Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Author Spotlight - Phillipa Ashley

Today we are very happy to welcome the extremely busy Phillipa Ashley to the Minxes blog to answer some of our devilish minxy questions. Take it away, Phillipa!

Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

I’d just started creative writing. In late 2005, I watched a TV adaptation of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell which inspired me to write a romantic ‘modern’ fan fiction tribute to it. After that I wrote Decent Exposure and I haven’t looked back since.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
Publishing is changing so rapidly that I don’t think any writer (or publisher, for that matter) can afford to make predictions five years ahead. I’ve realised I love variety so I’d like to be exploring new ideas within the romance and women’s fiction genre and hopefully, selling even more copies!

Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?
Apart from Pride & Prejudice? Only joking. I was a judge for the 2011 RNA’s Love Story of the Year and there were some lovely romances on there, including the winner, The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst by Louise Allen. I wish I’d written that – but I’m not a historical writer so I wouldn’t know where to begin. Other than that, almost anything by Ian Rankin. I’d love to have a wee dram with Inspector Rebus.

Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?
Studying English Lit at Oxford put me off writing myself, because I knew I’d never measure up to greats like Jane Austen. It was actually North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell, or rather the TV adaptation, that kicked off my own writing career.

Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?
I love writing them and most of mine contain humour, just like in real life! Though, I can’t bring myself to write ‘certain’ words or body parts...

What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?
All the thoughtful little things done by my husband, like framing my book covers and making me a montage of pictures from the movie version of Dating Mr. December – and bringing me cups of tea in bed at the weekend. We’re celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary next year so I hope there are many more romantic moments to come.

What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?
That it would be far harder and yet far more fun than I’d ever imagined. Not everything has gone to plan but I’ve also had some amazing unexpected highs – like the movie of Decent Exposure and this year, when I have four books coming out.

What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?
“Plot is not a series of events but of actions with consequences.”
In other words, be led by the characters, rather than a pre-set plan.

Tell us about your latest release.
Deep breath: I have four books out this year!
Brief Encounters
Later this spring, I have two ‘sweeter’ short stories in a fun romantic anthology called Brief Encounters published by E-scape with a Book. The other authors are RNA members, Nell Dixon and Elizabeth Hanbury. These are new ventures for me as one story is written in the first person and the other from a male POV entirely.
In June, Sourcebooks will release Wish You Were Here in the USA (originally published by Little Black Dress). My inspiration came from a holiday on the sultry Mediterranean island of Corsica. I wanted to explore what would happen to two people who meet again many years after an intense holiday romance.
In July, Samhain is publishing, Fever Cure, my new contemporary romance. It’s emotionally intense and very sexy – probably the hottest book I’ve written - and features an aristocratic doctor hero and a sparky teacher heroine. When I was a student, I once sat opposite a guy in a library who was a minor aristocrat and studying medicine. It must have left a deep impression on my mind because this my second book with a doctor hero.
In autumn, Sourcebooks are releasing It Should Have Been Me in the USA. This is another of my Little Black Dress novels and also features a gorgeous jungle doctor. In fact, the hero, Matt, is a friend of Tom from Fever Cure.

What’s next for you?
Another women’s fiction release for Sourcebooks in spring 2012 - and I’m working on a new romance at the moment.
Thank you having me, Sally – I love the idea of being a romance minx!

You can find out more about Phillipa at her blog here

Thank you so much for being minxy for the day, Phillipa! I love that writing advice, and look forward to reading an awful lot more from you in the very near future!


Heidi Rice said...

Love that Phillipa's career was inspired by the BBC adaptation of North and South... I was pretty inspired myself by Richard Armitage's smouldering looks in that series!

Phillipa said...

Hi there. Thank you for having me on Romance Minxes. I'm still in pyjamas having been engrossed in writing a big emotional scene. I'd better get dressed and go and start the day job!

Heidi - hello there again, lovely to meet you at the Pure Passion Awards.

Sally Clements said...

ooh, likewise, Heidi!

Rachel Lyndhurst said...

Matt is a friend of Tom?! Most excellent news, I just LOVED It Should Have Been Me and waiting for Fever Cure is starting to make me fidget!

Lovely interview Phillipa!

Phillipa said...

Hi Rachel, thank you. :) Yup. Matt and Tom worked together as doctors - and Carrie and Keira are also colleagues at a school. My daughter's been living with some medics and works in medical research and I've got a bit of a thing for that whole world at the moment.

bccmee said...

Thanks for the lovely lively interview. I wish Phillipa would write a romantic screenplay for Richard Armitage.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

Ditto what bccmee said!

I'm looking forward to reading Fever Cure. Can't wait.

Nas said...

Thanks for the lovely interview. Loved reading it. All the best, Phillipa for the upcoming release!

Phillipa said...

Thank you for having me on the blog. :)

Bccmee and Debs - in my dreams...

Nas - thank you! and I just saw my cover for fever Cure tonight so an extra buzzed about it.