1. Mandy, since I’ve admitted you’ve been a major inspiration to me, who was your inspiration to write western historical romance?
I guess I’d have to say Rosemary Rogers, since Sweet Savage Love was the first romance I ever read………..well, wait a minute, I think Ramona was probably the first romance I ever read, but that was years earlier.
2. What was your first published novel and how long did it take you to complete it?The first book I wrote was Comanche Flame. I don’t remember how long it took me to write it. I didn’t intend to publish it, so I wrote it in secret, whenever I had a few minutes, thought about it constantly, lived every scene, and, just like Joan Wilder in “Romancing the Stone”, I cried when I finished it and thought, “Damn, that’s good!”
3. Remember the very first contract? How much time passed before your first submission was accepted?
Well, it took me six years and 32 rejections before Dorchester bought Reckless Heart. It took me several rewrites before they published Comanche Flame. Once I signed a contract, the book was out in less than a year, as I recall. The first time I saw Reckless Heart in a store was July 3, 1985.
4. I see your upcoming release is a vampire romance which seems to be very popular at the moment. What made you branch out into the genres Amanda Ashley writes?
I’d written a bunch of historicals and I was getting a little burned out. My agent asked if I thought I could write a short paranormal story for an anthology, and I said I’d try. I wrote Masquerade, which was published in Secrets of the Heart by Topaz, and published later in After Twilight by Dorchester, and is about to be published again in Blood and Moonlight, also by Dorchester. Anyway, after that first taste, I fell in love with vampires and I’ve been writing them ever since.
5. Do you find Amanda’s novels easier or harder to write than Madeline’s? What major difference to you note between them?
I don’t really notice any difference in difficulty, although I do notice a slight difference in tone.
6. The “word on the loops” is that western romance is a declining genre. Do you agree?
Well, it is for me, at least in print, as I no longer have a publisher for my westerns. However, I’ve had three ebooks published – Passion’s Promise is a straight historical, Catch the Lightning and Capture the Lightning are very short stories that are time travel books, and are a spin off of Chase the Lightning.
I also have another ebook coming out this year, In the Shadow of the Hills. And I just finished a short story – Reckless Destiny - the 5th in my Reckless series – which I hope will also be out this year as an ebook. I’m giving serious consideration to having several of these shorter stories published in print for those who don’t have eReaders. Check my website for updates.
7. How do you feel about the increase in popularity of e-books? Do you own an e-book reader?
Well, I have mixed feelings about it. As an author, I want people to buy my books any way they can. As a reader, who reads in the bathtub, I prefer paperbacks, plus I like to see them on the shelf. However, I do own a Kindle. I have my Bible on it – easier to carry to church. I also downloaded Outlander, and it’s a lot easier to read on a Kindle! I hope books will always be available in print, no matter how popular eReaders become. As I said, I read in the tub, and I don’t want to read my Kindle there, as I occasionally fall asleep. I don’t mind ruining a book that cost $7 or $8, but I’d hate to ruin my Kindle! Most of my print books, old and new, are now available as eBooks.
8. What one piece of advice would you give to someone trying to get their book noticed by an agent or publisher?
The only thing you can really do is write an amazing book and a good query letter. Everything else is a crap shoot. Perseverance does pay off, though. As I mentioned earlier, it took me six years and many rejections to find a publisher.
9. You’ve achieved publication of a staggering amount of titles. Have you ever considered retiring or is writing in your blood?
Retiring? Are you insane? *smile* I love writing!!! I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s given me a wonderful sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and I’ve met some terrific people that I never would have met otherwise. Some of them have become good friends.
10. Who are your favorite authors?
I love Charlaine Harris’ Sookie books and Grave books, Maggie Shayne, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, C.S. Harris, Kathleen Eagle, and Rachel Lee’s Conard County series.
11. Have you ever had a bad review, and if so, how did you handle it?
A bad review? Go check my pages on Amazon. Most of the reviews are bad. However, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a really bad review from an actual reviewer. The bad ones on Amazon hurt, but the nice emails and letters I receive complimenting my books more than make up for the nasty ones on Amazon.
12. And last but not least…when you find time to read the work of others, what sort of things bug you to the point of wanting to toss the book across the room.
The “F” word. It’s becoming more and more common and I’m buying fewer and fewer authors who used to be “auto-buys” for me because their books have become liberally sprinkled with the “F” word. And worse. I don’t believe there’s any place in a romance for that kind of profanity. Spare me arguments about “reality”. Everyone I know reads romance to escape reality. I’m sorry that so many of my favorite authors have gone down that path.
Mandy, thank you for being my guest, and agreeing to let me pick your brain. Again, as corny as it sounds, you’re my “role model.” I always wanted to be Madeline Baker when I grew up, but I’m probably older than you are. I’m very proud of my achievements as an author, and very happy to boast that Madeline Baker is my friend.
Thank you for asking me! I enjoyed it. Bound by Night will be out in September. The sequel, Bound by Blood, will be out in October. Thanks, again!website and drool.