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Jennifer Ashley
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Ask An Author, Win A Book Corner > AC: Jennifer Ashley of Bodyguard (Mar 13-15)

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message 1: by Dee, Moderator (last edited Mar 12, 2012 11:49AM) (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 6570 comments About Jennifer
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley has lived and traveled all over the world, and now lives in the Southwest. She writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance as Jennifer Ashley; mysteries as Ashley Gardner; and paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Allyson James.

Jennifer's/Allyson's/Ashley's novels have won RWA's RITA award, the Golden Quill, RT Reviewer's Choice awards, and the Prism award, among others. Jennifer's novels have been also been translated into nearly a dozen European and Asian languages.

Jennifer enjoys writing and reading above all else, but her hobbies include cooking, hiking, playing flute and guitar, painting, and building miniature rooms and dollhouses.

Website
http://www.jennifersromances.com/inde...

Books
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, #1) by Jennifer Ashley Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage (Highland Pleasures, #2) by Jennifer Ashley The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Highland Pleasures, #3) by Jennifer Ashley Pride Mates (Shifters Unbound, #1) by Jennifer Ashley Primal Bonds (Shifters Unbound, #2) by Jennifer Ashley Bodyguard (Shifters Unbound, #2.5) by Jennifer Ashley Wild Cat (Shifters Unbound, #3) by Jennifer Ashley The Calling (Immortals, #1) by Jennifer Ashley The Gathering (Immortals, #4) by Jennifer Ashley The Redeeming (Immortals, #5) by Jennifer Ashley Penelope & Prince Charming (Nvengaria #1) by Jennifer Ashley The Mad, Bad Duke (Nvengaria, #2) by Jennifer Ashley Highlander Ever After (Nvengaria, #3) by Jennifer Ashley Perils of the Heart by Jennifer Ashley Confessions of a Lingerie Addict by Jennifer Ashley The Pirate Next Door (Pirate, # 1) by Jennifer Ashley The Pirate Hunter (Pirate, #2) by Jennifer Ashley The Care & Feeding Of Pirates (Pirate, # 3) by Jennifer Ashley
Jennifer also writes under the name Allyson James and Ashley Gardner

Giveaway
Jennifer will be giving away a signed copy of her book Bodyguard. The giveaway will be open to all participants.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Hi, and thanks for asking me to the Q&A! I write a lot of books, including the Mackenzies series (Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie), and the Shifters Unbound (Pride Mates, Primal Bonds, Bodyguard, Wild Cat). I'm happy to answer questions or chat. :-)


message 3: by Dee, Moderator (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 6570 comments Welcome Jennifer, it's a pleasure to have you with us!

I hope you enjoy your time with our members; and good luck to you all!

GUIDELINES FOR AUTHOR AND PARTICIPANTS: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...

Members, if you can please write the questions in bold; it would be easier for her to know that you have asked a question and less chance that it will be missed. Thanks!


message 4: by Dee, Moderator (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 6570 comments if you don't know how to bold a question, use the following code and remove the ! - at the beginning of your question and !B> at the end


~Leslie~ (akareadingmachine) | 1694 comments Hi Jennifer, thank you so much for taking out time to do this. I love your work and have a couple of questions - so far I have read some of your historical mysteries and love them and I have read your Highland Pleasures series and am so excited for the next one to come out. I know you write under several pseudonyms and my first question is: Why did you decided to have several pseudonyms? How did they all come about?
And my next question involves Ian Mackenzie's character and really all the brothers in that series. I know several autistic children and people with Asberger's Syndrome and that series is one of my favorites, especially the one about Lord Ian. My question is What drove you to create such a complicated and difficult character? And what research did you do, especially on the historical aspect?

Thanks again for your time. I so appreciate the work that you do.


Julie | 56 comments Hello Jennifer,
I was introduced to your works for the first time several months ago by participating in a challenge here on Goodreads. I read Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie and found it fascinating. I look forward to reading your other books. By writing different genres, you give your readers the diverse sides of your writing abilities. I know that has to be challenging but a fun way to explore many styles and ideas.

Do you choose your storylines based on any real life experiences or situations that meant something personal to you? How do you choose which genre to write next? Which genre is the most fun to write?

It truly is a wonderful thing to interact with authors. This is a great format to learn about writers and the works they labor to create. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.


Jeanne (jedkmd) | 3 comments Hi Jennifer!
I read both your Shifters Unbound and your Janet Begay Stormwalker series and I love them both! Part of what I like about your different series is that they don't sound the same, If someone didn't know that each of the authors was the same person, they probably wouldn't recognize that just from reading the books. That takes talent and I can only think of a handful of authors with multiple series that I can honestly say the same thing about.

I have two questions for you. First how many books are you planning/hoping for in each of your series? and second do you find it difficult to write in the different styles/voices simultaneously?

Thanks so much for writing such awesome series and I am anxiously awaiting the next installment of each series.


message 8: by Dee, Moderator (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 6570 comments thanks for joining us Jennifer - when you write, do you have any routines that help you get in the zone? (a certain music, if you listen, drink etc) and do you follow a specific writing schedule each day?


Joanne | 5 comments Hi Jennifer. Thanks for taking the time to visit with us and answer some questions. Who are some of your favorite writers. What books are on your nightstand? I have your Highland Pleasures series and thinj it's wonderful. Will there be more books in this series?
Thanks again for answering our questions.


Iris (Ipro) | 276 comments Hi Jennifer, thanks for joining us for a Q&A.

I read Bodyguard last fall and loved it. I read lot of PNR and enjoyed how different you made your shifter story from others. (I won't give anything away in case anyone hasn't read it!)

Where did you get the inspiration and ideas from?


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Leslie wrote: Why did you decided to have several pseudonyms? How did they all come about?"

It all came about sort of by accident, sort of on purpose. Jennifer Ashley is my real name. I took Ashley Gardner because I sold the mystery series about the same time I sold my first romance. The publishers wanted different names, and so did I--the mysteries have a very different feel than romance. Readers know when they pick up Ashley Gardner they'll get an emotional, dark mystery; Jennifer Ashley a lighter (more or less) HEA romance. I came up with Allyson James so I could try writing erotic romance for Ellora's Cave. They were very different (at the time) from my Jennifer Ashley historcals, plus I was writing for another publisher. So, partly it's because of the writing style, partly so I can write for multiple publishers without too many problems. Keeping track of three names is tough, but it's also given me some freedom to try writing new things.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Leslie wrote: " What drove you to create such a complicated and difficult character? And what research did you do, especially on the historical aspect? "

When Ian Mackenzie walked into my head, I knew he was really different and knew others in his time would consider him "mad." I watched him for a while until I realized he was mildly autistic--Asperger's Syndrome fit his behavior. At the time, of course, no one had defined autism, so Ian would be considered odd, eccentric, or just plain mad. His father found it more convenient to get him committed, so Ian went to an asylum.

I did a lot of research on asylums and how a person was declared mad--it wasn't as easy as you'd think to get madness declared. They knew that people would try to game the system and lock up people who were fine (e.g., to get their money--nothing changes!), so a person had to pass (or fail) an interview/test in front of a commission to be declared officially mad. Asylums too, could be bad, but the people there really wanted to help (though I'm sure money was a driver there too, as always). Cold baths and shocks happened, and poor Ian took the brunt of it.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Julie wrote: "Do you choose your storylines based on any real life experiences or situations that meant something personal to you? How do you choose which genre to write next? Which genre is the most fun to write?

Storylines just occur to me. I might be driving down the highway or working on my dollhouses (my hobby), and characters and situations pop into my head. Not all make it as books, but I've always had a wild imagination that does what it wants. Personal experiences do get into my books, not as whole stories, but as details--maybe a place I visit triggers a story, or people I observe, or things I learn about in real life (e.g., dealing with grief, and other tough things).

I choose which genre to write--usually because that particular book is scheduled next, LOL. But I enjoy trading off: writing one romance, one mystery, one urban fantasy. That way I don't get stale on any and return to them fresh. I probably enjoy writing the mysteries the most (that's my favorite pleasure reading material), but I still love to put a couple together and follow their relationship. There's a developing romance in the mystery series as well, plus I love writing the relationship of Janet and Mick in the urban fantasy I write as Allyson James.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Jeanne wrote: "First how many books are you planning/hoping for in each of your series?

Let's see: For Janet, I'd originally planned five, but now I'm thinking I'll leave it open-ended. Janet's world is fun to explore, and I keep finding new facets.

For Shifters: I just turned in book 4 and will start working on book 5, but I plan several more short novel/ novellas, and hopefully a couple more books. I have many Shifters to write about!

For Mackenzies: Four main Mackenzie brothers, three McBride brothers, Daniel, and Inspector Fellows

For the mystery series: As many as I can before Captain Lacey threatens me with a dueling pistol he borrows from Grenville.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Jeanne wrote: "and second do you find it difficult to write in the different styles/voices simultaneously?

I do, actually. I much prefer to work on one book at a time. I give that book, style, series my entire focus, then turn it in, take a breath, and move on to the next one. It is difficult to change gears, but once I get into the next book, I'm into it.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Joanne wrote: "Who are some of your favorite writers. What books are on your nightstand?

I love a good mystery series. My current favorite is Donna Leon's series--it's set in Venice and is very atmospheric. The hero is a middle-aged commisario who has a good sense of justice in the middle of rampant corruption, and his wife is an English professor with delightfully pointed opinions. Plus I love the descriptions of all the food!

I don't get to read as much as I'd like, but I do enjoy the romances of Mary Jo Putney (always have). Her characters are real and well-drawn. I also like urban fantasy (a lot): Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews are always treats for me.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Joanne wrote: "Will there be more books in this series?"

Yes: Four Mackenzie brothers, three McBride brothers (The Seduction of Elliot McBride will come after Hart's book), Daniel's story, and then Inspector Fellows. I plan to do some shorter books, as I did with Bodyguard and the Shifters, though I don't have any firm plans yet.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Dee wrote: "when you write, do you have any routines that help you get in the zone? (a certain music, if you listen, drink etc) and do you follow a specific writing schedule each day? "

I do have a schedule that's fairly steady, though I like to remain flexible. I start writing at breakfast at a coffee house/ bakery--I can get a lot of work done there. Then I come home and go through email and take care of business, then it's back to writing. Then lunch, more writing, and I knock off at dinner. If I'm on a tough deadline, I write after dinner as well.

I can write for about an hour and a half at a time before I need to take a break. Breaks are good, because I can work out problems in a scene or whatever. Depending on how close I am to a deadline (and how behind I am), I write from 2 to 8 hours a day.

This is seven days a week, by the way, including holidays. Occasionally, I get a day off!


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Iris wrote: "I read Bodyguard last fall and loved it. I read lot of PNR and enjoyed how different you made your shifter story from others... Where did you get the inspiration and ideas from?"

My inspiration for the Shifters books came from two things: 1) seeing some good-looking guys working construction on the side of the road; and 2) wondering how people would *really* react to someone shape shifting into a huge, dangerous, predatory animal.

When I saw the four or five construction guys, I started making scenarios for them--what if they were all one family, three generations of men living in one house? Bachelors in various stages in their lives (widowed, single, or just becoming an adult)?

And then I thought, what if they were shape shifters? (as you do...)

The rest of it (Shiftertowns, the Collars, etc), came about because I decided that instead of people bowing down to shape shifters, they were terrified of them and tried to control them. The Shifters go along with it for reasons of their own (which is explained in the series), and have their own plans.


Brandy | 2 comments WHAT'S THREE THING WE WOULDN'T LEARN ABOUT YOU FROM YOUR WEBSITE/BLOG?


Lauren (lwild) | 8 comments Jennifer, I absolutely love your Dragon books! They are the first books of yours I read. Do you have plans of writing any more of the Dragon series?


Alexia Chantel (AlexiaChantel) | 7 comments Wow you have a nice variety of books. And I love the bear on the cover of Bodyguard, I know he is supposto look mean and intimidating but I just want to hug him!
Do you ever get mixed up writing under so many names? Seems like I would slip up and mix up something somewhere.


message 23: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 8871 comments Hi Jennifer! Welcome to RRRC!

I have only read two of your books so far, but I consider myself a fan.

Which of the sub-genres that you write do you find the hardest to write for?


Lynn (goodreadscomElyLibrarySec) | 49 comments Do you ever decide that you need to take a break from writing? Have you ever hit that writer's block wall? If so, how did you get past it?


Linda | 313 comments Hi Jennifer, thanks for spending your time with us!
Do you have a favorite author or an author who inspired you?


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Brandy wrote: "WHAT'S THREE THING WE WOULDN'T LEARN ABOUT YOU FROM YOUR WEBSITE/BLOG?"

Ummm.... probably not much. I'm not very complicated. I need to lose weight, don't like snow, and hate coffee.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Lauren wrote: "Jennifer, I absolutely love your Dragon books! They are the first books of yours I read. Do you have plans of writing any more of the Dragon series?"

At the moment, I have no contracts to write more dragon books. However, I would love to continue the series, though I have a pretty full plate already.

In my Allyson James life, I'm working on the Shareem and Stormwalker books (Tales of the Shareem, Justin, just came out, on sale for 99 cents. :-)) After I get those series caught up, I'd like to do more dragons. I love them too!


message 28: by Jennifer (last edited Mar 13, 2012 06:49PM) (new)

Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Lexi wrote: "Wow you have a nice variety of books. And I love the bear on the cover of Bodyguard, I know he is supposto look mean and intimidating but I just want to hug him! Do you ever get mixed up writing under so many names? Seems like I would slip up and mix up something somewhere."

I love that bear too! The cover artist is Kendra Egert, who did a wonderful job.

I don't get mixed up, because a) I write the books as me, and put the pseudonym on them only when it's time to do the cover and put the book out; and b) when I focus on one world, I'm focused on *that* world. Maybe I'm mildly obsessive compulsive? If so, it helps me concentrate on the series and characters and block the others out. No Shifters will walk into my Regency mystery series...although that might be fun!


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Yz the Whyz wrote: "Hi Jennifer! Welcome to RRRC!
I have only read two of your books so far, but I consider myself a fan. Which of the sub-genres that you write do you find the hardest to write for?"


Thank you! I find romance the hardest to write, LOL. Writing the process of a relationship at just the right pace is hard!!

Actually erotic romance is the most difficult. Love (sex) scenes are difficult to get right--if they're wrong they can be icky, stupid, or plain boring. So I have to slow way down for the love scenes and edit them again and again. I always make a separate final polish pass for love scenes alone.

That process stretches out the time it takes to finish a book--it takes me longer to write a 60,000-word Shareem (erotic romance) book than it does for me to write a 100,000-word urban fantasy.

Action-adventure I can write fast and don't have to edit much. I guess in my dream world I'm a kick-butt woman warrior. :-)


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Will answer more questions when I get back from dinner! Keep them coming.


Victoria (flame_2712) | 126 comments Hi Jennifer! Wow, I can't believe I actually can get to talk to you! I've heard about you quite a number of times and The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie has been on my TBR for a really long time! And your book covers look great!

In any case, I only have one short question for you. What or who made you want to become a writer?


Iris (Ipro) | 276 comments Ok, just a couple more questions. lol
With 3 author alter egos, different series, genres, etc it must be pretty hard keeping track of storylines and characters. How many works in progress do you ever have going at one time? Do you ever find characters demanding their own stories be told? And do outline or are you more of a pantser?


Cyp (cyp-thatsme) | 19 comments Hi! Your books look great! Especially their covers!:D

What are your inspirations? You've written so many books, each of their characters must be different and special in their own ways, do you relate them to real life friends and family members?


Ann Lee (goodreadscomAnnlee) Greetings, You are a talented writer.

Where do you draw your inner strengths from?


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Lynn wrote: " Do you ever decide that you need to take a break from writing? Have you ever hit that writer's block wall? If so, how did you get past it? "

Oh sure. Yesterday I turned in a book to my editor, and today I keep saying that my brain is on strike. I don't want to do anything creative!

I've gotten past writer's block (which I call "writer's attitude") by making writing a habit. I write at the same time every day, especially first thing in the morning at the coffee house. Even if I wake up not wanting to write a word ever again, when I open my laptop at the coffee house, something clicks, and words come out. I might not be able to make myself write the rest of the day, but at least I have that much.

I also tell myself that I need to move forward on a writing project every day, even if it's only a paragraph, a page, a sentence. At the end of a week, that's a lot.

Third, I find that it's much easier to write when I step into the story and let it tell itself. I can't force it. I write a scene and then let it lead to the next logical scene. Once I let go of control, writing comes more easily.

That's not to say I don't go back and rewrite or revise--I rewrite a lot. But once a draft is there, it's easier to make it into a coherent story.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Linda wrote: "Hi Jennifer, thanks for spending your time with us!
Do you have a favorite author or an author who inspired you?"


I wanted to be a writer all my life, so I don't remember where the original inspiration came from. I've admired many authors over the years. I notice that the books I loved when I was little--Anne of Green Gables, the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and Little Women--all those heroines were writers. I'm sure they were big influences on me.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Flame wrote: "What or who made you want to become a writer?"

See my previous reply. :-) I wanted to be a writer since I was a wee small child. I read a lot, and once I realized that novels were make believe that people wrote down, I decided I could do that too. I started writing stories when I was eight, mostly to entertain myself, but I always knew that someday, I'd type up a manuscript and mail it to a publisher. I was probably the only girl in my elementary school who knew how to format a manuscript and what writers guidelines were.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Iris wrote: "How many works in progress do you ever have going at one time? Do you ever find characters demanding their own stories be told? And do outline or are you more of a pantser? "

I always have several things going at once in various stages. I'll be writing a rough draft of one, looking at page proofs or another, and thinking ahead about characters of books coming up.

Characters demand their stories be told all the time! I'm writing one book, and a secondary character starts yelling at me: "When's it going to be *my* turn?" I think of new stories for new characters constantly.

I'm a pantser. I usually start with a set of characters and a situation, and then let the story take it from there.

I was reading in a magazine about an artist who said that if he knew exactly what his final product was going to look like from the beginning, he wouldn't want to do it because then it would just be work, not creativity. I feel the same way--I like the story to reveal itself as it goes along. I have an idea of the beginning and maybe the end, but I don't like to push it too much.

As you can imagine, I hate writing synopses for proposals or whathaveyou. I'd rather finish the book first!


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Cyp wrote: What are your inspirations? You've written so many books, each of their characters must be different and special in their own ways, do you relate them to real life friends and family members? "

No, my characters have little to do with real people. :-) I might take characteristics of people I know and put them in, but most of the characters take on a life of their own. I see them as individuals, and I develop them quite a bit before I start the story (I do write pantser-style, but I think about the characters for a long time before I start typing. I just don't write outlines!)

If I think about a character long enough he / she becomes very real. Then I just write down what they do.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Ann wrote: "Greetings, You are a talented writer.

Where do you draw your inner strengths from?"


Thank you! I have no inner strengths, LOL.

Seriously, I believe in staying pretty grounded, trying to keep myself from being too high or too low. Middle is best!

I do this by sleeping regular hours, exercising as much as I can (I can't say eating right, because I love cupcakes), some meditation, and letting myself kick back and enjoy the non-writing part of my life--family, friends, hobbies, TV, R&R.

I love writing, but it can make you manic (or depressed). I've had to learn how to do it and put my heart into it without letting it wreck my health.


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Speaking of sleep, I'll go get me some. I'll see you all in the morning!


yoksan | 2 comments Hi Jennifer! This is a question I've been wondering about after reading something on a random BBS. As a writer, what would you consider faster/easier/more enjoyable to write between

a) a story with predictable plot line, but with great style of writing

b) a story with unpredictable plot line, but with simple style of writing

c) a simple story with super awesome characters

d) a super awesome plot line with bland characters


Thanks!


Jennifer Ashley | 40 comments Yok wrote: "what would you consider faster/easier/more enjoyable to write between
a) a story with predictable plot line, but with great style of writing
b) a story with unpredictable plot line, but with simple style of writing
c) a simple story with super awesome characters
d) a super awesome plot line with bland characters"


If I had to pick, I'd most enjoy writing the super awesome characters no matter how simple the plot line. I like writing and developing characters that are multi-layered and intriguing. As a reader, I'd read either the super-awesome characters or the unpredictable plotline with simple writing. I prefer reading simple, clear prose than overly flowery writing that's trying to impress.

Interesting question!


Lynne | 3 comments When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and what made you become a romance writer? I love all of your books especially the shifter series. what was your inspiration for this series? I also wanted to let you know that Ian MacKenzie is my favorite of that series.

Keep writing!


Cyp (cyp-thatsme) | 19 comments Jennifer wrote: "No, my characters have little to do with real people. :-) I might take characteristics of people I know and put them in, but most of the characters take on a life of their own. I see them as individuals, and I develop them quite a bit before I start the story (I do write pantser-style, but I think about the characters for a long time before I start typing. I just don't write outlines!)

If I think about a character long enough he / she becomes very real. Then I just write down what they do."


Hey, that's real cool! It's like an alternate world up there in your head, the way the characters come to life. But what's pantser..?


Danny (Dannyfiredragon) | 1 comments Hi Jennifer,

I can hardly wait to read bodyguard. I absolutely love this series, bet the book will be another keeper.


Cyp (cyp-thatsme) | 19 comments Jennifer wrote: "No, my characters have little to do with real people. :-) I might take characteristics of people I know and put them in, but most of the characters take on a life of their own. I see them as individuals, and I develop them quite a bit before I start the story (I do write pantser-style, but I think about the characters for a long time before I start typing. I just don't write outlines!)

If I think about a character long enough he / she becomes very real. Then I just write down what they do."


Hey, that's real cool! It's like an alternate world up there in your head, the way the characters come to life. But what's pantser..?


Sandra | 3926 comments Hi Jennifer :)

I loved the first pirate book, so I started collecting all your books, not realising at the time that I already had the dragons & Janet's books and loved them too.

My question is regarding humour - I LOL in that pirate book - how hard or easy do you find it to write something humorous?


yoksan | 2 comments Thank you for your answer. I see what you mean with simple writing thing. I do occationally enjoy what some called 'purple prose' - I think it has its own charms, but I'd normally go with simple stuffs too.

I have another question, tee-hee. As I've seen in your reply to another member, you said you develop characters quite a bit before starting to write. You said no outlines, but do you make character profiles, or keep records of them by other means?

I mean, I find it's quite hard to write characters realistically and consistently when there's a lot of them to think about and remember details for each of them... @__@;;


Alaina | 4 comments i ADORE the stormwalker series, and love the shifters unbound (among others)... i gotta ask... what is your fav type of shifter to write about?? Dragons? Wolves? Cats?? bears? lol.. you seem to have them all, and i was wondering whats your fav.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Pirate Hunter (other topics)
The Mad, Bad Duke (other topics)
Wild Cat (other topics)
The Many Sins Of Lord Cameron (other topics)
The Pirate Next Door (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Ashley Gardner (other topics)
Allyson James (other topics)