Some of you may already know about Katie and her adult contemporary romance series, The Proposition, but did you know she also writes new adult? Yes, Ma’am. She sure does and she’s here to talk about her latest release, Nets and Lies and the upcoming rockstar themed, Music of the Heart. So please give Katie Ashley a very warm welcome to Talk Supe….
Debbie: Hey Katie! Thank you so much for taking your time to stop by our special feature celebrating New Adult fiction. We are so excited to have you on the blog today!
Katie: Thank you guys so much for having me. I’m very honored.
Debbie: Before we get started, why don’t you introduce yourself to our audience and tell us a little bit about yourself and maybe share a fact that we might not be able to find on the internet?
Katie: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I think I put a lot out there on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads about myself—like my obsession with Shakespeare, Scooby-Doo, Golden Girls, Designing Women, and Supernatural, lol. I’m also a huge fan of Veronica Mars and Brit-Coms like The Vicar of Dibley.
Debbie: So obviously you’re here today to talk about your New Adult books, MUSIC OF THE HEART and NETS AND LIES. Can you give us a brief description of each book?
Katie: NETS AND LIES is about two very different girls who become embroiled in a rape scandal. Each one is lying for their own reasons and each has to decide what will happen if they actually tell the truth.
MUSIC OF THE HEART is about when opposites attract and how two very different people can really be soul mates. It’s about taming the bad boy and bringing out the naughty in the good girl.
Debbie: New Adult has really been gaining popularity the last two years or so. It’s definitely a great bridge between young adult and adult fiction. Do you have any thoughts as to why people have been gravitating towards this newish genre?
Katie: It’s funny because for the last year I was in the YA world as an agented writer seeking publication with New York publishing houses they kept saying New Adult would never happen. That people didn’t want to read that age. I found it hard to believe because back in the day, I always read “up”. Like Sweet Valley High when I was in late elementary school(I was reading VC Andrews and Danielle Steel in MS, lol). Besides reading “up”, I think a lot of adult women enjoying revisiting that age. It’s a time of self-discovery as you’re figuring out who you are, who you want to be, and what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. And while steamy, most of New Adult is really about exploring love and relationships.
Debbie: New Adult fiction can be described as angsty, dramatic, sexy and even wild and crazy. Was your own New Adult phase similar to what your characters experienced?
Katie: Um, sadly no, lol. Well, I guess it was angsty and dramatic because I found myself in a lot of situations where I was the “friend”. I was always the good girl that the guy couldn’t imagine corrupting, so it was pretty hard in that respect.
Debbie: NETS AND LIES covers some really controversial issues, the most obvious one being rape. In Nets and Lies a high school coach is accused of raping one or more students in his basketball team. Being a longtime teacher, did you find it absolutely difficult to write about a subject as sensitive as rape, especially since the assaulter in the story was a teacher?
Katie: The hardest thing for a teacher is finding out a student, male or female, has been the victim of sexual abuse either at the hand of a peer or an adult. You feel very helpless because you want to be able to protect your students, and there are so many factors outside of the classroom that you can’t control. NETS AND LIES actually came about because of a situation I dealt with as a teacher. While teaching at a MS, I worked closely through coaching basketball cheerleading and working in the afterschool program with a basketball coach. Later after I moved up to the HS, he was accused of sexual misconduct. Like Jordan, the victim had a dubious reputation, so she also claimed another victim.
At first, I set out to write a book where a coach was vindicated through the situation, but then the story just took on a life of its own. I then wanted to examine the “what if’s” factors of what if one girl was lying but another one was truly a victim. I’ll never forget when Nick Deluca appeared—a character I never intended writing! The best aspects of books happen like that. It’s the main reason why I usually don’t outline books because the best writing for me comes when you deviate off the path.
Debbie: While NETS AND LIES tackles some very sensitive issues, your other new adult book, MUSIC OF THE HEART, deals a budding romance between a rock star and country singer. What was your inspiration for Music of the Heart?
Katie: I love rocker books—like Olivia Cunning’s The Sinners and SC Stephens Thoughtless. I knew I wanted to write one, but I also knew that I wanted to be different. I thought of couples like Tim McGraw and Faith Hill who met through music and touring, and I imagined a romance between a novice girl singer and an experienced male rocker who were thrown together by accident. It’s also a story about the love of family and life and death. While I set out to make it different, there were some aspects of the story that just came out of nowhere.
Debbie: Did you have to do much research about the music business for Music of the heart?
Katie: Actually, I just kind of went off the portrayal I’d seen in other rocker books. While a lot of the story takes place on the tour bus and on stage, a large part is at Jake’s family farm and at hotels and other “normal” places to write about.
As for the musical styling, it helped that bands like The Civil Wars, Mumford and Sons, and The Band Perry are hot right now because they’re what I based Abby’s brother’s band, Jacob’s Ladder on. The boys have been a Christian rock group, but as one brother exits and Abby prepares to take their place, the label is restyling them as crossover artists. Their music would be very much like the above mentioned bands.
Debbie: Some authors have said that they’ve often modeled some of their characters after real life people. Were any of your characters from either book inspired by real life people you know?
Katie: There’s always a little bit of me in each of my female leads. Usually little traits or attributes from friends or family members make their ways into other characters as well.
Debbie: Now I know from conversations I’ve had with you on Facebook and the fact that your lead female character and her BFF in The Proposal series are huge New Kids on the Block fans, are there any other bands from the *cough* 80’s and early 90’s that you were as easily obsessed with as NKOTB?
Katie: lol, I was a huge fan of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. Loved me some MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice back in the day. Backstreet Boys came out when I was in college, so I was over the boy bands by then.
Debbie: Ok…so let’s say it’s Friday night and you absolutely cannot go to sleep. What would you most likely be doing to kill your time?
Katie: Most likely be on Pinterest or Facebook with my iPad, reading, or watching dvds of Golden Girls or Supernatural.
Debbie: Dean Winchester with Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sofia….sounds like a real fun night! I’m serious. Love those shows.
Debbie: Do you get road rage? What pisses you off the most about other drivers?
Katie: Yeah, I get pretty irate with people who stay in the left passing lane and drive 10miles under the speed limit and won’t get over. I probably use a few expletives then! LOL
Debbie: What’s some of the silliest things you heard come out of your former students mouths?
Katie: OMG, there are too many to list. I taught for 11 ½ years, and I heard some real doozies. Most of the best involved my personal life. Nothing was too sacred for them to ask or want to talk about!
Debbie: Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or slippers on, or still have on last night’s makeup and when realizing, just said “screw it”?
Katie: HAHA, I have done that, but I’ve never said screw it. I’ve just been mortified beyond belief. I embarrass very, very easily! LOL
Debbie: Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you just not see much point in making it up?
Katie: Um, no. I’ve never been a bed maker by choice. More out of force like if company’s coming over. Especially when I’m writing and am on deadline, lol.
Debbie: Katie, thanks so much for stopping by our blog today. I’ve had fun asking you these questions. Before you go, could you tell us what you’re currently working on or any projects you have coming out in the near future?
Katie: Since I’m now a full-time writer, I have lots of projects in the works. I have a New Adult suspense/comedy called, Search Me, that will be debuting in late April. Then I’ll be taking a bit of a break until The Pairing, the companion novel for The Proposition and Proposal, comes out in late June or early July.
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Nets and Lies
Always awkward in her 5’10 frame, Melanie Reeves finds her saving grace through basketball. Not only is she the varsity team captain, she’s the pride of Coach Thompson, who holds the keys to a college scholarship. Melanie has also found ‘courtly’ love with Will, Coach T’s handsome, ball-playing son. When Melanie is on the court, everything is perfect….until she is forced to face an opponent who doesn’t play by the rules.
Jordan Solano’s power lies in her beauty and sex appeal. Never afraid of breaking the rules, she engages in a scandalous flirtation with the school’s married basketball coach. But the flirtation quickly turns into accusation, and Coach T’s job and reputation are placed in jeopardy after Jordan charges him with rape. Jordan’s own reputation has the school administration unwilling to believe her. That is, until she makes a startling claim – she’s not the only victim.
Suddenly, all eyes are on Melanie, and it isn’t for her amazing free-throws. A man’s job, a girl’s reputation, and her boyfriend’s entire world now rest in Melanie’s hands. She has to decide: keep her secrets and protect her future, or put an end to the lies…and lose everything.
*This book is New Adult and contains mature subject matter. TRIGGERS for rape survivors and sexual abuse victims***
Music of the Heart
For Abby Renard, the plan was supposed to be simple—join her brothers’ band on the last leg of their summer tour and decide if she’s finally ready for the limelight by becoming its fourth member. Of course, she never imagined stumbling onto the wrong tour bus at Rock Nation would accidentally land her in the bed of Jake Slater, the notorious womanizing lead singer of Runaway Train. When he mistakes her for one of his groupie’s, Abby quickly lets him know she sure as hell isn’t in his bed on purpose.
Jake Slater never imagined the angel who fell into his bed would resist his charms by promptly kneeing him in the balls. Of course, the fact she seems like a prissy choir girl makes her anything but his type. So he is more than surprised when after betting Abby she wouldn’t last a week on their tour bus, she is more than willing to prove him wrong. But as Jake’s personal life begins to implode around him, he finds an unlikely ally in Abby. He’s never met a woman he can talk to, joke with, or most importantly make music with.
As the week starts comes to a close, neither Abby nor Jake is ready to let go. Can a sweetheart Country songstress and a bad boy of Rock N Roll actually have a future together?
Katie Ashley is giving away a Smashwords Coupon for MUSIC OF THE HEART
Open Internationally. Ends March 5th