Welcome to the beach, Ashantay! Congratulations on your new release, DEATH RUB. Grab a cold drink and a seat.
Thanks for the cushy lounge chair and cold beverage, Sandra! I’m please to join you today and appreciate your invitation for a beachfront rendezvous. By the way, this pina colada is quite tasty (slurps and licks lips). Don’t serve me too many. The last time I had rum drinks on the beach, I went parasailing, and I’m afraid of heights.
As you’ve learned by now, we southerners don’t like to get to the point too quickly, so tell us a little about yourself. You’re a fairly new author. What made you decide to go down the twisty, treacherous road of publishing?
You may not want to rush the point, but you sure know how to ask the difficult questions! Let’s see, the answer to your publishing query is probably my masochistic tendencies paired with a wish to read about characters as quirky as I am. Seriously, I love humor and believe laughter is key to life. Getting people to enjoy themselves makes me happy, so I began writing humor. As far as handling the twisty, treacherous road – I’m still learning how. I’m hoping the Ring of Mordor may help, if Frodo will share.
Is there anything out of the ordinary you do when you write?
I just sit at my desk and open a blank document with nothing more than an idea of where I want my characters to end up. They may or may not comply. When I’m stuck, I watch the birds out my window. Oh, look! There’s a baby chickadee! Here’s my one almost ritual – I often listen to music when I write sex scenes. Led Zeppelin, Santana, or hot Latin music usually does the trick.
What was that one unexpected thing that smacked you in the face about publishing your first book?
Getting the contract! Then having to figure out how to promote my book. Appearing on your blog aside, I’m not great at pushing myself, and, let’s face it – promotion is key.
You published two books last year and have two more for 2014. How many hours a day do you write and what kind of schedule do you have?
Thank you for mentioning my first books! When I’m writing, I’m at my desk for four to six hours a day until the first draft is complete. Then I take a week off before edits begin. I’m fairly disciplined, but lazy, as well.
Before we talk about DEATH RUB, let’s give our visitors a hint about the storyline.
Struggling massage therapist Maggie Jenkins only worries about rent, ducking her fifteen-year high school class reunion and whether she’s too old for her new boyfriend. Until she finds her client dead with no one else in the building. And all clues point to Maggie.
Construction supervisor Cam Darrow knows the seven-year difference between him and Maggie means nothing when love is at work. Convincing her to believe in him isn’t easy when her first love returns to town, evidently set on winning Maggie back. Not to mention the increasing stack of evidence against Maggie makes Cam worry she’ll be permanently out of his reach – in prison.
When another of Maggie’s classmates dies, it’s apparent the Class of 1999 produced more than graduates. Will the murderer add Maggie to the growing roster of death? Or just continue framing her for the murders?
Maggie sounds like a magnet for trouble. What are her three strongest personality traits?
Maggie cares about helping people, is loyal - sometimes to a fault, and moves through her fears when she’d rather duck her head under a pillow.
What do you and Maggie have in common?
Loyalty and wanting to help people heal.
It sounds like Cam has quite a job on his hands, winning Maggie over. What would you say are his three best assets?
He’s cute and has a great construction worker body! Oh, you mean personality traits, right? Interesting, but I didn’t realize before now that he shares two strong traits with Maggie. Cam’s loyal and likes to help people. Plus, he’s mature for a young guy, and doesn’t let an age difference keep him from going after the woman he loves. His persistence is amazing to me.
I’m intrigued by the suspense you blurb promises. What was one of your favorite scenes?
This scene occurs in the first chapter after Maggie learns her arch nemesis, Nicole Polk, who’d just been in for a massage, may also be dating Cam Darrow. Reeling from Cam’s apparent defection, Maggie greets her last client of the day.
Nicole and I were the two magnetic poles that never attracted. Either Cam had multiple personalities or I resembled Nicole more than I knew. Scary thought.
Those ideas neatly pigeonholed in my “I’ll think about it later, maybe, or maybe not” mental folder, I squared my shoulders and headed for the bathroom door. “Get Clarice out and get home” played as my running litany. Followed with a mantra of “I need wine.”
As a good luck charm, the litany partially worked. When I knocked on Liz’s treatment room door and called, “Nicole?” no strident tones returned an answer. I entered and saw that she’d gone, leaving no tip and a rumpled mess of sheets and towels strewn across the room. Shoot.
Clarice waited. I’d clean up later.
Propping open the door and cracking a window for fresh air, I walked down the hall. I knocked and entered. Clarice lay on the table but didn’t answer. Hmm. She had a quiet mood going.
My initial anger at being delayed from my Cabernet by Miss Stuck-Up’s mess faded when Clarice still didn’t respond to my call. The room’s atmosphere felt heavy and she lay too still. The CD I’d left playing ended. An aromatic candle flickered, but didn’t lighten the room’s undertone.
I’d like to think I paid attention to the chills traversing my spine, but I didn’t. I only knew that, as a student of the human body, something looked wrong. The answer wasn’t immediately clear. I moved closer.
My shaking hand touched her shoulder. “Clarice?” I prodded her when she didn’t answer or move. That’s when her lolling head told the tale.
Clarice Dawkins wouldn’t speak with me or anyone else ever again.
Her broken neck guaranteed that.
Outstanding! Tell us what else you have coming. I hear you’ve written another holiday book. Give us a brief teaser on that one.
Thanks for asking! Dickens of a Death is more a mystery than romantic suspense and stars Katie, Dirk, and Ginger, the main characters from my first book. The murder victim is not a nice person, and is killed off with a poisonous holiday-based concoction (rubs hands together and cackles).
Our visitors want to know more about you.
Ashantay Peters loves escaping into a well-written book. Her reading addiction also has her perusing magazines, newspapers, Internet articles and even food labels. The last is often feebly excused as an attempt to maintain health, but her friends know the truth.
She lives in the mountains of western North Carolina, a happy transplant from the much colder (and flatter) Midwest. She loves to hear from readers!
e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ashantay.peters
Web site - www.ashantay.com
I think you’re a little crazy, Ashantay, but that’s what we love here in the south. I hope you’ll hang out for a while. We’ll see who comes along in the comment section below.
Didn’t you say you expect our favorite movie stars to stop by? I’ll just open my copy of Common Enemy for a few minutes while you change into that cute swimsuit you showed me earlier. Thanks again for hosting me today. The sun is warm, the sky is crystalline, and the sound of the waves is hypnotizing. I’m loving my spot here at your beach! Can’t wait to see who pops in!