When I first met Ashlee Shades she was using her real name, which I won't go into here, but she decided to write under a pen name instead. We originally met on Twitter, two authors who just happened to speak one day becoming fast friends. Even from the beginning we seemed to think the same way, finishing each other's thoughts, bouncing ideas off each other, word playing games, or laughing over the same thing that not quite everyone else would get, yet the fact that we did made it all the more hilarious to us. Often we joke about being sisters from another mister and we hope to be able to meet one day, and boy the world had better look out then, or at least out hubbies anyway :).
Ashlee says she is a small town girl living in the city, and she's living her dream of being a writer. When she's not writing she's reading, or you'll find her hanging out on social media shooting the breeze with other authors and chatting to her readers. Her books are Erotic Romance and she hopes to take her readers on a sensually erotic journey as they read her work. I've read some of Ashlee's books, and I can tell you they really are a steamy read, and who wouldn't like to escape into a romance novel that has a taste of erotica thrown in ;).
Here is what Ashlee Shades had to say...
Why did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
I don’t think there was a time I became a writer. For me, it was always something that I had done, so in my thinking I have always been a writer. Whether it is poetry, short stories, or novellas/novels – I have always loved telling stories, and sharing my thoughts and ideas. I didn’t publish until 2014, so I have only been a published author for two years.
What was the thing that drove you the most to do so?
The one thing (I should say person) would be my husband. He knew I loved reading/writing so much and one day told me that I should try it and see how it goes, so I did. That night I wrote 4,000 words in my first novel.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I have been telling stories since I learned how to speak, and as soon as I learned how to write, I started putting them down on paper. When I was in the 4th grade (9 years old) I wrote a crazy story that was put in our local paper. It was a fiction story about a family who bought a car with square wheels. I still laugh when I think of it. In 8th grade (13 years old) I wrote an essay on racism and how I felt it impacted my generation. That essay was sent in to the local newspaper by my English teacher, and I won an award for that.
Why did you pick the genre/s that you have?
I picked erotic romance because it allows me more freedom and control over romantic lives. I enjoy reading in the genre, and when I am writing a story, it doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to entertain, allow the reader to escape. I can use my imagination in so many ways, and I can create the happy-endings that don’t always happen in real life. I also write in erotica because, well let’s face it, it is fun! It is hot. It can offer up ideas to heat up an intimate encounter.
Who is your favourite character, and why?
Oh goodness, this is a hard one. I have written so many different characters, so it is a little difficult to choose a favourite one. However, if I have to choose one, I would say Samantha. She is independent, outgoing, yet a bit vulnerable, as readers will read about in book 3. She is someone I wish I could be more like.
Do you have any particular quirks when writing?
I don’t think I have any particular quirks, so to speak. I will say I have a habit of starting a book just because an idea comes to mind, and often times I will move on to another book when a new idea comes to mind. I was writing a Vampire romance when the idea for Blind Sensations came to me. I always have 3-5 books going at once. At the moment, I have three unfinished books that are waiting for their turn to be completed.
I will also say that of all the books I have written, only one has been outlined.
What does your family think of your work?
My family, while they haven’t read my work (except my husband), are very supportive of my work. I couldn’t ask for a more encouraging and supportive family than the one I have.
Do you belong to any writing groups? And if so what do you think are the pros and cons?
I do! I belong to The Wicked Pen Writers featured on mrblackthorne.com. What an amazing group of people. Each person in that group is so unimaginably creative, amazingly talented...and not just in writing either. They all have qualities and talents that go beyond the stories they write.
I think the pros of belonging to the group would be the support, the encouragement, the invaluable knowledge that is shared among those within the group. I have learned so much, and have grown a great deal as a writer, from being in the group.
On to some cons. Well, I would say that, as with any group or even family, the differences of opinion can cause a bit of turmoil. It doesn’t help that we all only know one another via the internet/social media, so it is sometimes difficult to gauge the tone of a comment, or reaction, by reading a few lines that are written.
How do you deal with writers block?
My way of dealing with writer’s block would be to move on to another story. I have no idea how I want to write the final book in the Submission series, so I moved on to another series of novellas until the idea for it comes to me.
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing?
For me there are a few things.
One would be getting started. Writing the opening line, the opening scene, or the opening paragraph in a way that will captivate the attention of the reader enough to get them hooked and wanting to read more.
The other thing would be the editing. Cleaning it up, eliminating the unnecessary verbiage, adding the quality words – the things that make a book something that the reader is glad they have read it.
While this is a favourite thing, it is also a difficult one, and that is sharing my thoughts. Putting my ideas out there into the world, and opening them up for criticism - that makes publishing my work difficult for me.
What do you enjoy the most about writing?
I enjoy telling the stories, sharing my crazy thoughts and ideas.
My ultimate favourite thing about writing is hearing from people who have read my work and loved it, or when they share their ideas/suggestions. I really enjoy that part of writing. It encourages me to continue.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspirations in many areas. Photography and music are two of the things that inspire me the absolute most. I have actually written a couple of short stories based on songs I heard. They are a couple of my favourite short stories too.
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Yes! I have one book in which the characters are loosely based on myself, and my husband. I cannot tell which book though, because that would give something away.
Other characters are not necessarily based on people, but rather personal experiences and/or situations. I wrote a couple of books, two of which are not yet republished under Ashlee Shades, in which the situation of a character or two is based on something that I went through.
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
In my spare time I am either spending time with my husband and two boys, reading (which I do a LOT), or listening to music. I love music!
What do you like to read?
I love reading Historical Romance, or fact books. I have one book titled, ‘2201 Fascinating Facts’. I love that book!
Who is your favourite author?
I cannot say that I have just one favourite author since I have read so many. There are a considerable amount of wonderful writers out there, and some with incredibly inspiring stories.
Where are your books available?
My books are available at Amazon, and are in Kindle Unlimited. (amazon.com/author/ashleeshades)
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am working on a novella that will have a bit of a twist at the end. It should be released in April, since it will take about a week to write it. Then I will begin work on book 3 of the Submission series.
What is your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to become rich and famous and have the world fall at my feet and adore me! LOL!
Okay, in all honesty, my goal is just to continue to share my stories with the world. And to encourage others to follow their dreams, whatever they may be.
Do you have a favourite film? And if so what is it?
Well, I have a few films that I could watch over, and over again without getting bored.
‘Carousel’, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, and ‘The Sound of Music’
I also love ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’ with Clint Eastwood.
And now you can all stop laughing at me.
Here is where you can find Ashlee Shades
I'd like to take this last moment to, once again, thank Ashlee Shades for taking part in an interview with me, and to remind you that her books are available on Amazon right now, just waiting for you to stop on by and pick up a copy or two. You won't be disappointed I promise you, and they might just heat up your love life a little ;).
So once again, my sister from another mister, thank you!
I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, and I live in Wales in the U.K.
Sallyann Phillips is an IASD member.
Check out their website for a wonderful choice of Indie authors for you to chose from.