Guest Author Interview – Ashe Barker

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Blogger’s Note: Making the Rules includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t read the interview or buy this book.

Title: Making the Rules

Genre: Mystery/Romantic Suspense

Synopsis: When twenty-five-year-old forensic sociology student Lily Jamison travels to a small town in West Yorkshire to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young girl, she expects to be working alone. But then Ben Tyler offers his help, and before Lily knows it the handsome former Chicago police officer has taken charge and made it his business to keep her safe, even if that means baring her bottom for a painful, embarrassing spanking when she disobeys him.

Ben’s firm-handed dominance and strict correction leave Lily deeply aroused, and when he takes her in his arms and shows her how a man masters a woman properly, she cannot help begging for more. But as Lily gets closer to the truth, she becomes ever more reckless. When she pushes things too far with her impulsive behavior, will Ben be prepared to punish her as thoroughly and shamefully as necessary to convince her that he is the one making the rules?

Ashe Barker, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is Ashe Barker. She has been an avid reader of women’s fiction for many years and now realizes her dream of writing romance herself. Welcome to my blog, Ashe.

CH: Why should we read your romantic suspense book?

AB: I always try to write a book I’d enjoy reading. So, I love to read books with sassy, resourceful, independent heroines and a hero who is up to the challenge. Lily in Making the Rules has an agenda and she pursues it with single-minded determination. She meets challenges head on. Sometimes she acts foolishly or without thinking, but there’s always a method in her madness. She’s the sort of character I’d root for and I hope others will love her too.

The book spans a couple of decades, shows the ways in which people can change over the years, and for those who appreciate the suspense element it ends with a surprise I doubt most will see coming.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this book?

AB: The small town in the UK where the book is set—I call it Mytholm Bridge in the book—is based on a town I drive through two or three times a week. In real life it’s called Sowerby Bridge and it nestles in the hills on the edge of the Pennines. I used several places in Sowerby Bridge as inspirations for my story—the pub, the main street, the river running through the town centre. And some places I made up, of course.

As for the premise itself, the story is about a homecoming of sorts, and about long-lost relatives and old friends reunited.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book or is it all imagination?

AB: No significant research, the location is one I know well. The characters and events are the product of my fevered imagination. However, the main male character is from Seattle and I did need a lot of advice from my beta reader in the U.S. to make sure he sounded American. So many Britishisms slip in unnoticed—talk about being divided by a common language! I also had to craft an authentic back-story for him, so that needed a bit of digging.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

AB: I don’t tend to write about high-flying billionaires or set my stories in sumptuous locations. I prefer to write about places I know, the sort of people I encounter every day. My stories are real, often quite gritty, usually, but not exclusively set in the UK. My books are always sexy, erotic romance with a BDSM flavor, but I don’t let that take over the story. Plots need to be tight and fast-paced, with engaging dialogue to keep you turning the pages.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

AB: I’ve never found it hard to dream up engaging stories from everyday life. The ordinary, the mundane, can be quite bizarre at times and there’s never any shortage of material to work with. People are fascinating, and full of surprises. Everyone has a story. I’m a people-watcher and find ample inspiration wherever I look.

When my daughter was younger, I used to play a game with her, if we were in the car together. We’d pick someone outside, anyone, it didn’t matter, and we’d make up their story. “That’s Bill. He’s an electrician. He‘s fifty four years old, married with three children and he likes to sky-dive most weekends. He loves country music and once got arrested for…, etc.”

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

AB: In Making the Rules, I think Ben was the hardest, just because he’s American and I wanted to get that right. He had to have a back-story that made sense, so I needed to research the Chicago Police Department to create his previous career.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

AB: I loved writing Lily, obviously. She’s riddled with curiosity and unfinished business, but wants to protect those she loves from the consequences of the stones she picks up to look underneath. Sadly, once the genie is out of the bottle there’s no going back.

At the same time, I enjoyed writing Harry Murgatroyd. He’s a secondary character, but completely reinvents himself over the course of the story and demonstrates some unexpected qualities.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

AB: There are a couple of characters in the story, who I seriously dislike and those never flow quite so easily. I find it much easier to get inside the heads of people who I empathize with, whose motives and responses I understand. I won’t give spoilers by saying who the villains are or why, but I’m sure readers will work them out.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for the passionate encounters in your writing and do you find them easier to write from the male or female perspective?

AB: Mmm, that’s a tricky one. I get a lot of inspiration from reading the work of other erotic authors and of course I have a seriously dirty mind myself. In my earlier writing career, I tended to only write from the female perspective and I suppose that does come more naturally, but the male viewpoint is fascinating, too and can be a whole lot sexier, if done well.

CH: How much of your leading lady is based on you?

AB: I share Lily’s curiosity about people, and her obsession with finding out the truth; however, unpalatable. I think, she’s more forgiving than I am though, and more inclined to see the good in others. She has an adventurous streak and knows an opportunity when she sees it. Her plans are loosely formed. She probably can’t say what she’ll do next, but recognizes the next step when she sees it.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

AB: At the heart of it is the certainty that people can and do change over time. And they are not always what they appear to be on the surface

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

AB: I admire the story-telling expertise of Nora Roberts, and the fast-paced plotting of J. R. Ward.

CH: Who is your favorite author and why?

AB: I couldn’t pick out just one. There are so many I adore, but just a few that get my one-click finger twitching every time. I mentioned two already. I also enjoy the dark romances of Natasha Knight, and the rigorously researched, but endlessly entertaining historical novels of Philippa Gregory.

CH: What is your next writing project?

AB: I have three completed stories scheduled for release in the coming weeks—a short historical story in an anthology, a novella I am re-releasing, and a completely new contemporary BDSM ménage story. Currently, I’m writing another contemporary romantic suspense set on Capri, a place I visited last summer and which totally inspired me.

CH: How to Find Ashe Barker:

CH: Can you tell my audience where this book is sold?

AB: It’s on Amazon, and free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

CH: Any closing remarks?

AB: Thank you so much for inviting me over to chat, Cheryl. I hope you’ll find something you like in my stories, and please feel free to let me know what you think. We authors thrive on feedback, especially reviews. If your followers want to keep in touch via social media I’m on Facebook and Twitter. Or they can sign-up for my newsletter to keep in touch with all my news and latest releases.

CH: Thank you so much, Ashe Barker, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Ashe Barker and Cheryl Holloway.

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