It’s my pleasure to welcome award-winning author Ashlyn Chase as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.
Ashlyn’s latest book, STRANGE NEIGHBORS, was just released earlier this month. Thanks to Ashlyn and Danielle at Sourcebooks, I have two copies of this book to giveaway to 2 lucky visitors who comment on this post between today and 8 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, June 22. Be sure to include your e-mail address with your comment if it’s not included in your profile.
Ashlyn joins us today to talk about her writing and why she select to write the genre she does.
I was asked why, with my background as a psychiatric nurse, I decided to write light paranormal romances instead of something grittier, like murder mysteries…
Well, the easy answer is—because writers like to escape as much as readers do. I worked in the psychiatric field for fifteen years. When I left, I was jaded and burned out. It took a while to get back to my old self, but I finally did. Sure, I have stories to tell, but I don’t want to. Simple as that.
I’m not sure it wouldn’t violate the confidentiality aspect. I heard intimate secrets that would make your skin crawl…and I was told those things because my patients knew they could trust me. Sure, they might never read one of my books, but can you imagine doing so and recognizing your story? Patients want to forget about grim reality too—especially theirs!
However, all that experience contributed to my writing in one important way. With a degree in behavioral studies (a psychiatry-sociology combo) and having observed people for most of my life, I “just know” how my characters are going to behave. I can skip the exhaustive character sketches that some writers have to begin with.
Writing paranormal characters can be a challenge, because you have to put yourself in someone else’s paws, never mind shoes! Or you need to think like a vampire who’s technically dead, only comes out at night, and needs blood to survive. And ghosts! You don’t realize how much writers require body language and facial expressions to communicate until you can’t use it. But, I like a challenge.
Fantasy can be great fun to write. You’re only limited by your imagination. If you need a motorcycle to fly, you simply have your motorcycle-riding witch cast a spell, and voila, the motorcycle leaves the ground and soars over traffic (like in Wonder Witch.) If you need a hero to disappear before the heroine’s eyes, you simply send a Greek God to zap him out of her life (as in Oh My God.)
And I love a good laugh—more than anything. I think this world needs more laughter and love. I’m fortunate. I have a wonderful marriage. My man makes me laugh regularly, challenges me intellectually, and still—even after sixteen years of marriage (twenty years of togetherness) turns me on. Who wouldn’t want that?
Sometimes I think of my writing as a public service. Seriously. I’ve worked hard to hone my craft and put a smile on your face. Since reading works for me when I need a lift, I imagine it works for others.
When both of my parents were terminally ill at the same time, the stress showed. A friend and fellow nurse shoved a book in my hands and said, “Here. Read this.” She didn’t tell me anything about it, and I didn’t recognize it as a romance novel from the cover. It’s a good thing or I might not have read it.
The book was the first in Diana Gabeldon’s Outlander time travel series. I ate it up. During those hours, I was transported to another world. I forgot my sorrows for a time and experienced a mini mental vacation. A desperately needed, healthy escape.
When I turned to writing I realized that for me, it was more than a job. It was a privilege. And it still is. I’m grateful to have an audience with whom I can share my creative outlet. I hope my series Strange Neighbors transports readers into my wild imagination and allows them to have some fun there—whether they need it or not.
Ashlyn, thanks so much for stopping by and guest blogging. STRANGE NEIGHBORS does provide great laughs for the reader.
Here’s a brief blurb about STRANGE NEIGBORS: “He’s looking for peace, quiet, and a little romance…
There’s never a dull moment when hunky all-star pitcher and shapeshifter Jason Falco invests in an old Boston brownstone apartment building full of supernatural creatures. But when Merry MacKenzie moves into the ground floor apartment, the playboy pitcher decides he might just be done playing the field…
A girl just wants to have fun…
Sexy Jason seems like the perfect fling, but newly independent nurse Merry’s not sure she’s ready to trust him with her heart…especially when the tabloids start trumpeting his playboy lifestyle.
Then pandemonium breaks loose and Merry and Jason will never get it together without a little help from the vampire who lives in the basement and the werewolf from upstairs…
For a bit of background on Ashlyn, who is a multi-published author, she specializes in characters who reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. Among her many day jobs, she has worked as a psychiatric nurse, run blood drives for the Red Cross, and now uses her degree in behavioral sciences to avoid writing exhaustive character sketches. Ashlyn lives with her true-life hero husband in beautiful New Hampshire. For more information, please visit her website at http://ashlynchase.com/.