MA: Author Ashley Dawn was born and raised in rural Arkansas where she developed her love for writing while helping in her parent’s office. She graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Central Arkansas but is currently working as a legal assistant. Ashley has been writing professionally for the past seven years and has two published books. Her first book, Shadows From The Past, was originally published by Tate Publishing and is considered more of a traditionally published book while the second, Shadows of Suspicion, was published by self publication using AuthorHouse.
She is currently working on multiple projects including the third in her ‘Shadows’ series entitled Shadows of Pain and also a standalone mystery about a serial killer that remains untitled. Ashley also has a review blog to share her love of reading, Ashley’s Bookshelf, where she reads and reviews books of all genres. (http://ashleysbookshelf.blogspot.com) She and her family make their home in Texas.
Tell us about what you do when you’re not writing.
AD: Well, I wrote my first book at 19 so there isn’t a WHOLE lot of background. I was a college student studying Biology and enjoying life. Now, I’m a legal assistant at my husband’s law firm and wound up getting a degree in accounting instead of biology…neither of which I would use in this job! I bring my children to work with me every day (ages 3 & 1) and deal with mainly criminals throughout the work week. It’s a blast!
MA: Between that job and those degrees, how did you end up writing novels? There has to be something I’m missing…a passion, perhaps?
AD: Honestly, I think it was a way to control something in my life. The move to college from high school was a bit surprising because I went to a small school where everyone knew everyone and the teachers went out of their way to know you and help you. From that to college where you are just in a sea of students and more than likely your professor has no idea who you are; it was shocking! I found that I was in LOVE with writing. Telling someone else’s story and sharing my faith through it just seemed perfect for me!
MA: Does your professional career inspire your writing? Are any of your characters based upon real-life people with whom you’ve interacted?
AD: I know my professional career now inspires different stories for me to write. I get a lot of material through my work, things you just can’t make up, and using things I know happened (even if it is just a variation of it) makes my stories all the more real to me. I do base my characters off people I know. Mainly they are family and friends. Their attitudes and physical descriptions are combinations of different people and my family loves guessing who they ‘are’.
MA: Tell us about your books. What genre do you write?
AD: My latest book Shadows of Suspicion is the sequel to my first book Shadows From the Past and focuses on Kerry Reiley and Luke Reeding. Kerry is supposed to be the ‘safe’ one of her family as she is a second grade teacher but because of who her brothers are, she is kidnapped by a madman. Her brothers bring in Luke to rescue her and the two of them meet in a less than pleasant way but have an instant attraction. They have to elude the madman, figure out why he is chasing her and try to understand the pull that brings the two of them together. The genre for this book is Christian Romantic Suspense.
MA: How did you develop Luke’s character?
AD: Luke is a combination of several of my male family members. I see my brother, father, grandfather, nephews and even a couple cousins in him! I think he is the best of each of them and a bit more added to it. He needed to be strong to keep up with Kerry (who incidentally is a big mix of my female relatives) and he needed to fit in with the rest of the characters, not remain an outsider.
MA: I assume then, that you pulled the strengths from each of your family members who make up Luke’s composite, and imbued them in him?
AD: I think Luke’s main strength is he knows what he is good at and excels in it. No matter if it is rescuing a friend’s sister or disarming a bomb, he is going to get the job done. His weakness is not understanding his past and how it affects his outlook on life and holds him back. He isn’t open or really even in touch with his feelings and that is detrimental to him as a person.
MA: And the madman (or men?)?
AD: Well, in my first book, Shadows From The Past, the bad guy was Charles Deveraux. Shadows of Suspicion kind of picks up that thread and uses Charles’ son Chris and his second in command Jim as the bad guys. They operate a drug ring that the police have been trying to shut down for years and they are very good at evading all the ‘traps’.
MA: What’s next in the Shadows series?
AD: I’m currently editing my third book in my Shadows series and it is titled Shadows of Pain. Hopefully I will have it out later this year. I’m also working on a book that is a different story line all together. It doesn’t have a title and is about an attorney and a doctor trying to save a young girl and find a serial killer.
MA: I wonder if your husband will make an appearance in that last book…what about characters from the first two, will any of them surface in the subsequent series books?
AD: All of my characters seem to make an appearance in my Shadows books in one form or another and I’m definitely going to continue to tell the characters’ stories. Each one seems so real to me that I think they deserve their own stories and in that way, a book. I’ll focus on a different set of main characters but I have no doubt there will be several more books come from my Shadows Series.
MA: Excellent, and thanks for stopping by!