Mar 31, 2009

Sharon Ashwood - Interview

A big welcome to Sharon Ashwood author of paranormal romance/adventure Ravenous: The Dark Forgotten. Sharon describes herself as "a free-lance journalist, novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky." Besides being an excellent writer, she also has a wicked sense of humor.

Sharon thanks so much for this interview!

PVN: You have created a complex world for Ravenous. Holly, the main character comes from a family of witches. Please tell us about Holly and her family.

Sharon: Holly Carver and her grandmother are the only family members living in Fairview at the moment. Holly’s parents are dead and her older sister, Ashe, has moved away.

Despite the fact that her magic was damaged during a childhood trauma, Holly is in charge of the Three Sisters Agency, their family spellcasting business—she does a lot of ghost-busting, finding lost items, getting rid of imps, and so on. She’s having a tough time running it alone, so she takes Alessandro along when she needs muscle. It’s a good arrangement - he’s chipper when he has a legitimate reason to beat something up and, with a vampire around, no one stiffs her on the fee.

PVN: Holly's love interest is Alessandro, a vampire. What is his story?

Sharon: Alessandro is the dark hero trying to break free from old loyalties and find his way into the light. He’s 600 years old and has spent much of that time as the champion swordsman of the vampire queen, Omara. He was the only survivor of an attack on his clan, and she took him in rather than let him perish so he owes her a debt of loyalty.

At the same time, he’s in love with Holly. (Enter angsty drama, because no author can have two strong women interested in the same hero and leave well enough alone. It’s a natural law.)

Alessandro’s what I call a thinking alpha hero. He’s an aggressive predator, but he knows when to take a step back and work smart. He knows he has to give Holly space to do her thing. When his loyalty and his love come into conflict, he tries to find an honorable solution—which would work better if everyone else played by the rules, too. Eventually he has to make some huge choices and start kicking butt.

PVN: What do you think makes vampires so romantically attractive?

Sharon: My vampires are dangerous. Their bite carries a venom that gives a huge erotic buzz but turns their lovers into mindless addicts. This may sound like fun, but zombie love slaves are high maintenance and never do their own laundry.

Unfortunately, vamps can’t really *enjoy* themselves without biting. This is why Alessandro hasn’t pursued Holly the way he would like to—he doesn’t want to rip away her free will.

To me, this sums up the push/pull vampire attraction. You want them even though they’re extremely bad for you. They’re not safe; vampires belong to the realm of death itself. It brings to mind Keats’ poem:

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath . . .

PVN: Omara, the vampire queen, is so fascinating. She is beyond egotistical yet very much a diplomat. How did you come up with this character? Have you known someone like her?

Sharon: Omara is a composite of a number of people I’ve known who were brilliant, charismatic, talented and truly had the greater public good at heart. Unfortunately, they were extremely difficult on a one-on–one level. They contributed a lot to my violent fantasy life.

Omara is actually a sad character. She’s unable to have real relationships because she can’t let control over any situation slip. The more vulnerable she feels—and vulnerability is essential if you’re actually going to share yourself with somebody—the more she fears loss of control. The result is someone who is manipulative and hurtful. And yet, she’s essential to the vampire’s survival in the political arena. It’s no wonder Alessandro has extremely mixed feelings about her. The only reason he survives their relationship is because he has a strong sense of his own worth. In the end, though, Omara respects him.

PVN: In the world of the Dark Forgotten Hell has a very different connotation than that of the Judeo-Christian tradition. (Or maybe in some ways not so different.) Would you describe your take on it?

Sharon: The “hell” my characters encounter is not a fire-and-brimstone hell but an alternate dimension created through sorcery. However, as Alessandro says, it’s so bad it may as well be the real thing.

This alternate dimension is called the Castle. It’s a dungeon for all the supernatural creatures (like demons) the ancients could round up and shove in there, regardless of whether those creatures were good or evil. They’ve been captive for thousands of years and now everyone’s afraid to let them out because they’re going to be really mad and/or really crazy. One key ingredient to closing the portal to the Castle is a Carver witch, like Holly. Unfortunately, the last one to close that portal died. (Cue ominous soundtrack)

PVN: There are a variety of paranormal creatures in your novel. The changelings were something new to me. Would you tell us about them?

Sharon: The changelings resemble the nosferatu of the old horror films. They’re vampires that didn’t Turn properly and, unlike other vamps, their human personality perished during the change. Regular vampires hate them because they’re uncool and disgusting.

Periodically, the two groups wage war for territory. The last time they did this, the changelings lost badly and everyone assumed they had died out. Then they saw Revenge of the Nerds and dared to dream large . . .

PVN: There will be at least one sequel. Would you mind telling us something about it?

Sharon: The next Dark Forgotten book is Scorched and, according to the all-seeing eye of Amazon, it will be out on December 1, 2009. In this book, the Castle is a primary setting so we learn more about the residents, its history, and what goes on there. I think of it as a sex, death and resurrection story—kind of shamanic, actually, with a lot of fairy tale elements. I finished the most recent draft a few days ago, and I was absolutely exhausted! The ending is a pretty wild ride. One of these days I need to have a quiet hero who solves everything from an armchair.

PVN: . Describe your writing environment and your writing day.

Sharon: I have a full-time job and I’m also taking work-related university courses, so creative time happens around that. I typically write in the evenings between 7:00 and 10:00ish and then whatever I can on the weekends. I guess I work about an 80-hour week, but I wouldn’t give any of it up right now. I love to write but I like to eat, too.

PVN: Do you have other writing projects?

Sharon: I’ve done a lot of freelance work for newspapers, although I don’t do much of that now. Too many vampires, too little time. Right now I’m in the planning stages of a third Dark Forgotten book.

PVN: Where can readers find you on the Internet?

Sharon: My website is I’m also on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and I blog at, which is a group of five paranormal authors. We have a great time there!

PVN: What do you do to relax?

Sharon: Occasionally one of my cats sits on the keyboard, and I have to stop working until it moves.

Seriously, I don’t get a lot of time to relax (see #8 above), but I do love to read (I get through about a book a week) and I really enjoy a few TV shows. My favorites right now are 24, Supernatural, and I’m getting into Fringe. I love the fact that I never know what they’re going to do next. I love that the mad scientist really is mad.

PVN: Fringe is a favorite of mine as well. It's one of the more creative series on broadcast TV.

Sharon, what a fun interview! I really appreciate your visit to PVN.

Now for the Contest information:

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Ravenous: The Dark Forgotten

For a chance to win do one (or more) of the following:

*Comment on any subject from the interview. Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.

*Ask Sharon a question. Each question counts as an entry.

*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.

Be sure to include your email information so that I will be able to contact you.

The contest will end Friday April 3 at 11:59 PM ET


SciFiGuy said...

Just wanted to drop by to catch the interview and say hi! Bought my copy of the book a couple of weeks ago after reading so many rave reviews but haven't had the chance to get to it yet. Happy to hear there are additional books in the series planned. Love the title!

Daelith said...

I've got this on my wish list. Haven't had a chance to go to the book store lately though. I've also heard good reviews on this and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. Thanks for the interview.
I think I'll like Alessandro.

Ruth Schaller said...

Hi there ladies!

This book sounds wonderful! And to let you in on a little secret - I'd love to read it!

My question for you is: What made you decide on vampires? What attracts you to them?

I Heart Monster said...

I heart Fringe too! It's a great show.

Bridget said...

Just posted this on Win A Book.

kerribookwriter said...

Hey Sharon (& Patricia)!

Just discovered this blog and I love it! So glad I could stop by to comment and ask a question.

Sharon, loved your point about how the vampire's bite is an erotic experience.

Interestingly, I just watched that episode of Buffy last night where she forces Angel to bite her in order to cure him from a vampire poision. That "Bite Me" that throws her into an orgasmic experience is just too hot! Loved it!

That's what I was thinking of when I read your interview. Hope to check out your book soon!

Thanks for sharing!

kerribookwriter said...

Ohh, forgot my question...

I wanted to see what your thoughts are on just why the paranormal genre is so hot/popular right now? There seems to be such a huge demand for it in the book and television and movie market.

What is it about those undead hotties that make us want more?

Your thoughts?

CrystalGB said...

Hi Sharon. Great interview. Your vampires sound interesting. Fringe and Supernatural are two of my favorite shows too.

Cathy M said...

Hi Sharon, really enjoyed the interview. I am a big Supernatural and Fringe fan too. Just took a peek at the great reviews posted on Amazon, big congrats. Really looking forward to reading Ravenous.

bridget3420 said...

Hi Sharon,

I like how you described "Castle" in your interview. It's completely original.


tetewa said...

I've been hearing alot about Fringe, guess I'll have to try it out. Supernatural is my fav. Sharon do you have any authors that are auto-buys for you?

Chris said...

Is being able to support yourself writing/writing full time one of your dreams?

Jeanne Ryan said...

Okay, I'll admit the cover of Ravenous alone makes me want this book. When I saw the picture of Sharon, even though I know better, part of me thought she'd look like the cover. Silly me.

If the cover wasn't enough to get me to want this book, Alessandro is. What is better than a "thinking alpha hero." It's like she knows me.

I like scary vampires, ones that are actually dangerous. I love how the theme of control runs through the book.

Here are my questions:

My 12 year old daughter came home last week and said her best friend said "All vampires are like the ones in Twilight." After I got done screaming, I showed her the scary vampire I have hanging in my office (I'm an aspiring paranormal romance author. Just finished my first draft and am working on rewrites).

1. What movies/books would you recommend that I show my daughter to show her what "real" vampires are like? She's a tad skittish and very smart. So far I've come up with buffy v dracula and Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampire series.

2. What do you do when you tell people you write about vampires and they say "like Twilight"?

This was a great interview. I linked to it at my blog:

Anonymous said...

Oh hi Sharon! A friend gave me your book for my birthday last week. I read it in one sitting.

Alessandro is so romantic.

Such a wonderful story!

I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it.

Don't put my name in the contest since I already own it.

I look forward to Scorched


Vickie said...

Excellent interview.
I have had RAVENOUS on my Wanton Book Wish List for a while now. I am looking forward to it even more. I think I have added Alessandro to my stable of fictional boyfriends.....I hope that's okay....

Vickie said...

As for Fringe, I watch it on It is an awesome show. There's another show similar that I think is out of Canada...the name escapes me,dagnabbit, but it's a good one too. DH watches Supernatural, but I am in charge of Lady K bath and bed time, so don't get that fun until it comes out on DVD.

SharonAshwood said...

Hi, all

Ruth, I've always been attracted to vampires. I think it's the fascination with our own dark sides that feeds our interest in them. We love what's dangerous.

Kerribookwriter, I wish I knew why paranormal is so popular. My best guess is that it allows for really creative writing - anything goes!

Sharon Ashwood said...

tetewa, I have quite a few autobuys (my poor bank account!)Jim Butcher and Laurell K. Hamilton are at the top, along with C.E. Murphy and Kim Harrison.

Chris, I would love to be able to support myself with my writing. I think I'd always work part-time, though. I actually like my job!

Sharon Ashwood said...

Jeanne, I wish I looked like the book cover, but maybe next life! As for your daughter, I just read the first two YA novels by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy and Frostbite). They have scary and non-scary vampires and are very well-written. I'd say they were age appropriate for a teenager--I would have gobbled them up at your daughter's age (and I did anyway!). BTW I love the Morganville series but the cliffhangers drive me nuts!!

The "like Twilight" comment has to be taken in context. I liked the books and would love to have that many adoring readers. However, I do point out, if needed, that my books aren't for a very young audience as there are love scenes.

Vickie said...

VWinship at aol dot com

Valorie said...

Poor Alessandro! But it proves he isn't all bad and all monster that he thinks about Holly instead of his own desires and needs.



Helen Hardt said...

Great interview -- I can't wait to read Ravenous!


ginnn7 said...

wow sounds like a great book enjoyed the interview thanks

Fantasy Dreamer said...

Hi Sharon, I just finished reading Ravenous. OMG! Loved it! Read the excerpt in the back, can't wait to see what happens with Mac. December seems so far away...

Will we read more about Holly & Alessandro in the next book?

Patricia, I'm not entering the contest, just wanted to stop by to chat.


Sharon Ashwood said...

Hi, Fantasy Dreamer! I'm glad you liked the book. Yes, Holly and Alessandro will be back, though Mac's story is the main plot. I have to say I love writing his character. He's very earthy and matter-of-fact and pretty grounded given everything I put him through (and maybe someday he'll even forgive me ...)

Jeanne Ryan said...


I agree with the Morganville cliff hangers. Carpe Corpus cannot come out fast enough, especially now that Claire is 16. It will be interesting to see how that is handled.

I like the Vampire Academy books. I agree they are very well written and I love the universe. My only reservation about recommending them to my 12 year old is what happens at the end of the third one. Another series where the next one, Blood Promise, can't come out fast enough.

Speaking of YA vampires, it seems a lot of them end on cliff hangers. I wonder if that is because they tend to be shorter, so the writer doesn't have enough time to wrap things up or because YAs are so inundated with stuff (I'm happy when they pick up a book over any of the electronic options), that they use cliffhangers to maintain their attention.

日月神教-任我行 said...