Join me today in welcoming multi-published author Ashlyn Chase to the Preternatura blog! Ashlyn is the author of the Strange Neighbors series, the most recent of which is The Vampire Next Door, released by Sourcebooks Casablanca August 1. (Other titles are Strange Neighbors, and The Werewolf Upstairs, but they all work as standalone reads.) Ashlyn specializes in characters who reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. She has worked as a psychiatric nurse, for the Red Cross, and has a degree in behavioral sciences. She lives with her true-life hero husband in beautiful New Hampshire. For more information, please visit www.ashlynchase.com.
First, about The Vampire Next Door:
Room for Rent: Normal need not apply
This old Boston brownstone is not known for quiet living… first the shapeshifter meets his nurse, then the werewolf falls for his sassy 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!
Undead Sly is content playing vigilante vampire, keeping the neighborhood safe from human criminals, until Morgaine moves in upstairs. Suddenly he finds himself weak with desire, which isn’t a good place for a vampire to be. And Morgaine isn’t exactly without her own issues—will the two of them be able to get past their deepest fears before their chance at “normal” slips away?
Welcome, Ashlyn! I love the humor in your series. Seems like there’s so much dark paranormal romance these days it’s fun to see something more playful. How do you go about adding humor to your work—does it “come out funny,” or is the humor a layer that gets added on?
It’s both. I try to be funny as I write, then sometimes my critique partner makes a crack and I love it, so I add it in. I usually give it a final read-through and sometimes see more opportunities for humor.
What gave you the idea of building a series around “strange neighbors”?
As usual, my mind took a normal piece of information and went a little nuts. It went like this: Tom Brady—the New England Patriots’ pro-football quarterback—owns a condo building in my old neighborhood, Back Bay, Boston. Cool! I think, “Hmmm…wouldn’t it be great to live in his building? Then I think, but what if it’s inhabited by wacky neighbors? Suddenly my weird imagination decides the building attracts paranormal creatures—like vampires and werewolves. Then I decide to write a book about it, but the building has to be apartment rental units so the residents can be evicted if they misbehave too badly. Next, I drew a picture of the building and populated it with freaky, fun characters.
You have a degree in behavioral sciences—how does that help you in developing your characters?
Because I’ve studied people for most of my life, I feel it gives me a great advantage. I “just know” how they’ll feel and react to each situation. I don’t have to fill out detailed character descriptions like a lot of authors do. All I know in the beginning are their names and occupations, then I let them come alive in my mind.
Prior to this series, you’ve published primarily in erotic romance—how is writing mainstream paranormal different as far as your approach to the story and how you go about developing it?
There’s not much of a difference. I like books where the romance leads to sex, so that’s what I write—every time. But my erotic romance editors like more frequent and extremely graphic love scenes. Not that I shut the bedroom door in my mainstream books. I don’t. When I read a book that does, I try not to feel gypped, but sometimes I can’t help it. I went through all the emotion with the characters. Where’s my payoff?
What’s at the top of your “to read” pile right now (or what are you currently reading)?
I always have at least two books going at once. One in paper (for the hot tub) and one on my Nook. I like to read every afternoon as time allows. You could even say I have three going at once because I read my critique partner’s book—a couple of chapters per week.
Will there be more in the Strange Neighbors series? What’s next for you?
I have a different series following up my previously published novel Vampire Vintage. I just finished the next book and it’s called Hey There, Tiger. I have a new proposal for a Strange Neighbors related series just submitted. Cross your fingers for me!
Thanks, Ashlyn! Want to win a copy of The Vampire Next Door? You know the drill. One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Be sure to include your email. Now...Go forth and comment!