Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview with Ashley Lynn Willis

I am so excited about this post, because one of my very favorite things in the world is to find a new author that has that spark. That indefinable and very rare quality that makes their writing something really unique and special. I am such a glutton for being able to tell people, “Oh, I knew her before she got really famous” I have a few of those, and I would bet good money that I’ll be adding this lady to the list. So with out further fanfare, I would like to welcome author, Ashley Lynn Willis to my blog.

Thank you so much for agreeing to the interview. I know they can be time consuming, and we do appreciate your kind contribution. To start off….

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Oh, so open-ended. Makes me nervous, but open-ended questions are the sign of a good interviewer so here goes: Okay I am the mommy of a three and four year old, and they are the light of my life. I have a wonderful husband of nine years who is way too supportive of my writing obsession. I live in the Midwest, though I’d rather be next to the ocean. Sigh. I miss the waves, seagulls, and fresh seafood. At least I took the opportunity to write about the ocean in my recent release.

I know what you  mean, I spent my teenage years on the Outer Banks of NC. It was heaven. And I did pick up on the heavy nautical setting of your book. Very nice.

Have you always aspired to be an author?

 Actually, I’m an engineer and have worked in general aviation for eight years. I’m logical to a fault and always thought that the only important subjects in life were math and science. If you’re an English major, please don’t shoot me because I promise I’ve learned the error of my ways! In 2008, I read the Twilight series and fell instantly in love. In 2009, aviation slowed to a crawl, and suddenly, my company wasn’t selling any planes, and I was bored out of my mind. The constant stream of meetings, and the projects that I’d been heading were stomped out, leaving me with enough work to fill only half my day. (There is only so much internet browsing one can do without going cross-eyed.) Remembering how much I loved the Twilight series, I decided to write a novel and fell in love with the process of creating my own world and people to fill it. (It’s sort of like playing God.) All you English majors will be happy to know that improving my writing skills is now way more important to me than improving my math and science skills. Communication makes the world go round, right?

Who or what are your literary inspirations?

Anne Rice, Anne Rice and more Anne Rice. In high school, I gobbled up the Vampire Chronicles and Lives of the Mayfair Witches. One of my all time favorite books of hers is The Mummy. It’s so good! After that, I didn’t read as much during college, but began again after my first child was born, starting with the Twilight series and moving to the Sookie Stackhouse series, and then the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Loved all of them.

Excellent taste!! I myself, thought The Mummy was Anne Rice’s best work, and worship at the alter of J.R. Ward.

Did your characters sneak up on you or have they been simmering in your head for a while?

They whacked me in the head and demanded to be put on paper. I didn’t have control of what they did either, because if I tried to get them to do one thing and they didn’t like it, they rebelled by throwing me into writer’s block. Pesky little buggers.

I hear that is a very common occurrence with strong characters. So when this happens, do you go with the flow or try and beat them into submission?

I went with the flow. See above. I really, really abhor writer’s block.

What’s in your TBR pile?

The Dragon Who Loved Me (Dragon Kin, Book 4) – If you haven’t read the series by G.A. Aiken, do. It’s a fast paced read with alpha heroes and spunky heroines. One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 2) – Another great series you should check out.

We might be related. I love both those series. You have PHENOMENAL taste.
Can you tell us a little about your future works?

I’ve already written the first two books in an Urban Fantasy series that I’m very excite about. The first book in the series is Killing Abel and the second in the series is Saving Jessica. Both books have more humor in them than my current release, The Calling, and the characters are all funny, charming and tortured beyond belief. It’s am interesting combination. Both of the books are in the editing stage so I have at least a year of hard work ahead of me before they are released.

Oh, No!!! They sound wonderful and I am really, really bad at waiting.  $%#@*&!
What is the most satisfying aspect of your work?

The satisfying part is writing the first draft, when the words just flow and the characters fly onto the paper and come alive.

The most frustrating?

The most frustrating part is submitting the first draft (precious and flawless in my eyes) to my critique partners. That’s when I learn just how bad it really is and how much work it’s going to take to whip it into shape. I’ve wanted to cry on more than one occasion when a beautiful, meaningful scene that I had labored over for hours (even days) was deemed crap by my blunt crit buddies. It’s a painful process, but necessary.

What would you like to tell/ask reviewers who look at your work?

I’d like to tell them that I’m honored they are reading my story. If they liked it great, and if not, I’d love to ask why so I can improve my craft and do better next time.

If you could live the life of any literary heroine for one week, who would it be?

Oh, that’s easy. Sookie Stackhouse. Who wouldn’t want to cozy up with Erik Northman? He’s such a cutie patootie.  

See…that’s what I’m saying! Excellent taste, although I wouldn’t sneeze at Alcide.

  Flames          **Rapid Fires**   Flames

  • Cats or Dogs?  Cats, even though I’m allergic. I get red, watery eyes just thinking about those cuddly buggers.

  • Morning or Night?  Morning. I am getting old , after all.

  • Sweet or Savory?  Ugh, um..uh…well…chocolate’s sweet, so I’ll go with sweet!

  • Comfort or Fashion?  Comfort. Please see getting old response above.

  • Sports car or Harley?  Sports car! Preferably old - school Corvette!

  • Ocean or Mountain?  Ocean. Didn’t even have to think about that one.

  • Top or bottom?  Bottom. I’m lazy like that.

And finally, the most important question you will ever be asked in your entire life……..
  •  Duke or carolina?  Ha ha! Neither. I’m an OSU  Cowboy fan all the way. And we’re going to whoop some a@* this year! Go Pokes!

  • *snort*
Now on to Ashley’s wonderful new book.

The Calling
Release date: October 19th, 2011

 Rating:  Entrée




Mandy was a survivor. In more ways then one, not only was she beating breast cancer, she was also surviving the loss of her fiancé.  Not that he was any great loss, the creep had broken up with her after her diagnosis.  Now doubting herself as a woman, she is extremely cautious when Justin Seward, her ex’s roommate, asks her out. She always felt a connection with Justin and he had tried to stay in touch with her after Ty ended things, but it was just too painful. Bullied by her best friend into going to the beach with Justin, she realizes just how much she has missed his friendship, but Justin lets her know that’s not all he wants.  Justin is a rescue swimmer with the U.S. Coastguard, and he has a secret that he’ll have to share with Mandy before he can take things much further in their relationship. It’s a secret that has cost him his family, and he can’t let it take Mandy away too.

  Ok, I am timid with "new 2 me" authors, especially with their heroines. Let's face it, I am probably the hardest heroine critic in the biz because I firmly believe women are the stronger sex and men are genetically predisposed to be fragile. Mandy was tough, I'll give her that. She had been through a hell of an ordeal, which was compounded by the abandonment of her jack ass ex, Ty.  She's also a nurse, which is a harsh, demanding job under the best of circumstances. It also means she is kindhearted and compassionate, which we'll touch on later. So far, so good.

The writing and storyline were excellent, completely held me spellbound, and put a very unique spin on the paranormal aspect. Loved this to pieces. The sexual content started off with a slow burn.....hmmmm. Then Mandy turns her freak loose. Yay!!!! She performed a few medical procedures that Justin didn't need pain meds for.

 Now on to Justin. He's a daredevil, trying for redemption of a past tragedy. A broken still my heart. A hero who's devoted to his heroine from the get go and not afraid to let her know and put himself on the line. He was simply divine, and I mean that in the literal sense. *hint, hint* I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, like maybe he would have fish babies or he left the toilet seat up, but it never happened. He did have a mean protective streak, but hey, that is not a bad thing. On the cover, Justin is a blonde, so as long as he didn't stomp kitten heads, he was pretty much golden in my book. That's why I took such offense when near the end of the book, Mandy got her knickers in a twist. I'm not giving spoilers, but I might have had a little "come to Jesus" meeting with Mandy had I been there. It all had to do with that nasty compassionate streak of hers. She gets over it. All in all, this was a great read and one that I highly recommend. I will definitely be on the look out for Ashley's future works after having the privilege of reading this one. Job well done!

 I’d like to thank Ashley once again for her time and talent. She has generously offered three lucky people e-book copies of her new release The Calling.

 You can find Ashley at:






Arianne said...

I'm intrigued to find out what happens between Mandy and Justin :D

Ashley Lynn Willis said...

Hi Arianne! Good luck in the contest!

@Wendy— Thank you for hosting this giveaway and a huge thank you for a wonderful review! Most new authors are terrified of how their debut book will be received so I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. :)

@everyone—I will be around most of the day. If you have any questions, please ask away.

Fictional Candy said...

Love the interview!! Good luck with the giveaway :)

Ashley Lynn Willis said...

Thanks Liz! I think I scared everyone away. LOL. I swear I only bite when provoked. And that hasn't happened in at least a week. ;)

Unknown said...

Excellent post. I want to read the book now (which I guess is the point, right?)! Well done, ladies.

Barbara Elsborg said...

That was fascinating!! You've worked really hard on this and I hope it flies!!!!
I had a struggle with the Duke/Carolina thing until I realised it was sports! Don't blame me! I'm a Brit!

LorettaLynn//Temprance said...

Loved the post,I havent read any of your books yet but im looking forward too:)
Sound like there really good

Ashley Lynn Willis said...

Hi Amanda! Good luck on the giveaway and thanks for the follow!

Ashley Lynn Willis said...

Hi Barbara! LOL on the Duke/Carolina comment. I wasn't sure if Wendy was talking about football or basketball, but my husband is a sports nut so he clued me in. :) Go Pokes!

@Temperance. Thanks! Good luck on the giveaway, too!

Tore923 said...

I really want to read this book. It sounds really good. Please enter me in contest.

Ashley Lynn Willis said...

I can't believe I'm still on-line. I really need to get a life. :) Anyway, hi Tore! Good luck on the giveaway. Okay, I'm officially signing off so I can get in another chapter of One Foot in the Grave before bed. Good luck to everyone who enters, and I hope the winners enjoy the book!

And thank you Wendy for having me on your blog. I've thoroughly enjoyed it!

Lauren Stewart said...

Congrats on the great interview. I can't wait to get Ashley's book! Honestly, I didn't get the sports reference either, but I figured it must refer to something very important if people walk around saying, "Go poke!" Go poke what?!?! Yikes. Or yum, depending on what genres you like. ;)

Anne said...

I'm always interested in finding new to me authors, and I must say the teasers you had in your review really incited my interest.

Charla85 said...

Once again, another great interview!! And now I have another new author to read! YAY ME!

DANIELA said...

The book sounds interesting, and I so want to know what Justin's secret is!!!
Thanks for the giveaway

dany7578 at hotmail dot com

Nat (Lendo Romances) said...

Nice interview! I like the last part lol ; ]
Thanks for the giveaway!


Megan@Riverina Romantics said...

I really enjoyed the interview and review! Thank you!

Megan@Riverina Romantics said...

I'm so pleased to have won!