I’m honored to have award-winning author Ashley Kath-Bilsky as my guest today. Welcome, Ashley.
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Lyn. And thank you also to everyone for stopping by today.
About the author:
Best-selling, award-winning author, Ashley Kath-Bilsky writes Historical Romance with Mystery, Suspense and/or Paranormal elements, as well as Historical Gothic Young Adult fiction. Woven like a delicate thread into the fabric of every Ashley Kath-Bilsky book are unforgettable characters, compelling, suspenseful plots, as well as a timeless, passionate romance and enduring love story that you’ll always remember.
Her debut Regency period Historical Romance, THE SENSE OF HONOR, received numerous honors, including The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and was a Holt Medallion recipient. Additionally, the novel was voted as one of the “1001 Best Books Ever Written” by readers of Romantic Times Book Reviews.
Please tell us how you began writing.
I loved to play make-believe as a child, and wrote little stories, skits, and poems. But the first serious piece of creative writing I did was while a student at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. The 3-act dramatic play was initially performed at the school then later staged at Actors Studio West under the direction of Lorraine Hull, Ph.D. I really loved the creative freedom of writing as opposed to acting, and felt I had – at long last — found the right career path for me.
An actress and a writer, cool! I understand you’re self-published. What made you choose this route?
Yes, I just self-published my first book, a time travel romance titled Whisper in the Wind. Although I have been traditionally published in the past, I welcomed the opportunity to enter the ring of Indy Publishing. There is still a lot to learn, but so far the experience has been wonderful. Again, it’s the creative freedom aspect, along with control of the product and being the ‘captain of my own ship’ that I felt would take me on a new and exciting adventure as an author.
We’re always learning, I guess. Speaking of which, how and where do you research for your books?
I love history and write historical fiction, so over the years I’ve accumulated a personal library of research books for different time periods, some quite old. I love doing research, and can often get sidetracked when I find something new and intriguing. Very often I also do location research for settings of my books. It really helps to create an accurate visual for the reader and also inspire new plot angles. I had a wonderful research trip a few years ago to England and Scotland that helped me tremendously as an author. And I hope to go back again in 2014, this time including Ireland as a research destination.
Research is fun for me too. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
I think how much I have been influenced by my life experiences and the writers whose work I love and grew up reading. We’ve all heard how people we know, even for a brief time, can influence our way of thinking. Life experiences teach us important lessons as well, from perseverance to compassion, empathy, and the importance of hope. Whether we realize it or not, illness, traumatic injuries, painful childhood experiences or hard knocks in life can help us become a stronger person. I also believe the books and authors who introduced me to a love of literature – especially gothic historical and mysteries – influence me as a writer. Essentially, just as an actor uses their life experience to help get into a character or understand a difficult role, for an author, everything we experience that helped to create our individuality somehow finds a way into our writing style and voice. Perhaps that is the secret key to discovering your own writer’s voice.
Very insightful answer! Does your significant other and/or family support your writing career?
Definitely. I have been so blessed to have my husband’s love, support and understanding, as well as that of our three sons. Extended family members have also been wonderful, too. It helps so much.
If money was no object, what extravagant thing would you do or buy? No object, eh? Well, I would love to have a second home in Scotland – the highlands somewhere. Nothing fancy, just a special cottage with a wee garden where I can connect with nature, my ancestry, and let my imagination take flight to write some wonderful stories.
LOL! I’ll join you there. Do you prefer writing and reading books in a series, or “stand alone” books?
I prefer ‘stand alone’ books, but books that are linked to one another. I think the ‘series’ label can be confusing. For some a series is a continuing story and for others it could be a series of books based on different members of the same family. My ‘Windswept Texas Romances” are linked books, not a continuing series that must be read in sequence. I think it was Johanna Lindsey’s Malory family series that hooked me on the ‘linked’ novels. I love to introduce members of a family or interesting secondary characters, then make one of them the focus of the next book. As a reader, I also wonder what happened to the characters I love in the future, so to have them involved in the next book on some level is fun.
I love “linked” books too. Do you have a favorite quote? Please share it.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
Wonderful quote from a great author! Please tell us about your newest book.
WHISPER IN THE WIND, a sensual Historical Time Travel set in the American West, is now available in print and digital format, and made its debut on Amazon’s Top 100 Best-Selling Time Travel Romance list. The book is a stand-alone novel, but the first ‘Windswept Texas Romance’, a series of linked historical paranormal romances set in Texas.
When MOLLY MAGEE is swept back in time, she finds herself in the Old West with gunslingers, high stakes gamblers, Victorian ideology toward women, and a Pinkerton detective named JORDAN BLAKE. As she tries to understand what happened to her and find a way home, danger seems to follow her at every turn. Survival is a daily challenge, but it’s a hundred times worse when–to avoid answering questions from the persistent and seductive Pinkerton–she fakes amnesia. She soon realizes the biggest threat of all is the one Jordan Blake poses to her heart
JORDAN BLAKE has lost everyone he’s ever loved. As a Pinkerton detective and former Texas Ranger, Jordan has become a cynic about people and justice, and is ready to walk away from a life that has lost its meaning. He never knew that a prayer whispered in the wind would bring him an angel of mercy, and a love he’d never hoped to find.
From the open splendor of 1885 Texas to dark decadence and murder in New Orleans, Molly and Jordan learn that when fate takes a hand, finding the love of your life is just a matter of…Time.
Amazon (Available in both Print and Kindle format)
For more information about Ashley and her work, please visit:
Ashley, I liked your comments about self-publishing—the creative freedom, control, and being “captain of my own ship.” As a twice self-published author, I’m now seeking a traditional publisher for my third novel. However . . . your comments regarding self-publishing are giving me second thoughts! Your story sounds delightful.
Sounded so good I went straight to Amazon and bought it. Nice to meet a western author new to me.
Thank you, Charlene. Lovely to meet you here on Lyn’s blog. Enjoy “Whisper in the Wind”. 🙂
I like travel. Seeing how others in the world live and think is very stimulating. What I have learned is that people in other countries are fascinated by the United States and lots of the news in their papers is about what’s happening here. They don’t necessarily like the US, but they are totally fascinated. BTW some authors take pictures of the location of their story then keep the pictures in front of their computer to remind them of the scenery. Thanks for a great post.
Thanks for your comment, Ruby.
Great post, Ashley! I love what you said about our life experiences often impacting our writing. When you get that wonderful little cottage in Scotland, I’m going to invite myself over to visit you. You posts are always so insightful and well written!
Thank you, Tessa. Glad you stopped by, and will keep you posted on the dream cottage. :))