Author Interview – Ashley Ladd @ashleyladd
Hello and thanks for stopping by and visiting with me and the bunnies. It is so nice to have Ashley Ladd here. Readers I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Oh, hold on Ashley, every time someone new stops by the dogs and bunnies go crazy.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I work full time as a customer service representative which takes up 40 plus hours of my week. I also enjoy scrapbooking, going to movies, playing with my cats, reading, and hanging out with my adult children and my friends.
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas come from everywhere—TV shows, movies, conversations I have or overhear, things my kids have done, dreams, brainstorming, news programs…
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Harlequins and Silhouettes in general. I used to devour them when I was a teenager and dreamed of not only falling in love with a rich, powerful, handsome, and sexy foreigner, but of writing my own romances. I often joined my dad when he went to work in downtown Cincinnati so I could visit the huge used book stores and I’d pour through them for hours. Then I’d go home with shopping bags full of them. Or if I couldn’t go with dad, he’d bring them home to me. Often I’d read till all hours of the night, using a flashlight under my covers—until Dad caught me and then started checking on me more often.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I do a lot of things to promote my books.
I write a lot of guest blogs and answer a lot of interviews. I do a lot of blog tours. I also host a lot of other authors books on my blog.
I tweet and post to Facebook. I belong to Triberr. I also belong to several Yahoo loops. I’ve signed up to do my first Facebook party soon with a promotion company to help me.
I’ve requested a lot of reviews, including from one of my Goodreads groups.
I rarely pay for ads but I did buy one on BTSeMag recently.
Also, I’m going to be interviewed on a blog talk radio show soon.
Do you buy a book by the cover?
No. I almost always choose my books by their blurbs. If the story sounds interesting, I’ll buy it.
Do you write under a pen name?
Yes. Ashley Ladd is a pseudonym. I don’t know if my employers would approve of what I write. Ditto for some of my extended family and friends.
What day were you born?
November 21st. I’m a Scorpio on the cusp of Sagitarrius with a Leo rising.
Did you have a favorite toy as a child?
Only one? Can I have four? Or five?
I had five—my shotgun, my bow and arrows, my roller skates, my bowling ball, and my bicycle. I used to shoot trap and skeet with my dad. We even reloaded our ammunition.
I also shot Junior Olympic Archery. I wasn’t good enough to go to the Olympics but I really enjoyed it.
I lived at the roller skating rink and the bowling alley but when I was at home, I was usually on my bike.
Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
All the time. J
I’m exhausted when I get home from work and I strip off my work clothes and climb right into my nighties, then dig into my writing and promotion.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
As much as I’m into genealogy, I’d love to see the future and find out if it’s like the Star Trek version (I hope). I want to meet the Vulcans and all the other neat species out in the universe. I want to travel on star ships.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
John Lennon. Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper). Harrison Ford. Leonard Nimoy. Stephen King.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
If you were a superhero what would your name be?
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I would spread myself on the wind and fly.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Rainbow Sherbet (the type with raspberry, orange, and lime) – especially United Dairy Farmer brand
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Colby cheese and mushroom omelet
Night owl, or early bird?
One food you would never eat?
Asparagus! My grandmother was an awesome cook and I loved everything she made except asparagus. The smell even turns my stomach.
Being left out of social events at work
Cars that tailgate me
People that cut me in line
Skittles or M&Ms?
M&Ms – but only plain chocolate. I don’t like the peanut ones
Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
I’d love to return to my birthplace and live there. Cincinnati, Ohio.
One of your favorite quotes –
Live long and prosper.
Do you prefer coffee, tea, or hot cocoa?
Red, or white wine?
Neither. I don’t drink.
What is your favorite gadget?
My smart phone.
What is your favorite type of pet?
My cats! I adore cats and I’m well on my way to being a crazy cat lady. I would be if my family would let me. They’ve threatened to walk out if I bring home one more animal.
What is your favorite place to travel?
Home to Cincinnati. I’m always homesick. In fact, I’m going to visit for a week this October (2014). I can’t wait.
If that doesn’t count, then it’s a tossup between San Francisco where I honeymooned and Biloxi, Mississippi where I went to tech school for the Air Force.
Do you prefer print books or ebooks?
Ebooks! They feel so futuristic – at least they did. Still, I can adjust the font size, the light, and I can carry a lot of books on my phone.
What is your favorite cereal?
Cream of wheat with brown sugar
What is your favorite color?
I don’t like just one plain color. I like a swirl of purple, pink, and blue.
What was your first date like?
I went to my 8th grade dance with “R”. He was even shyer than I was, and it was very awkward as he liked me a lot more than I liked him.
Who is your favorite singer?
Tough question – there are so many I like. Harry Connick Jr. David Cook. Elvis. John Lennon. Daughtry. Carrie Underwood.
What is your favorite thing to eat/snack on while writing?
Sometimes I’ll take an ice cream break. Mainly I have a never-ending supply of diet cola with lots of ice.
Have you ever went to work and realized a piece of clothing was missing?
Once I forgot my bra. My BRA!
I was pregnant with my youngest so that was nineteen years ago. I was wearing a shirt plus blue jean overalls so I had pretty sturdy tops on so it wasn’t too bad so I muddled through.
I also went to work one day with two different colored high heels. One was dark blue and one was dark green and I didn’t notice until I got to work. The shoes were identical otherwise. I told my husband jokingly and sweetheart that he is, brought me the matching shoe.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
It was probably when I rode in my first horseback competition. I started to fall off the horse and I knew I couldn’t hang on. So instead of falling on my arse or my head, I jumped off. The judges asked me why I jumped off in the middle of the competition. My instructor and her friends were astounded.
Do you prefer snow or rain?
Definitely snow. I love it and I miss it living in endless summer country (South Florida). I really don’t like to get wet. I wear hearing aids and I’m always scared the rain will ruin them.
What is your favorite theme park?
King’s Island. I worked there for 3 years and I met my husband there. We worked together in the Old Coney section in a stand called “Lunch Basket”. It’s in King’s Mills, Ohio just north of Cincinnati.
Roller Coasters or Water Rides?
Roller Coasters. In fact, this is perfect timing. I went to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure just this past weekend and I got soaked on the Popeye ride. I knew I’d get wet, but not thoroughly drenched. I was not a happy camper and my daughters got mad at me for getting upset.
Do you have any hobbies?
Genealogy. Scrapbooking. Reading. Going to movies. Collecting Cats.
What are you scared of? Bugs, Snakes?
Snakes and alligators and sharks. Anything that can eat me.
In fact, I went on one of the Harry Potter roller coasters this weekend at Universal and at one point, we were thrust into the Basilisk’s face and it spit on us. That was terrifying!
Swimming in the ocean or a pool?
Although I like to go to the ocean and walk along the shore, I’m scared of sharks so I prefer to swim in pools.
Candles or spray air fresheners?
I once had a fire in my house because of candles, and it almost killed us. But spray air fresheners make me cough so I don’t like them either.
Do you have a green thumb for plants?
Unfortunately, no. I tend to kill the poor things.
Do you like feather pillow or foam?
What do you collect? Trinkets? Books? Gadgets?
Cats – real and statues. I also have a lot of china and crystal from my mother and my grandmothers.
Real sugar or artificial sweetener?
Coke or Pepsi?
Pepsi! For two reasons. I like the flavor much better. Also, I used to work for Coca-Cola and have a lot of bad, unresolved feelings for the company.
Do you drive a manual or automatic vehicle?
Do you prefer to live in a big city or in the country?
I used to say country but I like the conveniences of the city. What I really like is where I grew up – it was on the verge of country but only a mile or so from the city conveniences. I’d like that again.
Who is your favorite actor?
Ummmm… That’s a toughie. I like Chris Pine lately. And Chris Hemsworth.
What is your favorite movie?
Again, there are so many.
Do you play an instrument? If so what?
I used to play the organ but it’s been so many years since I’ve touched one I’ve forgotten how to play.
What was your first job?
I worked at King’s Island Amusement Park. It was a wonderful job for a teenager. I got to play in the amusement park for free when I was off duty as much as I liked.
Have you ever gone to work wearing house shoes?
Yes. When I was pregnant with my youngest son I was permitted to wear slippers and even go barefoot.
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
I’m the mother of five – 3 girls, 2 boys. I also have 2 grandchildren, 2 dogs, and 4 cats. I’ve been married for 34 years. I’m originally from Cincinnati and am constantly homesick for it. I served in the US Air Force and now a disabled vet with hearing loss. I earned my BSBA in Accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi and I also earned my MBA from Nova Southeastern University in South Florida.
What types of books do you write?
I write primarily contemporary erotic romance – a mixture of mf/mm/mfm/mmm. Sometimes I write paranormal or comedy romance.
Who’s your main audience?
Erotic romance readers.
When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
I’m strong in writing dialogue. I have to go back and fill in description and emotions.
What do you think of this term- Writer’s Block? How do you overcome it?
When it happened to me, I just had to buckle down and write. Sometimes I reread what I’ve written, or perhaps start editing to get back into the story.
How many books have you written?
- I’m working on my 76th.
How many are published?
72 and the 73rd and 74th will be published in October 2014 and March 2015.
Are you self published or traditionally published?
I’m traditionally published with small presses: Totally Bound, Ellora’s Cave, The Wild Rose Press, New Concepts Publishing
What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you?
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Chick Lit. Romantic comedy. Contemporary romance.
Who’s your favorite Author?
What’s your all time favorite book?
The Stand by Stephen King
How long does it take you to write a book?
It’s always different, but lately it’s about 2 ½ months to write 60K words. I write approximately 2-3K words nightly (when I’m not in heavy promotion mode).
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
Haley in ‘Purrfect Justice’ published by Ellora’s Cave. Haley wanted to be a policeman but was disqualified because of a physical disability. So she went to work for the police department as a secretary instead. During her free time she listens to police scanners. After a Halloween party while she’s dressed as Cat Woman, she hears that the policeman she loves is down and needs assistance so she runs to his rescue. She not only saves his neck that one time, but donning the costume, she keeps saving his neck and she does fun stuff like jump police cars while riding her friend’s motorcycle. I want to be Haley.
What does your family think of your writing?
My kids (adults) are embarrassed of romances much less erotic romances. My husband feels that I’m wasting my time. My dad was very supportive until he came down with Alzheimer’s a couple years ago.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I write for 2-3 hours a day after I get home from my day job and finish dinner.
Do you manage to write every day?
I was writing every day until I took a hiatus to promote my five books coming out back to back.
What’s the latest news you’d like to share?
My mfm erotic romance ‘Her Men’ is pre-released at Totally Bound and it will be generally released September 26th at Amazon and ARe. For now, it’s available at: https://www.totallybound.com/her-men
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Read a lot – especially in the genre in which you plan to write, but also in lots of genres. Also, read a lot of books from the publisher(s) you’re targeting.
If you’re having trouble writing, just write. Then edit the hell out of what you wrote.
When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
Not really, although I often look at the time-frame of the story, the age of the heroine, the place where they live and choose names accordingly. For instance, one of the few time-travel (into the past) I wrote, I researched genealogy to pull out names like Pleasant and Uriah.
Did you ever think you would ever become an author?
I knew I was a writer since I learned how to write. I always wrote stories. Did that mean I knew I would be published? No. But I hoped.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to publish?
My first book was never published. Also there was another one about an amputee that never made it to print. I was working hard on it and lost the file. I back things up and I lost the back up too so I dropped the story.
How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying?
About four years. I hooked up with Romance Writers of America, joined a critique group, and then started meeting publishers at their conferences. I met Madris de Pasture of New Concepts Publishing and she bought my book ‘Tigers Play’.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
In ‘Her Men’– Forty-four year old Julie Weston has loved Timmy and James since her college days twenty something years ago. She’s fantasized about both all these long years, never able to choose between them.
Hoping Tim and James will attend, she attends their college marching band reunion. When both men show up her dreams are answered. They’re sexier than she imagined and she hopes they won’t be disappointed by her older self.
It turns out both men came just to see her again and neither is happy about the other’s presence. They fight over her, confusing her more than ever. It takes a hot ménage…or two…for her heart to decide which one she’s in love with.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I was writing fairly hot books when a big named author suggested I go a bit further and leave the bedroom door totally open. About that time, Ellora’s Cave was becoming a big name so I decided to submit my first erotic romance to them. It was accepted and the rest is history.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I used to live in Biloxi, Mississippi so most of my research was to make sure things were still the same, or if they had changed, what things were like now.
What is a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
First, I go to my day job for 8 hours, then I come home and make dinner for my family. After I clean up, I settle into writing or promotion in my bedroom where my desk is. I get to write about 2-3 hours depending how tired I am. I’m a fast typest so I generally write an average of two thousand words nightly.
What is the best thing about being an author?
I get to live vicariously through my characters.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Crazy Cat Lady Writes
What inspired you to pen this particular novel?
I saw a call from one of my publishers for a romance with an older heroine. I brainstormed and came up with ‘Her Men’.
Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?
I hope they’ll land on the New York Times bestseller list.
What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
That love triumphs over all. That people are people and sexual orientation doesn’t matter.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
The title ‘Her Men’ picked itself. The story was originally entitled ‘Game On’ but the phrase ‘her men’ and ‘my men’ kept popping up so I changed it.
Some titles are obvious from the story context and thus very easy to come up with. Others, are extremely hard. After 75 books, I’ve had a mixture of success.
Pick one profession you would choose if you were not an author. Why?
College professor. I love to go to school and I love to be on college campuses.
When writing do you prefer typing or long hand with pen and paper?
It depends what mood I’m in.
What was your vision for the book cover?
The background of the book is exactly as I envisioned it. The heroine looks a little younger than I envisioned although I think she’s gorgeous.
Have becoming a published author been everything you envisioned?
No. I’m not able to quit my day job and write full time. I’m not even able to hire a publicist. I’m not traveling the world, even to attend many conferences. Yet, I still love writing and reading and the writing world.
If you could change one part about yourself or work what would it be. Why?
I would be more outgoing. I wouldn’t be so shy in person or even on the loops.
What are you currently working on?
‘Gaycation’. Molly is an erotic romance writer who hasn’t come out of the closet to her employer or her friends. She attends a gay convention on her vacation from her day job so she can get more ideas for her books. She gets way more than she bargained for when her big boss, the man she’s been fantasizing about, is also an attendee at the same conference.
If you could be anyone you like, who would you be?
Mulan. I love strong women who can save their men. I also love military characters and military settings since I was in the Air Force. (I also think her hero is very cute and sexy.)
Where can your followers find you?
Any last words?
Thank you for welcoming me to your cyber home. I enjoyed chatting with you and I hope my readers and yours got to know me a little better.
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today, Ashley. It’s been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.