KRISTEN ASHLEY: I GET OBSESSED WITH THE BOOK I’M WRITING
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Kristen Ashley released the third part of Chaos series – Ride Steady on June 30. The novel immediately rocked the charts and earned huge appreciation by the readers. Less than three weeks after the premiere the novel gathered 500 plus Amazon reviews with stunning average rating of 4.8 stars!
It’s a great pleasure to welcome as our next guest at Land of Books Kristen Ashley.
– Kristen, would you describe with your own words what the readers will find in your latest release Ride Steady?
– Ride Steady is the next in my Chaos series after Own the Wind and Fire Inside. The series is based on a motorcycle club (MC) in Denver. The Chaos MC was introduced in my Dream Man series, their president, Kane “Tack” Allen having his story told in Motorcycle Man which means Chaos is a spin-off. This is mostly because I have trouble saying goodbye to my characters so I find ways to stay in touch with them. Like spinning off books!
Ride Steady is the story of Carson “Joker” Steele and Carissa Teodoro. They went to High School together but were essentially (and regrettably) ships that passed in the night.
Joker did not grow up in a happy home (to say the least). His mother left him as an infant and his father physically and emotionally abused him. Carissa, on the other hand, had a loving family but one that was hit with a fair amount of tragedy.
The book gives us a peek at that…then takes us years in the future when Carissa’s life has taken a significant turn for the worse but Joker has found family in the Chaos MC. Carissa’s stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire and Joker stops to help. He recognizes her. There is something about him that tugs at her memory, but he’s much changed so she doesn’t recognize him.
That’s their new beginning…and away we go!
– How did you decide to write the Chaos series?
– I touched on this in the first question but to get into it deeper…
Tack was born in the Dream Man series because I’d gone to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and discovered something wondrous. Like way too many, I had preconceived notions of what bikers were like. What I discovered was real was awesome.
That being that bikers are the most gentlemanly men I’ve ever met. It is rare indeed to meet a chivalrous man. It is not rare amongst bikers. Some of the gents we met even watched our purses while we danced! Drinking heavily and having a blast in the middle of the most famous biker rally in the world, I felt safer than perhaps any time in my adult life.
There, of course, are those in the biker culture (as in any cultural subset) who do not treat women as such. Not even close. I’m aware of that. I’m also not a fan of that. And I don’t write books about that.
It’s these men who were fun to be with, were funny, generous and mostly, protective, that inspired me to create Tack and the Chaos MC. My ode to some really good memories with some really amazing people.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– I get asked this a lot and it feels like I’m tempting fate when I answer that there really isn’t one for me. I have a number of stories dancing in my head, they compete to get told and I type fast so they flow out. Depending on how much concentrated time I have, I can write a book in two to four weeks.
But it’s finding that concentrated time. It’s not easy for me to stop and start a book. When I write, I get obsessed with the book I’m writing and I want nothing to disturb me letting it fly. Alas, life doesn’t just stop nor does work. There are a number of things I need to see to in this career o’ mine. So the days when I wrote unhindered from six in the morning to ten at night without another care in the world but my book are sadly gone.
– Tell us something more about your main characters Carson and Carissa? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– Nope. Carson and Carissa are both entirely fictional.
The instant Carson/Joker hits the page in Tabby and Shy’s story, Own the Wind, he intrigued me. Mostly because of Tabby’s description of him. I knew he’d get his own book and he hinted to me what darkness lie behind those steel gray eyes. That dark was dark and when I have a character in my head in pain, it is exceptionally gratifying to dig into his or her story and give them their happily ever after.
I was a little shocked he came out a beta because I’m not sure I’ve ever written a beta hero. Though, he’s very alpha in his betaness . But he’s definitely a beta within the club.
Carissa, on the other hand, totally surprised me. My female characters can be shy or introverted, but normally they’re quite edgy and definitely have an attitude and some sass in them.
Carissa, the former cheerleader/homecoming queen, was all that—an adult cheerleader/homecoming queen. She didn’t curse. She was sweet. She was definitely spunky but that wasn’t edgy or in-your-face. And she has no ambition in life to be anything but a wife and mom.
Although I enjoyed this switch up with Carissa (vs. my other heroines), I liked the idea of exploring that part the most. I think there are women (and men) who want that for their lives, and only that, but they feel pressure from “the world” to be more. To have some career. To have some ambition. What gets lost in that is that any human being should be able to want for their life what they want. If that’s being a mother, then so be it. It’s your life. Not to mention, whether you decide to stay at home with your kids or not, being a mother is a pretty important job all around and should never be degraded.
So I loved writing her, a strong, independent woman who’s sweet and spunky and her rough, talented, take-charge biker guy who is attracted to her for those reasons. They were great together!
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– Oh dear. I honest don’t remember! It might have been written in stops and starts since I travel a good deal. But I think it took three to four weeks to write and then months to publish. So it was some time.
– You are publishing in pretty fast pace. How you are able to restart yourself from one book to the next one, without losing the quality part of your writing?
– I’m certainly glad you don’t think I lose the quality of my writing!
But I really don’t know. I’m a storyteller. That’s what I do. I love it. In taking two seconds to count them in my head, I have six books that want to be written…and that doesn’t include some shorter stories/books I want to write. I have fingers crossed and doing the dance of luck that this never ends. Fortunately for me right now, it is the way it is.
– Who are you?
– I’m a little crazy, klutzy, zany, too social, with too many handbags and shoes and too much love of food!
Even so…I just bought a new handbag Friday and I’m considering hitting the mall for a couple of pairs of shoes I have my eye on. So however “too” I am…that’s what I am and I roll with it!
– What are your writing habits?
– I write better in the mornings…if I start first thing, I get on a roll and that’s magic.
Other than that, if the book is coming, there’s no stopping it. So there are no habits. I just write. Though, I never have any music or TV on when I write. No distractions at all!
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– My next novel after Ride Steady, will be Hold On, the story of Cher and Merry which is the finale to my ’Burg series. Hold On comes out on September 1st in ebook, print and audio. I’m excited about it as I’m always excited about releasing my babies but this is more. I have to stop myself from repeatedly pulling up the epilogue to reread it, I love it so much. Not to mention the whole book – sometimes it’s hard to let go!
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– This is a really good question because I kinda know me so I’d have no idea what about me or my writing would be interesting. I’m just me! This must be why I don’t do interviews with other poeple.
Though, I always love to know if a dream could come true and you could have lunch with any three living people, who would they be? No more than three. You can only pick those three.
And for me, it would be William Shatner, Beth Chapman and Tim Gunn. Now how fun would that table be????