Today we have with us the author of the Dark Forgotten Series Sharon Ashwood.
Welcome to RomFan Reviews, Sharon. It is a great pleasure to have you with us today and congratulations on the nomination RAVENOUS has received for Booksellers Best Award for paranormal.
This first question is kind of two parts. First, what made you decide to start writing and second, how did you get your start writing?
I’ve always written stories and finished my first novel when I was sixteen (it was terrible, by the way). I wrote about four more (also barf-worthy) in fits and starts while I was doing the usual stuff—going to university, getting into the work world, figuring out who I was as an independent adult. This took me a while as I am apparently a slow learner. Then I got back into writing by freelancing for various papers.
One of the stories I covered was for a conference put on by a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. That exposed me to the business of writing, which was the piece of the puzzle I’d always been missing. I mean, I had no problem sitting down and scribbling hundreds of pages, but then what? What do you do next? How does your work get launched into the marketplace?
So I joined the chapter and was fortunate enough to A) start writing better books and B) meet the superb historical romance author Jo Beverley, who offered a huge amount of practical advice. I can safely say that I owe her my start in the business.
Tell us a little about your new release UNCHAINED, which will be on bookshelves tomorrow.
UNCHAINED is the story of Ashe Carver, slayer extraordinaire, mom, librarian, and ex-witch. She’s tough with a mother’s tender side and is very prepared to lay waste to anyone who threatens her family circle. She’s especially protective of her ten-year-old daughter, Eden.
It’s also the story of Reynard, captain of the guards in a prison for the supernatural. He’s been trapped there for centuries, but is given permission to leave when a thief steals his soul. He goes to Ashe for help because he doesn’t know the modern world. When he was last free, he was an eighteenth-century soldier, gambler and ladies’ man.
Ashe is quite a different kind of woman than what he’s used to, but she has the slayer’s skills he needs. If he doesn’t get his soul back fast, he’s going to die.
She has to pick up her stakes and ride to the rescue, risking the “normal” existence she’s trying to build for herself and her daughter. Worst of all, she has to confront all the failures of her life. She and Reynard are falling fast and hard for each other, but there are a thousand ways it could all go wrong. If they find the thief and retrieve Reynard’s soul, he has to go back to the prison forever. If they fail, he can stay free but he’ll die.
Check out the book video as it does a really good job setting up the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbExjMvR8-0
Will we be seeing more of Ashe Carver in the near future?
All my characters have a way of worming themselves into future books. She’s not in Book IV—which is all about the hellhounds—but we’ll definitely see her again.
I know it seems these two questions are always asked but readers and future writers like to know. What do you like most about writing? What do you dislike about it?
I love telling stories. I love connecting with readers. When I know I’ve touched someone with my books, it’s the best feeling under the stars. What I dislike is the schedule. I work full time, so I don’t get to linger over projects the way I’d like to.
I will mention that between UNCHAINED and book IV, I managed to squeeze in a short story that will appear in the MAMMOTH BOOK OF PARANORMAL ROMANCE 2. That anthology will be out in the fall.
When you get some down time, which I know doesn’t happen often, what would we catch you doing?
Usually I get outdoors. I’m a big fan of long walks and the city where I live, Victoria, is lovely. I’ve got mountain views, beach, and the graveyard down the block—all great scenery within a five minute stroll. Or I collapse on the couch and watch vampire movies. Downtime comes for me in snatches, so I don’t make big plans. My holiday this year is a working vacation in Orlando, where the Romance Writers are having their big conference at the end of July. There is a signing with hundreds of authors that’s open to the public, so check it out if you’re in the area!
Who are some fellow authors you enjoy reading?
Right now I’m reading Jessa Slade, Vicki Pettersson, and I just finished WILD RIDE by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, which I just loved. I tend to read books with action. I love a good explosion. I never fight with guys about what movie to see—I’ll take Jason Bourne over THE NOTEBOOK any day of the week (but I still like Harry Potter best).
Any advice you would like to give to future authors?
I’ve been using this phrase lately: dream big, work hard. Don’t be afraid of your creativity, but work your tail off perfecting your craft. The best way to do that is to write lots and get your writing critiqued by respectful, knowledgeable people.
Joining an organization like the RWA is really useful. I also got a huge amount of good advice from Kelley Armstrong’s on-line writing group (I found it via her web site). Of the group who started off at the same time I did, quite a few are now published.
The Dark Forgotten Series
by Sharon Ashwood