Nov 30, 2009

Sharon Ashwood - Interview and Contest


What a wonderful treat for today. Sharon Ashwood author of Scorched: The Dark Forgotten, (Signet, Dec. 1, 2009), has returned to PVN for an interview. She has graciously offered a copy of her new book to one lucky commenter. See contest details at the end of the interview. [This contest has ended]

Hi Sharon, and welcome to PVN!

PVN: Where does Scorched fit in the grand scheme of the Dark Forgotten series?

Sharon: Scorched is the second book.  At the end of Ravenous, the heroine, Holly, discovers the Castle. In SCORCHED, we get to find out a lot about the history of the non-humans on earth, what happened to many of them, and the challenges they face. This book probably spends more time in the Castle than any of the others will, but I wanted to really explore this cornerstone of my world.

PVN: As you say, much of the action in Scorched takes place in the weird environs of The Castle. What is it like for the residents?

Sharon: The Castle is like a great big medieval dungeon that goes on forever, and most of the inmates roam around inside, forming alliances and battling over choice territory. The magic inside the Castle removes certain appetites and emotions—hunger, thirst, joy and lust—but it doesn’t remove aggression.  Essentially the place is a war zone.  There are guards, but their number is dwindling and they’ve gone a bit crazy over time because they’ve all been stuck there against their will for centuries.  One of the big questions my characters face is what to do about the Castle.  Do they try and help the people inside? How? Who is safe to let out into the human world?

PVN: I have fallen in love with Mac, that devil. Not only is he a hunk who becomes hunkier, he has the funniest lines in the story. How would you describe him?


Sharon: Mac is an ex-police detective who likes the ladies. Unfortunately, one turned him into a demon and he lost his job and pretty much his whole life. When Scorched opens, he’s come back to town and he’s trying to pull his life together.

In some ways, he’s an average guy. He likes a beer and the hockey game, loved his job as a police officer, tinkers with his Mustang and tries to pay his bills on time. He’s one of the good guys, and hates the fact the whole demon issue puts him on the bad guy list.  When he finds out Constance needs help, he has to step up because he has the skills and willingness to do it. He knows it’s going to cost him a lot, but he does it anyway because there’s no one else who will.

What makes Mac an interesting hero to me is that, no matter how bad things get, he believes that he can make things better. He has serious doubts about how things are going—he’s not an idiot—but he tries to do something about the situation. Psychologically, he’s very tough, and his sense of humour is part of that.

PVN: Describe the two vampire characters - Alessandro and Constance.


Sharon: Alessandro Caravelli is the hero of Ravenous and the vampire queen’s enforcer in Fairview. If one of the non-humans step out of line, he’s on their case. The supernatural community is, on the whole, happy he’s around to keep the peace both among the non-humans and between the supernatural and human authorities. He’s been around for centuries and is an interesting mix of chivalry and modern ideas. He still has a strong sense of duty to his queen. Of course, that causes problems when he falls for a young witch and then the queen wants him to betray his love.

Constance is the heroine of Scorched.  She was a farm girl Turned into a vampire in the mid-eighteenth century. The guards who run the Castle put her in prison before she could actually bite anyone, so she’s still without a lot of her powers. In order to survive, she sought the protection of Atreus, a sorcerer who lives in the Castle. Unfortunately, by the time the story opens he’s gone mad. He’s as much a danger to Constance as a protector.

My vampires are venomous. Their bite gives a very addictive sexual high, which means they make slaves out of non-vampires very easily. Interspecies romance is a definite challenge, because vampires don’t reach maximum happy potential unless they’re biting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

PVN: Book 3 Unchained comes out July of next year. Can you give a sneak peak? Will there be more to come?

Sharon: Unchained deals with Holly’s sister, Ashe, and Captain Reynard, the head of the Castle guards. It’s a very active book—lots of fights, lots of danger, lots of plot threads. It gives the reader an insight into who the guards are and why they’re there. We also get to know some of the minor characters from the first books much better.

Right now I’m working on a proposal for a fourth book.  We’ll see what happens! Here’s a question for those who’ve read Ravenous.  Which of my characters would you like to see as the next hero:  Perry or Lore?


PVN: All of your characters are complex and unique. What stories, authors, or anything else pique your imagination?

Sharon: I read a lot of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, of course. I also read a lot of classic literature.  For characterization, I love nineteenth-century authors like Balzac, Theodore Fontaine, Flaubert, Tolstoy, and Trollope. Cousin Bette was completely amazing. Those authors nailed the interrelationship between economic circumstances, ethics, and family affection. People are complete and very complicated packages. It’s impossible to capture everything about a person on paper, but I believe the author has to understand as much as possible in order to build an effective personality.

PVN: It isn't unusual to find a mixture of horror and romance in today's paranormals, but you also inject a sense of humor.  Is it possible for you to write and not be funny?

Sharon: Of course I can write and not be funny—I have many documents in my workplace that prove I can be deadly dull.

It’s important to use humour when it’s appropriate. It’s also important to back off and have a serious moment when the reader needs to feel the sadness or dread of a character. I do like to keep things witty most of the time because it keeps the prose moving. You can also get a lot of serious ideas across in a joke without sounding preachy.

Plus, it would be dreadful to have my characters taking themselves too seriously. I always preferred the unapologetic Spike model to the Angel broody model. If a guy hasn’t got over the fangs in the first hundred years, dump his black leather backside.

PVN: As a writer what method do you use to keep track of the various plot lines?

Sharon: I pin a great big piece of newsprint to the wall, divide it into squares, and write in the action with coloured markers. That way I can see at a glance what’s going on.  I’ve started to use a writing program called yWriter (it’s free software and very nifty), but I still need to do the brainstorming manually.

PVN: What did you have to do to get your first novel published? Any horror stories?

Sharon: I got noticed by my wonderful editor through a contest. I think the biggest “horror” for me was how unprepared I was for the business side of being an author. I had this huge moment of DUH! Then I scrambled around figuring out what I was supposed to do besides write the book. I didn’t actually expect to get published, so I hadn’t planned ahead.

PVN: Any advice for beginning writers?

Sharon: Learn all of the rules about archetypes, scene and sequel, point of view, scene goals, and so on. Practice them until they’re automatic. Then realize they’re tools, not laws. When you read a book you love, study what that author is doing that works for you.

Also, read outside your genre. I think this is critical. Otherwise, the gene pool of ideas gets a bit thin. Familiarity is good, but readers do like the pleasant surprise of something unexpected. I know I do!

PVN: Where can readers find you? How can they contact you?

Sharon: At www.SharonAshwood.com. My links to Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook are there, as well as my personal blog. I also have a yahoo group where we chat about books. My newsletter link is here.

I also belong to www.SilkandShadows.com, a group blog of four terrific paranormal authors.

PVN: Thanks, Sharon. It's always a pleasure to have you visit PVN!


[This contest has ended]
Now for the contest. One commenter will win a  copy of Scorched

To be eligible do one or more of the following:

1. Ask Sharon a question.

2. Make up the name of a supernatural pop band, eg the Fangtastics, the Zydeco Zombies, Hairy and the Blue Moon, etc.

3. Link this interview to your own site or a social network site, and be sure to let me know the URL. If your email is not associated with your ID, please put the address in your response.

*Contest ends Dec. 7, 2009 at 11:59 PM (wherever you live).

This contest is INTERNATIONAL. 

37 comments:

Carmen R said...

Wonderful interview. I can't wait to read Scorched. I really enjoyed Ravenous and have been wanting to read more.

Supernatural band name could be --- The Drop Dead Corpses

hdtermite at yahoo dot com

booklover0226 said...

Hi, Sharon.

I enjoyed the interview and congrats on your release.

I enjoyed the Scorched book trailer. How long did it take to make? How many people worked on it?

Thanks,
Tracey D
booklover0226 AT gmail DOT com

Cherry said...

Okey... lets give this band name thingy a go... FANG BANG (??)... I know, I know, I'm not very good at it. But hey! There's Black Eyed Peas... what kind of name is that?

Re-posted your contest at http://contests-freebies.blogspot.com/2009/11/win-scorched-at-pvn.html

Cherry
mischivusfairy-inbox12 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Diana Dang said...

I have linked the contest to the sidebar of my blog! :)

http://orientaldesires.blogspot.com/

Elie said...

This sounds great. I love castles. Sounds like a good, strong heroine. Glad to hear the next book comes out so quickly.

The Othersiders

Linking in a blog, will come back with the link.

zenfoxflowerATyahooDOTcom
Elie (Ellz Readz)

Stacie said...

How about The New Vamps on the Block?

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Sharon Ashwood said...

Good morning all! Love the band names!

Booklover: it took a while to do the trailer, because my friend had never used the software before. She did all the heavy lifting and I found some of the images and the music. I'm very grateful for all her hard work!

tetewa said...

I read the first book and I've been looking forward to the latest release! My band name would be The Transylvania Troubadours!

kimikimikaio said...

Do you outline or are you a pantser? Do you write from beginning to end or jump around?

kimi kaio @yahoo.com (no spaces)

jeanette8042 said...

Awesome interview! I was wondering if as an author you helped to design your book covers?

lilazncutie1215 @ yahoo.com

jellybelly82158 said...

I think your books sound great. I have them in my to read stack.

Wonderful interview.

Julie S.

elaing8 said...

Great interview. I have Ravenous in my TBR pile.Friends keep telling me to hurry up and read it,its that good.
Scorched sounds great too. I look forward to reading them
elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

justpeachy36 said...

justpeachy36@yahoo.com

Great interview...

My supernatural group would be the Twilighters

ilona said...

Great Interview and book trailer :D

Can't think fo any questions so am having a go at a supernatural band name:
either 'Bloodsuckers in the night' or Midnight Zombies'.

My lads have had a go at the naming game and came up with some ideas of their own too.
Son M says "Things that go bump in the night"
Son K says "beautiful death"

throuthehaze said...

Great interview! How many books do you plan on having in this series?

band name: The Screaming Banshees

Raelena
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

SciFiGuy said...

Darn. I have Ravenous on my TBR stack and haven't gotten to it and already Scorched is out! The action sounds great. Why did you decide on one word titles?

Sharon Ashwood said...

Hello everyone!

kimi kaio: I plot my stories, but not every last detail. I have to leave a little mystery to keep me interested!

Jeanette: authors are able to give input into the covers, but ultimately the marketing and art departments decide what they'll look like.

Hi, Raelena! I don't have a set number of books for the series. As long as they're interesting to me and readers, I'll keep writing them.

Ilona: Tell your sons they have great imaginations!

Scifiguy: The one-word titles were an editorial choice. My title for Ravenous was Dark Larceny.

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the interview with Sharon Ashwood. Thank you to Sharon for sharing. I really enjoyed learning more about Sharon and her writing.
SCORCHED sounds like a great read.
Does writing become easier the more books you write/publish?
A supernatural band name? Love Kathy Love
I posted about this interview on my site for 3am EST Dec 1st
http://rkcharron.blogspot.com
Thank you again for sharing,
All the best,
RKCharron
PS - email's in Blogger Profile

mariska said...

i can't wait to read this book. Sharon is a new author for me !

- describe yourself in two words :)

supernatural band that i can think of : the Demon Black pearl

uniquas at ymail dot com

angel28140 said...

I'm a little ashamed to say I haven't read Ravenous or Scorched yet, but both sound fab.

Where do your ideas come from?

Supernatural Pop band? Love with a Bite (all vamps of course)

kalynnick said...

Sharon, was any of your heroes inspired by any real life hunk you know of?

kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

Andrea said...

Enjoyed the interview. I'm looking forward to reading Scorched. Ravenous was interesting.

Band Name: Morty(The Mortician) and the Zombies

Bethie said...

Great interview. How did you decide to make the vampires venomous?

My rock band would be called the Moon Bangers

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

donnas said...

Great interview. Cant wait to read Scorched.

How many books are you currently planning for the series?

Band name - Howl at the Moon

Linked on sidebar here: http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Milka said...

Great interview. I really enjoyed reading it.

I really would like to know more about the book trailer? Where did you get the idea for it?

The name for the band: white vampires and fuzzy werewolves.

milkavainamo@lyseo.edu.ouka.fi

stacy stew said...

Which of your books is your favorite?

Band The Fanged, like The Fray.

Stacy
samnstacyATmeDOTcom

Sharon Ashwood said...

Milika: My friend did the book trailer - I can't claim any credit for it!

Bethie: The idea of the venom was there from the start. It was one way a vampire could make an unshakeable hold on their victims. The idea of free will vs slaves is important in the books.

Kalynnick: I wish!

I'm loving these band names! Keep them coming!

Wanda said...

Great interview, Sharon!
Just wondering how old you were when you first realized you wanted to be a writer? Was it when you were still a child or as an adult?
I would love to be entered in this draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

buddyt said...

It may be corny but the first band name that came to mind was:

The Blood Transfusions

Please enter me in the drawing.

Thanks

Carol


buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Great interview, I didn't know this was the second book in the series. I've read a couple of reviews for this book and it sounds great!!

What triggers your creativity?

I love the premise of this book!

Supernatural band? Blood Takers and Heart Breakers

Please enter me!

I posted on my blog at http://myblog2point0.blogspot.com/

Thanks for a great giveaway!

Dottie :)

Aik said...

Hi, Sharon! Congratulations on your release! Are there times when you find it difficult to write? If yes, then how do you solve the problem? Thanks!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Aik said...

Supernatural band name : The Blood Suckers

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Aik said...

I blogged.

http://aik-friendsnfamily.blogspot.com/2009/08/list-of-worldwide-giveaways.html

aikychien at yahoo dot com

FrankSandy said...

How is the writing program (yWriter) different than using a large paper and coloured markers to keep tabs on the action? I'd think the the large newsprint would keep you on top of things with just a glance.

walkerd@primus.ca

Sharon Ashwood said...

Aik: There are times when it's hard to write - usually when I'm tired. The best thing is to get a good rest!

FrankSandy: yWriter is more detailed than the paper outline. It's kind of phase 2 for me, when I'm ready to start digging deeper into the story.

dsandyboy said...

Are you thinking of writing in other genres? dsandyboy@gmail.com

Sheere said...

Well umm.. What about The Vampire Brothers or My Deadly Romance? I have so little imagination :(

I have tweeted about this
https://twitter.com/Sheeredry/status/6415160860

sheere.dry@gmail.com