heat in Altair’s gaze calls to a deep, unclaimed part of her soul she cannot deny. Altair seems hellbent on civilizing her, but she’s not so easily tamed. Especially not when she can sense the wildness that lives in him….
Available for Kindle on Amazon here.
Jackie has been writing fiction since she was eleven years old. Mild mannered fantasy/SF/pseudo-literary writer by day, obsessive romance writer by night, she used to balance her writing with the more serious job of librarianship until a chance meeting with another romance writer prompted her to throw off the shackles of her day job and devote herself to the true love of her heart – writing romance. She particularly likes to write dark, emotional stories with alpha heroes who’ve just got the world to their liking only to have it blown wide apart by their kick-ass heroines.
She lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr Jax, two kids, two cats and a couple of curious rats. When she’s not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on Twitter, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.