7 Jul 2013

Author Interview / Ashley Robertson

Interview with Ashley Robertson
(Author of the Crimson series, Unguarded, and her newest release, Death Dealer)

Death: a word Mia Baron was all too familiar with since the murder of her parents when she was a young girl. Her drive for vengeance was the reason she became a Death Dealer—a soul guide through the spirit realm—signing her life away in her own blood. Pain forged a concrete wall around her heart and no one or nothing would ever penetrate it…until she got what she desired most—revenge.

Deacon Gage craves justice for his own horrific tragedy that forced him into the same life Mia chose, with the same promise of vengeance dangling just out of reach. His expert training makes him an Elite—one of the few Death Dealers to ever achieve such a status—and no one can shift his focus from the blood he seeks.

But when the two are partnered for yet another job and a heart-shattering case rips open Mia’s heart, Deacon realizes he’s the only one who can save her…at a price that might be too much to pay: opening his heart to her. The clock is ticking and her life hangs on the balance of whether he can truly let go or will hold onto his desire for blood.

1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? This is a super tough question because there are several I’d like to list here. Richelle Mead is the reason I dove into my own world of paranormal writing and though I’d love to work with her, honestly my heart is with Jeaniene Frost. She created two of my favorite fictional people—Cat and Bones. The journey that couple has taken me on has left me breathless more times than I can count. She’s amazing and hopefully one day I’ll meet her, if not work with her J

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? I’m actually a pretty busy girl since writing isn’t the only thing I do these days. Afternoons are my strong point for writing and I push myself to at least get 800-1k words each day (5 days a week). I also run an exercise/nutrition/beauty blog—ExtremeMakeovers.com—where I post workout videos, recipes and nutrition plans, beauty tips and tricks, and some of my favorite wines. In addition to that, I’m also taking online web development training courses so I can effectively operate my websites. For the most part, I work from home in various rooms to change up the vibe. Lately, I’ve been in my home office, though before that, the dining room was my “go to” work spot.

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you? The hardest part (ahem, aside from editing) is deleting huge chunks of material from the book that are unnecessary and have become a hindrance to the flow of the story. I cringe every time this happens, but I feel in my heart I’m doing the best by my characters and readers. The deleted scenes are always saved and will eventually be featured on my blog.

4.  When and why did you first start writing? I’ve written since I was a young girl. It started with poems and songs, later evolving into fictional short stories and plays. Once in college (of which I took several grammar, creative writing, and speech classes), I got a job as a real estate assistant to pay my bills. Getting my RE license shortly after that led to an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. From then, I was a multi-million dollar producer with an amazing boss/mentor and eventually business partner, Lorraine Barrett. In 2008, the crashing market and some personal hurdles led me to walk away from a career I’d worked so hard to build. Falling back into writing was easy since it was always my passion, and now I’m living my dream of being an established author. In 2012 I was named a Best Author of 2012 by popular book blogger, Nose Graze. And in 2013 I was a National Indie Excellence Award Finalist for my book UNGUARDED.

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book Death Dealer? My grandma—who helped raise me as a child—passed away around fifteen years ago. I’d always envisioned being with her when she moved on to the Light because surely that’s where that wonderful woman belonged. I’ve had more daydreams about this than I can count. That idea evolved into a whole series of books that are stored in my mind. Lots of kick-ass action, steamy romance, and a heart-gripping quest of souls moving on to the Light or Dark, escorted by a Death Dealer to the proper gate—that’s what the Death Angel novella series is all about. There is no mention (and never will be) of God or Satan, as my books are not religious in any way. Just a new fictional underworld that has solely been created by my mind. Blood Promise (book 2) is on course to publish later this year.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now? Oh yes! I’m a book nerd through and through. I just finished Darkness Unmasked by Keri Arthur (fantastic) and my next book is Werewolves Be Damned by Stacey Kennedy (who I also love and respect as an exemplary author).

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? ? I could go on forever here and totally make this question a guest blog post. But in an effort to keep things short, here are a few important bullet points that are a MUST:
     1. Finish your manuscript! Whether you want to publish traditionally or self-pub, you’ve got to have a completed book on your hands before you can do anything else.
     2. Hire a professional editor! Not your friend! You want someone that will shoot straight with you and not give a damn if they hurt your feelings because at the end of the day, you want your book as good as it can be for your readers, right? I use Stephen Delaney with Close Reader Editing Services and he’s pretty badass.
     3. If you’re not a graphic designer and can’t manipulate artwork on a computer, then hire a cover designer! People really do judge a book by its cover, so you need it to look as good on the outside as it is on the inside. Death Dealer’s cover was done by the amazing Stephanie Nelson at Once Upon A Time Covers. She’s extremely talented and wonderful to work with.