You write under two names, each with a distinct voice. Is it difficult to manage separate personas?
It sounds strange, but I never realized my "voice" changed when I changed genres until someone else pointed it out to me. I don't think it's something I do on a conscious level, it just happens.
What inspired you to shift from historical to incorporate paranormal?
My agent. Years ago, he asked if I'd like to write a story for a paranormal anthology. I'd been reading vampire romances and decided to try writing about a vampire. That story, "Masquerade" (available in the anthology "After Twilight") was such fun to write that I wrote a full-length novel ("Embrace the Night") and I've been writing vampires, and loving it, ever since.
A strong, redemptive theme runs through your writing. Is this influenced by religious beliefs?
I never thought about it. When I sit down to write, I'm never sure what's coming next. I simply write what comes to me as I'm in a particular character's point of view. I've never made a conscious effort to write a particular theme. Having said that, I do have strong religious beliefs, so I'm sure there's a connection.
Your books stand alone well, but they all each fit into an established universe, something many writers fail to do; if they are part of a world, most books don't stand alone well. Is this a hard trick?
You ask really hard questions, and I feel kind of foolish because these are questions I've never considered. I just write. Whatever I do, it just happens naturally, or maybe subconsciously. When I write, it's sort of like recording what I see happening inside my mind. I don't worry about voice or technique, I just write. The only thing I am conscious of as I write are my readers. I know that I have readers as young as 11 or 12, and I'm mindful of that as I write.
I know many authors are "pushing the envelope", getting more and more graphic in their language and their love scenes, something which turns me off. I've stopped buying several of my favorite authors for this reason. I've read things lately that would never have been acceptable a few years ago. I fully agree with whoever said, "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should."
How do your vampire books all relate to each other?
I have two series:
Shades of Gray
Desire After Dark
Night’s Mistress (tentative title)
Have you considered other para beings?
Some of my books have other paranormal beings in them - mostly witches and werewolves, but for now, I think my heroes will continue to be vampires. I'm fascinated by them. I do have one book (Deeper Than the Night) where the hero behaves like a vampire, but is actually an alien. And also a short story (Sunlight, Moonlight) where the hero, who looks like Fabio, is from another planet. That one was really fun to write!
What's next under any name?
Amanda Ashley has Night's Master coming out in October. It's the 3rd book in my Night series. The 4th book, Night's Pleasure, will be out in February of '09. I love both of these books, which are about twin brothers. In August of this year, I have a short story in an anthology titled "The Mammoth Book of Vampires Romances".
Cerridwen is publishing 4 of my out-of-print Madeline Baker historical romances: Hawk's Woman, Wolf Shadow, Lakota Love Song, and Apache Flame. They'll be released first as ebooks, and then in print. The first one, Hawk's Woman, will be out in July as an ebook and then in print at the end of September, with the other books to follow every few months.
Leisure Books is reissuing Midnight Fire, Reckless Desire, Renegade Heart and Reckless Embrace in September or October of this year.
Is there anything you'd just like to say? Free reign.
Mainly, I'd like to thank those who take the time to write or email me to tell me that they enjoy my books. I get a lot of negative reviews on Amazon. Receiving letters from readers saying they like my work takes some of the sting out of those nasty Amazon reviews. And thank you, Amanda, for the wonderful review you gave Night's Master, and for this interview. Mandy