I'm here with erotic romance author, Ashley Ladd, today, and am excited to share her interview with all of you. I've had the occasion to speak to her several times, and I think you'll find her as interesting as I do.

With that said, let's jump right in.

Ashley, let's start with a little bit about you in general. Then we'll go into all the spicy details about your newest release.

Would you give us a foundation to start with? When did you start writing, did you start in the genre you’re published in now? What hurdles did you have to overcome?

ASHLEY: I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, since at least age 6. Back then I only shared my stories with my dad. It wasn’t until the 1990’s when I seriously started writing with an eye to publication. When I started my first romance novel, a sweet contemporary, I was in college and had three young children at home. We lived on campus in a one-bedroom apartment two hours away from my husband where he was stationed on his Air Force Base in Mississippi. He only made it home on weekends so I had full charge of the children during the week. Also at that time, I really poured myself into my studies and put a LOT of work into school. But somehow, despite those demands on my time, (oh, and I worked part-time at the campus computer store in the accounting department also) I found myself with a little spare time so began writing again. That first book was terrible, by the way.

After I finished my bachelors degree, my mother died and my husband separated from the Air Force all in the same month. We moved to the area we are now and I jumped into a full-time job and also a Master’s MBA program, and my hubby enrolled all three children into baseball, so I was extremely busy again. Still, I joined RWA, joined a critique group, and kept writing sweet contemporary romance.

In 1998 I attended our local RWA conference and met my first publisher. Thus, right before the end of the century (which was my goal) my first book was published. After that, late at night, on lunch hours, and while watching the kids play ball I’d write. As the first three children grew, I found a little more time to write. I also started working closer to home so I didn’t waste as much time commuting.

My stories started to get closer to that open bedroom door and one day a well-known erotic romance writer IM’d me and asked if I’d thought about writing erotic romance, that she enjoyed my books. I was in awe that she’d know who I was and had read my books. At the same time I was hearing a lot of great things about Ellora’s Cave so I started writing steamier, erotic romance and submitted to them. The rest is history.

Except for one thing. I submitted a proposal for one of Ellora’s Cave MMF anthologies. I thought “MMF” meant one lucky female had two hotties worshipping her. I had no clue it meant the men were in love and were getting it on together first and the woman was an afterthought. I was a little shocked but had committed to write the story. When it sold like gangbusters, I thought I’d try another MMF story. That sold very well, too. So here I am, writing MF, MMF, MFM, and MM erotic romance.

We know you're an erotic romance author. However, is that your favorite genre to read? Do you write in any other genres, or under any other pen names you’d like to share?

ASHLEY: I write both erotic and sweet romance. My alter ego is Elaine Hopper who writes the sweet stuff.

I like a lot of meaty romance in the stories I read whether the bedroom door is open or closed. As a teenager, I dog-eared the pages of my Harlequins and Silhouettes that had the love scenes, so I guess that means I enjoy the hot stuff. But the romance is my first love.

As far as subgenre, it depends on my mood, but my favorites are: romantic comedy and time-travel. This coming May and August I have time-travels coming out with Total-E-Bound.com My sweet story coming out this summer with Amber Quill Press is a sweet paranormal romantic comedy. Otherwise, I haven’t written too many romantic comedies lately like I did in the beginning of my career, but I still love to read them and there will be lighthearted and even some LOL moments in many of my books.

That's quite a combination, and a very interesting span across the spectrum. Of the books you have published, do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?

ASHLEY: That’s almost like asking me to choose between my kids and my pets. I love them all.

But yeah, I’m really fond of my sweet romance coming out with The Wild Rose Press March 24, 2010 called “Always A Bridesmaid”. I also have a big soft spot for “American Beauty” and “Purrfect Justice” published by Ellora’s Cave. I also quite like “Crazy In Love” and “Carnal Lust” coming out March 22, 2010 and May 2010 with Total-E-Bound. Carnal Lust was really different for me and quite a stretch but a fun one. It’s sort of a time travel but heavily historical. The only time I write anything historical (so far) is within the parameters of time-travels. I so enjoyed it, I’ll have to write more in this vein.

I'm impressed with your forthcoming release schedule. Very nice! It's a little bit redundant, but for ease of reference -- what are your published titles and please tell us about anything coming down the pipe next?

ASHLEY: Since I’ve had more than fifty romances published and at least forty are still available, I don’t want to overload anyone. They’re all listed at my websites which are at:

www.elainehopper.info and www.ashleyladd.com . My bestsellers are: Pirates Booty in the “And Lady Makes Three” anthology at Ellora’s Cave, “American Beauty” and “Purrfect Justice” both at Ellora’s Cave, “The Perfect Gift” and “Best Mates” at Total-E-Bound. My most recent releases are “Welcome To Paradise” and “Naked Ambition” at Total-E-Bound and “Pirates Booty” at Ellora’s Cave.

My upcoming releases are:

Ashley Ladd:
Crazy In Love - March 22, 2010, Total-E-Bound.com
Bad Conduct – April 19, 2010, Total-E-Bound.com
Carnal Lust – May 2010, Total-E-Bound.com
Scene of the Crime (in the Cougar anthology) – May 2010, Total-E-Bound.com
Whirlwind Relationship – August 2010, Total-E-Bound.com

Elaine Hopper:
Always A Bridesmaid – March 24, 2010, The Wild Rose Press
So You Want To Marry My Mom – July 2010, Amber Quill Press

Okie dokie, let's jump into this new novel. To bring everyone onto the same page, we're talking about Crazy In Love.

Tell me about your plot development? How did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?

ASHLEY: The idea for “Crazy In Love” came from genealogical research. Actual journals and medical assessments written about a soldier after he came home from the Civil War depicted a tortured soul that called out to me. The story resonated with me and traveled into this century. I’ve dabbled a lot in genealogy and find it fascinating. This is the second story I’ve written sparked by my genealogy research. The other one, sadly, is out of print.

“Crazy In Love” is contemporary but since it features ghosts from the Civil War era it also has a lot of historical elements and took a lot of research, both for the story and dialogue. When I write dialogue I like to find real letters and documents written by people in the time and place I’m writing about so my characters sound authentic. In this case as I mentioned above, I was blessed to be able to read a two hundred page report in the people’s own handwriting and words. I was surprised that much of the language sounded much like ours. Medical terms were the primary difference but there were a few quaint words and phrases I found helpful.

Even when I write contemporary romance there’s still a lot of research involved. I lost a lot of weight along with my heroine Paige in “Civil Affairs” a few years ago. I was living Paige’s life, trying a similar diet, eating the same foods, doing the same exercises, weighing myself twice daily, really getting into the mindset.

When I was researching for my vampire novels “Blessed Be” and “Truth, Justice & The Vampire Way” I signed onto vampire loops – people who actually thought they were vampires – or were pretending to be. And of course a lot of internet research beyond that, and reading other vampire stories and legends. My critique partner was scared someone would target me and wanted me to get off those loops.

Wow. I think that really defines "getting in character". But in all sincerity, I find it amazing. I couldn't begin to get that in touch with my characters, and I commend you for your ability.

Let's move on to your hero. What’s one thing about him that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book? A secret dream, an embarrassing habit, an episode from childhood.

ASHLEY: Heath in “Crazy In Love” doesn’t like the paranormal. He had a “crazy” aunt that was New Age and believed in the occult which annoyed him. He’s not big on family history or extended family.

To relax after a busy day at the office, he likes to crochet. He would die rather than let anyone know that. He also likes to sing in the car and the shower and wishes he was young enough to try out for American Idol.

Hee! A crocheting hero. Okay I will keep his secret quiet... Well maybe not so much now that it's public here, but you can be sure to let him know we won't embarrass him in public.

All heroes are unforgettable in one way or another. What’s one thing about your hero that makes your heart go pitter-pat?

ASHLEY: The way he loves and protects the heroine. How his heart melts when he looks at her or hears her voice.

If Heath doesn’t have a pet in your novel, what kind of pet would best suit his personality?

ASHLEY: A big dog like a Husky or big, floppy mutt would suit Heath.

Well as much as we love our heroes, no Romance is complete without the heroine. Tell us about yours. Everybody has flaws. Sometimes they are endearing, other times they are annoying. What is your heroine’s greatest fault?

ASHLEY: She has an extremely fertile imagination which sometimes gets her into trouble. She should write books.

Without giving away details that might spoil the story for those who have not read it, could you tell us the one strength your heroine provides to your hero?

ASHLEY: She keeps him guessing and is a mystery. She’s a lot of fun.

If your heroine was your daughter – what advice would you give her upon meeting your hero?

ASHLEY: Give him some slack. He works hard. Also baby him and lavish affection and attention on him. Be naughty with her man to keep him satisfied (and herself).

If we peek in on your hero and heroine’s lives ten years from now, can you give us a glimpse of what we’d see?

ASHLEY: They’ll be doing a lot of naughty, fun things to keep their marriage spiced up, such as making out at the drive-in, in their back yard pool under the moonlight. They’ll be much closer to their family members and have a child or two. Plus the big dog that would go so well with the hero.

I can definitely sense the heat here! Before we go on, let's share the wonderful cover and those super-sexy details.

The ghost of Kacey's crazy great-grandfather threatens her life but just might save her marriage.

When the ghost of Kacey's crazy great-grandfather mistakes her for her great-grandmother, he threatens to kill her for cheating on him. Meanwhile her husband, Heath, finds out she believes he's fallen out of love with her and he sets out to show her just how much he loves her. However, he fears she's crazy as she claims to see homicidal ghosts.

Although Kacey longs to save her marriage, she doesn't know if she can stay with a man who doesn't believe her and thinks she's insane.

And let's take a quick peek at our Heath and Kacey, to get a sense of what they're facing in this excerpt.

Heath was climbing into bed, bare-chested, hair tousled and sleepy-eyed when Kacey reached the room. Despite his droopy drawers, he stole her breath. His hair feathered against the pillow, raven against the stark white case. More dark hair curled over his muscular chest, trimming down to a fine line that disappeared beguilingly beneath his waistband. His powerful thigh corded as he turned and punched his pillow.

Frissons of desire shot through her. Dare she hope? Could she entice him to stay up a little longer? It became paramount she did, that he prove he still loved her.

Gnawing her lower lip, she ached at her decision. She didn’t know if she could take getting shot down again. They hadn’t made love in almost a month. Or was it longer? It felt like forever. She didn’t know how much more she could take.

Her heart in her throat, she dimmed the lights, stripped and cuddled up to him. She curled her arms around him then insinuated her finger into the rim of his underwear. Nibbling on his earlobe, she huskily murmured, “You’re so hot. I want you.”

Heath stilled her hand then plucked it off and returned it. “God, Kace. I told you I have to get up early and I have a big meeting tomorrow. Not tonight.”

Way beyond disappointed, verging on mortified, she rolled off the bed. Her heart hammering in her ears, her knees shaking, she planted her hands on her hips and towered over him. “Fine! But when? You’re always too busy, too tired or too something. Maybe we should call it quits. I’m tired of this.”

Heath elbowed himself up and gaped. His jaw slacked, and his eyes flashed fire. “Can this wait ‘til another time? I really can’t do this tonight.”

Furious, she grabbed her pillow and, adrenalin flowing fast and furious, flung it at him with all her might, smacking him square in the face. “And I really can’t do this,” she spread her arms wide to imply everything, not merely this one episode, “anymore. Good night.”

She swept out of the room to the soundtrack of his ragged sighs and a half-hearted, “Kacey, don’t.” Fuelled by Emma and August’s strife, she marched downstairs and flung herself on the LaZBoy lounger in the living room. For about the first ten minutes, she hoped Heath would follow to apologise.

When the clock struck the hour twenty minutes later and there was no sign of her husband and she couldn’t dredge up a yawn, she dug back into Emma and August’s history. This time, she brought out their pictures and stared at them, trying to understand their plight and what it was like to live during the Civil War when Lincoln was president, before there was indoor plumbing or air conditioning.

But the faded black and white photographs, where the people sat so prim and proper, in such staid dress and lack of makeup, made it hard to relate. The words were different, however. They sounded a lot more contemporary than she would have imagined. Only medical terms like ‘piles’, ‘fistulas’ and ‘spells’ sounded old-fashioned. The feelings were totally relatable. Every emotion Emma bespoke reverberated in Kacey’s breast. When she closed her eyes, she could imagine them as real people with genuine problems.

Finally after pouring through the genealogy for hours, yawns overtook her. Her youngest cat, Trouble, snuggled up on her feet. Too tired to put away the papers, she set them on the coffee table.

Moments later, a breeze stirred the hair off her hot neck, and groggily, she looked around. What she saw made her gasp and her heart stop. August’s blustery, tormented face was inches from hers. Stunned and frightened, Kacey glanced about her, but she and August were alone. Her muscles froze. Her blood stopped flowing.

August’s scraggly beard was down to the second button on his shirt and bounced when he spoke. “How dare you leave me? You can’t throw me out and take my children. After all we meant to each other.”

Oooh! Release day is 5 days away, and I am dying to know more. Remind everyone again where we can get it from on March 22nd?

ASHLEY: “Crazy In Love” will be available at Total-E-Bound.com Monday March 22, 2010 at: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=736

Great! Can't wait to get my hands on it. Let's go back to a few more things about you. As a writer, what is your greatest strength?

ASHLEY: I’ve been told more than a couple times my greatest strength is dialogue. I like to make it both fun and realistic. I hate boring, stilted conversation. Silence is better than that.

What do you find most difficult about your job as an author?

ASHLEY: At the moment it’s definitely finding time to write and promote. My younger daughter is having a fit that I write and am on the computer way too much. She wants me to get off the computer, away from any kind of writing instrument and so things with her all weekend when I’m home from the day job. She’s 19. I love to be with her, spend time with her, and have fun with her. However, as good of a multi-tasker as I am, she’s not happy unless she has my undivided attention. I may have to put out an ad to find a suitable boyfriend for her like the mom did in “Because I Said So” and set her up without knowing it or like Danny Kay did with Bing Crosby in “White Christmas” just so I can get 45 minutes to myself a day to do my computer work without feeling guilty. Of course, when she finds a boyfriend and probably winds up spending all her time with him, I’ll be in a deep funk as I really love hanging out with her. But right now, she’s got her head down on the table, obviously bored to death and close to tears as she’s waiting for me to finish this interview.

If you write in multiple genres, Do you find it challenging to shift? Or is it a natural process?

ASHLEY: Shifting between genres and books, keeping characters and stories straight is easy for me. I’m a pro multi-tasker. The main challenge is finding time to write and keeping my daughter satisfied so I can. I hate feeling guilty about writing as I do at the moment. Then I feel guilty about not writing and not getting the edit done or the book cover request – or this interview – in a timely manner.

The other thing I’m finding to be a challenge is to promote two author names and keeping my names straight. A couple times I’ve done “Ashley” things when it should have been “Elaine” things and vice versa and not realized my mistake ‘til after I typed the “send” key.

Where can we find you? (Website, blog, twitter, etc.)


If you have a newsletter, how can we sign up?

ASHLEY: Not at the moment but I’ll have to start one shortly.

Well, before we let you get back to jumping between personalities and entertaining a wide range of Romance readers, is there anything else you want to share?

ASHLEY: Thank you for hosting me. I love to hear from my readers and fellow writers and can be reached at:


Thank you, Ashley. I'll look forward to keeping up with your coming releases and hope this year proves as promising as it sounds.


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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



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