I’m so excited to chat with today’s guest here at Armchair Heroines! Please give a big e-welcome to Ashley March. *a deafening roar of clapping and whistling ensues*
Thanks so much for having me today, Tiffany! =) Here’s the official blurb for the book:
Sebastian Madinger, the Earl of Wriothesly, thought he’d married the perfect woman-until a fatal accident revealed her betrayal with his best friend. After their deaths, Sebastian is determined to avoid a scandal for the sake of his son. But his best friend’s widow is just as determined to cast her mourning veil aside by hosting a party that will surely destroy both their reputations and expose all of his carefully kept secrets…
Leah George has carried the painful knowledge of her husband’s affair for almost a year. All she wants now is to enjoy her independence and make a new life for herself-even if that means being ostracized by the Society whose rules she was raised to obey. Now that the rumors are flying, there’s only one thing left for Sebastian to do: silence the scandal by enticing the improper widow into becoming a proper wife. But when it comes to matters of the heart, neither Sebastian nor Leah is prepared for the passion they discover in each other’s arms….
ROMANCING THE COUNTESS is available at all major booksellers, both in print and online.
P.S. I read this book a couple weeks ago – in two nights! It would have been one, but I turn into a raging…well, you know… if I don’t sleep. So I forced myself to put it down. Romancing the Countess is a beautifully written, engaging book full of flawed, lovable characters struggling to deal with grief, expectations and burgeoning feelings. I love Ashley’s writing style! It’s poetic without being heavy-handed. The book has a smooth flow which kept me turning pages. I can’t wait for her next book to come out!
Next question: Were there aspects of the book with which you struggled (particular scenes, characters, research)? On the flip side, were there aspects that came easily?
I think the most difficult part of the book were the first few chapters. Going in, I knew that this wasn’t going to be your typical romance. Because their spouses had just died, they couldn’t be immediately attracted to one another (not even secretly). But because it is a romance novel, I had to show their developing romantic relationship. As a result, I had to make sure I balanced their emotions and actions following their spouses’ deaths with the growing awareness they had of one another. It was a delicate balance, but I’m thrilled to say that I’m pleased with how the final version came out.
I think you did a wonderful job with this. I think that’s one of the reasons I liked it so much. It felt very real and grounded to me.
Once I had those first few chapters down, the sexual tension between the two came very easily. I loved how they not only struggled to hide their attraction from each other, but also from themselves. I had a fellow author who read it and said that the sexual tension leaps off the page, which made me smile, because it was really fun to see the two of them interact with these undercurrents.
Uh, yeah, I totally agree with that fellow author! What is your writing day like? Do you have any rituals you do before you sit down to write?
I’m actually working on changing my writing day. It seems like since my first book came out in October of last year I’ve been going a mile a minute without ever having time to breathe. And while I have fun, this hasn’t exactly been good for my health. So I’m making some changes to allow me to 1) write more (oddly enough, the business side of writing was getting in the way of this) and 2) read more (I could sob when I think of the few number of books I’ve read this year, although most of the ones I did read were fabulous). So I’m kind of in a transition stage right now with my writing day. =)
As for rituals, as long as I have water, coffee, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on hand, I’m usually good to go. I do most of my writing on my laptop on the couch, my legs propped up on the ottoman. And since I write most at night…yes, I do wear my pajamas.
Hmm, interesting. I’m a fan of coffee and PB&Js. How has your attitude about writing and being published changed over the past few years?
I only began writing seriously in 2008, but in three years there’s been a huge shift in the power that both writers and readers now have in the publishing world. I’m happy to see that traditional publishing is still here, but with self-publishing writers have the option of taking more control of what they want to write and at what price they want to sell the book. However, I doubt so much change would have taken place if not for readers, who have opened these gates by reading on e-readers and showing that they don’t care too much who the publisher is, as long as they find a book they love.
As a writer who wants to explore all of the ideas in my head, I’m very grateful to readers for making this possible.
I love that authors and readers have more of a say in what they write (and all that goes into it) and what they read. On your bookshelf: Is there a book or author you keep returning to? Why?
I have a HUGE TBR pile. And I mean, HUUUGE. (Thus the sobs earlier because I haven’t had the time to read very much.) But when I do get time to read, and if I choose to re-read a book instead of reading something new, I usually find myself going to my comfort authors: Lisa Kleypas, Teresa Medeiros, Laura Lee Gurhke, Julia Quinn. I also recently read WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE by Julie Anne Long, and it was the first book I’ve ever read where as soon as I finished I wanted to start it again.
Adding Julie Anne Long to my list. Right. Now. Of course, the quintessential quartet have places of honor on my keeper shelf! And here are a couple questions just for fun:
One thing you are never without…
Lip gloss or chapstick (preferably lip gloss). As a mom of two young children I’m not very high maintenance, but I hate the feeling when my lips are dry.
Me, too. I’m a big fan of Lipsmackers. I get a jumbo package every year in my stocking :0) And speaking of holidays, if you could create a new holiday what holiday would you create and what would you celebrate?
Oooh, love this question. =) Because I’m a writer, books and reading are tremendously important in my life (and my family loves reading, too). I would want to create Booksies (perhaps a different name would be better , and it would celebrate books. People would take off the day from work and school and everyone would read—and that’s it. I would also like to have vacation packages for the Booksies holiday where people can go to a resort designed for readers. Sitting on a beach reading a romance novel? Yes, thank you. =)
Oh, I am so celebrating Booksies. Just tell me when and where those resorts are! If Romancing the Countess had a soundtrack what songs would be on it?
Just off the top of my head, songs that I’d love for this book:
Lady in Red by Chris de Burgh (not because she wears a red dress, but because the hero suddenly sees her in a new light)
Wild Thing by Jimi Hendrix (I imagine Sebastian could hear this in his head whenever Leah does something he deems “reckless”)
*snorting with laughter at that incongruous and incredibly entertaining image…and it’s not just because Sebastian is a hottie!
Take My Breath Away by Berlin (to me, a song about finding the unexpected and falling in love)
Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson (because Leah wants to be independent and struggles with reconciling independence and falling in love with Sebastian)
Nice list off the top of your head! Perfect for the book, IMHO.
*** COMMENT and GIVEAWAY INFO: ***
I really loved the question Tiffany asked about the new holiday. Readers, I’d love to hear your answers! If YOU could create a new holiday, what would it be?
One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS (open internationally)! Also, find out how to win the ROMANCING THE COUNTESS Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com!
Huge thanks to Ashley for joining me today and including Armchair Heroines on her fabu book tour!
Thanks for stopping by and good luck on today’s giveaway and Ashley’s Grand Prize!