Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome Jennifer Ashley

Today, we welcome USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley. She's won the RITA, two RT Reviewers Choice awards and (this is the most important thing) she's a really great person. I met her in San Francisco this summer and I couldn't have been more impressed. And now Jennifer has a new Immortals book out and she's here to chat with us about that and also talk about authors who have influenced her throughout the years. Take it away, Jennifer!
Thanks so much, Angie, for inviting me to your blog!

My latest book, Immortals: The Redeeming, was just released, the fifth of the Immortals series. Note: If you've read it already and are interested in the werewolf character, Logan, his story will appear in Immortals: The Reckoning in March. Also note that you can read The Redeeming as a standalone.

I will be giving away a free copy of Immortals: The Redeeming today as well to someone drawn from the comments.

(And don't miss October's Immortals: The Crossing by Joy Nash, and then Robin Popp's Immortals: The Haunting in November, more books set in the Immortals world.)
Read more about them at http://www.immortals-series.com/ and http://www.jennifersromances.com/

I'm also excited because I just turned in a historical romance called The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and I already have its boootiful cover.

And that's all the BSP I'm doing.

Now for the blog: I was thinking the other day about how sometimes you'll see an advertisement or a banner in a bookstore or even blazoned on a book cover: If you love Author X, you'll love the novels of Author Y!

That got me wondering-if someone asked me who I wrote like, what would I say?
I dunno. If you love Sherrilyn Kenyon or Charlaine Harris or Christina Dodd, will you like my books?

I have no clue.

So then I thought, ok, what authors do I absolutely adore? What authors influenced me to sit down and start banging out stories? I bet that my style, tone, and approach is somewhat similar to, or at least influenced by, what I like to read.

And because I'm shy about talking about myself, I'll talk about them instead. :-)

Early influences: I didn't grow up reading romances. I grew up reading mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy. One of the first mysteries I read were the YA mysteries of Phyllis Whitney. Does anyone remember those? I still have a couple in my bookshelf (The Secret of the Samurai Sword; The Mystery of the Gulls). She set them around the world (Japan, Greece, South Africa), and the protagonists were two teenagers (girl and a boy, different ones each book).

I graduated straight to Agatha Christie's mysteries, which I read throughout high school. She has tight plots and fun characters, and I learned from reading her how to do a whodunit. (Not that I'll ever match her, but her books were my study guide).

Sci-fi fantasy: I read The Chronicles of Narnia when I was about eleven, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was twelve.

I read Barbara Hambly for her strong female leads. I really liked Those Who Hunt the Night, a Victorian vampire/mystery, and Bride of the Rat God, set in Hollywood of the 20s. Cool Chinese mythology, a Hollywood starlet, and magical demon-hunting dogs.

Also I liked David Eddings' series, the Belgariad--a quest story with bantering friends and lots of adventure and magic.

In college I kept on reading classic mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy. I got a graduate degree in English lit., so I read everything from Jane Austen to Old English poetry.

Later I started reading Elizabeth Peters--the voice of Amelia Peabody is strong and hilarious. Terry Pratchett writes fantastic funny fantasy, which has more to it than just humor.

Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigen series (scifi) and Lindsey Davis's Falco series (mysteries set in ancient Rome) are also some of my favs. Again, I think it's the strong voices of the characters.

In about 1995 I finally started reading romance. (I was a late bloomer.) I first picked up one of Jo Beverley's early Regencies (The Stolen Bride) and adored it. I loved how she wrote strong, sexy males with intelligent heroines to match them.

Someone said: If you love Jo Beverley, you'll love Mary Jo Putney :-) And they were right! My favs of hers were The Rake and the Reformer (the original "super-Regency"), Angel Rogue, and Shattered Rainbows. Again, she has very strong heroes and strong, smart heroines to match. Darker books I liked were Laura Kinsale's character-driven romances and her hot, dark alpha males.

Then I found Loretta Chase and Christina Dodd. I read Christina Dodd's That Scandalous Evening, and discovered how wonderful humorous romance could be. (This is ultimately the direction I went--humorous historical romances with hunky alpha males). I loved the heroine in Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels, who was witty, smart, funny, and in love with her dark, difficult hero.

Once I got published (with Perils of the Heart, a sexy, funny high-seas adventure/romance), I discovered some fabulous, new-to-me authors: Nina Bangs (hilarious paranormals--I don't know how she thinks up what she thinks up). Sandra Hill, ditto.

And then came urban fantasy. Oooooo, I love it. I have devoured Charlaine Harris's Sookie series and am so excited about the HBO series based on it (True Blood). Patricia Briggs is a fabulous writer, and her werewolves are so hot. The Kitty books of Carrie Vaughan are great too, though I have only read the first one so far (I have so little time to read, sadly). These authors have heroines with strong voices that carry the story.

I guess, thinking it through, what I love most are strong heroines with strong voices--and hot alpha males. I prefer character-driven stories, not worrying about whatever plot they're involved in. I just want to linger in that world.

So if you love any of the above authors, you might like my books too! Maybe. :-)

My question is: If someone tells you: "If you like Author X, you'll love Author Y," does this influence you to buy the book? And if it does, do you find that the claim holds true?

Thanks again, Angie for letting me chew the fat. It was fun!
Jennifer Ashleyhttp://www.jennifersromances.com/


Katie said...

Thanks Jennifer for the interesting question. I have picked up a lot of books based on the if you like A then try B. Some of my favorite authors like Ann Aguirre, Laura Anne Gilman and Rachel Caine were all found that way.

Thanks again!

Angie Fox said...

That's how I've found a lot of my favorite authors: Elizabeth Peters, MaryJanice Davidson, Colleen Gleason, and I'm sure there are more.

Great post, Jennifer. Thanks again for stopping by.

susan said...

OOOH! Now doesn't this look interesting. I am always looking for a new author to try & I am happy to stumble across a new one !!! Looks promising.

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Thanks for letting me guest blog, Angie. I'll pop by throughout the day.

Thanks Susan! I hope you like my books. Someone here will win one...


Anonymous said...

If someone tells you: "If you like Author X, you'll love Author Y," does this influence you to buy the book? And if it does, do you find that the claim holds true?

Most definately!! I find the most interesting and good books by listening to others comment on them!! I've heard of some authors I'd never heard of from friends and those authors ended up being some of my favorites and must buys!!
Thank you Jennifer!!

Jackie said...

If I'm told an author wrote like another one I like, I would add it to my TBR list but not necessarily run out and get it. I love finding new authors, so getting any kind of recommendation usually works for me.

However, if an author I love/like writes a quote for the book, then I'll look at it a little more closer than something else.

Raonaid Luckwell said...

Just wanted to give you kudos to mentioning David Eddings- Belgariad series. My friend introduced me to that series two or three years ago. Absolutely love it. I'm currently trying to find all the books to the follow up of that series called mallorean (my spelling is off I know)

You mentioned quite a few authors I read too (love Briggs, Dodd).

As for your question: It really depends heavily on the person. There's certain people I'd trust when they say "If you like this author, you'll like this one."

With those certain people it makes me very curious, and yes, a little eager to find the book.

There are some where I just did not see the comparison.

I have a habit, when trying out a new author, to buy their books used. This way if I didn't like the book/story/author, I am not out of money.

Cathy said...

I usually have pretty good luck picking up a new author from if you like it try...

Some of my recent gems are Anna Windsor, Kathryn Shay, Patricia Briggs, and Cindy Gerard.

BethRe said...

I usually do try the books sometimes it hold true and sometimes it doesn't but I'm a book a holic so to me there is no such thing as too many books

Natalie Hatch said...

Jennifer I'm like you, grew up on SciFi/Fantasy, Pratchetts my all time fave followed by Eddings.

Vicki said...

I've found new authors, or at least new to me, that way. And most of the time it does hold up.

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Thanks so much for all the comments! Bethre I like your attitude. Never too many books!

roanaid, I met my husband while we were both reading the Belgariad. We decided to get married so we consolidate our book collection, LOL.

I've been hearing a lot from people about power outages from TX to Ohio. Hope everyone is doing ok.

I'll wait until late tonight to draw my winner and either post here or tell Angie so she can post. Thanks again for the nice chatter (and feel free to keep commenting).

~Linda~ said...

Yes Jennifer, I have found that when a friend tells me that if you like a you will like b, most of he time I do.
Now with publishers and there you will love this stickers not so much.
I found alot of my favorite authors, will say try this book. And I agree with most of there picks. MaryJanice Davidson, Lynsay Sands and JR Ward.

Thanks so much

Just another SAHM said...

Yay, another series to read!

Oh man, Phyllis Whitney...that brings back some memories! My mom loved her mysteries (not the YA ones) & let me read them when I was in about...I want to say 5th grade because they were 'clean'. lol I've been hooked on mysteries of all sorts ever since.

If you like so&so you'll like soandso....this is why I can spend hours (& hours) on Amazon! I drift from one review to another to 'people who bought this also bought...'. I have found some pretty amazing books that I don't know I would have ever stumbled across any other way.

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Well, I drew my winner, and it's bethre. If you will email me at jenniferashley@cox.net with your snail mail, I'll get a copy of Immortals: The Redeeming out to you.

Thanks ya'll!!

Jennifer Ashley

Danielle said...

Hi Jennifer. I see we have similar reading tastes. Probably why I love your books so much. Generally it does seem to be true that if you like author x you might like author y. In my own mind, I have groups of authors that have a certain writing style, and if it's compatible with my tastes, it's money, as they say. Keep writing those super-excellent books.