Saturday, March 12, 2011

March Madness with Ashley March

Welcome to everyone celebrating March Madness at Ashley March's blog today!  We're re-posting an interview we did with Ashley when her first book, SEDUCING THE DUCHESS, was released.  So grab a tankard of rum, get settled in your choice of hammocks here, and enjoy this pleasure cruise through a romance writer's paradise.

DRD:  Welcome back to Hero Hot Seat!  Yes, it's been a while.  The last hero was a little too hot, so the fire marshal got involved, and there was that whole four-alarm blaze thing.  But I know you're going to love today's guest, Philip Burgess, Duke of Rutherford, the hero of SEDUCING THE DUCHESS— 

*Captain Jack Sparrow saunters onto the stage, blowing kisses to the audience*   

DRD:  Hey!  I'm in the middle of a show! 

Captain Jack:  Perfect!  *faces the camera and bows* 

DRD:  *yanks Captain Jack up by his collar*  Look, I know you're big on impromptu appearances after that recent school visit, but I already have a guest today. 

Captain Jack:  But I'm here! 

DRD:  *tries to look sad*  So sorry!  *puts hand to corner of mouth* Psst!  Security.  *tilts head in Captain Jack's direction* 

*two burly security guards lift him by the arms, his legs bicycling madly in the air as they head backstage* 

*loud crash offstage* 

DRD:  *presses finger to ear mike*  He did what?  *looks at the camera*  It looks like our guest is going to be delayed.  Fortunately, we have his creator, debut author Ashley March, standing by.  Because who could possibly know a hero better than his author! 

Audience:  THE HEROINE! 

DRD:  Well, yeah, but—give a big round of applause for Ashley March!  Ashley, can I get you something to drink?  We have a fully-stocked bar, along with a coffee maker, an espresso maker, a French press coffee maker. . . 

Ashley: *cranes neck to look in the direction of Captain Jack* Is he on the menu?  No? Are you sure? *gives audience salacious wink* Could he come back and serve my beverage? 

DRD:  Well, um, sure, but he can't even compare to Philip, your hero.  I recently spent the night with him—er, well, I read his story, SEDUCING THE DUCHESS, in one night.  *fans face and takes a sip of ice water*  Tell us more about him. 

Ashley:  Ah, Philip.  *eyes glaze over wistfully*  Well, he looks a bit like Clive Owen.  Tall, dark, handsome, of course.  Also rather like Captain Jack…without the dreadlocks.  The kind of man that makes you want to rip off his clothes and…I mean…*clears throat* He makes you want to rip off his exterior masks and reveal the man beneath.  You see, on the surface he’s not hero material.  He’s arrogant, manipulative, and can even be deceitful at times.  But he’s desperately in love with his wife, Charlotte, and that’s what redeems him.  For her, he’ll do anything.  Even change from the villain of the story into a hero, if need be. 

DRD:  *sighs*  This is a "reconciliation story", which sounds  tough to write, because there's a history between the characters, as well as emotional obstacles in place.  You did it wonderfully though because I was a nervous wreck the last third of the book!  What was it like writing this kind of story?  

Ashley: *still looking toward the back for Captain Jack*…Oh!  What was that?  Reconciliation story.  Right.  It warms my heart to hear you were a nervous wreck. *smiles* In some ways, it was easier to write such a story because there was a history between them.  The emotions and attraction were already there, and all I had to do was get them on the page.  At the same time, however, that’s also why writing the book was difficult.  I had to balance the vulnerability, anger, resentment, attraction, etc. in a way which would be believable for readers.  This meant I couldn’t make it easy for Philip to get Charlotte back, and Charlotte had to give as good as she got.  Although their love story isn’t very neat or pretty, it shows that failures can be overcome, hearts can be healed, and even the worst marriage can be redeemed by love and forgiveness.   

DRD:  Did the idea for the story come first, or was it the hero? 

Captain Jack:  *pops up between DRD and Ashley*  Did someone say hero? 

DRD:  *shrieks and puts a hand to her bosom*  Eyes up, Captain!  Or I'll pop them out with a fork. 

Captain Jack:  *winces*  I merely wanted to ask this lovely lady a question.  *lifts Ashley's hand to his lips*  Your heroine Charlotte was quite the saucy wench.  Perhaps even a bit of a pirate in another life.   You must have created her with me in mind, no? 

Ashley:  *grabs DRD’s ice water and holds it to her forehead*  Well…not exactly.  *mouths to DRD “He kissed my hand!”* Although I’m sure she likes rum, too, I, um, created Charlotte as the perfect heroine opposite of Philip.  She was inspired by Scarlett from Gone with the Wind, and-- 

Captain Jack:  Oh.  I thought--perhaps I might help inspire your next hero then.  *attempts a seductive pose* 

DRD:  *snorts*  I'm sure she's already created her next hero.  Ashley, can you give us a hint of who that might be, and how long we have to wait before we see him on the shelves? 

Ashley: *blushing as she looks back and forth between Jack and DRD* Sure.  Sebastian Madinger, the Earl of Wriothesly, is my next hero.  He’ll be appearing in Romancing the Countess, set to release in Fall 2011.  It’s a story about Sebastian and his best friend’s wife, who are drawn together after their spouses die in a carriage accident and it’s discovered they were having an affair.  It’s a sweet, sexy, emotional book…that’s currently lacking any pirates.  *smiles at Jack* But perhaps I can convince my editor to let me make one last change. 

Captain Jack:  *preens* Ashley, everyone loves to hear those Port of Call Stories.  So. . .when might I call upon you? 

DRD:  *shakes her head*  Could you tell us your Call Story, either with your agent, or editor, or both? 

Ashley: *leans over and whispers something in Captain Jack’s ear before turning back to DRD*  Ahem.  My Call Story.  Yes, of course.  How about with my agent? I had started SEDUCING THE DUCHESS before I got pregnant with my first daughter, and then the nausea hit…and then my hips ached…and then all I wanted to do was sleep.  After she was born, I still hadn’t finished the manuscript.   I had about 80 pages to go.  However, being quite sleep-deprived and assuming it would take forever before I got an answer, I decided to go ahead and query a couple of agents anyway.  One read the first ten pages I was allowed to submit with my query and a few days later asked for the FULL.  Shocked, I asked for advice from my writer friends and replied with an email saying I needed about three weeks to “polish” the story.  Two weeks and five days later, I submitted the full.  The following Wednesday she emailed me, said she loved the story, and asked if she could call me the next morning.  I said yes, of course, didn’t sleep at all that night, and was surprised that I even let her say two words the next day before I accepted her offer of representation.  It was a fantastic day.   

Captain Jack:  *lays head on Ashley's shoulder*  That was lovely, although we should probably talk about my pants now. 

DRD:  *glares at Captain Jack*  He's always a bit of a flirt when we have guests, but he's quite taken with you, Ashley.  I hope you don't mind.  And I dearly hope he’s asking if you're a plotter or a pantser. 

Ashley: No, no.  I don’t mind…at all.  *blushing again* Becoming a published author who submits proposals has forced me to become more of a plotter.  I’m still a pantser at heart, though.  I basically plot out all the major points of the story, then pants it the rest of the way.  I usually don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in the next chapter until I’m finished with the current one.  *bats eyelashes at Captain Jack* And may I say, Captain, your pants are quite lovely. 

Captain Jack:   *prances down the stage like it’s a catwalk and spins before falling off* 

DRD:  Ashley, thank you so much for stepping in when Philip, uh, well, became indisposed.  Now it's time for questions from the audience.  Hopefully Ashley can stay around for a bit, or stop by later, so fire away!   Uh, forget I said fire. . .And don't forget to stop by for more info about the March Madness Blog Party.  Lots of great prizes!


2nd Chance said...


Let's talk about my pants...

Well, sounds better than let's talk about my plots. Though that could be even naughtier...

I do think I tend to pants and plots the way you do, Lady Ashley!

Donna said...

Ahh, Captain Jack. I never get tired of reading his exploits. LOL

Chance, hope you made lots of rum concoctions for today's visitors. I think the place looks pretty spruced up. *waves hanky around* There, the dusting's done.

Whew, now I'm tired. I'm gonna get in my hammock for a while. . .

Kati R said...

Oh Ashley and Captain Jack.

Bosun said...

Congrats on the success of your debut, Ashley, and on coming up with this great March Madness idea. We're honored you chose us to be a part of it, and we do hope you'll come back in the fall to tell us more about Romancing The Countess. I'm still amazed you finished the first MS in less than three weeks, but then I've been trying to write a query for three weeks and can't even do that. :)

Hellion said...

I ditto Bo'sun--you have to come and tell us all about Romancing the Countess. (I'm ignoring the 3 weeks part as a self-defense mechanism.)

I'm thrilled to have you back aboard the ship. This March Madness sounds like a hoot! Great idea!

Marnee said...

I love when one of our lovely interviewees tangles with Captain Jack. :)

Thank you, Ashley, for including us. We are honored. :)