Interview with Kristen Ashley

Posted by Goodreads on September 14, 2015
Some people leave their hometowns and never look back, but not Kristen Ashley. After moving all around the United States and then across the pond to England, the bestselling romance author of the Rock Chick and Dream Man books decided to set a series in her hometown of Brownsburg, Indiana. The 'Burg books weave together tales of neighbors, lovers, family, and crime (because sometimes murder is just what a small town romance needs). Ashley's new book, Hold On, wraps up the series with Cher Rivers and Garrett Merrick's story. Cher has adored the 'burg bachelor for years, but friendship—and another woman—kept their slow-burning chemistry at bay. It takes a deadly twist of fate to open Garrett's eyes to the love that's been in front of him all along.

Read on as the author answers your questions on falling for fictional characters, cooking up delicious stories, and "researching" hot guys online.

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Melania: Who is your favorite badass alpha male from the 'burg? They are all pretty fantastic, but there must be one who stole your heart!
It's practically impossible to pick a favorite of any of my heroes. I love each of them for different reasons. Colt's never-failing loyalty to Feb and his understanding of the important things in life ("The only precious things in life breathe.") Joe's heartbreaking backstory and watching him fall in love with a family rather than just a woman. Layne's fiercely protective spirit toward Rocky and his love for his boys. Mike's bad-boy repentance and drive to provide good for his family. Benny's open emotionality, maturity, and skills in the kitchen (and elsewhere). Merry's ability to show vulnerability to the woman he trusts and at the same time have the strength to protect her right back.

Sally: If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be and what would you eat?
Didn't even have to think. I'd have lunch with Judith McNaught. Her books are still my favorite romance novels (and I've read a ton, including a ton of amazing ones), and her work is an inspiration. She had it all in her books: spunky heroines, heroes to swoon over, love and laughter, deep emotion, and beautifully drawn secondary characters. I'd love to cook for her (my fried chicken) or take her out to a decadent dinner, both to say thank-you for the hours of enjoyment from reading (and rereading and rereading…) her beautiful stories.

Lindsey: How do you find the recipes you feature in your books? Do you ever bake or cook them yourself?
I don't think I've ever put a recipe in one of my books that I don't cook or bake myself. In the beginning, they were family recipes or favorite recipes I'd discovered through my culinary journey through life. Now they're NEW family recipes or favorite recipes I've discovered! If you want to try them, a number of them are on my website, and I can vouch for how good they are!

Marla: If you were writing a book about yourself, what would the title be?
She Tried.

Angely: Which of your books was the hardest to write? Which character surprised you the most?
The Golden Dynasty was the hardest to write. Not only the story, which was very intense, but building that world from the bottom up, inside and out, to the point of creating a language. I loved every minute of it. But I went places in that book that I never thought I'd go. That being so, I'm super proud it turned out the way it did because it could have gone very wrong.

Now I've been scrolling through my titles on my website, trying to figure out which character surprised me the most. I must say that's an excellent question because I don't know! It's not like I know them through-and-through as I'm writing them, so I could say all of them—even secondary characters—surprise me, take me for a ride I don't expect. I just hang on and see what happens.

I think watching Sadie's transformation in Rock Chick Regret was one of the most rewarding journeys one of my characters took me on in a book. And I think Ryker from The 'Burg introducing himself as a rough, standoffish thug who eventually exposes a heart of gold was truly unexpected.

But I could list a dozen other examples just like these! I guess it's good they keep me on my toes.

Marcy: What would be some of the most eyebrow-raising topics I would find in your computer search engine?
I tend to go to the source so Homeland Security doesn't tag me or some moron doesn't code a site with a virus and ruin my day by crashing my computer when I hit it.

In other words, if I need to know when a gunshot victim can have sex again, I ask my cousin, who's a surgical nurse. If I need to know what being tasered feels like, I ask my other cousin, who's a cop. (When Tasers came out, all the officers were supposed to get tasered so they'd understand the weapon. All the dudes shied away—my cousin was the first to volunteer. She's a badass, but even so, she said it hurt worse than childbirth. OUCH!) If I need to know how a call would be made if someone needs a squad to go out, I talk to my friend, who used to be a police dispatcher. If I need to know military acronyms so dialogue is authentic, I ask my sister, brother-in-law, or aunt, who were all in the Air Force.

Luckily I have a huge collection of friends and family to pick their brains. So you'd probably see things like "Hot Guys and Cars" or "Elegant Living Rooms" in my search engine topics, but I don't know how much research that is.

Randi: What's an aspect of being a writer that you didn't know about going in? Any advice for aspiring writers??
Pretty much all aspects! HA! I kinda just went for it. I trundled along with some hope, very low expectations, and a lot of books I'd already written (or mostly written) over the span of more than a decade. I put them out there, honestly not thinking much would come of this writing gig. I had that dream, but I went in with a plan, giving myself a certain amount of time to devote to it and having the understanding I'd need to move on if it didn't work. That doesn't mean I intended to quit writing, but like it was before and as it always should be, I'd do it for me.

And I guess that's the advice I'd give aspiring writers: Write for yourself. Write because you love it and can't NOT do it. Find YOUR voice and let it loose. Write like no one is going to read it…the only one who will is you. Stay true to your characters and their journey, not worrying what anyone will think about them or it. Put YOUR stamp on your story and tell a story that's YOURS.

B: How much of your story is outlined before you start writing a book? Do you have some kind of storyboard, or do you let the story evolve as you write?
None. I do no outlining. If it's a fantasy book or part of a series (especially if it's deep in the series for both), I have a variety of notes I took while writing/editing/rereading the previous books. But mostly I just let the book flow through my brain to the computer. It's like a movie playing in my head, and I see it all, hear it all, and feel it all…then I write it all. So I type as fast as I can in hopes of capturing it all!

Yesenia: Where is your favorite place to read a book? And where's your favorite place to write?
I have to have no distractions (both reading and writing). I can read anywhere, just as long as there isn't music or a television in the background playing. I love to read out on my back patio. I have a fountain there, and it's small, cozy, and peaceful, so I'd say that's my favorite place. Alas, because I'm living in Phoenix, this favorite place is only available to me nine months out of the year. So in summer, if I have a chance to pick up a book, I hit my big cuddle chair in my living room.

I write mostly in my office, which is above my garage. I can sometimes sit at my kitchen island or haul my laptop out to the pool deck, but I prefer to be in my office. It's quiet, two walls are made of windows, there's a beautiful view of Camelback Mountain, and I have all my things around me—pictures, books, gifts readers have given me. It's a sacred place for me, and I never fail to find my "zone" while I'm here.

Leslie: Can you make Luke Stark real and have him show up in my life? Please and thank-you. Just kidding! My real question: How long does it usually take you to write a book? You are so wonderfully prolific!
Eek! I'm scared to tell you that Luke Stark IS actually real…ish. I saw the man he's based on outside Sheffield in England. Tall, dark, gorgeous, in motorcycle leathers with that mustache that no one else could make hot except Luke Stark.

As for how long it takes to write a book, if I was able to do nothing but write—which is impossible these days with travel, book launches, website updates, etc.—it would take one to two weeks. (That's how long it used to take when life was all about writing and not much else.)

That said, that's writing from around 5:30 or 6 in the morning to 10 or 11 at night, seven days a week. It's not healthy to keep that kind of schedule, day in, day out for weeks. So I try to force myself to leave my office at 5 in the evening. (This tends to be more like 7 or when my cats are truly FED UP with me ignoring their need for me to go downstairs and refresh their water.) So now it takes about three weeks to a month to write a book if there's no travel breaking that up.

It's been a delight to be here with you all on Goodreads. Thanks for asking such cool questions! Rock on!

Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)

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message 1: by K.A.Bylsma (new)

K.A.Bylsma Love this interview as well as your books! I'm reading CHAOS, a standalone but have not started the 'Burg yet b/c my library doesn't carry that series...

message 2: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Surtees Great Interview and some fab answers, Thinking I might need to take a trip down to Sheffield to visit my cousin :D

message 3: by Monica (new)

Monica Thank you so much. You are the best!

message 4: by Dottie (new)

Dottie Great Interview!! I love every single book that you have released. I wish I could make you my fried chicken to thank you for all the hours of enjoyment you have given me!

message 5: by Leslie (new)

Leslie ....thinking of lurking near Sheffield...

Thanks for answering all of the questions!

message 6: by Annette (new)

Annette Great interview!! LOVE everything by Kristen Ashley! However, I must admit that Joe (Cal) from At Peace is my #1 KA Alpha!! <3 If you haven't read her work, you don't know what you're missing! Definitely my "go to" author. I've read all of her series...repeatedly and I own the audio versions (that are available). Kristen Ashley takes you to a "happy place" where everything else ceases to exist.

message 7: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Great interview!! I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that there is a Luke Stark (ish) out there in the world. xoxo

message 8: by Krystal (new)

Krystal Great interview !

message 9: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline I can be in Sheffield in under an hour...

message 10: by AlwaysV (new)

AlwaysV The Golden Dynasty is my #1! Just need you to know all the hardest work you put into that story has totally blown me away! You own me!

Thank you so much for this interview :D Looking forward to Walk Through Fire :D

message 11: by Marie (new)

Marie Dry Any news on nick sebring's story.

message 12: by Bev (new)

Bev Jacqueline wrote: "I can be in Sheffield in under an hour..."

I'm 3 hours away so will meet you there :D

message 13: by Michelle (last edited Sep 16, 2015 01:51PM) (new)

Michelle I have read every book (at least three times) thank you for the interview! I love the anticipation for the next book every time, please don't ever stop writing! ps David Gandy is my Lukas Stark.

message 14: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline Bev wrote: "Jacqueline wrote: "I can be in Sheffield in under an hour..."

I'm 3 hours away so will meet you there :D"

Yes! I love to think of him strutting around in his kickass leathers, oblivious to us all lusting after his image. And in Sheffield of all places... wow

message 15: by Martha (new)

Martha Awesome interview.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks K love those ??? Of course I love your answers. I too would love to lunch with Judith she was one of my go to back in the day for sure.
Although I don't think I ever re-read any of her books. Your books on the other hand .....might wear out!!!! Love you K

message 17: by Donna (new)

Donna Doria I love Kristen ashley. Everything she writes is awesome! I reread the books all the time!!!!!!!! Bought Hold on before reading the series!!!!!!! Finishing jagged now!!!!!!

message 18: by Mari (new)

Mari Denae Wow, Kristen Ashley! I want to be her if I ever grow up.

message 19: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Smith Have read almost all of your books at least twice. Joe is my favorite from The Berg series. Luke Stark is my favorite from the Rock Chicks. Are there any more Rock Chicks planned. Also what is next in the way of books. Will have withdrawal soon. Thank your for hours of reading pleasure.

message 20: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Thank you for your words of wisdom,love all the books and looking forward to the next one.

message 21: by Annette (new)

Annette Nancy wrote: "Have read almost all of your books at least twice. Joe is my favorite from The Berg series. Luke Stark is my favorite from the Rock Chicks. Are there any more Rock Chicks planned. Also what is ..."

Nancy, Unfortunately Rock Chick series is finished. There are a total of 8 books. However, you will get to 'visit' the Rock Chick characters throughout Kristen's other series. :-) Dream Man series is next starting with Mystery Man...:-) HAPPY READING!

message 22: by Annette (new)

Annette Annette wrote: "Nancy wrote: "Have read almost all of your books at least twice. Joe is my favorite from The Berg series. Luke Stark is my favorite from the Rock Chicks. Are there any more Rock Chicks planned. ..."

OOPS! Misread your comment, Nancy. Next up is Walk Through Fire in the Chaos series!! :-) (It's available for preorder)

message 23: by Carinel (new)

Carinel I love KA books, but Knight is the love of my life. Creed and Silvie... to die for. But I always go back to Knight and Anya. Please tell me more about them. I am crazy to know more to the point of making a story about them myself. I pretend my husband is Kurt (Knight's man)even though he works in an office and he is 5'6" hahaha! Every girl dreams. And Knight has Anya and Creed has Silvie.
Also the Chaos series...Joker I know you rock... incredible, intense and amazing story. In fact I love them all!

message 24: by Becky (new)

Becky Hutchison Love all your books, particularly the Rock Chicks and "Man" series. At one point you noted there might be a spin-off series with Mace and Stella in L.A. Is that still a possibility?

message 25: by Becky (new)

Becky Hutchison Michelle wrote: "I have read every book (at least three times) thank you for the interview! I love the anticipation for the next book every time, please don't ever stop writing! ps David Gandy is my Lukas Stark."

I always imagined David Gandy as Luke Stark too!

message 26: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Need more!! Love your books, I love the intermingling of characters!

message 27: by Kristine (new)

Kristine Bev wrote: "Jacqueline wrote: "I can be in Sheffield in under an hour..."

I'm 3 hours away so will meet you there :D"

I will fly there!!!!

message 28: by Kristine (new)

Kristine Awesome interview!!!! Glad to know Luke some-what kinda exists!!!! I would have to say he is my ultimate Alpha character of all our books (ties with Joe)

message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Insightful interview. I am rereading Rock Chicks on R.C. Revenge. Luke baby

message 30: by Viviana (new)

Viviana Love her and thank you for this interview!

message 31: by Marla (new)

Marla Great interview ! KA you rock! You create unforgettable characters, and I find your books to not only be addictive but packed with imagery! Love it and love the alpha males and their bad ass women!

message 32: by Jules (new)

Jules Hmm Sheffield... I have a friend who lives there.... From London that's about three hours... On my way.

message 33: by leisa (new)


message 34: by Tazin (new)

Tazin Mashruba So,Luke is real!!!!Now I can die happy ;)
Jokes apart,The interview was awesome!

message 35: by Katka (new)

Katka I just love Hawk from a Mystery man!!! That said the rest of the books and their characters are fantastic too. Thanks Kristen!!!

message 36: by Elena (new)

Elena Brankovic Does Diesel have his own book???

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