Author Interviews

* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com), including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Author interview with writer Christine Ashworth (revisited)


Back in February 2013, I interviewed author Christine Ashworth for my new interview-only WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it...
Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with contemporary, YA, and paranormal romance author Christine Ashworth. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Christine. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
ChristineAshworth1Christine: Well, I’m based in the Los Angeles area. I have a background that includes being a ballet dancer, a musical theatre dancer, an actor on stage and TV, a secretary, an office manager, and an assistant manager of a popular clothing store for women. As far as writing goes, my father was a writer, and I always did well in writing at school. I knew I’d be a writer too; it just took me until I turned 40 to get around to doing it seriously.
Morgen: :) My father was a photographer and I love photography (very handy when it comes to cover design) but not as a living. I only came to writing eight years ago, and never even thought of it as a profession (despite reading Stephen King novels on day of release) so you’re lucky. :) What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Christine: I’ve written in contemporary, young adult, and paranormal romance. I love to read historical romance, but I have no wish to do the requisite research! I’ve also written contemporary plays, one of them based on a Brothers Grimm short story. That one actually got produced at a local high school.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Christine: I write under my real, legal name. My first book to be published was picked up by Crescent Moon Press. DEMON SOUL was published in March of 2011; BLOOD DREAMS, A Caine Brothers Short Story, was published in June 2012, and book 2, DEMON HUNT, August 2012. If I ever change genres, I might go to a pseudonym.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Christine: Yes, my books are available as eBooks at Amazon, Amazon UK, for the Nook and for Kobo, as well as paperback. I do read eBooks; the ones I fall in love with, I then pick up a paperback copy. I love my paperbacks! But there’s something to be said for carrying over 700 novels on my eReader.
Morgen: Did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
demonsoul 133x200-2Christine: My first editor wanted to change the title of DEMON SOUL, but we couldn’t come up with something else before she ended up leaving and starting her own publishing house. So we’ve kept the titles I came up with (which I think is unusual, unless you’re self-pubbing). As far as the cover goes, I did have input on the second cover. The first iteration was too busy and the second had some color changes I wasn’t fond of. It’s really important to think about what the book will look like in thumbnail size on someone’s iPhone! If the readers can’t recognize the cover as yours in a small size, then it’s not a good cover.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Christine: I’m currently working on Book 3 of the Caine Brothers series, titled DEMON’S RAGE. One of the most-loved characters in Book 1 undergoes a dramatic change in the big fight at the end of Book 2; in Book 3, I have to find a way to redeem him, as well as finally kill the bad guy.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Christine: I do try to write every day – sometimes the only time available to me is to sneak it in at my day job, when things are slow. Hey, a thousand words is a thousand words, right? But don’t tell my boss!
Morgen: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Christine: Interesting question! With RAGE, there are a lot of things already set up from SOUL and HUNT that must be resolved, things that I didn’t have a clue about when I first started writing RAGE a couple of years ago. Now I’ve got the momentum and know what must be in the book; but much of it will still come as a surprise.
When I’m not doing a series, I try to plot out a basic arc for the chapters so I can just write without having to do massive rewrites. One of these days, that will actually work for me, lol!
Morgen: Do you have to do much research?
Christine: No. The beauty of paranormal romance is I get to make stuff up. Like tribreds – demon/human/Fae people. I get to decide what they can and cannot do. Fun stuff! As my books are all set in Santa Monica, California, I do research the city – but that’s such a joy. I love the Third Street Promenade, where a lot of my books are set.
Morgen: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Christine: Never believe you know it all. Seek out people to learn from, and don’t be afraid of, or contrarily hate, honest and thoughtful criticism of your work. Once your first draft is done, let it rest for a while as you work on something else. Then go back to that first draft; see it with new and much more critical eyes. Good books aren’t written; they’re re-written, sometimes many times over, so you’d better love the stories you tell. Lastly, we are what we do. If you write, then you’re a writer. If you talk about writing but don’t actually write, then you’re not a writer.
Morgen: Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Christine: I’ve got two that I use as mantras: “Only a mediocre writer is always at his best.” - Somerset Maugham; and “The easiest thing on earth to do is not write.” - William Goldman
Morgen: Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?
Christine: These are the ones I love:
  • http://savvyauthors.com – writers from every stage of their career are there, sharing their journey. It’s a wonderful place to learn and grow.
  • http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/join-the-love-revolution-mywana – Kristen Lamb, writer of the wonderful books “Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer” and “We Are Not Alone – the Writer’s Guide to Social Media”.  Her Love Revolution is the way of the future for artists of all types.
  • http://jamesscottbell.com – James is a terrific teacher as well as a marvellous writer. His classes and his books on plotting and editing should be in every writer’s toolbox.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Christine: I do the Facebook, which I am really good at. I used to enjoy Twitter, before I got my day job. Now I don’t seem to have the time, and I miss my Twitter friends. I’m a member of LinkedIn, which is where I found you, Bailey so that’s all to the good! But I don’t spend too much time there. I’m also on Google+. On  Goodreads, I generally tend to review the books I read and leave the rest alone. There just isn’t enough time in the day!
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Christine: The possibilities are endless. After all, humans need stories to help us make sense of our lives, and I don’t think that will ever change. How those stories get to the public will continue to be in a state of flux. (Think of where we were 200 years ago, and where we are now!)
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Christine: Here are all my links!
Morgen: Lovely, thank you, Christine.
I then invited Christine to include an extract of her writing and this is part of the opening of DEMON HUNT…
DemonHunt133x200No two journeys between the Planes were the same, and even the Fae Passages held some danger for the unwary. Serra refused to be intimidated as she moved through the chill nothingness. Focused on her destination, the dark beach in Santa Monica, she counted a thousand heartbeats and a thousand more as she walked, before the roar of the ocean filled her ears. Relief had her running toward the Human Plane, the scent of the sea tickling her nose. The Passage’s hard floor gave way to unsteadiness beneath her shoes and she stumbled, landing on her knees on cold sand in a world far from her own.
A fierce wind tumbled her hair about her face and sent chills across her skin, a shock after the humid heat of home. She stood, pushing weariness aside, and brushed her hands and knees free of sand as she did a quick recon of the area.
The wide beach lay pale in the darkness. Thick clouds overhead partially obscured the almost full moon, but she could make out the boardwalk, a mile or so distant, that would take her to the stairs and to her car. She headed toward the walkway at an easy jog, enjoying the stretch and pull of her muscles.
A scent crossed her path and she breathed it in as she jogged. Someone else was on the beach that early December morning and he smelled—arresting, alluring. Dangerous. He’d gone the other way not half an hour before.
A cry split the night. Lightning illuminated the beach and thunder cracked, hard and close, overhead. Her skin chilled anew at the hallmarks of death, but she resisted the urge to investigate and kept moving forward. There was nothing she could do. Not yet.
I then invited Christine to include a synopsis and this is of DEMON HUNT…
Tribred Gregor Caine decided long ago to deny his blood legacy, so he isn’t thrilled when paired with a full-blooded Fae to hunt the demons threatening to decimate Los Angeles. As they fight side by side, he finds she calls to both his Fae and his demon blood; a call he can’t resist.
Warrior Fae Serra Willows crossed into the Human Plane to help destroy the demons released from the Chaos Plane. Finding and shutting down the portal between worlds is more challenging than she expected…and Gregor and his world more seductive than she had ever imagined.
As the killings escalate, Gregor and Serra realize one of the most deadly demons from the Chaos Plane has marked Serra as his own. To save her, Gregor has to face his greatest fear—losing his humanity to the darkness in his blood. But in a race against time, that darkness could become his greatest strength. And he will kill to claim Serra’s love.
***
Christine Ashworth is a native of Southern California. The daughter of a writer and a psych major, she fell asleep to the sound of her father's Royal manual typewriter for years. In a very real way, being a writer is in her blood-her father sold his first novel before he turned forty; her brother sold his first book before he turned twenty-five.
At the tender age of seventeen, Christine fell in love with a man she met while dancing in a ballet company. She married the brilliant actor/dancer/painter/music man, and they now have two tall sons who are as scintillating as their parents, keeping the dinner conversation lively.
Christine's two dogs rule the outside, defending her vegetable garden from the squirrels, while a polydactyl rescue cat holds court inside the house. Everything else is in a state of flux.
***
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on the main blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have this blog, http://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com, on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
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