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Interview and contest with Jennifer Ashley

Twenty years ago, shape shifters of all kinds banded together and announced themselves to the world, only to be shunted to areas no human wanted (“Shiftertowns”). They are forced to wear Collars that control their hunting and fighting instincts (referred to by Shifters as “Taking the Collar”).

Liam Morrissey is currently liaison between the Shifters of Austin, TX, and the humans of the city. Kim Fraser, attorney, finds herself in the unique position of having to defend a Shifter on a murder charge.

She ventures to Shiftertown to seek out Liam’s help, and there stumbles across too many secrets the Shifters want kept secret. The un-mated Liam is forced to protect Kim against the wrath of his clan leader and his own father, and to his surprise he discovers a powerful attraction to the sassy, sexy lady.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Jennifer! Thank you for agreeing to an author interview today.

Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?

Let’s see—I like to write, I like to read, I like to travel. I have a masters degree in English lit, specializing in medieval literature. I’m married to a wonderful guy who reads all my books!

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing all my life, but I’ve been writing seriously since about 1999. That’s when I decided I’d better start trying to be an author or I never would. A couple years later—2002—my first book was published (Perils of the Heart, a historical high-seas adventure romance).

What is your writing process like?

I’m pretty much a “pantser.” I get my best ideas when I’m already in the flow of the story. I think about the characters a lot before I start writing, then I let them go and watch what they do. I have some idea of the plot, of course, and a very rough timeline list. But I don’t rigidly follow my plan. I let the story do what it needs to do. I write every day, anywhere from one thousand to five- or six-thousand words a day.

Can you tell us about your newest release, Pride Mates?

Pride Mates begins a new shape shifter series. Shape shifters have “come out” but they’re feared by humans and forced to live in “Shiftertowns” and wear collars that suppress their violent natures. They’re tamed—or are they? Kim Fraser, a defense attorney, needs the help of Liam, the shifter who is the liaison between shifters and humans, in order to win a case. But when she ventures to Shiftertown, she finds danger, secrets, and lies, and Liam is forced to protect her against his own people.

I’m loving writing this series!

Is there a certain number of books planned for the Shifters Unbound series?

I don’t have a set number of books planned. I have two more books in the series contracted and hope to do more after that. There are so many characters and different aspects of the world to explore.

Do you have other books releasing this year?

Oh, my, yes. In May, my alter-ego, Allyson James, releases STORMWALKER, the first of a sexy paranormal/urban fantasy-ish series. The heroine is a Navajo woman with the ability to channel storms. She’s often asked to solve crimes that involve the supernatural. I’m having a blast writing these books.

Next, in June, Allyson James will be in an anthology called WEDDING FAVORS. My novella, “Mortal Sensations” will continue the “Mortal” series I’ve started with Berkley Heat. These are over-the-top sizzling erotica.

Then in July, the Mackenzies are back with book two of that series (book one was Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie). Ian’s bother, Lord Mac, decides he wants his wife back (they’re separated), and he’s not going to take no for an answer. The title of that book is LADY ISABELLA’S SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE. The cover is gorgeous!

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a bunch of things: Book 2 of the Stormwalker series (FIREWALKER); Book two of the Pride Mates series; Book 3 of the Mackenzies; more in the Tales of the Shareem I write for Ellora’s Cave. Plus a novella for an anthology I’ll be in with Ilona Andrews and Yasmine Galenorn sometime in 2010 or 2011.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Everywhere! Ideas come all the time, when I least expect them. They pour into my head from things I see, read, watch, hear, experience. Stormwalker is set in the Southwest, where I live, and just driving around the beautiful desert can trigger ideas for future stories. Not every idea makes it into a full-blown story, but ideas just keep coming.

As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?

Auto-buy: Alexander McCall Smith (Number 1 Ladies Detective series), Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Colleen Thompson (terrific rom. sus.), Emma Holly (anything she writes), Donna Leon (mysteries set in Venice), Terry Pratchett. I tend to lean toward mysteries for my indulgence reading, but I do like plenty of romance authors: Nina Bangs, Eloisa James, Mary Jo Putney.

What books are on your keeper shelf?

All books by the above-named authors!

What was the first romance book you read or the one book that has stood the test of time for you?

First romance I read that gripped me and made me love romance: The Rake and the Reformer by Mary Jo Putney. It was published as a Signet Regency in the early 90s, then re-issued as a single title, The Rake. I read the Signet Regency version, and it made me realize what a romance novel could be. Before then, I’d believed all the negative press about romances. After I read Rake and the Reformer, I realized the people who stereotyped romance were so ignorant! They had no idea what they were missing! I fell in love with romance and kept on loving it.

When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time?

I build miniatures and dollhouses. Fun stuff. It’s creating worlds, which is similar to what I do when writing, but dollhouse miniatures involves more glue. I also love to cook, travel, and eat out.

If you could ask readers any question, what would it be?

What one aspect of romance novels is an absolute must for you to love a book? In other words, what is it that you read romance for?

Where can readers find you on the internet?

Main sites: http://www.jennifersromances.com and http://www.allysonjames.com I do have blogs (accessed through those sites), but I’m mostly on Facebook these days:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-AshleyAllyson-James/94603953921

Thank you so much for the interview!

*** For a chance to win any one book from Jennifer’s backlist, leave a comment answering her question. You can find the backlists here and here.

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