Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
I don’t believe in blocks but I do believe in burnout. A lot can contribute to that—publishing and writing require a lot of balance and leaning on one or the other too much causes problems. If I’m too focused on the writing, I get drained trying to produce a lot. If I’m paying too much attention to the publishing side, I get drained by things like hatemail, negative reception of a book, or illegal downloading (particular during tough financial times for my family).
Regardless of the cause, if I’m burning out, I back off. I’ll go a couple of months just reading instead of writing if it’s writer burnout. If it’s publishing, I just won’t go online and be antisocial for a while.
Why should readers consider buying your books?
I always aim to write feminist-friendly stories regardless of subgenre—whether vanilla romantic suspense or femsub BDSM, I like female characters who are just as strong as the men who love them, who can stand toe-to-toe with anyone, and if my heroines end up as damsels in distress, you can be damn sure they’re fighting back. Women in my stories also often work together rather than falling on stereotypes of competitiveness and backstabbing, and the heroes of my stories—alpha male or otherwise—appreciate strength of character and want an equal partner.
Specifically with the Cats & Conjure books, I think readers who enjoy serialized television where, yes, there are cliffhangers that leave you on the edge of your seat and excited for more, will dig the novellas following Addie and Erik. I really wanted to write something that felt more like urban fantasy with a truly awful villain and people struggling to find happiness in the midst of monsters and chaos.
Readers should also consider buying my books because I’d like to write more of them. 😉 The more things sell, the more time I afford to write more, and then everyone’s happy.
What inspired you to write your latest release?
It’s the third in a series and these books—Cats & Conjure—have an interesting origin story.
All my books (except for my contemporary fairy tales) are named after song titles. Usually that’s where I start: with a song title.
My friend’s husband was DJ-ing a radio show and the theme of the night was cats. One of the songs he played was “Cats in Heat” by The Honorary Title. I immediately thought that would make a great title, and I’d been toying with the idea of an injured tiger falling at the step of a cat lady’s house and turning into a man. It all just clicked and, much like that night which had song titles about cats, all six titles of the novellas in this series are song titles about cats.
And with this story in particular, I really wanted to up my game. Addie and Erik have come together, been pulled apart, and now are back together again but still face enormous challenges. I get irritated by series when each book is exactly the same, so with this one I tried to always leave the characters completely changed from story to story so that I’m always covering new territory. And, suffice to say, nothing will be the same for the Cats & Conjure characters after the end of Stray Cat Strut.
Is there a scene in the book you particularly enjoy? Tell us about it and why.
I really enjoyed writing the climax and ending of Stray Cat Strut. It was particularly gut-wrenching and difficult, and I enjoy challenges. Cats & Conjure is truly a serialized journey. Each book is like an “episode”, so while resolving one aspect of the story they end with threads to be picked up in the next. It’s something I enjoy doing, and was particularly rewarding with this book (at least for me to write—I’m not sure how readers will feel).
The other thing I am most proud of was working a Ghostbuster joke into it.
Would any of your books make a good movie? Which actors/actresses do you see in the lead roles?
I think the Cats & Conjure series would be fun, maybe each book as a mini series of five or six episodes on Netflix—the cliffhangers would drive people mad but it would be fun.
Joe Manganiello as Erik Wells and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Adelaide Deveraux. I’ve not thought a lot about the others except for Bianca Lawson as Naliah Harris is the obvious choice.
Do you have a single book or character that’s dear to your heart, and why?
Probably The Book of Love—it’s about a writer and an editor, it has a lot of insider stuff about publishing and small presses, and there’s a huge focus on the romance industry (both the great things about it and the challenges). It’s truly a book I put my heart and soul in.
Which of your books has sold the best so far and why do you think that is?
I think Wild Horses sold the best, and that probably comes down to people digging hot cowboys. That it sold well is interesting because oddly it was one of my more divisive books. While a lot of readers liked the self-deprecating, funny heroine, others absolutely hated her (my favourite was when she was labeled a “slut”…even though she has sex with only one person in the book, the hero, who was not also given such a label).
Which heroine from your books do you most closely identify with and why?
Probably Janaeh Forrester from The Book of Love. She’s an editor, and I used to work as a copyeditor for a small publisher, so a lot of the behind the scenes stuff in that book came from things I saw others go through. She’s a problem solver, which I identify a lot with, and she loves books—she could spend all day just with books, and so could I.
On the other hand, I also identify with the hero of that book, mainly because I know what it feels like to face the page and just want to hit your characters with an asteroid.
If you could date the hero from one of your books, who would it be and why?
It’s probably a toss-up for me between Michael O’Hara (Snow) who is very serious and reserved on the surface that disguises a deeply passionate heart; Carter Daniels (The Book of Love) who is a grouchy and snarky romance writer and makes me laugh; and Adam Cooper (Wild Horses) who is a horse wrangler and can find lots of uses for crossties.
What can readers expect from you next?
My next release is the fourth book in my Midsummer Suspense Tales series, which is contemporary romantic suspense loosely based on classic fairy tales. It’s called Beast and it’s based on Beauty and the Beast. It turned out to be rather dark and I quite enjoyed writing it. That’s set for December 4.
Next year I’ll be continuing with the Cats & Conjure stories as well, I have three more planned to complete the series.
Stray Cat Strut (Cats & Conjure #3)
Adelaide Deveraux has escaped her enemy’s compound along with her tiger-shifter lover, Erik Wells, but the home that had once been her sanctuary is now gone, burned to the ground and leaving them with no choice but to go on the run.
At least Erik knows a thing or two about running; he’s been doing it for most of his life, and he’s determined to keep Addie safe. Between their handful of allies and Addie’s growing magic, he thinks they just might have enough resources to survive, and, for the first time in his life, sees a future for himself and the woman he loves.
But the powerful sorcerer on their tail has more than owning Addie in his sights. Now he’s also out for revenge and not everyone will make it out alive…
They fell in a heap on the ground, heady scents of the forest floor rising around them, both sweat-drenched and panting. A twig bit into her shoulder but she didn’t care, too tired and content to move. Erik kept his arms around her protectively, keeping her warm despite the cool night breeze whistling through the woods.
Addie knew they should rise and return to the others, that at least Robbie if not some of Naliah’s people would worry if they didn’t return, but she needed to feel the security of Erik’s arms just a little longer.
For the first time in a while, she felt—however briefly—safe.
Before she could get too relaxed, however, Erik suddenly tensed.
Her lips parted to ask what was wrong when she felt his caution, his need to be silent. She scrambled off of him and felt around in the dark, managed to slide her jeans on at least though she had no idea where her panties were. After readjusting her bra, she felt Erik stuff her T-shirt in her hand and vaguely made out him moving in front of her. Once she had her shirt on and her shoes in hand, he grasped her upper arm and lifted her easily to her feet.
He tilted his head down and she felt his breath against her ear as he whispered. “Something’s out here with us. Not human.”
He took her shoulders and turned her. “There, in front of you,” he spoke again next to her ear, barely above a whisper. “Can you see the fire?”
Damn it, she had human vision, how in the hell was she supposed to—
“Sense the others, then,” he said instead. “You need to get back to them while I hold this thing off.”
“Go now.” His hands left her shoulders and behind her she heard the snap of bone and wet movement of flesh, the tiger taking over his body.
Addie tucked her feet in her shoes and then moved forward as swiftly as she could, her arms outstretched to feel trees before she could run into them. Branches clawed at her hair, rough bark met her fingertips. What had been a leisurely walk through the woods with Erik to guide her turned into confusion and chaos on her own.
The snarl of a tiger sounded behind her; Addie resisted the urge to look back, kept jogging, pine needles and twigs kicking up beneath her feet.
Minutes later she saw what Erik had mentioned, the very faint orange flicker from the fire pit showing through the trees in the distance. Her heart leapt with hope and she momentarily forgot what she was doing. Her foot sank into a dip in the ground, ankle gave out and she tumbled forward.
Addie landed hard, let out a yelp, and struggled to get back up.
Despite the distance from the others, they must’ve heard her—their voices sounded louder and heavy steps crashed through the trees.
She got back up on her feet, limped now in the direction she’d been going. Figures moved through the trees ahead of her, their outlines black against black over the dark tree trunks.
“Addie.” It was Robbie who reached her first, his strong arms coming around her, and for a moment she sagged against him as her ankle throbbed.
Naliah was at her side in seconds, a green sheen running over her eyes in the dark.
“Something’s out here,” Addie said. “Erik didn’t say what, but—”
And then the creatures attacked.
Erik’s vision as a man was better than the average human’s; as a tiger, it grew sharper still. Enough moonlight filtered through the trees that he could make out shifting shapes in the branches above, more and more gathering. When he heard Addie get far enough away—and didn’t see them chasing after her—he spun, his paws kicking up dirt, and hunched his head low between his shoulders as he growled.
Whatever they were, they didn’t smell right, something neither human nor animal. Their movements, too, were erratic and foreign, both the cat and man in his brain struggling—and failing—to figure out what they were.
Three descended from the trees, interrupting his evaluation of them, kicking him into attack mode. A sleek dark shape with bladed hands reached for him. Erik snapped, his teeth coming within inches of sinking into his attacker’s flesh. He took two steps back, tail swishing and head swiveling around as another jumped toward him.
Erik twisted, shouldered the creature that let out a high-pitched bark of pain. This time when claws slashed toward him, he didn’t step back in time. Pain was a hot flare across his shoulder and the scent of his blood peppered the air. He hissed and snapped again, his teeth flashing as he clamped down on an arm.
The taste of ash filled his mouth, vile and dead, and he resisted the need to gag, instead jerking his head to the side and tearing at the limb. The creature screamed in pain but he didn’t have time to relish in its terror—another clamped on, leaping onto his back. Fangs sank into his neck.
Fire rushed though him from the bite, not a normal pain but something worse, agony coursing through him. Erik dropped and rolled, thrashed, tried to dislodge the creature. Wind knocked the branches above, letting in moonlight, and red eyes glared at him as the creatures closed in. They’d all be upon him in seconds, these humanoid beasts with white fangs in wide mouths, jeweled eyes glittering. He’d faced many things while fighting for his life in the ring while captive by Lincoln and he’d never seen anything like these before.
Addie. Get to Addie.
Here’s the info on the giveaway!
Prize: $10 Amazon GC.
How to enter: The series begins with Cats in Heat, in which a naked injured shifter shows up on the heroine’s doorstep. Tell me, what would YOU do if a naked injured (and hot) shifter guy showed up at your door needing help?
Deadline: Saturday, September 27, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Note: By participating in this contest, the winner has given permission to RNIC to share his/her name and email address with the person conducting the contest so they can forward the prize(s). Prizes open to U.S. and International entrants provided they can shop at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, or Amazon.co.uk.
About the Author:
Asha King likes good-looking men and hot books, and often strives to combine the two in contemporary, paranormal, and suspenseful romantic stories. She hails from the exotic land of Canada, where she doesn’t ride a polar bear to work but does drink vast amounts of locally brewed beer and watches hockey.
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. In 2016 she took over the management of this site and relishes her new title of “Overlord of Awesome”