Author Interview with Ashlyn Chase

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                                                   Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an Almond Joy bar. A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a scrumptious, satisfying, reading experience.

She worked as a psychiatric nurse for several years and spent a few more years working for the Red Cross. She credits her sense of humor to her former career since it helped preserve whatever was left of her sanity. Ashlyn holds a degree in behavioral sciences and has been trained as a fine artist, registered nurse, hypnotherapist, and interior designer. Writing is one career in which she wasn’t formally educated, yet by sheer determination she’s become a multi-published, award-winning author.

Most writers, whether they’re aware of it or not, have a ‘theme,’ some sort of thread that runs through all of their books, uniting the whole mishmash into an identifiable signature. Ashlyn’s identified theme involves characters who reinvent themselves. It’s no wonder since she has reinvented herself numerous times. Finally content with her life, she lives in beautiful New Hampshire with her true-life hero husband and a spoiled brat cat.

Welcome to Paperback Writer, Ashlyn

Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book? 

Sure!  I’ll tell you anything.  It’s a funny story, actually.   A dear friend of mine and her mother went to a fair one fine summer day. They were simply walking along and chatting when Liana (my friend) fell in a hole!  She twisted her ankle and had to be carted off in an ambulance with a couple of hot EMT’s, much to her chagrin.  Another friend of ours quipped that she might not have toppled over if her large chest hadn’t set her off balance.  Well, we’re all romance novelists so of course, Heaving Bosoms, popped into my head.  When I stopped laughing and wiped the tears from my eyes, I knew I had to write the story. 

Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

Both.  I usually begin the journey writing from the seat of my pants and then along about chapter three I need a map.  I do a story board.  Basically, all the main scenes and plot points are written on stickies and then arranged into chapters.  I can move them around if need be.  I use a different color for subplots and make sure I make a note of anything that needs to be resolved by the ending.

Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

I usually know how the story will end before the second act, but I don’t know how to get there. That’s where the map comes in. 

Do you have a process for developing your characters?

No. That’s where my working background comes in.  I was a nurse for twenty years. I earned a degree in behavioral sciences during that time so I had studied and worked closely with people and their significant others before I began to write.  I ‘just know’ what my characters will do in any given situation.  Even when they behave inconsistently, there’s a reason for it.  Usually they change and grow over the journey.  They  come to a point when it’s too late to go back so they must push on–but often it’s not the easiest thing for them to do.  Change is something many people have difficulty with, so my characters should too.

It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?

This is where I have to raise my hand and say, “Thomas Wolfe said that every novel is an autobiography, but if you were to read mine, you’d swear I needed to be locked up!”  I always have at least one character who says and does all the things I wish I could say and do–but never would!

What is your most favorite part about this book?

I love how I managed to pull of what they call ‘the reversal.”  It’s when the characters realize that not only do they not care about the goal they were hell bent on achieving, but they don’t even need or want it anymore.  Either they already have what they really need and want or they’ve achieved something greater.  Think about how Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz starts off by running away from home. Then suddenly getting home is the one thing she wants most. My characters don’t reach their reversal until much later, but it’s very cool when it happens. 

When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?

I was told not to pitch a story until it was finished.  I think that’s good advice. I know folks who’ve made such a terrific pitch that the agent or editor wanted to see the whole manuscript as soon as possible.  They either work their tails off for the next few weeks, skipping meals, sleep and showers, or they don’t finish get it to that editor quickly or at all and she thinks you won’t be able to meet deadlines.

What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

Well, I hate to say it, but I’ve had more struggles after being published!  I stepped on the wrong toes once and got a kick in the teeth. (Figuratively, of course.)  I’ve received the occasional scathing review, which made me cry.  I’ve always wanted to please everybody all of the time, and even knowing I can’t do that doesn’t help when I feel I’ve let someone down. 

What has been the best part about being published?

Definitely all the readers and writers I’ve met either on the internet or in person.  Some have become dear friends even if they live on the other side of the world.  And I have fans!  I still can’t believe I have actual “fans.”  (fans self to keep away the “vapors”.)

What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?

I just want them to feel like they’ve been entertained and I hope that there is a little more love and laughter in their lives after reading it.

Do you have plans to write another book?

Lots of other books.  I keep an idea file and it’s chock full of craziness to come.
Would you care to share with us how the virtual book tour experience with Pump Up Your Book Promotion has been for you?

Very cool!  I love having the opportunity to reach more readers and make new friends.
Where can readers find a copy of your book?

Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and directly from my publisher.  If those ways don’t appeal to them, it can be ordered from any bookstore or library. 
Here is the direct link to my publisher’s cyber-shelves. They can also find an excerpt there.

For the electronic book, go here: http://www.cerridwenpress.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419907982
For print book, go here: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-3862-heaving-bosoms.aspx
 
Do you have a website for readers to go to?

Yes.  My own website is www.ashlynchase.com.  There’s a contact link if anyone wants to email me.  I love hearing from readers.

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