Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Author Interview: Phillipa Ashley

Today I'm pleased to be welcome RNA author Phillipa Ashley to my blog for a bit of a natter about her latest book, Miranda's Mount, social media and which of her books has been made into a film.   

Phillipa's latest book Miranda's Mount has just been shortlisted for the Festival of Romance Best E Book award, the winner will be announced at the Awards Ball this Friday night.  Good luck Phillipa x

Can you tell us a little bit about Miranda's Mount? 
It's a funny, sexy and very romantic book about duty and redemption and loss and hope.  It centres on Miranda, who manages an island castle in Cornwall - then the owner, Jago, returns and wants to sell it to a big leisure corporation.  Jago and Miranda challenge each other on so man levels, that they begin to question beliefs that were once as solid and unshakeable as the island itself.  

What was the inspiration behind Miranda's Mount?
I got the idea for the setting from the real life St Michaels' Mount which is such a magical place.  I wondered who might want to live on a romantic island that gets cut off by the sea twice a day - and who might want to run away from that claustrophobic lifestyle as fast as they could.  That contrast gave me my hero and heroine and their conflicts.

Which comes first, the characters or the plot?
The characters, plot and setting of this book were all so closely lined that it's hard to say.  Their lives are completely bound up and influenced by where they live, as you'll see from the story.  But characters rule, definitely - their motivations and back story, needs, desires and fears always drive the plot.

Are you able to give us a hint as to what your next is about?  And when is it likely to be published?  
It's called It Happened One Night, and it's published in June 2013.  It shows how the events of one night affect the lives of the heroine, Sophie and hero, Adam for the rest of their lives.  It's set around the making of a costume drama - inspired by visiting the set of the movie of one of my books.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? 
No, I have always written non-fiction because I work as a copywriter and journalist but didn't start writing creatively until 2004.

Being a writer appears to be such a solitary lifestyle, especially when you're in the midst of writing, so do you consider the influence of social media, Facebook and Twitter, a blessing or a hinderance?
Both!  They are brilliant tools for meeting other authors and connecting with readers but I waste far too much time on them too!  

How long did it take to get your first book published?
I was very lucky because Decent Exposure was my first novel and was taken on by the first agent I sent it to - and she sold it to Little Black Dress soon afterwards.

How hard is it to keep coming up with fresh ideas for new books?

I suppose I'm always looking for ideas, actively or sub consciously but usually, something steals up on me or grabs me by the throat and begs to be written!

Have you got a favourite out of all the books you've written, if so, which one and why?

Probably the first one, Decent Exposure, because it has given me so much joy and fun - and the current ones, Miranda's Mount and It Happened One Night because I think they show I've moved on as a writer. 

Do you have much spare time to read books?  If so, what was the last book you read or what are you currently reading?

I don't read as much as I should but I still have a packed Kindle and a teetering TBR pile.  Right now, I'm reading Jane Eyrotica - an erotic mash-up - and The Nebuly Coat - an Edwardian adventure which a friend said has echoes of Miranda's Mount in it.

If you could have any of your books made into a film, which one would you choose and why?  Who would you cast in the leading roles?
I'm in the very fortunate position of actually having had my book turned into a film!  The TV movie of Decent Exposure was called 12 Men of Christmas and starred Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Hopkins. 

Can you describe Miranda's Mount in 20 words or less?
When Miranda finds herself fighting for home, job and heart, sleeping with the enemy may not be the best tactic...

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