Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest Interview with Phillipa Ashley!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


Fever Cure – Samhain – July 2011

Wish You Were Here – Sourcebooks June 2011

Dating Mr. December (aka Decent Exposure) - Sourcebooks December 2010

Carrie Goes off the Map (aka It Should Have Been Me) - Sourcebooks December 2011

Just Say Yes – Sourcebooks Spring 2012

Phillipa Ashley Bio

Phillipa Ashley, loves writing lively, sexy, funny romantic fiction. After studying English Language and Literature at Oxford University, she worked as a copywriter and journalist.

Her first novel, Decent Exposure - titled DATING MR DECEMBER for the US - won the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Award. In 2009, it was filmed as a Lifetime TV movie called 12 Men of Christmas starring Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Hopkins.

Her current releases are WISH YOU WERE HERE in June 2011 and FEVER CURE in July 2011.

She lives in an English village with her husband and daughter and loves Champagne, Jane Austen, hiking and boogie boarding.

How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?

Anything and everything and everyone! I’ve just got a new idea I’d like to explore from a science programme on TV. The old Yvonne Fair track, It Should Have Been Me inspired one of my books - and my current wip just slid into my mind as I nodded off on a long car journey (as a passenger, I hasten to add.)

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

Getting out of the house into the countryside, either mountains or sea.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

Well, I’d love to think of my agent as Yoda! But I also draw on the support and inspiration of writer friends, expecially Rosy Thornton and my two Coffee Crew authors, Nell Dixon and Elizabeth Hanbury. We meet every month or so and encourage, cajole and bully each other into finishing projects and submitting them. We recently produced an anthology of short stories called Brief Encounters. And we eat cake and meet at a vineyard!

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

Richard Armitage. His charismatic performance as John Thornton in North & South kicked off my writing career in 2004. I’ve based two heroes on him.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

Yes. I like angsty soft rock, indie music and pop by bands such as Snow Patrol, Embrace, Doves, The Fray, The Cure, Paul Weller, Style Council, Oasis etc I listen to those when I’m driving to get myself in the right mood for a book.

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

I like to have music on in the background – usually Radio 2, our mainstream pop station here in the UK. I love sport so I sometimes have Wimbledon or a cricket match on in the summer. I also have the TV on – but you know, I could hardly ever tell you what has been on TV or radio; I get so engrossed in my writing.

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I read romantic fiction of all kinds, from category romance to chick lit. I also read widely in other genres, especially crime and non-fiction. I adore travel books and manuals about the great outdoors – many of my books feature travel or are set around outdoor activities such as sailing, hiking, surfing and mountain rescue.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

Once an idea grabs me I try to write a plan but often end up abandoning it while I get the first few chapters down. I’m too scared to plan in case the idea slips away from me. It’s only when I’ve got a little way into the story that I stop and try to plot. I write a bit more, plan a bit more and so on until I get to the end. Then I usually have to do major rewrites.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

I’ve been helped many times by writers in the Romantic Novelists Association. My first book went through the RNA New Writers Scheme benefiting from a critique by an experienced writer. It went on to get me an agent and my first deal with Headline, and won the RNA New Writers Award in 2007. Other RNA members have helped me in many ways with advice, support and reviews. I hope I’ve helped new writers myself; I’ve tried to offer advice to anyone who’s asked for it. I never like to be too prescriptive; my main experience of this business is that you *never* know who or what will be the next big thing and who will get published – or can’t. There’s a huge amount of luck and subjectivity involved.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

I’d make sure my family and parents were secure and help out my friends. I’d give a big chunk to charity; probably rescue organizations such as the Mountain Rescue and Royal National Lifeboat Institution – all volunteers who risk their lives to save others.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

A doctor, especially one who has the courage and passion to work in a remote or dangerous location like my current hero, Dr Tom Carew in Fever Cure.

Adventure travel specialist – like the heroine of Wish You Were Here

Screenwriter – wish I’d gone for it when I was younger.

I live my dreams through my characters! They’re a lot braver than I am…

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

I like my heroes to be strong, sexy and principled. They may not act principled to begin with or they may have done something they deeply regret, but by the end of the book, they have to overcome their barriers and realize that their love for the heroine means more to them than their regrets and fears. My heroes also have to have a sense of humour, they can be a bit arrogant at times but they must be witty and be able to laugh at themselves. I can’t stand pompous ranting Alpha heroes who spend a book ordering the heroine around. I just find them ridiculous!

My heroines have to be bright and witty, even if they might be a little shy (though they rarely are.) I like warm-hearted heroines not afraid to be vulnerable now and then, or act unreasonably! They’re courageous in dealing with the slings and arrows life has thrown at them and in the end, they always bring the hero to his knees!

BUY LINK FOR FEVER CURE: http://www.amazon.com/Fever-Cure-ebook/dp/B004WGUYFO/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_4


Phillipa said...

Thanks for having me at Divas!

Rachel lyndhurst said...

Great interview, Phillipa! Fab you like Snow Patrol - I wrote a whole book inspired by one of their songs.I hope it's a successful as I know Fever Cure is going to be. XX

Tina Donahue said...

Our pleasure, Phillipa - you have quite an impressive background. A movie - wow!!

Phillipa said...

Thanks for dropping by, Rach - I love Snow patrol esp Set the Fire to the Third Bar and I adore Embrace. A Glorious Day is my signature for Decent Exposure.

Tina - I don't often feel very impressive, lol. :)

Anonymous said...

That's a lovely interview -- Fever Cure is a great book! :-)

Tamara Morgan said...

I don't know a single romance writer alive today who doesn't thank Richard Armitage for something.

That man deserves trophies. Lots of them. I'm sure one of us would be happy to deliver them. :)

Congrats on the release, and I'm looking forward to the book!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Loved your answer to the lottery question. Volunteer groups get forgotten when it comes to charities.
Your book cover is lovely. The story sounds exciting.
You attended Oxford? I'm impressed.
I wish all the best to you, Phillipa.

jean hart stewart said...

Even the titles to your books are great. Love getting to know about you! All my books are set in some part of Britian...Jean

Phillipa said...

Linda - thanks :)

Tamara - yes I know ! But MR A is so modest (or scared) he refuses to accept any credit for what he has inspired. And I have to have a little boast - I once interviewed him by phone!

Sarah - Thanks for the good wishes. We are patrons of an MRT in the Uk and the RNLI and give what we can but I would so love to give them a huge amount of cash.

Jean - are you American or a Brit?

Fiona McGier said...

Uh, I'm one...(waves hand). I have no idea who Richard Armitage is! And I watch some BBC shows, in particular, Dr. Who, Torchwood, and any other sci-fi that husband and kids convince me to watch once they buy it.
Interesting answers to interview questions. Thanks for sharing.