Another Author of the Month at MyShelf.Com
Author of the Month
Amanda Ashley / Madeline Baker [February 2003]
Chosen by Suzie Housley, MyShelf.Com
A special bond develops whenever a reader discovers an author who is able to introduce them to a new category of reading pleasure. I found this bond through author Amanda Ashley when I read her vampire romance, A Darker Dream. Even now when I pick up a new paranormal romance, I am compelled to think of Ms. Ashley.
For years I had avoided paranormal romance. I felt that this genre of romance would be very difficult to accept. How could a person find the unnatural form of a werewolf, shape shifter or vampire appealing? I discovered the answer to this question quite easily when I listened to an online friend who dared me to pick up a copy of Amanda Ashley's A Darker Dream. Reluctantly I took her up on her challenge, and I found the mesmerizing character of Rayven. Rayven's dark soulless eyes refused to leave my thoughts until I was forced into a sleepless night to learn of his final fate.
I am thoroughly
convinced that I could not have started off with any better author than
Amanda Ashley to introduce me to the highly popular paranormal genre.
She possesses a unique talent of giving her readers the maximum satisfaction.
That is why I felt she deserved to be February 2003's Author of the Month
Suzie Housley: Was
it difficult revisiting the same characters that you had developed in
Shades of Gray?
Suzie Housley: Was it difficult revisiting the same characters that you had developed in Shades of Gray?
Amanda Ashley: No, it was wonderful. I love the characters, especially Grigori and Edward, and even Khira was fun to write.
Suzie Housley: After writing Shades of Gray, did you know that Edward's story would have a separate book?
Amanda Ashley: Not really, although sequels are always a possibility. I think it was my readers who finally made me decide to give it a try - especially Laura S, who loved Edward in the first book. I hope she's not disappointed in Sundown.
Suzie Housley: You also write Westerns under the name of Madeline Baker. Why, as an author, do you select to go by two aliases?
Amanda Ashley: It was my editor's idea, sparked, I think, by my book Warrior's Lady, which sounds like a western but wasn't. Of course, anyone who read the back cover copy should have known that, but I got a letter from a reader who was outraged that it was a fantasy. My editor decided that, to avoid further confusion, it would be wise to use a pseudonym for my vamp books, so I decided to use the names of two of my grandchildren. Naturally, they were thrilled.
Amanda Ashley: Doubts? Constantly! I'm having them now, wondering if the readers who have been waiting for Edward's story will be disappointed in the book. As for how I deal with it, CHOCOLATE, of course, and lots of it. :)
Suzie Housley: Of all your novels, which one stands out the most in your mind. Why?
Amanda Ashley: I think I'd have to say Embrace the Night. I don't know if it's because it was my first full-length vampire book, or my hero, or just the story itself. I just really loved Gabriel. Still do. :)
And Dude Ranch Bride is a close second because it fulfills a dream of mine to sell a book to Silhouette. I know most writers start with category and then go on to single title books, so maybe my career is going backwards!
Suzie Housley: Do you find it hard to separate your alter ego (Madeline Baker/Amanda Ashley)?
Amanda Ashley: No. I'm not aware of writing any differently, no matter which genre I'm writing, but I've had readers tell me I have a separate "voice" for each genre. Of course, part of that can be attributed to the language and "feel" of whatever period I'm writing in.
I love writing both historical and paranormal, but paranormal is more fun simply because of the freedom to be more creative, especially when writing fantasy.
Suzie Housley: Where do you find the source of inspiration for your wonderful stories?
Amanda Ashley: Gosh, I wish I knew! Most of my books begin with a line that pops into my mind. Some of them become books. Some of them are on my computer, in limbo, as it were. At the moment, I'm working on a vampire, a western, and another Silhouette, plus I have a page or so of a story that popped into my head a couple days ago. Whether any of these will ever see shelf space remains to be seen.
Amanda Ashley: Usually about six months. I could probably write a little faster, but I tend to write in spurts instead of long stretches at one time.
Amanda Ashley: At the moment, the only character I'd like to write is Daniel from my Reckless series. Several of my readers have asked for a sequel to MIDNIGHT EMBRACE, wanting to see more of Alesandro and Analisa and curious to know what happens to the housekeeper.
Suzie Housley: Your book covers are some of the most memorable ones that I have seen. Do you have input on what the final product should look like in your mind's eye?
Amanda Ashley: Usually, I don't have anything to say about covers. I have to agree with you, though, I think I've had some of the best covers in the business. There's only been one that I wasn't happy with. Pino, especially, has done some gorgeous work.
My Signet covers have also been beautiful and the upcoming one for Wolf Shadow is no exception.
The cover for After Twilight won the ARTemis Award last year.
My Zebra editor asked for my input for the
cover of After Sundown and the cover is almost exactly as I described
it to her. Better, in fact, since it is done in a combination matte/slick
finish that is very eye
Suzie Housley: What obstacles have you encountered that you can pass on to future writers so they can learn from your experience?
Amanda Ashley: I really can't think of any. I was very lucky, in that I managed to get in on the ground floor when romances were at the height of their popularity. I think it's much harder to find a publisher today than it was back then.
My only real advice would be to have someone competent go over a contract before signing it. I missed a tiny little phrase in one of my contracts that has cost me a rather large sum of money.
Suzie Housley: How have your fans attributed to your writing career?
Amanda Ashley: I have to say that I have the most wonderful fans in the world. Writing is a very lonely profession and I've appreciated their loyalty and support and encouragement. There's nothing like an enthusiastic letter from a reader to buoy you up, especially if it comes on the same day when you've received a bad review!
Suzie Housley: Is there anything we have not discussed that you would like to share?
Amanda Ashley: Just to remind readers that if they can't find books they want to read, if they feel there aren't enough vampire books enough vampire books or fantasy novels, etc., that they should make their feelings known to the publishers. I know a lot of readers complain because there aren't enough vampire books out there. The only way to change that is to make publishers aware that a market exists.
I'd also like to make readers aware, if they aren't already, that writers do not receive royalties on used books. Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against used book stores. They're great for finding books that are out of print, or for trying out an author for the first time. But these sales (and sales of used books on Amazon) are not reported to the publisher, and that affects an author's numbers. And in the publishing business, numbers are everything. When an author's numbers start going down, her print runs go down. And if they go down far enough, that author is out of work. Oops, sorry, I didn't mean to preach!
Suzie Housley: How can fans contact you?
Amanda Ashley: Email - Darkwritr@aol.com or
Snail mail -
I answer all my fan mail and have bookmarks available, on request
Reviewed by Suzie Housley, MyShelf.com
The dark gift had been bestowed upon him . . .
Edward Ramsey was confused by his existence. Once a well-known vampire hunter, he now found himself one of the undead, that which he once hunted. On one of his nightly outings, he happened upon a young woman intent on ending her life. He made the decision to interfere with her plans and keep in her the world of the living. By doing so, how will it affect his life?
He saved her from certain death . . .
Kelly Anderson stood on the far edge of the pier, staring down into the still black water below. It looked cold enough to numb her pain. She was convinced that she had nothing to live for. As she jumped in the bottomless pool, she was unprepared to be saved by a guardian angel. When she awoke, she discovered that the man who had saved her was far from an Angel.
Amanda Ashley has
created an exceptional sequel to accommodate her book Shades of Gray.
Edward Ramsey has all the elements that make for an irresistible read.
The dark shadows that surround his existence are very appealing. I feel
this is one of Ashley’s most compelling novels I have read. The
talent that she so effortlessly exhibits is why she is one of the most
sought after authors in the business. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
2003's Honorary List