Thank you for joining us today Katie. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little bit about Katie Ashley.
Well, I love piña coladas and walks in the rain…just kidding! I’m a born and raised Georgia girl. I’ve lived in the same town my entire life. Up until December, I’ve spent the last eleven and a half years as a MS and HS English teacher. I’m now a full-time writer, which is an amazing blessing!
I’m a huge animal lover. I have two dogs, Chance and Duke, and a cat named, Sam.
I love to travel, but I’m also a big homebody. I love just having people over, watching movies, or talking over good food. Although I’m an only child, I come from a large extended family. My faith as a Christian is one of the most important facets of my life.
Katie Ashley is in fact a pen name, which accounts for why Emma’s middle name is Katherine! I’m not so obsessed with my name that I meant to do that.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
It’s a mixture of both. Someone once told me, “To write well, you have to write what you know.” At the time, I didn’t quite understand that—I just knew I wanted to be a writer, and it felt demeaning(I was nineteen at the time, lol) But with time, maturity, and wisdom, I’ve come to embrace that statement as a personal mantra with my writing.
Without the personal loss I’ve experienced in my life, there would be no Proposition or Proposal. Like Emma, I’ve lost my parents—my father died of cancer when I was seventeen, almost eighteen, and I lost my mother to cancer as well when I was twenty-three. Emma’s desires for motherhood are also my own. Love of family, strong faith, and good friends are also an integral part of my life, and they are a staple of every book I write.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write in The Proposition/Proposal and why?
Oh that’s too hard!! There’s so many scenes I love in both books. In The Proposition, I love Aidan and Emma’s first encounter and then drinks at O’Malley’s, then Aidan’s nephews and the pool scene, and when Emma meets Patrick and Aidan meets Granddaddy and Grammy.
The hardest was Aidan’s betrayal in The Proposition. In The Proposal, it was trying to find the balance to illustrate Emma’s dilemma. It’s ironic because people who were hating Aidan at the end of The Proposition were so quick to forgive him, yet so unforgiving of the position Emma found herself in. Not only is she inexperienced with men, but she’s six months pregnant. It’s quite a predicament to be in, hormonally and emotionally. But I can understand why readers were ready to throttle her.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’ve earned my stripes, so to speak, by trudging through the trenches the last three years seeking out traditional publishing. I’ve had two literary agents, two almost publishing deals with two different books, and I’ve gotten countless rejections. So, I guess you could say that I’m pretty war-torn and thick skinned. However, having Emma’s motives questioned (that she wanted a child to combat her loneliness and grief was selfish and irresponsible) by some readers was very hurtful and felt almost like a personal attack.
The best compliment….every time someone loves your book. That it kept them up, that they let the world disappear, that they fell in love with your characters, that they laughed and cried and swooned…those are the most magical words an author can hear. I can’t tell you the times since The Proposition and The Proposal have come out that I just sit at my computer with either a beaming smile or happy tears sparkling in my eyes.
How does your writing process look? Consistent with regular amounts of word counts daily/weekly… or more sporadic with a gush of words all at once and then a dry bed for a while?
Lol, I am such a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal. Many times, I just write when the mood hits me. I also work well under pressure. Most people would probably be surprised to know that most of The Proposition was written in a month. When it comes, it flows. Usually though, the story, images, or certain scenes have been with me for days when I finally sit down.
Some authors listen to music while writing, others prefer a quiet space. Which is your reference? If you do listen to music, do you have a playlist? Care to share?
Most of the time, I write in silence or to movie scores like Last of the Mohicans, Meet Joe Black, Legends of the Fall or Lord of the Rings. If I listen to songs with lyrics, I get lost in the music and lose my train of thought!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm, maybe plotting in the most unlikely places—in the shower, driving down the road, in meetings, lol. I may look 100% present, but I’ve got a movie going on in my mind.
You’ve been given the task to host a last-minute dinner party. Which authors are on your ultimate dinner invitation list? Alive or Dead.
Harper Lee, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Poe…yeah, my English degree and years of teaching are showing through, right?
6 Smooches (first answer that comes to mind)
Cowboy hat or cowboy boots?
Boots….I know, I’m a traitor to The Proposal, right? LOL
Craziest thing in your fridge right now?
The bottle of champagne I bought when it looked as if my Young Adult novel was going to sell to traditional publishers this summer. I think I’ll pop it if The Proposal hits New York Times!
Favorite fictional male (or female) character who you have not written?
It’s a tie between Atticus Finch and Kellan Kyle—I know, those are two major extremes!!
Do you have any birthmarks? If so, where?
Yes, I do have an orange mark in the back of my neck/into hairline. It’s probably disappeared now, but I know it was one my grandfather told my mother was a sign of his family. Who knows!
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe people can be attracted to each other, and then that can turn into love, but true love often comes from work and the unlikeliest of people.
Can you roll your tongue or tie a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue?
Um, no….what the heck? LOL I can roll my tongue though.