I hope you’re all doing well. Today may be a gloomy day here in Dublin, but the author I’m about to introduce is surely a ray of sunshine. Zoe Ashwood is a paranormal romance author who has participated in Creatures of the Dark anthology with me and has made me laugh multiple times with her answers.
Shall we get on with the interview?
Q1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
ZOE: Hi, I’m Zoe, and I write paranormal shapeshifter romance with grumpy heroes and kickass heroines. I’m happily married to my best friend, and we have two small boys. I’m a translator by day and a writer by night, trying to fit as much reading as possible in my busy schedule.
MAY: It’s so hard to squeeze reading in with everything that’s going on, especially if writing is your second or third job. So, I know how you feel.
Q2. What inspired you to write paranormal romance?
ZOE: I’ve always enjoyed reading it – reading is always my best inspiration. I wrote a book I wanted to read.
MAY: That’s amazing. I think all books should be written this way.
Q3. If you could become a supernatural creature, which creature would you become and why?
ZOE: A dragon! They’re so majestic and wise, plus they’re on top of the food chain.
MAY: Hmm, I’d pick shapeshifter or skin-walker. It would be interesting to be able to change form into anything I’d want.
Q4. You were kidnapped by a group of random men who claim to be werewolves and handed a sceptre with which you can rule their kind. What would be your first order?
ZOE: Nobody should shake their fur when they’re wet and standing next to me. KIDDING! Um, my first order would be that they shouldn’t kidnap any more people because that’s bad. Then, I’d have someone bring me food, because, let’s face it, a kidnapping would make me hangry.
MAY: I couldn’t help but laugh at your first joke order. It was fantastic.Honest to God, some of the questions I ask authors, I have to think about the answers for the longest time. My first order would be to probably let me go and have a think about what just happened. Not every day does stuff like that happen, after all.
Q5. What do you think is the best way to get reviews for your books?
ZOE: I have a small review team who like my books, so I ask them very nicely to leave them. I personally wrote to them to get them on my team. I also ask my readers to review, which is possibly a less successful manner of doing things. Oh, and I like Booksprout a lot! I got some very nice reviews from the readers there.
MAY: I use Booksprout, too, though quite a few times I’ve noticed that the amount of reviews you get back is varied. Sometimes, you’d get a 50% rate and other times 5%. So, it really depends on the reviewers who sign up.
I think having a good review team of fans who like your work is very helpful. They have the highest chance of giving you a review at the end of the day.
Q6. Do you have any writing advice for aspiring paranormal romance authors?
ZOE: Finish your book! You can’t do anything with it until it’s D.O.N.E. And learn as much as you can about your craft – read writing books (or blogs – I always send people to the Well-Storied blog and Helping Writers Become Authors). There are tons of free resources on the internet these days, so use them! And find a critique partner or two, preferably writers who write in the same genre and at the same level/speed as you. You’ll learn a lot by critiquing their books and get a good sense of what you need to fix in your book from their critique.
Also: learn to deal with criticism – a universally loved book doesn’t exist. I found one exercise very therapeutic: find your favorite book on Goodreads (something really famous, like Ilona Andrews or whoever you worship as a reader) and check out their 1-star reviews. There are heaps of them. Literally hundreds. Does this make a book any less good? Nope. It’s just people’s opinions. Don’t let every negative comment bring you down. Learn from it, if it’s useful, and move on. And don’t ever feed the trolls and reply to negative comments.
Oof, this was way longer than I intended! J Sorry.
MAY: This is some really good advice. I’m sure the readers will appreciate it.
Q7. What is the hardest scene, or the most emotional one, that you’ve had to write?
ZOE: Oh, I’ve had several. In Truth or Bear, my hero, basically, turns his back on his family after they betray him, which has been super hard to write as I like my family. And in Make Him Howl, the heroine, Parker, is dealing with some deep-rooted problems that she needs to overcome, which was also emotional and painful because I could relate to some of it myself. Her chat with her parents made me tear up!
MAY: Emotional scenes often make me cry, too. For example, a scene where Helena’s best friend ends up killing her in one of the Helena Hawthorn Series books was super sad to write for me because that character was manipulated by another person. It’s when you know the truth behind the motivations of each person that you resonate the most with them.
Q8. What do you do when you want to take a break from writing for a while?
ZOE: I read. Or I write something else – like right now, I’m writing a short contemporary piece because I needed a break from paranormal. Imagine writing paranormal is your favorite food. You love it, and it’s so good. But if you have to eat it every day, month after month, chances are you’re going to be sick of it. So, I switch a little and allow myself some breathing space, so I don’t burn out!
MAY: Taking a break helps me out, as well. I spend my break time doing something entirely different from reading/writing/editing. I plunge into drawing, painting, watching Korean dramas, or gaming on my PC or PS4. I mean, you can never play through the Mass Effect trilogy enough times.
Q9. Light or Dark?
ZOE: Light, I think. I love happy endings and seeing the good characters win, and I’m all about making my life as positive as possible.
MAY: I’d pick dark.After all, the scary things hide in it.
Q10. Do you have any ongoing projects or new releases you’d like to share with the readers?
ZOE: I released my third novel, Make Him Howl, just last month! It’s the third in my series (which should be read in order), and I enjoyed writing it so much. I outlined it really well, so it flew out of me. I love it when that happens, that pure flow of creation.
Thanks for having me and for the cool questions!
Get a free book by signing up to my newsletter: https://zoeashwood.com/newsletter/ (the photo that goes with this link is the Bearly Married cover)
Start reading the series on Amazon (free in Kindle Unlimited): mybook.to/TrustTheWolf (Trust the Wolf cover)
I hope you all had fun getting to know Zoe Ashwood and her work. If you’d like to know more about her, you can find her at the following:
Goodreads, Instagram, Website, FB page, FB group, Pinterest, and Bookbub.