Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Ashe Winters – Ever since I plucked up my first pencil, the voices emerged to chatter in my head. My tales were brief and thoroughly misspelled, but I weaved my overactive imagination into each one of them. And then demanded everyone read them once, twice, maybe thirty or more times. I may or may not admit to using my storytelling gift to wiggle out of trouble as a kid… frequently.
Thanks so much, Ashe, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ashe Winters: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but if that wasn’t an option, I wanted to be a member of the United States Olympic Equestrian team.
JSC: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
AW: For as long as I can remember, I have spun stories. In the beginning, they were all told verbally, but as I grew older and learned to write more words than ‘See dog run’, I discovered that I truly enjoyed the actual process of writing my stories down. But it wasn’t until the age of thirteen, when I had to write a short fictional piece for my English/Literature class that I realized I might actually be good at it. My teacher asked if she could submit it to a regional literature contest for my age group. I said yes, and of course, so did my parents because they had to agree. I won first place. At that point, I realized my stories weren’t just nonsense no one wanted to hear. That blue ribbon spawned my dream to someday be a published writer.
JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
AW: You could probably consider my color-coding as strange. I’m very specific about it. I cannot use any other color pen to write with except that color. So, for instance, if I’ve deemed a book to be purple, I will only write with a purple pen. If I use any other color, it throws me off and out of the story. I also cannot stand to have errors on a page. If I mess up, I will rewrite the entire page since any little scribbles on the page will drive me absolutely batty. I don’t like writing in pencil and always use ink pens. But, that means I do a lot of rewriting.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
AW: I write romance. It doesn’t matter what subgenre I end up writing in, romance is always the central plot. I’m all about happy-ever-afters. My stories fall into a lot of subgenres, and while at the moment, I am writing contemporary, I have big plans for paranormal and epic fantasy stories. Fantasy and paranormal is where my heart prefers to be, but I do enjoy the contemporaries too. I don’t know that I could define my writing style. It changes depending on the story itself. For my contemporaries, I usually write in 1st POV (with dual POVs per story), and the writing tends to border on comedic and fluffy. There is a bit of angst and turmoil, but overall, I would not consider them dark reads. My paranormal and fantasy stories are vastly different in style. The tone of my writing changes pretty dramatically and becomes a lot deeper and darker. That is where I really like to unleash my desire to torture my characters so they have to work really hard to get to that HEA. I also tend to write those stories in 3rd POV.
JSC: If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
AW: I don’t really want to kill anyone, but I would say if I could, it would be my inner self that tends to let anxiety control her. That person holds me back from living my life the way I want to. If it was an option, I’d love to get rid of her.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
AW: My first novel was published in March 2017. It’s called Never Apart and it became the first book in my series Captivated in New England. It’s a contemporary MM romance that follows childhood best friends as they discover their feelings are much deeper for one another than just friendship. Never Apart was written during NaNoWriMo 2016 and was originally meant to just be me stretching my writing wings. I had zero plans to publish it. I went into it without a plan beyond a very basic premise. I wrote it from Prologue to Epilogue, without skipping around. A few friends, and two authors I truly admire, read it and they all persuaded me to publish. So, I did. And I’ll be forever grateful for them pushing me to do it.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
AW: My favorite television series growing up was a show called The Young Riders. I had a huge crush on one of the actors-Gregg Rainwater who played Buck Cross.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
AW: I am a full-time writer so I spend a lot of time at my desk writing, usually starting about 8 in the morning and going until 7 or 8 in the evening, every single day. I do take breaks in there, so it’s not all just straight sitting down, but I don’t know what weekends and holidays are anymore.
I have an obsession with color-coding, so my process revolves around using a specific color for each book. Which means, I use ink pens, markers, stickers, highlighters, and notebooks as well as changing font and folder colors on my laptop to all revolve around that color. Most of my initial planning is done by hand on worksheets I developed for myself based on a lot of research into other authors’ outlining and plotting styles. Sometimes, my planning is really detailed, while other times, it’s just a few plot and character sketches. It really depends on the story itself as to the depth of planning I go into before I begin writing.
Once I start writing, I’ve realized that I prefer being able to skip around. Sometimes, scenes don’t come to me when I need them to because something else is speaking a lot louder. I’ll jump to that and write it out. I use Scrivener for all my writing as well as Aeon Timeline and Scapple. Each scene has its own little file inside folders within the Scrivener project for whatever series I’m working on. Once I get most of the scenes written out, I go in and organize them, then move them up into my draft section into individual chapters. Most of those chapters lack a lot of transitioning written in advance, so once I move to my draft section, that’s when I fill in all the transitioning from chapter to chapter blanks.
JSC: What’s your greatest weakness as a writer?
AW: Doubt in myself. I struggle frequently with whether or not my writing is any good and if anyone will like it. It’s hard sometimes to remind myself that I write because I love it. I don’t write to only please other people. If someone does like my story, then that’s a bonus for me. Of course, I do strive to write stories people will enjoy since that is truly my greatest goal as a storyteller; however, I have to remember that if I don’t love what I’m writing, it would be hard to get someone else to love it too.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
AW: I am currently working on Book 3 of my Captivated in New England series, which is titled Restored. If all continues to go as planned at this moment, you can expect it to be out by the end of January 2018.
I’m also working on a shifter paranormal series titled the Lunar Guardians and a fantasy trilogy called The Spears of Toisari. Both of which I hope to start releasing by the Spring of 2018.
And now for Ashe’s new book: Just a Little Something:
50% of all proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to The Trevor Project.
“You’re worth the risk, worth taking that leap.”
Single dad William “Will” Thomlett has adored the sweet, smiling leader of his twin daughters’ church youth group since the first moment he laid eyes on him. Aaron awakens a part of Will’s heart he believed lost forever the night his wife died. No one has noticed his attraction to the man, and Will plans to keep it that way. Or so he hoped. Unbeknownst to Will, his daughters had noticed, and they were ready for their dad to find his happily ever after again. Who better to fill the position than their favorite youth minister that Dad happened to secretly drool over?
“You make me want things I never felt I needed.”
Content with his life as a Youth Ministry Leader, Aaron Lochlan had never considered finding love on his to-do list. Well, it wasn’t until he agrees to chaperone a bunch of home-schooled teenagers on a trip to Boston. A complicated weave of emotions and desires he’d never experienced before pushes Aaron to examine everything he thought he knew about himself. The more time he spends with the handsome, magnetic father of two, the more he realizes Will brings out a side of himself he didn’t know he had.
Sometimes, you find that little something that becomes the answer to everything.
Meddling friends, scheming daughters, and a hotel room mix-up, force the two men into five days of awkward situations and the beginning of something neither expected to happen. There was only one problem—the trip can’t last forever. When life returns to normal, Will and Aaron find themselves questioning where they truly stand. Were the growing feelings between them only a byproduct of all the constant closeness, or were they maybe just a little something more?
Just a Little Something is a 55k sweet, low-angst M/M romance with an HEA set in the Captivated in New England Series. This book contains sexually explicit scenes and is intended for adult readers only.
A rustling sounded behind me, pulling me from my ruminations. Before I could search for the source, a familiar warmth permeated the back of my shirt. “Have you ever considered moving to the city?” he inquired.
I managed to find my voice and keep it steady. Surprising since my emotions were scattering in a tumultuous swirl of chaos. “Not really. It’s nice to visit, but I prefer the calm pace of home.”
“True. It’s very different. Definitely a change since I’ve lived in the city my entire life. I don’t think I was quite prepared for the small-town atmosphere. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be. I miss the hustle and bustle sometimes.”
I shifted my gaze downward to watch the dark waters lap at the side of the ship. “Then why stay?”
The heat increased against my back, the warmth of his breath brushing across my neck. The distance between us shrank so much that if I slanted my head a fracture of an inch, the scruff along his jaw would scratch my own.
“Because you’re there.”
My whole body stiffened at the conviction in his voice, the way it suspended me in place. A jolt ricocheted through my veins. I couldn’t give it a name. Excitement? Fear? Anticipation?
Out of nowhere, the sound of Jack Skellington’s singing as he came across Christmas Town burst in my head. What’s this? What’s this? There’s something very wrong.
But was there really something wrong? How long I stood there without responding was a mystery. Trying to fathom the things he made me yearn for. Why now? Why him? Those questions repeated over and over in my head.
Hands grasped my shoulders and spun me around until we were face-to-face; the cold metal of the railing a startling contrast from the warmth previously there. “Aaron?” he breathed; sounding both husky and strained. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”
What I was thinking? How could I think anything coherently when he stood so damn close to me? Which I proved by the nonsense that spilled from my lips.
“That I let Cameron talk me into watching too many animated films,” I declared. Oh, can I come up with anything more pathetic?
A gruff chuckle rumbled up from his chest. His forehead bumped on my shoulder as his body shook with amusement.
Mumbling, “Sorry. Not exactly what I meant to say.”
“It’s cute.” He lifted his head back up, then sealed the remaining distance until the space vanished and he stood flush against me. My eyes darted around, afraid a kid or other chaperone might see us, but we were fairly sheltered. Having needed a moment to meditate and get a grip on the stuff creating havoc in my brain, I’d sought seclusion and found it at a darker, more vacant end of the ship. It made an excellent secret hideaway.
“Aaron, look at me please?” A warm palm cupped my cheek.
Returning my gaze to his, I realized his eyes reflected some of the same confusion in me. Except his also shone with something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Insecurity perhaps? What is happening to us? My lips separated, but nothing came out. Time slowed. The ship slicing through the water became muffled and blended with the sounds from the bow. The world appeared to slip away, leaving only William and me behind. He trapped me with his eyes. I couldn’t look away, couldn’t move away. I became his captive.
A thumb grazed across my bottom lip. Delicate and hesitant. My breath hitched at the sensation. I knew without him asking what he planned to do next. But he asked me anyway.
“Aaron, I’m going to kiss you again. Do you have a problem with that?”
Ever since I plucked up my first pencil, the voices emerged to chatter in my head. My tales were brief and thoroughly misspelled, but I weaved my overactive imagination into each one of them. And then demanded everyone read them once, twice, maybe thirty or more times. I may or may not admit to using my storytelling gift to wiggle out of trouble as a kid… frequently.
An introvert to the core, I devote my days to hiding from vast clusters of people. Relaxing at home with my purple butterfly stickered laptop is my peaceful place and writing keeps me calm.
I have this quirk of poking around in my characters’ heads and drawing out all their complexities. I love to torture them. Don’t expect those HEAs to come smoothly.
Romance is essential in every one of my books. I enjoy exploring people falling in love, all those revelations as they struggle to accept giving their heart away to another. I promise, I will always provide my leading characters their happy endings. They might just have to struggle a lot before they find it.
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Also by Ashe Winters
Captivated in New England Series
Never Apart (Book 1) myBook.to/NeverApartCiNE1