Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday Wonder Writer - Ashley Ladd

Greetings to you from a snowy, icy (another snow day) West Michigan. Despite the weather, I'm very excited to have Ashley Ladd with me today. Sit back, have some coffee and enjoy a few minute with her as she tells us her Wonder Writer story and shares and excerpt.

I liked the question you gave me about my schedule. Back at you. Tell me about your typical daily schedule.

What schedule?
I work a full-time 9-5 job for a charity that helps the destitute poor in the Caribbean and Latin America. Sometimes, especially during the Christmas holidays, I work overtime. Before I go to the job, I wake up two children, get them ready for school and drop one off at her high school. Some days, I have to rush to the ball field when I get off at 5 pm to pick up the high schooler from her softball practice or to go to a softball game. This season, she’s on two softball teams – her high school team and city rec. I don’t know the high school’s schedule yet, but the city rec team plays two nights a week plus practices. She has pitching lesson on Thursday nights right after work and right before her rec game. I have to fit my writing around all that. I like to walk to try and stay fit during her practices and before her games but I watch the games. After the games, I either go to the gym or write at home or at Borders or Barnes & Nobles. Lots of times we hang out at the bookstore after the games or on nights and weekends when there are no games while I write and my kids read. Sometimes I write at the ball field instead of walking or while the game is going on, but I do look up when my daughter’s at bat, catching, or pitching – some games that’s a lot, and others, not. I also have online critique partners and groups that I meet with in either email or late at night. I try to watch American Idol (my guilty pleasure) when it’s on but lots of times I have to record it to watch later.

Wow! That’s a busy schedule! Do you have a pre-writing routine to prepare yourself to get down to business?

For the past couple years, I do most of my writing at the bookstore. So I gather the kids together, whichever ones want to accompany me (almost always the 17 year old – the softball player, and only sometimes the others). Then we stop and get a soda if going to Borders as they no longer sell sodas. L Then I find a table, set up my laptop or alphasmart, put on my MP3 player or stick Chris Daughtry into my laptop and turn him on, and write. Usually an hour or two into the writing, I take a break and get a toasted bagel with cream cheese and wander around the bookstore for a bit to stretch my muscles. Then, I write some more. On weekends, sometimes I stay all day and or all evening and do a marathon. The hubby is usually umpiring all weekend and most nights so he’s not around anyway and my other kids are all young adults and actually prefer it when mom’s away and not bothering them so they can have their choice of TV shows or my main computer.

The people at the bookstore must know you by name. Do they know what you’re doing while you’re there? Do they ask you about your books?


Probably only the people at the cafe (from my credit card). The employees have never asked me what I'm doing although a couple of the other patrons have asked me. The most darling little girl asked me what I was doing Saturday afternoon. I didn't tell her WHAT I was writing beyond a story. A few nights before that, a gentleman came up to us in Barnes & Nobles and scolded me from defecting from Borders and asked what I was doing and I told him. So I think we know faces more than names. I did meet with our local NaNoWriMo writers group at Borders this past November and we had signs all over the desk plus we got rather rowdy in between word wars, so I imagine some of them noted I was with the crazy, noisy writers. Of course the NaNoWriMo'ers know. I'm sort of shy so I haven't gone up to people and announced I'm a writer. I do haunt the romance aisles to see which, if any of my books are on the shelves there. Lately, I've only seen "Price of Fame" published by Ellora's Cave at my Borders. Sometimes I see "American Beauty", "Tripping Through The Universe", "Sky Pirates", and "Sex Kittens" there and at Waldens across the street at the mall. A couple years ago, I asked to sign my print books there and although they said "yes" and I did so. They acted as if they could care less. I live in a big metropolis where there are several big named authors, so I guess they're rather blase about authors.

Do you have a favourite author or someone you look up to in the industry?

I love Stephen King's books, especially The Stand. I also love to read Sherryl Woods romances.

What’s your writing style? Slow and steady? Quick and prolific? All over the place?

I guess I’m all over the place but more on the quick and prolific side. Despite my busy life, I write a lot and I write fast. When I took an online typing test about a month ago, my typing speed was 95 wpm. I type faster than I take shorthand although my shorthand’s pretty good, too. Some books I make myself go slow and steady but my critique partners, Sher in particular, will tell you I’m always chomping on the bit to go faster. She’s always trying to slow me down. Last weekend, I wrote a 35,000 word novelette in 3 partial days. I amazed myself. That’s fast, even for me.

35,000 words in three days is amazing! You must have been on fire for your topic. Want to share?
It was a BDSM M/M/F. LOL. Very very sexy and very explicit.

You love romantic swashbucklers. Tell me your favourites and why.

You bet. I’m absolutely in love with Indiana Jones and also Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser in The Mummy). My knees go all weak for a man like that. I can't wait for the Indiana Jones movie to come out in May this year. I'm dancing in my seat.

Are you writing one?

Of course! Would you think otherwise? J I’m working on the sequel of Make-Believe Lover for Ellora’s Cave. The working title is very scintillating, “MB2”. LOL. I think Lobo in MB1 qualifies as a swashbuckling hero and the hero of MB2 will also be a sexy swashbuckler.

How many books have you had published and for whom?

At last count, 38 books published but only 28 still in print. I write for Total-e-Bound, Ellora’s Cave, and New Concepts Publishing. See the full list at my website at: http://www.ashleyladd.com/

Wow! 38 books—that’s amazing! What’s your favourite genre to write?

That’s a hard one. It’s a mixture of romantic comedy, time-travel, and adventure. I think the time-travel with a lot of comedy and adventure added in, would have to be my first choice.

The Perfect Gift just came out with Total-e-bound. Can you tell us about the book and how you got the idea?

Honestly? Okay, take a seat as I tell you how I got the idea. This one's been percolating for YEARS. Way back in high school I had a boyfriend I was crazy about. In fact, he asked me to marry him and I said yes. I was 17, what did I know? Anyway, he took me to a party which turned out to be all men except for me. Not long into the party, my fiancĂ© began kissing another man. I was in shock! I'm not making this up. Then he introduced me to "the other man", his “boyfriend E..." I was reeling. I didn't know what to do. I really never thought I'd get over that. I was paranoid for many many years after that all men were gay, that none truly liked women. I also never imagined I'd tell that story even like this and especially not in an actual book. Never say never.

Anyway, the book was born out of my personal experience, although, since I never married this person, my real story ended. It was just the jumping off place for the book "The Perfect Gift" however. In "The Perfect Gift", Bianca finds a stash of male porn under her fiancé Ty's side of the bed. She's reeling, as I was, wondering what in the world was going on? She has a lot of self doubts and wonders if he really loves her and why this stuff is there. In her case, it's only a few days before Christmas and she still hasn't found a good gift for Ty. She's determined not to give him another tie or another power tool. Meanwhile, she also wants answers. When she has to work Christmas Eve morning with her gay co-worker Brendan, she gets the brilliant idea to give Brendan as her gift to Ty (if Brendan will cooperate, of course). Brendan goes along with the idea and they surprise Ty on Christmas Eve with a naked Brendan with a big red tie around his cock. At first, Ty doesn't know what to think, although he's very turned on. When it's explained, he has fun with his gift. And then, the men bring Bianca into their fold and they have a threesome. It turns out to be the perfect gift for her as well.


Sounds great! I'll post an excerpt at the end of our interview. Tell me your writing story…when did you decide this was what you want to do? How long did it take you to get “the call”? Etc.
Age 6. I knew very early.
However, I got sidetracked and went into the military and then got talked into going into accounting in college instead of journalism as was always my plan. I got married early (20) and had three children quickly which kept me very busy. Finally, I got the call in 1999. My goal was to be published before the turn of the century and before my 40th birthday (which was right at the turn of the century), and I made it! I was so excited. New Concepts Publishing was my first publisher and my first published book was “Tigers Play” originally entitled “Tigers Play Too Rough”. It’s still for sale through New Concepts at http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

I have to add that I also love swashbucklers Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner. How could I ever have forgotten them? Naughty me. I honestly don't know which one I love more, they're both so great.

I doubt that's what you meant by your question, however.

I love to hear from my readers at chinara@aol.com and if you see me at Borders or Barnes & Nobles, please come up and say "hi". If you're also a writer, keep writing, and keep submitting


Thanks for visiting with me today Ashley!

It was great chatting with you, Brynn. Thanks for having me.

Excerpt From: The Perfect Gift (Available at Total-e-bound)

Whistling, a merry bounce to his step, Ty ducked snowflakes and the neighbour kids’ snowballs as he made a dash to the house after some last minute Christmas shopping. He loved Christmas and this year was the most special yet for it was his first living with Bianca. She’d made their apartment into a cosy home, brimming with Christmas magic, overflowing with love. He didn’t know what he’d ever done to deserve her, but he sure was grateful. He counted his blessings daily.

He was excited about his special gift for her—a diamond ring and first class tickets for Bianca’s dream trip—their honeymoon trip to Hawaii. Now she’d not only go to paradise, but honeymoon there—with him.

Shaking with the excitement, he couldn’t wait to see her expression. The scent of candy canes blended with a trace of wax told him she was burning more Christmas candles. Blinking lights glistened off every reflective surface.

Juggling packages that towered over his head, Ty managed to navigate to the twinkling tree in the corner of the living room and set down his presents without breaking anything. Picking out the ring, he put it in his pocket. He wanted to keep it close.

The scent of roasted turkey filled the small apartment with homey, delicious smells. Looking first right and then left to make sure Bianca wouldn’t catch him in the act, he peeked under the foil covering as the turkey sat on top of the stove, done and ready to be enjoyed. His mouth watering, he stole a bite.

Everything seemed to be in place, except his lady. She wouldn’t leave with supper ready on the stove, would she? “Bianca? Are you home? Where are you, sweetheart?”

Only the whir of the heater broke the silence.Worried she’d fallen asleep in the tub again, he checked the bathroom. Luckily, he found it empty, and he breathed a deep sigh of relief.

“Okay, are you waiting for me in the bedroom?” With a very special Christmas gift? Maybe she awaited him naked, wearing only a large bow around her waist like last year. His cock flexed and his blood surged.Excited as a little boy getting a shiny new bike, he rubbed his hands together and opened the door wide.

There was a naked body curled sexily on a brand new red and green satin bedspread, wrapped in a big red velvet bow only it wasn’t Bianca. It wasn’t even female!

Gulp!

“Merry Christmas,” Brendan, the hottie from Bianca’s office, drawled huskily.Brendan laughed throatily and rolled his eyes. “No silly. I’m her Christmas gift to you.” He pointed at the bow, just above his huge cock that was swiftly showing signs of life. “Don’t you see the bow?”

Dumbfounded, Ty’s gaze glued to the man’s beautiful cock, and his mouth went dry.
“You’re my Christmas gift from Bianca?” he echoed. A million thoughts crashed into one another. Had he said or done something to make her suspect his sexuality, his feelings? Had she found his stash of male porn? Was this her way of saying goodbye? Was she going out of his life in style? Just what in the hell was going on?

He felt so guilty he couldn’t stand it. He couldn’t bear to lose her. Barely able to breathe, he whispered, “Why?” in a ragged voice.

Brendan rose and sashayed over to him. “She loves you, man, so much she’s giving you this incredible choice. She wants you to be happy. She’s quite a woman. If I ever decide to get married, I want one just like her.”

Ty didn’t like the sound of that, as if Brendan had designs on his woman. And yet, he understood where the guy was coming from. Shoving his hair behind his ears, he squinted at his so-called present. Feeling like two souls warring in one body, he wanted to deck the guy for getting near his woman, while he also wanted to throw out his inhibitions and ravish and be ravished by him.

8 comments:

Bronwyn's Blog said...

Wow Ashley, I'm so impressed. Your schedule is brutal and your output in enviable! You rock, woman!!

There's something about swashbucklers and rogues...what could be better? ;)

Awesome interview, Brynn!

Ashley Ladd said...

Thanks Brynn and Bronwyn.

Oh yeah, gotta love those rogues and swashbucklers. I'd go into outer space with Captain Hans Solo or face down the Nazi's with Indiana Jones with a snap of my fingers.

I'm thrilled to be your guest today Brynn, and I can't wait to see your up coming Wednesday Wonder Writer interviews. You rock!

Judith Rochelle said...

Ash...what a great interview. What great answers. And what a tempting excerpt. This is such a great way to get to know people. And what an interesting job you have! Wow! meanwhile, rushing to buy your books.

Amarinda Jones said...

Great first interview

Ashley Ladd said...

You mean my day job Judith?

I work for a non-profit charity that serves the poorest of the poor in the Third World Caribbean and Latin America. I like being able to help, even if it's in a small way.

It also involves a lot of multi-tasking and there's rarely a dull moment being in customer service.

Molly Daniels said...

When do you sleep, ha ha:) Seriously, great excerpt! And I also love Doughtry and Han Solo. Wish I lived closer to Borders or B&N...never thought about writing there. Sometimes I 'run away' and write at Starbucks.

Ashley Ladd said...

Starbucks looks like a good place to write. Unfortunately, I'm not a coffee drinker and they don't sell soda or anything I drink so I doubt they'd want me to take up a table for hours.

Anny Cook said...

Wonderful, wonderful interview. I have a bunch of your books. Sigh. Now I'll have to go find this one.