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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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36 Responses

  1. Hi! Great interview! Pride Mates sounds very, very interesting. I read romance for emotions, they have to be strong and I must be able to understand characters motivations.

  2. It has to have the ability to pull me into the story; when I read I can imagine (if written well) myself as a side character and or see it in mind as a tv show. Can’t wait to read PrideMates

  3. Thanks for the terrific interview, Jennifer! I read romance for the developing relationship between the characters, the connections. And I have to have an HEA; none of those heartwrenching tragedies or self-sacrificing grand acts, please. I have to love to characters at the end–I don’t have to at the beginning, but I need to relate during their journey and be convinced of their passion for each other at the end of it!

    Congrats on your latest–looking forward to lots of good stuff from you this year!

  4. I love the HEA. I love getting to know characters and love watching the heroine and hero fall in love.

  5. I love the HEA, too, although the most important thing is that the story ends in the only way it could end based on the characters and the mess they’re in.

  6. I enjoy reading romance because it takes me to places that I normally wouldn’t be able to go to.

  7. Hm I must say HEAs, I need to know they are happy and together. If it turns out like that then I am happy. And not too much sadness

  8. I love romance because I long for that feeling of falling in love. That moment when they realize and feel so strongly for each other. That is what I love the most. So deep and emotional, so beautiful/magical. It makes me believe that it is possible. It gives me a feeling of hope.

  9. I read romance to watch a love between characters grow and to see their HEA.

  10. I read romance because I will always believe in the possibility of love overcoming all.

  11. I’m a sucker for a happy ending so that’s what I look forward to the most, but I don’t mind the characters getting lots of angst, trials, tribulations and maybe even a break up along the way to the HEA. After that, since I’m a paranormal romance junkie, I look to escape to another dimension, world or time completely different from what’s around me.

  12. When I read romance I want there to be some kind of adventure or obstacle that has to be overcome.

  13. A happy ending is an absolte must! I can’t have it any other way.

  14. Great interveiw! I love the happy ending but romance also lets me travel the world. I have been to so many places in books, you just can’t beat that.

  15. Hi Ashley,
    I love your books, and I can’t wait to read Pride Mates. I love the Romance in books, but A must have is the Happy ending. Reading takes you to a different place, I go thru and experience everything the character does. The happy ending makes all the trials and tribulations worth the ride.

  16. I read romance usually for the sexual tension. I like being able to feel the tension.

  17. Why do I read romance? Well for most of the reasons that were already mentioned above, the connection between the characters and development of the emotions between them. I too must have a HEA. Will definitely have to pick up these books from you. I loved your books in the Immortal books (Hunter was my ultimate fav), and Dragon books under your Allyson James. I have two of your historicals in my TBR pile

  18. Like almost everyone else I read romance because of the HEA. But it has to be because that’s where the characters and situation take it. I really like strong characters and storylines too.

  19. Very nice interview. The series sounds really interesting.

    As for why I read romance, it’s because I know I’ll get a happy ending. It’s the one genre where I know, no matter what the characters have to go through in the story, they’ll get their HEA at the end. Without that HEA, I wouldn’t read romance.

  20. The most important reason for me is the HEA, like so many others here, and I love to get away from every day life.

  21. I read romance for escapism and the HEA.

  22. Fantastic interview! I loved The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie! Its one of my favorite books of all time! And for me, what a romance has to have is an HEA 🙂

  23. For me, there must be a HEA.. and a sequel or two or three featuring the secondary characters!

  24. Hey!! i’ve been waiting for Pride Mates to come out for soo long!! Only problem, its not in kindle form. do you know if it will be anytime soon? Also, to answer your question, steamy sex scenes, a good heroine, a hot hero and of course a promising future for the two!

  25. Hi everyone, and thanks for all the great comments! I know I read romance (and write it) for the connection between the characters and the HEA, and it’s cool that so many other people do too. (Sequels are good too, LOL).

    Terrific! Hope everyone is having a good day.

  26. I’m excited that you’ve branched into new territory! How exciting for you! I’m very excited for more from the Mackenzies (since Lord Ian was one of my favorite reads of 2009).

    I definitely need a HEA and as I get older I want more steam from my books. Give me that in a book and I’m happy!

  27. I read romance for the HEA and to get away from the real world for a little while.

  28. It absolutely must have a happy ending…and hot sex scenes…and Hero!!! Reading romance novels helps to keep me young at heart.

  29. Great interview. And its the HEA. I dont mind bumps in the road but that is how I want them to end.

  30. I read Romance novels for the sexy male character and a strong heroine.

  31. An absolute must for me is an HEA. It can take a couple of extra books to stabilize, but I hate series that never seems to end and are all about the same main character. I lost interest in Mary Janice Davidson’s Undead series because all the books were focused on one main character. She did only have one main guy to love(as far as I got at least), that was a plus but still, I like when the other characters also get there own HEA. This is one of the reasons I’ve never read the Sookie Stackhouse books. I heard she goes through several boyfriends/lovers in the course of the series.
    And, yes, about 70% of my books are paranormal.

  32. Hi Jennifer 😀
    congrats on the release!!! your book is already on my wishlist and I can’t wait to read it – the story sounds very interesting and full of suspense!
    I read romances for the Happy Ends – I love reading about the protas and the problems they have to master, but I don’t like reading romances which have no Happy End…
    greetings, Ina

  33. I read romances for the emotional journey. The best books put me through the wringer and leave me an emotional wreak.

  34. I read romances for the journey. I don’t like it when they fall in love when they first meet, and that’s it. I like to see the relationship develop through trust and getting to know each other (and yes, passion). The emotional attachment needs to be there, but it needs to be believable too.

  35. I read romance to be “taken away” from my ordinary life. If it’s just not romantic enough then I find it hard to finish the book.

  36. The book has to have some kind of conflict for me that will make love the book but I hate the whole thing with misunderstand because to me thats such old plot/storyline that I don’t enjoy that any more.

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