Monday, September 30, 2013

Blog Tour: Interview with Jackie Ashenden + Giveaway!


Jackie has been writing fiction since she was eleven years old. Mild mannered fantasy/SF/pseudo-literary writer by day, obsessive romance writer by night, she used to balance her writing with the more serious job of librarianship until a chance meeting with another romance writer prompted her to throw off the shackles of her day job and devote herself to the true love of her heart – writing romance. She particularly likes to write emotional stories with alpha heroes who've just got the world to their liking only to have it blown wide apart by their kick-ass heroines. 

She lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr Jax, two kids, two cats and some guppies (possibly dead guppies by the time you read this). When she's not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband. 

Where to Find Jackie:

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The_Book_Queen: Hi Jackie! I hear that you enjoy a good chocolate to indulge? :) It sounds yummy, I'm tempted myself, but...I'm not much of a drinker, and I'm afraid after just one or two sips things may get, uh, crazy. So I'll stick with my Dr. Pepper. ;)

Now, on to the questions!

Please introduce yourself, to any readers who have yet to stumble upon your books. How would you best describe the types of books you write?

Jackie: Firstly, thanks so much for having me and yes, don't mind if I do re the chocolate martini. *sips* Okay so I'm Jackie Ashenden and I write contemporary romance. I do write them in two flavors: light and flirty (eg Talking Dirty with the Player) and also dark and angsty (such as the ones I write for Samhain and St. Martin's Press).

TBQ: As much as I enjoyed your "light and flirty", I'm now very curious to read your other flavor! ;) 

Your newest release, Talking Dirty with the Player came out in August, and may I say once again that I loved this book! Can you tell us a little bit about this book, and why readers are going to love it? 

J: Oh, thanks!  It's always cool for a writer to hear nice things… Ahem. Anyway, this book is about a hot rugby player who can't get his best friend's little sister out of his head. He's already broken her heart once and he knows he's bad for wanting to go there again but she's…just…too…irresistible, dammit! She's a photographer who's definitely not going to mess around with this player again but he's just…too…damn…sexy! One thing leads to another and shenanigans ensue. You get the idea.

And you're going to love it because it's hot and Caleb gets her to say dirty things, and she calls him a gigolo, and they kick rugby balls and do it in her studio. It's all good. :-)

TBQ: Great pitch--if I had not already read and loved this book, I'd be over on Amazon buying it right now! 

I know that you have written a few New Adult contemporaries as well, but are there any other genres you would like to try, or are you a contemporary girl at heart?

J: Well, yeah, I am. I really like delving into the psychological issues of my characters and that takes up word space, so that's easier to do in contemporary where you don't have to do lots of world building etc. But I do love reading SF, paranormal for escapism. And I have a few paranormal ideas floating around in my head so….never say never eh?

TBQ: Indeed. Also, I have to say that the thought of your sexy dirty talking heroes being a shifter or whatnot? Makes me shiver!

What are some of the problems when writing a reunited lovers' book? And do you have a favorite troupe, to read or to write?

J: Hmmm, good question. Reunited lovers is difficult because of all the backstory you have to get across. Also you have to explain why the relationship didn't work then but will now, if that makes sense. Which means each character has to have good reasons for breaking up back then and still have problems in the present.  Favorite trope? Oooh, I LOVE friends to lovers stories. I think that's my favorite ever. Both to read and write.  

TBQ: Oh, yes, I love the tension and build up in a good friends to lovers story. *happy sigh*

Why do Caleb and Judith belong together?

J: Caleb needs Judith because she's loyal, accepts him for who he is and he knows he can be himself with her and she'll love him no matter what. Judith belongs with Caleb because she can trust him, rely on him when the going gets tough, and he loves her unconditionally. He's also hot and good in bed which is an added bonus. :-)

TBQ: Yes re the added bonus!

In 5 words or less, describe Judith for us. And let's not forget Caleb—what's he like?

J: Judith: Strong, snarky, capable, controlling and vulnerable.

Caleb:  Hot, charismatic, infuriating, caring, sexy. Hehe.

TBQ: *nods* Really, for caleb sexy and hot would have been plenty. But the other words show that he's more than just a typical playboy, as Judith mentions to him in the book.... 

Every time Caleb shared another tidbit of himself, no matter how small, with Judith I found myself falling for him even more. Did these two surprise you while writing? Did they suddenly “spill” a secret to you that made you gasp, or do you have everything about their characters planned out ahead of time?

J: Nope, I'm a pantser so what happens is that I usually start with an idea of their emotional problems, but it isn't until I'm in the thick of writing that I know what their deal really is. Caleb and Judith didn't shock me that much (unlike some I could mention) but I guess I didn't realize the extent to which Caleb looked after his alcoholic father and how much it hurt him to have that thrown back in his face.  And I think Judith's mother leaving her affected her more than she let on too.

TBQ: When Caleb and Judith have their training session, in which he teaches her how to kick the ball, I found it to be very deep and emotional. They both opened up a bit more, and that evening helped to shed  light on their baggage and insecurities. For me, it was a powerful scene. What scene stood out the most while writing this book and why?

J: Oh, so glad you thought that! Because I think it was this scene that was pivotal to me too. It's where I really discovered what was at the heart of their insecurities. It's funny, I didn't expect it to happen like that when I wrote it, I just thought he'd teach her to kick a ball and that would be it. The joys of being a pantser and letting your characters say what they will…

TBQ: I feel like I just aced a pop-quiz; I found the pivotal scene! LOL I'm glad that this scene worked out the way it did, it fit the characters and the story beautifully. 

When writing each novel, do you listen to certain songs, like a playlist for the story? If so, what was the playlist for TdwtP?

J: No, I don't. Years ago I used to listen to music while writing but these days I find I can't. When I do, song lyrics have been known to make their way into my manuscripts….

TBQ: Hehe... So if I ever read something of yours in the future and find myself humming a song... Clue one that you may have went back to the music-while-writing. ;) 

I know we all hate this question, author and reader alike. :) But I have to ask: What are a few of your favorite books and/or authors?

J: Argh! Okay, so for escapism I read historical or paranormal and I love Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling series. Also Tessa Dare's historicals are wonderful.

TBQ: I love Singh's books, and though I've only read one of Ms. Dare's so far, I've fallen for her writing style, as well. 

We've all fallen for a hero (or two, or three, or....ahem).  Tell us one hero that you've fallen for—who is he and what drew you to him?

J: Okay so I never thought I'd fall for a cowboy but I fell hard for Quinn in Maisey Yates's next Silver Creek romance, Untouched. She's my critique partner and her book isn't out till Feb 2014, but this guy….*Homer Simpson drooling noise*. He's a bad boy and his heroine is a shy little geek girl and it's all of the bad boy goodness you could possibly want. I loves him and he is mine. :-)

TBQ: What? That's not fair! Tease us like that about another sexy hero to add to our list and then claim him as your own? *sniff* 

What's next-- Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming releases or WIP?

J: I have a few new releases actually but the one I should be talking about for this interview is Talking Dirty with the Boss. This is the last Talking Dirty book and is Luke and Marisa's story. He's an uptight businessman with OCD, she's an ex beauty queen who knows her way around a man. She leaves lipstick on his tie and sends him dirty emails, he confiscates her underwear. Shenanigans ensue… You've heard this before, right? (*happy shudders* Can. Not. WAIT!) 


A day on a secluded island OR a day at the spa?
Secluded island with NO ONE around!

Reading a spicy romance novel OR a sweet “my-heart-skips-a-beat” one?
Spicy. I loves me some sexytimes. (Me, too! Can it be a romance without sexytimes? I think not...)

Which would you rather have an affair with: a sexy highlander OR a devilishly handsome English lord?
English lord. Nothing like an upper class British accent.

Hot summer days OR cold winter nights?
Oooh, tricky. Can I have both?

Where would your dream house be: in the city, where all the action is OR nestled in the mountain where you can enjoy the quiet and the wilderness?
My house would be nestled in the mountains with the city just below it. And a Tardis to take me there instantly.

If you could live in any time period, past or future, which one would it be?
Good question! Ummm…now. In the past writing sexy romance would probably be a no-no and in the future…who knows if writing will even be a thing?

Cover Lover OR Blurb Fan?
Depends on the cover. A cover makes me look, a blurb makes me buy.

Steamy Novella OR Sweet Novel? (aka, Quickie or Slow Build Up?)
Steamy all the way, baby.

Quick—name the one food that you cannot live without!

And finally, tell us 3 unique/wacky/fun things about yourself:

Um, I used to be quite the computer gamer until I started writing full time. 

I also used to sing opera. 

And Ashenden isn't my actual name so I had to practice my signature like a teenage girl before I went to my first signing! (LOL!)

The_Book_Queen: Thanks so much for stopping by, Jackie, and please know that you are welcome back anytime! Do you have any questions for our readers—something to spark a good discussion? :)

Jackie: Oh, thanks so much for having me! Okay, so question….

Since this book contains a rugby player, what do you guys think about sport in romance? Do you love it? Hate it?

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Talking Dirty with the Player by Jackie Ashenden
Publisher: Entangled: Indulgence (August 12, 2013)
Series: Talking Dirty, 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Up-and-coming photographer Judith Ashton is pretty sure she has everything in her life under control. That is, until a blast from the past comes back to taunt her, in the shape of Caleb Steele, her older brother's best friend...and the man who broke her heart eight years ago. Their chemistry is combustible, but she's been fooled once by this player, and she's not going there again. To pro rugby player Caleb, Judith has always been his Kryptonite. But his former playboy lifestyle is the last thing she wants to be involved in. In the midst of her brother's threats to back off, and the deal of his career sending him far away from her, he knows he's playing with fire. And this is one game he's going to lose.

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Read My Review -- I loved this one! :) 

Talking Dirty with the Player by Jackie Ashenden

She was almost touching him now and it was all he could do to keep his hands to himself. “I don’t understand why you keep selling yourself short. You act like you’re this stupid playboy but you’re not.” She put out a hand, pressed it gently against his bare chest, and all the breath went out of him.

Her palm felt like a hot coal against his cold skin. A brand.

“Don’t,” he forced out, a bolt of pure desire shooting straight down his spine. “This can’t go anywhere, Jude. I’m not even going to be in the country for long. Once my contract with the club expires, I’ll be looking at a TV job in Australia. Understand? I’ll be leaving. For good this time. And then there’s Joseph. He’d kill me if I touch you.”

“I don’t care.” Her voice sounded faint but she didn’t remove her hand. “I don’t care about any of that. I just want to see...”

“See what?”

The blue of her eyes became lost in black as her pupils dilated. The black top she wore was stuck to her skin, outlining every delicious curve, including the hard points of her nipples. “See if the man I used to know is still in there.”

She was so beautiful. And so very close. He wanted to touch her so badly. “He’s not, darling,” he began.

She didn’t let him finish. Her hands splayed on his chest as she rose on her tiptoes and pressed her mouth to his instead.

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Jackie will be awarding a digital copy of Talking Dirty to the CEO and a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour! 

How to Enter:

Leave a comment on this blog--answer Jackie's question, or ask her one! 

Don't forget to follow the rest of the tour; the more comments you leave, the better your chance of winning! Good Luck

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Thank you again for stopping by today, Jackie! I truly had a blast doing this interview, and I cannot wait to read more of your sexy heroes! ;) 

Don't forget Jackie's question:

Since this book contains a rugby player, what do you guys think about sport in romance? Do you love it? Hate it?


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


marypreston said...

Sport most definitely has a place in romance stories. Have you seen how hot the players can be?


Goddess Fish Promos said...

Thanks for hosting!

Kame said...

I see more and more Rugby books lately gonna have to check it out

The_Book_Queen said...

I think you will love this one! :)

The_Book_Queen said...

Hehe--exactly! :)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Thanks Momjane! :-)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Yes, indeed! Rugby is rather awesome... :-)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Yes!! You need to see a pic of Sonny Bill Williams who's my Caleb inspiration. Hawtness... :-)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Thanks so much for having me, Danielle! It was an awesome interview. :-)

Eva Millien said...

Thanks for sharing the great interview and the giveaway. Sounds great. Congrats on the completion of the tour. evamillien at gmail dot com

Catherine said...

I do like sports and athletes in stories. Athletes have all that macho, alpha, testosterone build-up going on! NOW, that said, I don't want sports scenes that drone on and on. I want to get to the locker room and bed room scenes!

Jackie...Say it ain't so! The guppies are still alive, aren't they? As a librarian myself, I'm curious if your local library has your books and if you've done signings there. And I think it's so cute that you had to practice signing your name. Did you ever mess up during a signing and sign your real name?

catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

Don't mind sports in books

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Natasha D said...

I like sports in romances.
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Jackie Ashenden said...

Hi bn100, thanks for the comment. And yeah, for me it depends on the sport. :-)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Lol, I'm with you on the locker room/bedroom scenes myself, Catherine! Hehe. Guppies have declined in number but some are still alive. ;-) Funny you should say that about libraries here. I just went and did a search for my name in the local catalogue and yes, apparently my books are here! WEll, my first one is. And here was I thinking we didn't do ebook lending... Anyway, no haven't done signings here. I've only done two and yes, I did mess up once! I felt like such a dork! :-)

Erin F said...

sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing :)

Jackie Ashenden said...

Thanks Erin! :-)

Jackie Ashenden said...

No worries, Natasha. :-)

momjane said...

wow, Not only did I enjoy your comments, but the excerpt was awesome.