We are excited to welcome Katharine Ashe to our site today. This is Katharine’s first visit to our little spot in cyber space, and want to make her feel welcome, and want to come back. She is here to talk about her brand new book, In the Arms of a Marquess, out this month, and let us get to know her a bit better as well. This book is also part of the K.I.S.S and Teal program.
TBRG: Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
KA: Other novelists. Reading my favorite authors’ books I’ve learned what moves me, delights me, makes me weep and laugh out loud and feel intensely. My favorite authors include romance novelists, historical novelists, essayists, and writers from ages long gone by.
TBRG: What is the one thing your readers would be the most surprised to know about you?
KA: I love professional and college ice hockey. Love. But maybe that wouldn’t come as a surprise to my readers. Hockey has all the danger, drama, and unpredictability I like to fill my books with. And strong, handsome men battling for their lives. Naturally.
TBRG: Where is the one place you have always wanted to go, a place on your bucket list?
KA: St. Petersburg, Russia. Romantic, grand, full of spectacular, epic legends.
TBRG: Who are some of your go to authors, and what are you reading right now?
KA: There are so many fabulous authors it’s hard to name just a few! I’m about to read Rachel Gibson’s latest, with Melissa Marr’s DARKEST MERCY next in line, and Tim Tyson’s BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME after that. For historical romance I go straight to Liz Carlyle, Eloisa James, and Lisa Kleypas.
TBRG: I loved the last Rachel Gibson book..what a great hero Sam made.
TBRG: If you weren’t writing and keeping us in books (thanks for that by the way), what would you be doing?
KA: Nothing! (Scandalous question!) Actually, I’m a professor of history. But I think I’d like to be a dog walker. Or maybe a gardener. Or a meteorologist. Or a test driver for Mustang convertibles. Or a researcher on Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso. Or a professional champagne taster.
TBRG: Who is on your playlist when you are writing?
KA: The playlist for my new novel, IN THE ARMS OF A MARQUESS, helped me shape the romantic journey of the hero and heroine, Ben and Octavia. And an intensely emotional journey theirs is! Here are a few songs from that playlist:
“You’ll Ask for Me” – Tyler Hilton
“Replace You” – Samantha Moore
“Vulnerable” – Secondhand Serenade
“Animals on Fire” – Kate Walsh
“Fear” – Sarah Mclachlan
“New Divide” – Linkin Park
“Here With Me” – Dido
“You and Me” – Lifehouse
“Shine” – Rosi Golan
TBRG: What a great play list New Divide is one of my personal favorite songs.
TBRG: Where do your ideas/characters come from?
KA: They present themselves to me. For instance, I first met Miss Octavia Pierce on the verge of sixteen sprawled in a chair with her coltishly long legs thrown over the arm like a thorough hoyden, reading an Atlas of the World. She was a minor character in the book I was writing at the time (her sister’s story). Still, instantly I knew Octavia would have a grand adventure.
Shortly thereafter I met Lord Ben Doreé on a snowy night in the corridor of a country greathouse that I was writing. In that scene in the first book of my Rogues of the Sea trilogy (SWEPT AWAY BY A KISS), that hero told his lady that the work he did upon the sea saving others — noble, honorable, perilous work — had a wealthy patron. And (here’s where it gets weird) there was Ben standing behind me while I wrote, telling me he was that patron, he the powerful man of mystery behind that noble work. I’d never met him before. But there he was, all tall and lordly and deliciously gorgeous, and quite confident of himself. And he said he wanted Octavia — a girl whose heart matched his perfectly — to be his heroine.
Yes, it’s nuts. But I swear to you that is how it happened. That is how it happens every time. A minor character — usually a woman — lifts off the page while I’m writing, and almost immediately her hero makes himself present to me.
TBRG: Are you a planner or a fly by the seat author?
KA: I begin with the couple — the hero and heroine — and their romantic dynamic. They tell me who they are (as I noted above), I throw them together (which makes them happy) and they tell me what they think of each other (honestly), then I torment them. I make it impossible for them to be in love easily. But since I care about them a lot I also give them a taste of bliss and satisfaction. Then I torment them again. Then more bliss, more torment, and so on until the ultimate bliss of Happily Ever After. At some point during the first few chapters of this I plot out their whole story. So yes I do plan, guided by the lovers’ needs and fears and dreams and by my own addiction to deeply emotional roller-coaster romance.
TBRG: How are the books in your Rogues of the Sea series connected?
KA: Loosely. The Prologue of my novella, A LADY’S WISH, actually best explains the connection between the heroes of the three novels of the series. (That Prologue is on my Yahoo Free Reads group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/katharineashenews/ ) The novels in the trilogy can easily be read stand-alone.
TBRG: Tell us about In the Arms of a Marquess?
KA: Seven years ago in the exotic heat of the East, a girl about to enter society and a wild young lord tumbled into first love… passionate love… forbidden love. Then they were torn apart. Now Octavia has returned to England, but Ben is no longer the man she lost her heart to. Instead he is a powerful, wealthy lord. He has never forgotten her, the taste of her lips or the touch of her hand. This time danger threatens, and he will do anything to protect her… and to have her again.
TBRG: What do you love most about Ben and Tavy?
KA: That they’re perfect for each other. That they’ve been in love for years despite forces that have kept them apart, including their own fears and misperceptions. That they cannot get enough of each other. That ultimately they will do anything — anything — to be together.
TBRG: Where did this story come from?
KA: Since reading M.M. Kaye’s The Far Pavilions as a teenager, I’ve adored the history of British India — the dangers and adventures and beauty and passions of that time and place. Octavia and Ben’s romance, settled firmly in Regency England, nevertheless allowed me to write the sort of epic love story that defies society’s rules and expectations.
TBRG: What do you want us to know about this book?
KA: In her Barnes & Noble column on romance fiction last week, New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James said, “Every woman who ever dreamed of having a titled lord at her feet will love this novel.”
TBRG: What are you working on now?
KA: My Falcon Club Series debuts in February 2012. One night, behind the façade of a townhouse that looks like a mere gentleman’s club, five British secret agents abruptly quit! But what’s an ex-secret agent to do now with all the spare time? In Book #1, WHEN A SCOT LOVES A LADY, a snowstorm throws a scandal-plagued London spinster into the arms of a roguish lord. The beauty suspects that succumbing to the beast’s seduction may be the only way to tame him, until she discovers the beast is in fact no beast at all…
TBRG: This book is a part of Harper Collins/Avon’s K.I.S.S and Teal program, what made you want to participate in it?
KA: As a writer and historian I’m all about spreading the word, especially when the word whispers but needs to be shouted out instead. Knowledge is empowering, and I love helping other women feel empowered. I also have friends who have suffered from Ovarian Cancer and wish they’d known earlier what signs to look for. I’m excited and honored to be part of Avon’s K.I.S.S and Teal campaign to spread awareness of the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. Let’s all SHOUT against the whisper!
TBRG: One a side note when I putting together this post I saw that Katharine has been inside the hallow halls of the Vatican Library..can I say JEALOUS!! Course I loved the fact that instead of looking at all the amazing works there she instead wrote a romance story.
***We have 4 copies of this book to giveaway, all you have to do follow us on twitter (if you aren’t already) like us on fb, oh and ask Katharine a question***
You can find Katharine around the web at these places
The Ballroom Blog (if you haven’t checked this blog out you have to stop over there it is hilarious)