Monday, April 4, 2011

OMG...It's Madeline Baker/Amanda Ashley

When people ask me who inspired me to write western historical, I always say, Madeline Baker.  She’s been a favorite author of mine for a long time.  I’m pretty sure I’ve read everything historical she’s written, and now today, she’s agreed to be my guest here at Dishin’ It Out.  If you felt the ground tremble, it was only me doing a happy dance.  

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!
 Want more about Madeline Baker/Amanda Ashley?  Visit her website and drool.


blackroze37 AT said...

LOVE both vampire and indians books! i think i started out with her wonderful indian then got hooked on her vampire storys. i actually oculdnt say how good all he books is. i never read ONE of her books and not loved it

Brenda J Weaver said...

I LOVE Madeline Baker! What a great interview! My 86 yr old aunt is a Madeline Baker fan as well...I think she has every book Maddy has ever written as far as westerns are concerned :)
I can't wait to read her vampire books...they sound totally cool...amd she is right! Writing is in our could any of us ever retire from what we love!
Both of you have a great and blessed day!

Maryann Miller said...

Fun interview. It was nice to get to know Madeline and Amanda. LOL. I was surprised when I read her comment about the "f" word. I did not know it was starting to be used in romance novels. I use it in my mystery novels, but not in the one romance I wrote.

Maggie Dove said...

Wonderful interview, Ginger! I really enjoyed getting to know your inspiration! How great for you to be able to host Madeline Baker!You have given me the courage to email Judith McNaught and see about her appearing on Still in Pajamas, my blog! I'm just kidding...I don't have the guts! Again, this was great!


Janet Glaser said...

Congrats on getting to interview your role model, Ginger. That is a very special privilege. Thanks, Maddy, for sharing about your long and successful career in writing. And you still have to promote the new books, don't you?!! Thanks for visiting our Ginger.

Marie Higgins said...

Ginger!! You're so lucky! I wish I could have talked with (either emailed or in person) with my favorite author, Kathleen Woodiwiss. So this is such a dream come true for you!! Gret interview, too!


Karen Cote said...

What a gracious author to do this. I once got an autograph from my favorite author but not THIS! I'm setting a commitment right now to be like this author (if I ever gain such success). It's one thing to achieve status from one's talent but to achieve status as a role model who cares about her fans? Beautiful. I read the interview at 4:30 this morning and couldn't quite put into words the impact this had. Thank you Ginger for sharing her with us. Personally also, thank you for sharing yourself. I interviewed you and that's on a similar level to this as I'm a fan of your success but mostly your heart.

Love ya!

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

How nice to meet an author i read, though I haven't read any of amanda's as yet. I'm just now finding out she has two names. great. another name to go on my favorites list. like Mandy, i prefer a paperback, though i'm sure i'll give in eventually to a reader. thanks for the interview.

Teresa K. said...

Hi Mandy & Amanda,
This is a great interview. It was both of you that got me interested in both genre. Especially Amanda. If it wasn't for your books Amanda, I wouldn't be working with Anne Rice's fanclub and coordinating there silent auction for the Vampire ball.

Thank you for so many wonderful historical romance and such beautiful Vampire romances. Your awsome and I never get tired reading your books.

Teresa K.
tcwgrlup41(at) yahoodotcom

Clare London said...

Great interview, Ginger, you asked all the questions we'd want to ask in your place :). It's wonderful to learn more about your author friends and role models.

Heather Haven said...

So fabulous! Two giants meeting and chatting, or Madeline and Ginger. I am beyond impressed and very humbled.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Well, count me as dumb. I didn't realize Madeline Baker was Amanda Ashley, too. Great interview. Thanks for sharing.

Kathy Jund said...

I have every book Mandy has written under her Amanda Ashley "nom de plume" and love everyone of those vampire stories!! If you haven't read them I highly RECOMMEND them!! I have also been building my collection of her Western Historicals as well, and also have the honor of being able to hang out with her at our neighborhood bookstore, where she's signed every one of them!!! Such an awesome person she is!! I am certainly in line for all of these short e-stories she's been putting out as of late to come into print..I am a hard core hard cover/paper back reader.. I'm so excited for the back to back vampire release this fall!! kj :D

Diane Craver said...

I enjoyed this interview! Very inspiring, truthful and interesting! Thanks Madeline and Ginger!

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Madeline and Amanda are among my very favorite authors too. Great interview. Congrats Ladies!
Sorry I'm late, but it's the story of my life these days.

Mandy said...

Ladies, thank you for all your comments. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview. My thanks, again,to Ginger for asking me.

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi Madeline/Ashley,

I enjoyed learning about you. Ginger knows how to give an interview, doesn't she?

Like you I hate profanity. Thanks for not giving in to the current fad. We need more writers with guts.

Congratulations on all your success.

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