I am delighted to have my friend from the Amazon Paranormal Discussion Group, Ashlynne Laynne, with me today to talk about her debut novel, THE PROGENY. Ashlynne says that her life is an eclectic mesh of bi-racial, same sex and mixed gender relationships. This rich tapestry of cultures, ideas and people has always kept her grounded- letting her know what’s truly important in life. These unique relationships were a catalyst in her choosing of races for the characters in her paranormal romance series, THE PROGENY. She has danced to a different beat. She listens to everything- pop, top 40, heavy metal, decade music, gospel. She reads everything- goth magazines, all genres of novels, parenting magazines, home improvement journals. She has written country songs and watched people’s eyes pop out when they realized the person behind the words and melody was not what they expected. Ashlynne remembers where she comes from, but doesn’t let that dictate who she is or who she will become. She is a woman with a lot of imagination and motivation. Ashlynne has generously agreed to provide a free e-copy of THE PROGENY for one commenter. All you have to do is comment or ask a question at the end of the interview to be entered to win.
Ashlynne, what made you want to be an author? At what age did you start telling stories and then writing them down?
I think the fire to write sparked in me when I placed third in an oratorical contest when I was eight. I’ve always been inclined to write poetry and have since I was a teenager. The epilogues of The Progeny, and its sequel, are my original poetry. Writing poetry started as a type of therapy for me to get whatever I was feeling out. I never really thought myself patient enough to write a novel. I got serious about writing in October of 2010 and I never looked back.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?
There is a tremendous sense of satisfaction that comes along with creating a world and people that live in it. To me, writing is a way of being immortal. As long as people read your words, you live on even after your death. The bad part for me is juggling a full time job, a husband, son with special needs and finding the time to write.
How do you think being a poet, a country song writer, wife and mother have prepared you for writing a paranormal romance?
Writing love poetry has helped me with the romantic scenes of my books. I sometimes read my stuff to set my mind frame for a love scene. The same is true of writing music. Good writing tends to take on a certain meter and rhythm that closely matches the flow of music. Being a mother has taught me to nurture my characters. I call them my babies. Being a wife teaches me patience with my writing. I can be very harsh and judgmental of my work. I constantly remind myself to be as forgiving with my writing process as I strive to be with others in my everyday life.
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book–as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?
I’m always thinking about my characters, so it’s no wonder that I dream scenes and story lines that later become scenes in my books. Shauna and Ascher won’t leave me alone! I keep notebooks all over the house. You just never know when inspiration might strike. I also keep paper and a pen on the table beside my bed for the nights that my characters choose to visit my dreams.
You’re employed full-time and you’re a wife, mother to a mentally challenged son and a novelist. That sounds like a lot of caregiving and juggling to me! What’s your favorite time management tip?
Truthfully, my awesome husband is my time management tip. He works, as well, and has taken over most of the household duties so I’m free to write. He has been my biggest cheerleader and I can’t thank him enough for all that he does.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?
Before each book, I do a chapter by chapter outline. It rarely holds up but it’s nice to have a stopping and starting point in mind. Most times, I write the first three or four chapters, skip to write the end then fill in the middle of the book. It’s weird—I know—but it just works for me.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Write every day.
At its core, The Progeny is simply a story about a man and woman who fall in love, and the fact that he’s a half-blood (half-human, half vampire) and she’s a Wiccan human are secondary factors. It started as research about the Salem witch trials, some rough sketches of a special family heirloom that my guys would wear and two names—Ascher and Shauna. In the beginning, of the book, Ascher is grumpy. Frankly, who could blame him? He’s engaged to seal to Ursula—a cold and careless vampire who wants nothing more than to get her hands on a bloodstone— and he feels conflicted about his existence. All of that changes when he meets Shawnette McCutchin. She’s beautiful, intriguing and possesses some of the most potent blood that he’s ever smelled. A war immediately begins in Ascher. He craves Shauna’s blood just as much as he craves her body and the closer they get, the harder it is for him to control his urges. After Ascher calls off the sealing to Ursula, the trouble begins. His family’s peaceful period ends when Ursula’s army attacks the Rousseaus. Kidnapping, some steamy love scenes between our hero and heroine and Wiccan rage complete the plot.
The Progeny Blurb:
“No fate other than the one I choose.” The timeless creed, and tattoo, bore by the Rousseau’s— a vampire clan with the purest bloodline of any vampire family. Out of this clandestine group came one who was different, yet the same: Ascher – a half-bloodling— half- human, half vampire.
Ascher questions the purpose for his existence and which world he truly belongs to: the human world or the vampire world. Two months from sealing to Ursula— a prearranged union to a woman he abhors — he’s at his wit’s end. He knows if he calls off the sealing, the Romanian clan will strike with deadly force, but he cannot see eternity with a cold empty shell of a woman like Ursula.
Just when he thought life was complicated enough, he meets Shauna— a beautiful, bi-racial human wiccan — and immediately develops an unshakable attraction to her. She makes him feel alive and vital despite his origins and Ascher makes a decision that turns his immortal world upside down.
How about an excerpt from THE PROGENY?
Ascher pulled Shauna behind him, his stance clearly a protective one. But why-? Surely, she didn’t need protection from her. His grip tightened around her arm, his knuckles straining with tension. Her mind finally registered his firm hold and sent messages to her heart and eyes.
She wiggled away from him. “Let go of me, Ash! What’s wrong with you? Who is she?”
“I’m fine and she’s nobody. Ursula was just leaving.” He spoke with little conviction.
“The hell I am…” the stranger mumbled, an unsavory smirk turning up the corners of her mouth. “Tell her, Ascher. Tell her who I really am!”
“Yeah, Ascher,” Shauna spoke in a mocking tone, her eyes becoming pieces of wet coal in narrow sockets. “Why don’t you tell me the truth…who is she?”
He froze, his youthful face chiseled with a mixture of shock, horror and anger. “There’s something you need to know.”
“Spit it out, Ascher. Tell her! Or I will!” Ursula growled, her hands flicking the shades away from her face.
Terror, worse than any horror movie Shauna had ever seen. More ghastly than any monster a mind could conjure.
Shauna clutched her chest, stepping away from both of them. “Her eyes!” she screamed. “Ascher…what’s wrong with her eyes?”
The stranger giggled and continued piercing her demonized stare into Shauna.
Ascher struggled to control his mounting anger. He clutched Shauna closer. “Do you trust me?”
The floor vibrated underneath their feet. Shauna’s eyes became cold, the glare of distrust swimming in them.
“No. I don’t! Why are you so nervous?”
“You left Katy alone. You should go back up with her. I’ll be up there in a little while. Okay?”
“No. I want to know who she is. Right now, Ascher! Who…is…she?”
“Please, Shauna,”— he huffed with impatience— “just do it.”
“For cryin’ out loud…” Ursula groaned.
“I warned you, Ursula,” he growled, every part of him aching to rip her to shreds. She had nerve. Were he not a gentleman, he’d finish her and be done with it.
“You don’t warn me. Looks like you’ve been keeping a lot from her. Afraid she might not want you if she knows the real you?”
His lips strained against clenched teeth, begging to curl up and release a menacing snarl. Control— He had to stay in control. Push the anger back down. Stem the raging desire to lash out at Ursula.
Her red eyes narrowed, the smirk taunting him, daring him to expose himself. He was strong in his gifts, but rage made her stronger. Her mind turned, fighting off the subliminals he hurled at her.
She cackled, “That won’t work, dearest. It’s time she knows everything.”
“Dearest?” Shauna questioned, her tiny fists balling.
Ascher reached for Shauna but she moved away from him.
“Don’t touch me!”
“Ursula, doing this won’t change things between us,” he uttered, knowing she’d never listen to reason.
“No! She deserves to know the truth, Ascher,” Ursula responded.
“Ursula, please—” He couldn’t believe he was begging her for anything.
Ignoring his pleading, she continued, “My name is Ursula. Ascher and I are to seal in two days.”
Shauna drew in a staggered breath. “Seal— as in marriage?”
“Is this true?” Shauna demanded.
His head dropped in shame. “Yes, but…”
“So she is your fiancée? And let me guess, she’s the first.”
“Shauna, I can explain.”
Shauna clutched her head with both hands screaming, “No!” The window, behind her, cracked. She ran towards the door, fresh tears flooding her face. Ascher grabbed at her, missing. “No!” she shouted again. The ceiling rumbled, water raining down from the sprinklers. “Move!” she shouted, pointing towards the door. It flew open, nearly ripping off its hinges. Ascher appeared in front of her. She scowled then pushed him back. “Go away!” she yelled then watched as an unseen force moved him from her path. She turned, backing away from both of them, her eyes fixated on the two. Her finger twirled then pointed at each of them. “Stay!”
“I hope you’re happy now,” he growled at Ursula then sprinted after Shauna, catching her before she hit the stairs. He clutched her, turning her to him. Distress blanketed her face. “Shauna please, just let me explain.”
A strange burn started in her legs. What’s happening to me? She’d had rage issues all her life but never anything like this. Her normally clear eyesight was now blurry and grey. The hall—she’d seen for three months and knew like the back of her hand—became an unfamiliar maze, veiled by her fuzzy vision.
She took a step, stumbled then regained her balance against the wall.
“I told you how important honesty was to me and you’ve been keeping this from me the whole time. You told me she was nobody… that it was only physical curiosity. It doesn’t look that way to me. She talks like she owns you. You told me it was over between the two of you. How were you going to cover up getting married to someone else?”
“I wasn’t, just listen to me…”
She shook her head. “I’ve listened enough. I can’t trust you. Without trust, we have nothing. All you’ve done is feed me lies. You’re a liar! I despise liars! I can’t believe I was going to sleep with you—allow you to be my first.” She gripped her stomach and doubled over. “I’m going to be sick…”
He reached for her, again.
“Don’t touch me!” Every ounce of restraint left her body. Chaos now flooded her brain. She wanted to lash out. No, she needed to lash out.
“Shauna. Just let me take you home. I promise I’ll explain things to you.”
“What part of, ‘I don’t want to hear your lies’— don’t you understand?” she seethed through clenched teeth, her anger blazing directly into him. “Back…!” she barked, pushing her hands away from her body, towards him. He flew back against the wall. “I don’t want to hear it! Don’t touch me, Ascher,” she sobbed into her hands, “I hate you. I wish I’d never met you!”
“Shauna…?” he whispered, pain and disbelief creasing his face.
“Just leave me alone. I never want to see you again.”
“Shauna you don’t….”
“Oh yes I do— I mean it and I quit! I can’t work here anymore.”
She ran out the emergency exit, setting off the door alarm, sprinting—into the night.
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
Author Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Ashlynne-Laynne/118945981513261
Fan email: Ashlynnelaynne@aol.com
Buy links for your book
Ashlynne, thanks you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.