Ashlyn Mathews writes paranormal romance, contemporary romance, sports romance, and interracial romance. Today she sits down with us for an interview. Learn more about Ashlyn and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I realized I wanted to write since I started reading romance in my teens. Some stories frustrated me or the ending wasn’t what I wanted for the hero and heroine so in my mind, I would write the story I wanted for them.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
I started putting thoughts to paper in 2010. The manuscript was a mess. Lots of f-bombs. I cleaned it up and submitted to two publishers. My first book was published in September 2012 by a romance imprint of a major publisher. Two months later, I self-published a novella contemporary romance that made it to #6 on Amazon’s top 100 free books. I essentially had two dreams come true—having my work picked up and published by a traditional publisher, and self-publishing a book that had somehow made it onto a top selling list.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
At one point, I considered myself a hybrid author. I had two books traditionally published and one self-published. Currently, I’m indie published, and I love it. I love the control over my work. I love that if I have the sudden urge to rebrand all of my covers in a series, I can do so without begging my publisher to make the change. I also like the task of formatting and uploading my books on to distributors’ sites.
Where do you write?
I write at my desk situated in my living room. My family has easy access to me. I like the noise of my kids and the television while I write. Sometimes during emotional scenes of a book, I listen to music to also feel the mood. I also have a great water view of the bay in front of my house so when I’m stuck, I’ll stare at the water and hopefully, get inspired enough to write the next scene.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Both depending on which scene I’m writing. For my paranormal romances, silence is helpful to get all of my world building facts straight. For example, if my character is half vampire slayer, half vampire, what abilities does she have? How did I handle this mixed genetics in my prior books in the series? If I was listening to music, it’s more difficult for me to think. However, if I want to “feel” the emotions of a particular scene, I’ll listen to pop or rock music.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
Not much. I think characters should come with their own habits, beliefs and past shames/trauma. I’m a pantser so I write without plotting or really knowing my characters. Sometimes, it sucks to write this way because it takes several drafts to understand my characters. But, I’ve done the plotting thing before and it doesn’t seem to work for me because the story goes off course anyway when something from my characters’ past changes the whole plot line.
Describe your process for naming your character?
I keep a list of names I see or hear that I like.
Real settings or fictional towns?
Usually real settings with a touch of fictional. My paranormal romances are more fictional towns.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
My heroine, Alexandra, in Protector (paranormal romance) likes to play the game of heads or tails coin toss at the most darnedest times, usually before a big fight with demons!
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I like to leave my teabags in the sink even though the garbage can is under the sink. It drives my family crazy.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
It would have to be Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. The ending to the story broke my heart. And you know what? I did write my own version (Wolf’s Red). And instead of a prince, my hero is an Alpha wolf, and there’s a HEA.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I wish I’d kept better track of my expenses. My first two years as a published author, I spent thousands of dollars and countless hours on promotion, books signings, covers, edits, etc. without thinking of long term goals or return of investment (ROI). Now, I set a budget for the year and try for hard to stick with it. So far, I’m on track to keep my expenses low.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when my kids leave their socks everywhere. One of my Golden Retrieves has a fetish for eating socks.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
My husband (he can get us off the island), a Swiss Army knife, a stash of books.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Picking up garbage along the interstate. Worse garbage is near truck stops. What those truckers throw away… gross!
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
My all-time favorite is Lisa Kleypas’ Dreaming of You.
Ocean or mountains?
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
A city girl who likes a country kind of guy.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I have several books in my head I’d like to write. There’s just not enough time in a day!
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I love flowers, especially roses. My favorite rose is the Blue Girl. It’s in the picture, a lavender rose. Beautiful and it has a sweet/tangy scent, too.
Love, Actually (Red Meets Blue)
My remorse is skin deep.
I live paycheck to paycheck, call the apartment on the scary side of the city my home, and have no life outside of working two jobs. When given the chance to crash a masquerade party in the rich part of town, I readily agree. What I didn’t expect is to be escorted to the party by Jaxson McCallister, a man from my past who holds a dark grudge against me. A man who doesn’t have a clue it’s me beneath the mask. Or does he?
I’m unwilling to forgive her.
The law was too soft on her, and she knows it. I can’t forgive or forget Tavi Gabriel for her role in my little sister’s death. When she drops into my life again after going MIA, I’m determined to make her pay for getting off easy.
But when I see the pain and remorse etched on her face as a deep scar, can I forgive and forget her? Or will I demand a penance that will test my long-buried attraction for her?