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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Welcome Ashley March, author of Romancing the Countess

Ashley March is giving away a copy of Romancing the Countess to one random commenter, AND as a grand prize at the end of her blog tour, she is giving away at least 50 books to one lucky winner! 

Apart from the chances visitors have of winning a copy of ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, Ashley will give away at least 50 books (maybe more!) to one lucky winner at the end of the book tour! All you have to do is collect the answers to the clues she gives for each book tour stop and at the end of the tour in November email her with your answers. One random winner with all the right answers will win at least 50 romance novels! Is this easy to do? Yes. Is August 22nd to the end of November a long time? Yes; such a contest is not for the faint of heart. Is it worth it for a chance to win at least 50 romance novels? If you're a rabid romance fan like Ashley is, definitely!

Ashley kindly took the time away from her hectic writing and family schedule (two little girls!) to answer all my questions, so be sure to read and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy here, and maybe you'll also win 
The Grand Prize! 

  Why historical romance? What is (are) your fave elements in a historical? The men on horseback? The ladies' ballgowns? The manners & culture? What genre besides historical romance do you like to read?
Thanks so much for hosting me today, Pamela! =) To be honest, the simple truth is that I started writing historical romance because that’s what I grew up reading. I started with the Jude Deveraux and Catherine Coulter books I found at my library, and later fell head over heels with the sub-genre again when I discovered Julia Quinn.
As for my favorite elements in a historical, I have to say that the one at the top of my list would be that the heroes fit into my fantasy of what a man should be. He’s strong and capable, yet he’s also caring and compassionate (even if those qualities are not readily visible on the surface). He wears what amounts to three-piece suits all the time (assuming he’s wealthy) and is an intelligent leader. He also says bloody hell when he’s upset, which for some reason I happen to find incredibly sexy. He doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve so he’s somewhat of a mystery, but when we do get to know him, we see that he’s head-over-heels, desperately in love with the heroine. Okay, I have to stop. I think I’m going to swoon at any moment if I continue. =)
Outside of historical romance, I’ve recently started reading quite a few contemporary romances (and love them so much I hope to write my own soon!). I actually have other sub-genres in my TBR pile, but truly the thought of falling in love with a new sub-genre intimidates me—I already have too many books to read and not enough time!

Which fictional literary character, or blend of characters, would you be, or would you emulate? (Feel free to name an author, or any figure, male or female. Any time period. I, myself, would be Annie Sullivan, blended w/Margaret Mitchell. But that's just me.)
Oh, I love this question. =) If anyone reading this interview has followed me for the past year, then you doubtless know that I’m a huge Gone with the Wind fan (with the caveat that I *must* have Scarlett to read afterward for my HEA). So, with that being said, I always thought that a combination of Melanie and Scarlett would make a perfect heroine. I think they’re both wonderful in their own right, of course, but I’ve always admired Scarlett’s confidence and bravery, as well as Melanie’s kindness and selflessness. If I were to emulate that combination, I’d be a much better person. And who knows? Maybe my husband would turn into Rhett Butler. ;)

How long have you been writing? What book, author, teacher inspires you? How did you learn your craft? Wish to recommend a lesson/course/seminar?
I started writing for a few months in early 2006 and quit because that first book was so terrible! Then I started writing again in February 2008 and haven’t looked back since. Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas are the two authors who inspired me to start writing my own historical romances and are also two authors who continue to inspire me to this day. In addition, I can add Laura Lee Gurhke, Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran, Joanna Bourne, and Anne Mallory to that list as well. (These are just a few, though; there truly are so many more talented writers who I adore!)
After I started writing, the biggest help to me and the best thing I ever did as a beginning writer was to join the online critique group Romance Critters, where I found two critique partners that I still have now. Receiving such honest feedback from complete strangers who also loved romance really helped me to see my strengths and weaknesses (although I don’t believe you ever stop learning how to improve!). Outside of giving and receiving critiques, I think that the Writer’s Digest Elements of Fiction Writing series has been the most valuable in terms of learning how to improve the craft of writing.

 You are the creator of RBW - Romance Biggest Winner [Weight Loss Support Group].
 What made you think to reach out to the reading/writing romance community? (Besides your brillance!) Why not just go to WW or Jenny Craig? What have you learned through this experience?
Lol. Thank you! I’m so honored that so many other people decided to take part in the Romance Biggest Winner competition (not to mention how many wonderful people I’ve met as a result)! Outside of my family, I live and breathe romance. It’s my work and my entertainment. Nearly every person in the romance community—whether reader or writer—goes out of their way to show kindness to others…or at least, that’s been my experience. =) I’ve done WW before. I’ve done SparkPeople before. The biggest decision in turning to the romance community was that I wasn’t finding the support I needed from my husband. Instead of encouraging each other to get healthy, we were enabling each other. So instead, I turned to the people I interact with every day, some of whom I know also needed to lose weight, because I would see them post or tweet about it. I thought it was also a great way for readers and authors to join together to support each other and get to know one another on a deeper level.
The most rewarding part of this experience by far has indeed been the relationships built, both with members of my team (yay, Pamela!—go Pink Ladies!), and with others in the competition. I’m so proud of everyone for continuing on and staying strong—especially as we near the holiday season!

Tell us about RWA trip to NYC- what knocked your socks off there?

I really intended to write a blog post about the RWA national conference this past July when I returned home, but it just got away from me as I worked on the deadline for my third book and started getting prepared for the promotional work for ROMANCING THE COUNTESS. So I’m thrilled you asked. =)
This year’s national RWA conference in NYC was the first one I’ve ever been to, and I am so very, very glad I did! One of the reasons I continued putting off writing about it was because I knew it was going to be a HUGE post—there are so many things to say! So to keep this short, I’ll just give you my top three highlights here. =)
1)      Meeting my author friends, my author crushes (yes, I’m looking at you, Lisa Kleypas!), and other people I didn’t know before going but who I was delighted to meet there (special *wave* to Evangelina Joseph!). Just getting to meet other people who love romance as much as I do was an awesome experience.
2)      Meeting readers! I was fortunate to be able to sign at the literacy autographing session as well as at the NAL signing, and I met so many wonderful readers there—some of whom I still communicate with on a regular basis. Honestly, I was in awe whenever someone would come up and tell me that they loved my book, and was so thrilled when people who had never read my work before decided to buy it and give me a chance!
3)      I know I said I would limit it to three highlights. And the truth is that the RWA conference is centered on the workshops and panels meant to actually help you improve your craft. But I would be a horrendous liar if I did not admit that I skipped out on attending a lot of the workshops so I could go to the author signings and get FREE books. Yes, FREE books, signed by my favorite authors!! *SQUEE* I think I came home with—er, shipped home—approximately 200 books. Seriously. So you can see why my TBR pile intimidates me. =) *happy sigh*

What's on your horizon? Future writing plans? Future releases? Do you have any seminars you're working on for your own RWA local chapter?

Okay, I am really excited to be able to answer this question. I mean it! I’m so glad you asked!!! =) I just turned in final edits for my third NAL Penguin book, which should be out in May 2012 and is called MY LADY RIVAL. But I’m very excited to talk about what’s next because—because because because (yes, I’m THIS excited about it)—since I chose to start self-publishing, I’m able to write about anything I wish now, and not only have I decided to write the love stories for secondary characters from my previous books that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to write, but I’m also venturing into a new time period!
I expect that these two projects will actually be available BEFORE the third Penguin book, simply for the fact that the production schedule as a self-published author doesn’t take as long as it would traditionally.
So, with that being said, please keep an eye out for the following in early 2012:
Joanna and Ethan’s Victorian romance (two secondary characters from SEDUCING THE DUCHESS)
The beginning of a new series called The Golden Twenties, in which I write about romance in 1920s Long Island and Chicago (*squee!!*)
I’m also planning other big new projects for 2012, but will wait to talk about those at another time. Of course, readers can always keep updated on my books by checking out the Coming Soon page on my website (www.ashleymarch.com/coming-soon) and signing up for my newsletter (www.ashleymarch.com/email).

 Oh My Goodness Ashley! This is FAB news! More info on your decision here on your blog. 
And to show my support, I'll give away a copy of Joanna & Ethan's romance when it is released in January!! So stay tuned readers! 
As for seminars, I will be leading the workshop at my local Colorado Romance Writers chapter in January 2012. Am still deciding on what to speak on, though. =)     

I was born and raised in East Texas, moved to Colorado after getting married eight years ago, and have been craving snow-free winters ever since. I have a husband who just keeps getting better and better over time and two beautiful daughters.
Life is simply…fantastic.
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! 



  1. Hey my fellow RBW's!

    Are you both behaving yourselves after the Halloween?! [asking while hiding all her wrappings]

    Ash, wishing you the best and I am so excited about the Chicago 20's stories, I can't even tell you. There are so many possibilities for love stories, and one of my fave shows LONG time ago was THE UNTOUCHABLES with Elliot Ness :)

    BTW: Will you be coming over to Chicago in April for RT thingy? I think you need to make the trip for 'research' purposes :)

    Vanessa Kelly’s ‘Hook-a-Book’ is SEDUCTION!

  2. Go East Texas and Romance novels!

  3. Melanie! So glad to see you here... and yes! I can't wait for Chicago 20's stories either!

    Hello S.B.Niccum! I agree - Go Romance! Go Ashley!

  4. Great interview! I'm a huge GWTW fan, too - in fact, one of the big reasons I took my first job here in Atlanta was because the PR agency that offered it to me was around the corner from the Margaret Mitchell house. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. :-)

  5. Great interview, I enjoyed hearing what Ashley finds so attractive about her characters, her excitement is contagious! And my oh my, 200 books shipped home from one conference?! She leaves me in her dust with a to-read pile!!

  6. I am so excited for you and I'd like to congratulate you on your successful weight loss too! I agree, Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas inspired me to start writing again, but while I used to consume grocery sacks of stripped Regencies from when I ran the bookstore, my series of stories I'm working on are contemporaries. What a thrill to be able to write what you want in addition to being under contract. AND to meet all the authors. I would have totally done the same thing--skipped out of panels for the autograph line and did so many times at different science fiction conventions I've been to over the years. Much success!

  7. Before I even started reading your interview, a question popped into my head: How does an author decide what time period (year) to set the story in?

    Now you are going later into the Victorian era and coming into early 20th century. Love those roaring 20's. My father lived in Chicago in the 1920's for several years before moving back to Michigan. He had some interesting stories to tell!

  8. Congratulations on your new series. Sounds exciting... Looking forward to reading about the roaring 20s. :)

    Maybe31 at yahoo.com

  9. Wonderful interview. Always interesting to see what fellow authors are up to.

  10. Leslie, isn't it funny to see the Dump - a lovely brick home - surrounded by all those highrise office buildings and businesses? Makes me wonder what it was like to live in the city all those years ago.

    Hello Michele! I'd say time to cull that herd of a TBR pile! LOL!

    Hi Julee! I know I'm guilty of skipping workshops and sneaking into booksignings early myself! Sssshh!

    Hello Karen! Thank you for dropping by. Wow - bet your father did have some stories! Did you ever get them recorded? It would be such an invaluable resource not only to writers, but so many other ventures. I need to get my own parents' recollections about the Depression and WWII soon myself.

    Thanks for dropping by Anonymous! Me too!

  11. Hi Ashley,

    What a great interview. You've done a lot since you got started...er..restarted in 2008...way to go, girl!

    Your new book sounds fabulous and this is the first I've heard about the romance writers weight loss! This is what I need! (g)

  12. Ashley--
    Thanks for another great interview.
    Don't enter me in the contest...just popping in to say Hi.

  13. Nice to meet you Ashley. Great interview! In 2010, I attended my first RWA conference and it was the greatest thing ever! Like you said - meeting your favorite authors, all the free books, the workshops - fabulous experience!
    Congratulations on all of your success :) Here's wishing you more!

  14. Hi Jamie Rae! Glad to see you here!

    Sandra, hello! There are 2more GRW members on different teams of RBW too!

    LSUReader, hi! I'm an alum - glad you're here! Geaux Tigers! Beat Bama!

    Hi Kellie - I'm glad you're here; I bet RWA was great & I can't wait for 2013 when it's here in ATL!

  15. Hi Melanie! Fortunately for me, I'm not much of a candy person. Just keep the pastries and other desserts away, though! I think I'm going to need to hide from the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving this year. =)

    Oh, I've never heard of the Untouchables! I'll have to look and see if they have it on Netflix. I'm hoping to come to Chicago for RT. I'm definitely planning on going to the Barbara Vey Readers' event, which is the Tuesday before, so hopefully I can go to both. =)

  16. Hi S.B. Niccum! Is there any better comment ever to have been posted? I don't think so. =)

  17. I just want to give a huge thank you to Pamela for hosting me, and thank you for the wonderful interview. =)

  18. Hi Leslie! There's a reason I want to move to Georgia so badly...and it's not because I necessarily love the humidity, either. ;)

  19. Hi Michele! =) To be honest, I've been giving most of the book I got from RWA away. So it does pay to follow an author, lol. Thanks for visiting with me. =)

  20. Hi Julee! Congratulations on your own writing journey! If you've never been to a RWA national conference before, I would highly recommend it. Even if you don't end up going to the workshops/panels, I feel like it filled up my well, just to be in the same place with that many other writers. Good luck on your contemporaries! =)

  21. Hi Karen! This is a great question. =) It was kind of random in a way for me to pick 1848-1849 in the Victorian era. I knew that I wanted to be in the middle of the transition of technology and reforms, and I also thought it would be interesting to have stories set near the potato famine in Ireland and the European revolutions, too. A lot of interesting characters can come from both of those events. =)

    And I'd love to hear about your dad's stories sometime!

  22. Hi Maybe31! Thanks so much! =) Not only am I excited to be writing in the 1920s, I'm very happy to see how much positive response I've gotten from readers for the idea. Thanks for your comment! =)

  23. Hi Jamie Rae! Thank you very much. =) Glad you enjoyed it!

  24. Hi Sandra! Thank you very much. =) It is hard to believe that only 3 years ago I was still dreaming about getting published. I've been very blessed. =) The current RBW competition ends January 5th...we might have another one afterward, but I'm going to have to figure it out. If you remain interested, email me and let me know and I'll keep your name reserved. =)

  25. Well, hello, LSUReader. =) Thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the interview. =)

  26. Hi Kellie! Thanks so much! I hope to see you in Anaheim in 2012!! =)

  27. I love Victorian romances so I'll definitely be picking your up. What made you pick the Roaring 20s? And why am I hearing the soundtrack to Chicago?

  28. Congratulations on everything Ashely! We are all rooting for you, and I am delighted to hear about your Golden Twenties series. I love that period, and as you know, it's not something you see in traditional romance novels.

  29. Wow! All great info. YOu named a bunch of my favorite authors as well. The Romance Biggest Winners sounds very cool. I am definitely going to look that up. The series sounds great. I wish you all the best with all this.

    Headed over to your website now. :)


  30. Hi Linda! I hope you enjoy the books! I actually have a lot of different time periods I want to write, but reader response and my own enthusiasm led me to the 20s. (I'm also interested in WWII, the Elizabethan era, ancient Rome, 14th century Italy...and the list goes on ;). And what I want to know is why your question about Chicago made me start to hear the Cats soundtrack. =)

  31. Hi Carey! Thanks so much! That truly means a lot to me. =) And I'm so happy to hear how many other people are interested in the 20s. I don't think I could ever give up the Victorian period, but I'm definitely excited about trying something new, and giving readers more options in historical romance, too. =)

  32. Hi Tami! Oh, thanks so much! If you're interested in joining RBW for the next round in January, just email me at ashley@ashleymarch.com and I'll keep your name on the list for when we're ready to prepare. =)

  33. HA! Ashley! - Looks like you've got a second (or third) career starting up - Weight Loss Counselor!

    Hi Linda! Hi Carey! I know I can't wait for the Roaring 20's either!

    Hi Tami! A couple of us have already been doing it - it would be great for more of us in January! Sign me up Ashley!

  34. I love your hero traits and agree with them. Who can resist a strong, capable and compassionate man? :)


  35. Lol Pamela, I don't know if I'm qualified for that yet. ;)

  36. Hi Na! One that can cook well wouldn't hurt, either...oh, wait, I guess that would be a contemporary hero. ;)

  37. I haven't read Scarlett. I read up to where Rhett carried Scarlett up the stairs to have his wicked way with her and put Gone with the Wind down so I made up my own HEA!! I felt robbed when I saw the movie as part of a school trip! No way was I going to read the whole book and then have no HEA.

    Looks like lots of exciting things are happening in your career Ashley - all the best with it! :)

  38. Hi Na - have to agree with Ashley there. Plus, if he can do laundry....

    Kaetrin, hello! It's a favorite saying here in the Mason house: "Tomorrow is... another day."

    Especially when it comes to laundry.

    Wait, can you hear the washing machine calling?

  39. all the best with your career,

    for me i will try to win this book ( and later why not the 50books package) because i love reading and i love romance but...i don't have any book of that genre yet^^;;

    thanks you for the opportunity



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