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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ashlyn Chase: Reinventing Myself


In some of my bios, I mention the idea of the writer’s theme. It’s not the theme of a book; it’s the theme of all that author’s books. Whether or not we writers realize it, an all-over pervasive theme usually emerges in every book by a particular author. I’ve come to realize my theme has to do with characters who reinvent themselves.

I’m well qualified to write it too. I’ve reinvented myself many times—both as a writer and a person. I worked as a registered nurse for twenty years. Before that, I attended Massachusetts College of Art, hoping to become a famous artist and travel the world showing in premier galleries. Then I got real.

Reinvention number one: From artist to nurse. Nursing doesn’t allow for a lot of creativity. In fact, it’s actively discouraged. You follow doctor’s orders, period. And if they get “too creative” it’s your job to reel them in. But as you might have guessed, I’m a creative person and that trait doesn’t stay buried easily. Most artists will tell you they become very uncomfortable—physically, emotionally or both—if they can’t create. I’m no different. To satisfy my creative urges I took a course in screenwriting. It wasn’t as messy as painting and I had since married a neat-nick.

Reinvention number two: From nurse to writer. I tried a couple of other things along the way. I trained as a hypnotherapist and an interior designer, but for some reason my clients eventually began smoking or gaining weight again, and it was discouraging. I never earned a dime with my Interior Design training. There were just too many pitfalls, so I used my knowledge to design my own home and offer opinions to friends—if asked. But it was writing that stuck.

Reinvention number three: From hot suspense to hot comedy. I was a published author. I had a few devoted followers and some great reviews, but something was missing. My joy and spontaneity. I wasn’t having as much fun as I would have liked. Writing these books had turned into work. Then I had an experience that changed me again. I wrote my first erotic comedy. I let myself go buck wild, and it just poured out of me. What resulted was an off-the-wall novella that every reader and reviewer loved. It was nominated for a CAPA and an Eppie award. I loved it as much as readers did, plus I loved the experience of writing it.

Reinvention number four: From short to long: I had heard that what readers and publishers wanted were not one, but several related books in a series. So I tried to come up with an idea for a hot humorous series. Let’s see…write what you know…use your voice…and try to think of a long, rich storyline that can go on and on and on…

The Vampire Next Door is the third in the Strange Neighbors series and it’s available August 1st! Here’s why you won’t want to miss it. All of the characters in the previous books make a reappearance, and every tenant receives their own happily ever after ending. I love what the blurb on the back cover says.

Apartment for Rent: Normal need not apply. Fans of the series will understand that with no explanation. For those who have yet to discover it, here’s the rest of the paragraph…

This old Boston brownstone is not known for quiet living…first the shapeshifter meets his nurse, then the werewolf falls for his curvy lawyer, but now the vampire is looking for love with a witch who’s afraid of the dark…and you thought your neighbors had issues!

So, that’s it. No more hints…just the promise of a happy ever after ending for all.

Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an Almond Joy bar. A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a scrumptious, satisfying, reading experience. She holds a degree in behavioral sciences, worked as a psychiatric RN for several years and spent a few more years working for the American Red Cross where she still volunteers as an instructor. She credits her sense of humor to her former careers since comedy helped preserve whatever was left of her sanity. She is a multi-published, award-winning author of humorous erotic romances. Represented by the Nancy Yost agency in New York, NY, she lives in beautiful New Hampshire with her true-life hero husband and a spoiled brat cat.

15 comments:

susan said...

Ash, after reading your article here I am all excited for the coming months. I like the idea of what you are going to do. Change is good even if you already write such wonderful books. Keep up the great work. susan Leech garysue@dejazzd.com

Ashlyn Chase said...

Awww...Thanks Susan!
You just brightened my cr*ppy day.

serenabellbooks said...

Thanks for this. I've also redefined myself a number of times in my adult life, and am in the process of defining myself as a romance writer for the first time, which can be very anxiety-provoking--it's comforting to think that there are chances to remake the image if I don't find the one that fits perfectly right off the bat ...

Jacki C. said...

I can't wait for Vampire Next Door - I love this series!

I've reinvented myself over the last 30 years (getting ready to head to my 30th high school reunion). My first real job was as an ER RN - blood, guts and everything inbetween. I moved to where my fiance lived and became an Insurance Adjustor. Hated the commute and finally became a Special Education Teacher. Life is never dull and neither am I :)
Jacki

Ashlyn Chase said...

Oh Serena and Jacki, my sweeties!

I'm so glad you found a way to make a better life for yourselves. We all desrevie this! The best life we can imagine and attain.

Go for it!

Ash

thebewitchinghour said...

You are very sweet, but I have my doubts about the nutty & flaky parts. ;-}}

marybelle said...

Such a fun post to read. Love the humor. I always find change to be mostly positive. Good for you or me or whoever!!

Ashlyn Chase said...

Thanks for reading my article. I hope you enjoy the book if you wind up receiving it!

MiaMarlowe said...

You forgot your incarnation as critique partner extraordinaire! That's an reinvention I'm especially thankful for.

Jordan K Rose said...

Ashlyn- loved your post. It's so true. We all reinvent ourselves throughout our lives. Though, I don't think we all stop to think about how often we do it and what motivates us. Thanks for sharing. Good luck with The Vampire Next Door. Hoping for lots and lots of sales. :) Jordan

Suzanne Rock said...

Loved your post Ash! And I can relate. I was a research scientist for 10 years, another job that lacked creativity. Although I loved the science, I felt that I really needed a creative outlet. Hence writing. :) I've read some of your books and love the humor you portray. Congrats on the series. I still think it's a great premise! :)

Ashlyn Chase said...

Oh, how sweet, Mia! Right back atcha!!

Ashlyn Chase said...

Bless you, Suzanne, for reading my books. And thank you for showing up here to read my post everyone!

Michele L. said...

What a lovely blog post Ashlyn! Simply loved it and your humor! I also love to laugh, at myself and at life. Sure does make you feel good. As for reinventing myself, hmm...I think I might have. Yes! I did! I just remembered! I got married to a wonderful man and he got me out of my shy shell. No holding back and lurking in corners. He made me walk up to people and talk to them, say hi, shake their hand. I have no problem anymore speaking in front of people thanks to my hubby!

I haven't read your books but they sound like they are right up my alley! I love humor, paranormal romance, fun, etc. Plus the covers are great! Congratulations on your new book! Have a fun week!

Ashlyn Chase said...

Thank you for you kind comments, Michele!