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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Author Interview & Contest with Sharon Ashwood

My author guest this week is Sharon Ashwood.

The fourth book in her Dark Forgotten series just released last week. I throughly enjoyed Frostbound and I hope that you will all read the interview and then give the series a try!

Oh and if you want to win a copy of one of Sharon's books then make sure you enter this weeks contest! Winners choice!!


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your new release, Frostbound?

Sharon – Vampire-on-the-run Talia finds her human cousin beheaded and guesses that it was meant to be her. Now she’s the prime suspect. Her oh-so-handsome neighbour, Lore, is a hellhound but he’s also the acting sheriff of the supernatural community. He knows the human police won’t give a vampire a fair trial, so he takes Talia captive until he’s sure that she’s the prey and not the hunter. Usually, a beautiful babe handcuffed to his bed would be a good thing, but Lore soon suspects Talia is in even bigger trouble. Evil magic is stalking her, and there are bad guys afoot who threaten to destroy the precarious peace among the non-humans. And of course it all has to happen when he’s in charge!

To make matters worse, as Alpha, he is expected to wed a female from his pack, for they believe there can be no young without a mated Alpha hellhound pair. But Talia is the one female he can love. Can he turn his back on the pack to be with her? Will she even allow him to make that kind of sacrifice? Once he finds out her secrets, will he even want to let her live?

Amber - Frostbound is part of a series. Can you tell us a little more about 'The Dark Forgotten'. Do you need to read the series in order?

Sharon – My characters live at a historical turning point. The supernatural beings among us have been out in the open since the year 2000, which has created both fascination and fear among the human population. On top of that, an interdimensional prison called the Castle has opened a portal into our world right in the downtown. It’s chock-full of supernatural creatures incarcerated there centuries ago. Who should be rescued from the prison, and who should remain under lock and key? It’s a tough question, because the vampires and werewolves in our world have just made peace with the humans. They don’t want a whole new element coming in and ruining everything they’ve worked for—for instance, Lore and his hellhounds.

This conflict is a great one to work with because it opens the door to all kinds of adventure. You have justice, freedom, heroism, star-crossed lovers, and the occasional dragon to play with—plus the opportunity for some cracking good bad guys.

Readers can expect a lot of action and humour—I like a mix of light and dark in my paranormal. The series does not have to be read in order. An author always wants to build their readership, so each book has to be a satisfying experience on its own. However, there are continuing characters, and someone who has read the whole works will pick up on more backstory.

Amber - How did you come up with the idea for the series? Was it something you worked on for a while or did it just come to you?

Sharon – Stories rattle around in my head for ages before they are ready to see the light of day, then something will trigger a chain reaction in my mind. In the case of my series, it was a conversation with a friend about insurance. Suddenly the heroine of Ravenous, Holly Carver, was walking and talking in my head. From there it just started to unroll very naturally. Witch, vampire, hell hole of doom, insurance ... I can see the connection, can’t you?

Amber - What kind of research have you done for your books? Anything interesting or is the research boring?

Sharon - I generally enjoy research, especially about the paranormal—the more obscure, the better. Body snatching is a favourite topic. Phrenology. I’m reading a book about Victorian trapeze artists for something I’m developing. I bet I have the best bathroom reading on the block.

I do rely on a friend with more expertise in tech areas to fill me in about guns, cars and computers. It’s a great advantage to be able to fire off an email to say, “how to I destroy a computer lab?” or “what sort of fragmenting bullet will kill a werewolf?” and get a practical answer.

Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?

Sharon – They tell me their names. I don’t choose them. It’s a problem when I don’t like what they come with—there can be a struggle. I keep reminding them I am their goddess, and then they mock me.

Amber - What’s next for 'The Dark Forgotten'series? Are you working on anything else?

Sharon – As I write this, the next thing up for the Dark Forgotten is a novella coming out in the fall in an ebook anthology. It’s a bit of an experiment to see how well that format does for me in reaching readers, and it gives me a chance to bring one of my favourite characters back on stage.

Besides this series, I am working on proposals for several others—one is pure urban fantasy, one is pure paranormal romance and the other defies classification. It’s going to be interesting to see which of these ideas goes the distance. Of course, with the time it takes to do anything in publishing world, it’s a bit like watching a sloth race.

Amber - Did you always wanted to be an author? Why did you pick the Paranormal Urban Fantasy genre?

Sharon – I’ve always written supernatural stories and had started writing Ravenous before the genre became so very popular. It was just good luck that publishers started looking for what I had to offer. It was like, hey, finally my twisted mind has a use!

Amber - A lot of authors are writing now in both adult and YA genres. Have you considered writing a YA book?

Sharon – Yes, and I have written some sketches that may grow into a full-fledged idea someday. I don’t want to launch a YA series before I have a solid premise that will be exciting and fresh. Otherwise, I’m just chasing a trend.

Amber - You have been blessed with some pretty cool looking covers so far. How much say do you have in the book publishing process?

Sharon – None, really. The publisher very politely asks for input and then does what it needs to do, and usually that is different from my plan and they’re absolutely correct. I’m a writer, not a designer. The one exception is the cover of Unchained, which matched the description I gave. I guess the Ducati and rifle got them all excited.

Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What
experiences have you had so far?

Sharon – Readers are always the source of my high points. Whether or not your work reaches your audience is always the acid test and, really, they are an author’s greatest sales force. I’m told that word of mouth makes or breaks a book and I believe it.

Getting emails from fans or meeting them at a signing is absolutely the best ego-boost going. It makes all the hours slaving over a hot keyboard worthwhile. The experience I had at the Orlando RWA signing last summer was fabulous—I got to meet a ton of readers. This year, when the RWA conference is in New York, I’m a finalist for the RITA award in paranormal romance. That’s a definite high.

As for the lows, they’re almost always related to the business side of writing. Many decisions are made that are outside an author’s control. Being a published author is tough because it’s all about numbers and dollars, but also all about your emotions, your creativity, and the resources you personally throw into your career.Any success is precarious. Reviews, awards, or quality of writing aren’t as vital as how much revenue you’re bringing in. From the author’s viewpoint, there is no way in which that does not suck.

Amber – Alot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music that influenced your books?

Sharon – I have fits of listening to one group or recording over and over. I tend to listen to fairly goth stuff alternating with baroque chamber music. Lacuna Coil and Albinoni, for instance. Don’t ask me why, it just works.

I also sometimes gravitate to one kind of wine during a book. There was a place called Monster Vineyards that produced a nice Merlot. I drank the odd bottle of that during Frostbound and snickered at the sea monsters on the label.

Amber - What have you been reading and watching lately?

Sharon – I’ve been watching Being Human – both North American and UK versions. I actually thought the North American version translated quite well. That doesn’t always work, but they actually improved on some parts, in my opinion. I’ve enjoyed Haven and Lost Girl a lot. I don’t get HBO, so I’ll be catching up with season three of True Blood as soon as it’s released on DVD.

As for reading, I’ve been all over the place. I just started M.K. Hobson’s The Native Star and I think I’m going to like it.

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?

Sharon – It depends on whose universe we’re playing in! If it’s mine, the werewolf society, although quite hierarchical, would probably be the most practical. They’re a healthy community. The vampire life, while it gets style points, is a bit big on drama for the long haul.

I keep thinking of two vamps meeting on the street and one says,
“I’m darker than you!”
And the other says, “No, you’re not!”
“I’m the darkest!”
“No way, I’m darker than dark! I spit upon your opera cape!”
“No you’re not, I’m the darkity-dark-darkest!”

Give me the puppy pile instead.

Amber - Thanks for visiting Amberkatze's Book Blog again!

Read an excerpt of Frostbound

Watch the video


Contest Time!

Sharon is very kindly giving away a book! The winner gets to choose any book in the series so far! So if you haven't started yet you can try the first book. Maybe you are missing one? Or you haven't gotten Frostbound yet? Well here is your chance!

How To Enter

What are your plans for Summer?

No answer = No Entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

Amberkatze's Book Blog

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com and Amazon.com links/Banners below and around the site!

The Book Depository

The contest will stay open until Sunday 19th of June 2011 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Barbara E. said...

My plans for summer are to read lots of books and I hope to take a trip to California to visit my sister (I live in Florida). Otherwise, mostly stay inside in the air conditioning because it gets scorching hot here in Florida (91 degrees today). But I will brave the heat to visit some of the amusement parks - finally got to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure last weekend, that was fun.

Blodeuedd said...

My plans are to take it easy :) Read like crazy and just enjoy the summer

Giada M. said...

Thank you for the interesting interview and for the giveaway! :D
My plans for summer? Home, tea and books. Isn't that a good combination? :P

Becky said...

Great interview! My plans for the summer are to read lots of books and hopefully get some work on my home too.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on my site:

Thanks for the chance of winning one of Sharon's books.

JenM said...

I just got back from a 3 week trip to Europe so I'm going to be staying close to home for the rest of the summer. I don't know what I'll be doing, but I know that lots of books will be involved. Thanks for the giveaway.

jen at delux dot com

Vickie said...

Sharon: I love 'Haven' too! Such a good show and can't wait to see season 2.

Plans for the summer....work mostly, but the young'n and I are going to Kansas for our annual family reunion next week. We call it Spa Week and it's me, Kit, Seester and her two boys, my mom comes up to cook and we all meet at Dad's place. Usually build something, but this year we will mostly play. Go roller skating, paint clay pots, make garden balls by mosaic-ing bowling balls.....movies, reading and more reading.

I also think DH, Kit and I will be heading up to Steamboat CO over 4th of July weekend. We went up a few years ago and had a great time, especially getting away from the heat.

Unknown said...

I plan to read a lot of books and go see a lot of movies. I want to see Green Lantern this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Everyone,

Lovely to see so many summer plans involve books. I miss the long vacations of childhood, when there was nothing to do but lie around and read. How little I appreciated the privilege at the time!

debbie said...

I am just staying home. I have alot of gardening and other things that I have to catch up on. The weather has been so unusual. Three days of 90, and then a week of 60's out. On the days its 90 I just sit and read.I got alot of work done this week, in this nice weather.

Kathy said...

My plans for summer would seem boring to most people, but I'm excited. I am doing an internship in archival administration. I get to do it where I work, so I can get credit for working and interning both. In the fall, my husband and I will do what would have been the summer vacation. We are going to Glacier National Park.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I have no summer plans. Maybe some day trips with son and hubby. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this series. It sounds very good. Tore923@aol.com

SandyG265 said...

We are planning to go to PA the end of June. Otherwise we'll bbq and hang out on the deck, read and listen to music on the weekends.

Julie S said...

No special plans since I work full time, but we have a family reunion over 4th of July.


Sharon Stogner said...

1. stay cool
2. keep kids busy
3. read, read, read

thanks for the chance to try this author. It would be a hard choice as to which series to start....

Dovile said...

My plans are to get a tan, and read a lot of books from TBR pile.

Andra Lyn said...

My summer is SUPER busy...

I started my own book blog last month so my goal is to get it up to snuff with all the greats (like ms. Amber here :))

I also started my own business online so THAT will be a ton of work...

I am taking 2 classes towards my journalism degree

AND I want to read at least 5 Stephen King books :)

Tall order? Try adding in family, friends, and a new boyfriend...I don't believe I will be sleeping until about...december :P


Katie said...

Sadly, I don't have a lot of summer plans besides read as much as I can. Summer is just another season around here.


katiz7 said...

I'm planning on reading as many books as possible, taking a trip to SC to visit with family,taking our daughter to Ohio to visit her friend. I also plan on attending College in the fall so I'll be working on that goal.

katiz7 said...

I plan on reading as much as possible, taking a trip to SC to see family, taking our daughter to Ohio to visit her friend and to get ready for college in the fall.

dvice12 said...

My summer plans are for a family trip up to New England to visit friends.

Aurian said...

What a great interview again Amber, really enjoyied it. I've put Sharon Ashwood on my wishlist a while ago, I really do admire the covers you have posted.

My summerplans: I have to work, my vacation doesn't start till september. Then I'm going away for a week to Texel. But I do plan on reading a lot of great books, and blogs.

Audra said...

I hope to spend time with my kids and lower my TBR pile.

Pam S said...

I really enjoyed the interview ty for sharing! My plans - hope to get to go somewhere for a vacation a few days, other than that they include staying cool as possible with plenty of great reads at hand.

Pam S
pams00 @ aol.com

Stephanie said...

My summer plans include working and reading a large chunk of books from my tbr pile.


LSUReader said...

Yay! Hubby and I are going to Europe. We'll be traveling through France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Thanks for the contest.

elaing8 said...

My summer plans are to look for a new job and hopefully catch up on some of my reading.

tweet http://twitter.com/elaing8/status/80393257485471744

thanks for the chance to win one of Sharon's books.


BrittanyGale said...

My plans for the summer is to go camping and go on lots of picnics.



Linda said...

I live in the tropics so don't experience summer. The weather is pretty much the same year long (hot-n-wet or hot-n-hot!).

I just majorly indulged last month & bought 30books which I will be savouring over the next few week/months.

Amy said...

I will be working and taking some summer classes at my college during the summer. I hope to read lots of fun books as well.


SiNn said...

well myplans for this summer areto rea dmore of mytbr pile and bbq often but also to get my own place and move my handicapped aunt in so shes with family and not so far away

I loveddd unchained crosses my fingers

Gail said...

My plans for the summer are to get my new pool running perfectly and put my yard back to rights. Once that's done, the plan is to float in the pool, in my chair and read. My favorite summer pastime:)

posted interview on FB

Gail said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heatwave16 said...

My plan is just to enjoy our backward with our puppies & friends. :) Probably do some swimming as well. It is all about relaxation.


tweeted - http://twitter.com/#!/Heatwave316/status/81503021837725696

A'lina said...

My plans for summer are to help fix everything that needs fixing on the house and outside because it seems everything decided to fall apart on us all at once. It's gonna be a busy summer.

Thanks for the interview with Sharon Ashwood and the great giveaway!

StyleVamp said...

My plans...are quiet boring!! Just workout more (exciting lol) Hopefully go away and relax ...

Read more books (yes, I'm a book geek n proud)