Friday, April 17, 2009

An Interview with Ashley Ludwig and the Coolest Contest Ever!



Alisha: Please welcome Ashley Ludwig to my blog today! Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood? Favorite memories?

Ashley: This is a timely one for today! My childhood has been compared by my best friends as the Brady Bunch – without the divorce! I grew up watching my parents who have always been very much in love (45 years, this year!) and every summer they took us camping. We towed our trailer all over the American west, visiting every single national park west of the Mississippi! (Timely, b/c my own family is headed on a trailer trip for the weekend! – DH, two little girls 5 & 3 ½ and the family dog! What fun!

Alisha: Wow! What a blast! You'll have to come back and tell us all about it. Tell us about the hero and heroine in your latest release.

Ashley: The story – By Another Name, published by White Rose Publishing - tells the story of Rosalee Timmons – a small town girl, tormented in high school who returns home seven years later as “Lee” - a single mom, starting a new business, and a new life.

Kade Sinclair is a hometown boy. Always one of the more popular crowd, he never thought much about timid little Rosalee – not even when he inadvertently broke her heart. When he meets Lee by accident, he has no idea who she is or why she is suddenly emblazoned on his soul. When he finds out, he knows he has a long road to gain her forgiveness. But it’s worth the travel.

Alisha: This sounds like a keeper. I love these kinds of stories! If you were granted three wishes by a genie, what would they be?

Ashley: Let’s see… I thought about fame, then I thought about fortune… but really, what really, really matters to me is my family… SO:
I’d wish for long, happy, fulfilled lives for each my daughters (is that one wish, or two?)
I’d wish for my own romance with my husband to last long into our sunset years.
I’d wish finally for us all to stay close to each other – in proximity and location!

Alisha: If you could go anywhere to tomorrow, where would you go?

Ashley: Well, we’re going to the lake in our tiny little camper – SO what I wish we could be doing? Would be going to the beach house we visited last summer on Emerald Bay, in Laguna Beach, California. Talk about a slice of heaven on earth! Crystal clear, blue pacific ocean, gently breaking surf, dolphins playing in the waves… Above, the warm summer sun, arcing through a scattered cotton sky; the beach sand so clean and silky you just want to sink your toes in and dig around… and absolutely NO ONE around for miles. PLUS, the picturesque, tri-level beach house we were blessed with staying in for a long weekend – looking like something out of a pottery barn catalog! Oh, sorry. Am I rambling?

Alisha: Sigh...sounds lovely! If you could see anyone tomorrow (dead or alive), who would it be?

Ashley: My grandma Vivian. I miss her. I think about her whenever I see a sunflower blooming.

Alisha: What a beautiful memory. If you could choose six people to spend one week on a desert island, who would it be and why?

Ashley: That’s easy! My best friend, my sister, my mom, my hubby, my dad, and the nanny who’ll be watching my KIDS! LOL.

Alisha: Oh yes! A nanny would come in handy! I can certainly relate to that. What word or phrase tingles in all the right places for you?

Ashley: It has to be the Jerry McGuire line… “You complete me.” What could be better than knowing you’re the other half of someone’s whole?

Alisha: That IS a great line. I loved it when I saw the movie. I gasped and then cried. If you had one day to spoil yourself, what would you do?

Ashley: Oooh. I had the chance to do this over Valentine’s Day! I’d spend the day at South Coast Winery – at the day spa – doing yoga, lounging and lunching by the pool, sauna and massage – maybe a full facial… followed by champagne and chocolate covered strawberries! BLISS!

Alisha: Uh...hellooooo....why did you not invite moi? Okay, I'm jealous. If you could change one incident in your life, what would it be and how would you change it?

Ashley: Wow. THIS is a good question. We are the sum total of our life’s experiences… and I’m liking where things are going. I think if I were to change ONE thing at this moment, I’d choose the moment when I first flubbed up a pitch to an agent at my first ever writing conference. I’d written a time travel, historical romance and had absolutely NO idea what I was doing and NO business pitching the thing. When asked if I would change an element of my story, I blinked. Absolutely no. That would ruin the story, I said. That was the end of that conversation. I’d go back and re-pitch, be brilliant, secure a HUGE deal with a HUGER advance. ;-)


Alisha: Don't sweat it, Ash. Those pitches are VERY HARD. I've done it four times and I still hate it. Talk about pressure! What’s the most romantic thing a man has ever done for you or said to you or both?

Ashley: I’d say, the most romantic thing a man has ever done for me… would be saying, “You sleep in. I’ll take the baby.”

That, and – of course – the Valentine’s day of pampering at South Coast Winery.

Alisha: That, my friend, is very sexy! Nothing sweeter than a man telling his beloved to sleep in while he cuddles the cutie pie. And btw, is there anything sexier than a daddy holding his baby? So adorable!


CONTEST: LEAVE A COMMENT FOR ASHLEY TODAY AND YOU'LL BE ENTERED INTO A DRAWING FOR THE NAMING RIGHTS FOR THE HERO AND HEROINE IN HER LATEST WIP (WORK IN PROGRESS). GOOD LUCK!

By Another Name Excerpt:
Ashley: Though I read in all areas, writing sweet romances is where my heart lies. Don't let that fool you! my characters still enjoy a certain chemistry...

"Hello?" The familiar, deep voice called out. Her stomach dropped to her knees. Kade. He was here.
The metal baking sheets clattered to her feet, a crescendo of orchestra cymbals. How did he find her? "Back here!" Lee's voice cracked.
She knelt, gathering the metal baking sheets together. Suddenly, he was helping pick up the mess. Their shoulders brushed. He was so tall. His rich auburn hair looked like he'd just rolled out of bed, his cheeks rough with at least two days of beard. Had Kade always towered over her, so? He'd certainly never looked at her this way.
His sea-foam eyes sparkled. She might as well have been a three-course meal for a starving man. He seemed to eat up the sight of her with those heavy lidded eyes, making her blush to her roots.
"Lee's Treats, huh…?" His gravely voice played a symphony on her eardrums. "Let me help you." He easily freed the trays from her shaking hands.
Lee's pulse zinged at his half-smile. Her emotions ran the gamut as she snapped, "It's okay. I've got it."
Kade stood to his full height and frowned, and then blinked through whatever clouded his expression. He merely held the heavy baking sheets as if they were pieces of paper.
One by one, she retrieved her trays, laying them on the stainless steel prep counter. "I'll take that, please," she said, the last one becoming a tug-of-war match between them. He held on to it like a shield. "Must be fate. Or a God thing. I only came by because my sister…and here you are!" "Sorry. We're closed." She yanked again. He smirked, pulling her towards him. "Have dinner with me. Tonight."
Lee closed her eyes in silent prayer. Lord, did you send him here to taunt me? "Give me the tray, Kade." She tugged.
"Or coffee, if that's easier. We can do whatever you want." He pulled.
"Just give it to me, already!" She shouted.
"Or, that…but, I didn't peg you as that kind of girl…" He laughed aloud, and she let go, scalded with the dripping innuendo.
Lord, his sideways smile is going to kill me. Dead. On the floor. Head in hands, she sighed. "The tray. Just lay it on the counter. Please."
His generous mouth twitched in amusement as he did as she asked.
"Well, thanks for dropping in. I've embarrassed myself enough for one day." Heat radiated from her cheeks to the top of her head. She must be three shades of red, by now.
"You saved me. Buying you a latte is the least I can do."
She eyed the purple bruise at his hairline, biting her lip. "I don't suppose you'll leave me alone until I say yes."
"Think you know me that well already?" His eyes were positively dancing.
Was it possible that he didn't recognize her?
*****
Ashley: Thanks for reading!

Alisha: Wonderful excerpt! Come back anytime, Ashley. Thanks for being my guest of honor today!

36 comments:

Ashley Ludwig said...

Alisha - I'm thrilled to be here. Lovely interview. :)

I'll be darting here and back again as I frantically look for lady bug cages, bathing suits, and my daughter's left sneaker!

Thanks for having me...

lastnerve said...

Loved the interview Ashley and the book was awesome! If you find your daughters left sneaker, let me know because we are constantly losing apparel and wonder where they run to when we are not looking. Off to twitter about the interview!

Miss Mae said...

Love this excerpt, and Kade sounds like THE hunk to sigh over...

Enjoy your camping. Mmm, the locale sounds like a slice of Heaven. We need places like that to reawaken the peace in our soul. Enjoy!

Ashley Ludwig said...

Val - always a pleasure to see you, my friend! And the stellar review of By Another Name!

I found the other shoe, but it's missing the laces!! (pulls hair!) Now, off in search of one hot pink shoelace. Hubby is already looking at me with a scowl. Better remember to get him an extra six pack when I run to the store. ;-)

~Ash

Ashley Ludwig said...

Miss Mae - I agree. Kade is scrumptious... AND a complete gentleman, I might add... Oh! How can Lee resist his charms?!

We had this conversation over sweets at the Romance Bistro yesterday. Kade was modeled after my AI crush from last spring - David Cook. Val saw him as Christian Kane - which... Of course - was perfect for my ruggedly handsome, yet equally handsome when clean shaven hero of By Another Name...

It's so fun when everyone can envision their own hero. I love, Love, LOVE dishing on these dashing men with y'all. :)

And, I'll post some pictures to my blog when we get back from the lake. Something about sunshine sparkling off the water - little girls hair blowing in the breeze, lady bugs in their tiny hands...spending "unplugged time" with my own hero... that is where my soul truly finds peace.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Ashley

lastnerve said...

Found the pink shoelace ... no wait, that belongs to my kid! You gotta keep the guy happy ... make it two six packs! lol Just remind him these days will be over in the blink of an eye and he'll miss it!

Ashley Ludwig said...

Val - we just heard that Trace Atkins song, You're gonna miss this...

I stepped away from this blasted computer and gave each of them a big, long hug.

I am going to miss this part of it - when we have a house full of hormones -- at 19 months apart, life will get interesting in about 7 or 8 years... YIKES!

Thanks for the reminder...every so often, I get that nudge from above that tells me to stop and smell the flowers. Or the salt spray off the ocean. Or...to stop and count the lady bugs... :)

~Ash

Larry Hammersley said...

Ashley: I'm probably too late for a comment before you leave on your trip. I enjoyed the interview and I always like the type stories where the hero or herione has to thaw the icy reserve of the other one. That is how most of my stories go. Catch you when you return. I've enjoyed becoming acquainted with you. Larry

Emma Lai said...

What a fun interview. I'm adding By Another Name to my list of TBR.

Have a great family trip, Ashley!

Ashley Ludwig said...

Larry, I'm still here! Nice getting to know you, as well!

My hubby's running around trying to convince my oldest that she has to be covered in sunscreen from head to toe. She screamed and is running away, laughing! Oh, how quick something becomes a game!!! Must remember...she's only 5. Playing keep away is fun for her! Gotta go intervene!

~Ash

Ashley Ludwig said...

Emma - Thanks, sweetie. I hope you enjoy it!

Just because something is sweet, doesn't mean it doesn't have it's charge of chemistry!

The truck's getting loaded as we speak. Daughter now has on her sunscreen. Other one has shoes on the wrong feet - WITH both laces. Thank heaven.

Now, where are those lady bug cages?

~Ashley

Skhye said...

Hi, Ashley. I forget everything I'm supposed to say in a pitch. LOL. I always remember the title and genre though. That isn't enough, I'm afraid.

Ashley Ludwig said...

Skhye,

Sounds like we both struggle with the same issues! No problem putting pen to paper, but when it comes to speaking, the words dry up! :)

Thanks for stopping by! Always a joy to see you. BTW - I shared my scone recipe with the winner from Saturday's contest... She has to swear a solemn oath to never share. :)

Ashley

Ashley Ludwig said...

@@Ashley, Have a great trip. I think that you are a wonderful Mom, wife, author and daughter .

Ashley Ludwig said...

(re: above comment) I'm laughing so hard right now.

I had to STOP packing, and walk my mother through entering a comment (see above - with the extra @@ signs). That wasn't from me. That was from mama.

FYI: She is not a dottering old lady, either. She's a spunky, spry 60-something. (Ducking a blow from 500 miles away)! Sorry mom. She's also an AVID reader with a fantastic book club!

Thanks so much for your kind words. ((HUGS))

I love you! Gotta pack up the food, or my hubby's gonna throttle me! If he sees me at the computer, I'm one toasted marshmallow!

~Ash

mamagalen said...

I have a question for Ashely, if she's checking back in on these in the future... As a writer, and a mom, and I think you have at least a part time day job also, no? Editor or something? What do you do to calm your mind to write - is it picking the best time of day (early morning or late at night?) When kids aren't around - or do you schedule time in your day when someone else watches the kids and just "turn on" your creative juices on demand? Thanks! - Galen

Helen Hardt said...

Ashley, hon, you brought back nightmares of my first pitch, LOL. I think we've all been there. Who hasn't written that very first ms and thought it was the next big thing? Reality sets in real quick. Fun interview, and I wish you the best of luck with sales!

Ashley Ludwig said...

Galen!

Yes - I still have a FULL TIME JOB. Full Time. Job. On top of writing, promo, everything.

I actually sat down and wrote out -- at Jeannie Reusch's suggestion -- all of the loops, blogs, groups, and social networks I'm involved in.

I do fly bys - especially now - with the book just out. I'll do it again, when All or Nothing releases at the end of May.

To calm my mind - I walk or do yoga. I leave the house. I walk the girls to preschool, then continue on around the block. I need to be out, sun on my face - no devices of any kind around me. Then, my soul finds peace. I also found a church I love, which charges my batteries on Sunday.

For writing, the time is shifting. I used to get up SUPER early and write in the morning with my coffee. Now that the kids have that figured out, I have to do it late into the night.

WHoops! Caught! Hubby just grunted at me and is on the way to Walmart. Gotta jam to go with him or I'll get no lunch! :(

More in a bit! not leaving for another 2 hrs.

~Ash

Ashley Ludwig said...

thanks, Helen!

I think those pitches are something we need to memorize until we can recite them in our sleep!

Much luck to you, as well, my fellow Mama Writer!

~Ash

Mary Ricksen said...

Ashley, I hope you and your family have a wonderful trip.
Kade sounds yummy!

Debra St. John said...

Ashley: Your book sounds fabulous. I love reunion stories, and I love small town settings. So you've come up with the perfect combination! Thanks for the interview, Alisha!

Ashley Ludwig said...

thanks, Mary!

(darting back for one more how do you do!)

~Ash

Ashley Ludwig said...

Debra,

I hope you'll check it out! It's a fun, redemption tale. We all need a feel good read for a spring day...

That said, I'm off to pack the trailer!

~Ashley

Ashley Ludwig said...

Okay everyone...

As for the contest... I'll let you think on this:

The title of said WIP is: Mammoth Secrets

The setting: A postage stamp of a town, smack dab in the middle of the Ozarks.

The log line: Two sisters, a new pastor, and an unsolved mystery -- Once the secret gets out, life in Mammoth Spring will never be the same again.

We have about an hour before the winner's chosen!

Alisha Paige said...

And the winner is....drum roll please.....Debra St. John!!!! Congrats, Debra! You get naming rights for the hero and heroine of Ashley's WIP! Woo hoo! Is that just the coolest contest ever or what?

Thanks so much for being my guest of honor today, Ashley! It was a fabulous dat!

Hugs to all the bloggers and to Ash!

~Happy Reading and Writing!
Alisha

Marianne Evans said...

You guys are so sweet! Great session. :-) I enjoyed the blog very much. Have fun on the trip, Ashley! Alisha, I'm jealous of how lovely your blog home is!!

Linore said...

Very creative and interesting interview Alisha. And Ashley, I just know your book is going to do well! I enjoyed your excerpt. About sneakers--don't get me started. The more pairs you buy them, the more pairs they lose!
Blessings,

Linore

Alisha Paige said...

I want to thank everyone again for stopping by for Ash's interview! And if I haven't said it enough...very cool contest! Please let us know who Debra chooses as your hero and heroine!

And thanks to all the bloggers who said such sweet things about my blog! Come back soon!

Hugs,
Alisha

Renee Knowles said...

Ashley,

Great interview. Sounds like you had a fabulous upbringing. Can't wait to dive into By Another Name. (Soon as I get some editing done!)

Hugs,

Renee

Laurean Brooks said...

Ashley,

I dropped in to say, "Wow, this was a great interview." Alisha knows how to ask the right questions, and you have the knack for giving interesting answers.

I love your family-oriented ways. Wish we'd all had similar upbringings. But God is still in control, and in the end we win, if we stay close to Him.

Blessings,

Laurie

kayned said...

This new story by Ashley is just another of her great ideas since she used to tell her dreams when she was a little girl---the longest and most involved dreams that a father had ever heard! Her Mom and I knew then that there was a great future here.

Love, Dad

Ashley Ludwig said...

Awe, thanks, Dad!

I'm very lucky to have your support, as well as mom's! And luckiest of all for your example of true love. 45 years this year! Congratulations...

((hugs))

~Ashley

Ashley Ludwig said...

Marianne,

I agree - Alisha has built a beautiful site. She's an EXCELLENT interviewer. We could all go to school on her!

Thanks for popping in!

~Ashley

Ashley Ludwig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley Ludwig said...

Linore - Renee - Laurean - and OF COURSE, Alisha!

I appreciate you all so much. Thanks for your support! and have a great rest of your weekend!

We're back from the whirlwind camping adventure. Buckets of ladybugs gathered and now gardening amid my blooming wisteria, bower vines, and geraniums.

I forgot the camera. CANNOT believe it, but it's true. And you know what? Rather than just photo documenting the fun as always, I actually found myself enmeshed in it!

Do we - as writers - tend to be more observers than participants in the events of our lives?

At any rate, thank you all... this has been an absolute blast - and I appreciate you, one and all!

Debra, please look me up so we can hash out your prize! :)

We'll keep everyone appraised of the details as the WIP in mention comes through to fruition!

((hugs!))

Ashley
www.ashleyludwig.com

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