Friday, March 27, 2015

ASHLINN CRAVEN: Keep up...if you can

We are delighted to welcome Ashlinn Craven to the blog today. She was happy to answer a few questions for us:

2014 was a busy year for you with the publication of High Octane: Ignited followed by High Octane: Unleashed. It’s evident from the titles that they are fast paced. Is the excitement of the genre reflected in the speed of your writing? Tell us something about your working day.

Hi Natalie. It’s such a thrill to be on this blog. Yes, the High Octane books are set in the Formula One (F1) racing world, and there’s nothing faster on the planet. I wish I could say the same for my writing speed … I write in snatches, sometimes at 5a.m., sometimes lunchtime, sometimes on a Sunday evening, always tapping away in my three-fingered manner. Not an exact science, but maybe four months later I’ll have that first draft.

Explosive and Kick-ass are just two of the expressions I’ve seen to describe your books. Had you visited the world of Formula One before? I imagine there was a good deal of research involved.

Oh yes, behind all the money and international glamour there’s much to learn, some of it even interesting. The day-to-day routine for an F1 driver is Spartan--they have to be sickeningly fit to survive at their level. An average person has a resting heart rate of 70 bpm but drivers have more like 45-50, which ramps up to 180 during a race. A normal person could survive two, maybe three, laps at F1 speeds before they’d crumble under the g-forces. And as for the mental training … drivers need to enter a meditative state before the race to cope at all. So, to give them relationship issues to deal with at the same time seems almost unfair of me, but, heck, I do it anyway!

What would be your choice of reading? Something in your own genre or a complete change? A favourite author?

My genre choice is very mood dependent. Currently I’m glomming (buying everything of) Rhoda Baxter, Julie Cohen, Jenny Colgan, Rachel Cross, Nick Hornby, and it kills me to leave out a whole bunch of other fantastic authors but I don’t think you’d appreciate a list that goes to the end of the page!

Your characters all have wonderful names. Do your heroes and heroines choose their own or are you allowed some input?

Thanks. They choose their own names. They’re bossy like that. But I get my revenge when it comes to choosing the cover. Aha yes, that keeps them on their toes.

Have you always been a writer?

If we discount academic papers and computer programs, and we probably should, then no, it’s a relatively recent thing for me. I started writing romantic fiction in 2009 when I did a correspondence course with the London School of Journalism, which was brilliant.

When you’re not working what do you do to relax? I’m assuming you’re not a Formula One racing driver but I could be wrong of course.

<Laughs> I’m a useless driver. To relax, I stay as far away from the road as possible, preferably in warm water of some kind, preferably with friends or family, preferably with a glass of chilled Prosecco, and preferably with a view of the Alps (not too hard as I live I Switzerland). This prevents me from reading, which is probably a good thing.

As all members of the RNA know, romance offers a multitude of genres and opportunities to the writer. Are you ever tempted to try something else or is your foot firmly placed on the accelerator pedal?

Situations that engage the mind and the heart battling it out will always grab me, and the romance genre is perfect for exploring those. I’ve eased my foot off the accelerator pedal and with my next novel (Core Attraction out April 27th  published by Crimson Romance), I’ve stepped into the world of nuclear power where my heroine is a nuclear plant employee who runs up against an environmental activist who’s returned home from Japan not a happy bunny. Set on my native east coast of Ireland, its theme is tolerance in the face of the unknowable.

About Ashlinn:

Ashlinn Craven writes romantic fiction about people who find love, themselves, and each other, in odd circumstances. When she isn't dreaming up stories that engage the mind as well as the heart, she works in the high-tech sector where she sees the future being rewritten daily. Her favourite part of being an author is hearing from her wonderful readers from around the world.

Thank you for joining us today, Ashlinn, and good luck with the new book.


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angela britnell said...

Your books sound fascinating and no wonder you need to relax after writing them!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much, Angela! I do find my bpm rising when I'm writing those plot-turning scenes and it can take me ages to come down again. Hope my readers will feel the same way!

Anonymous said...

Your book sounds fab. I'm the total opposite of a petrol head. I'm more of a 'what sort of car do you have?' 'A blue one' type of person.
Thanks for the recommendation. Mwah.

Unknown said...

Cheers, Rhoda. I'm not much of a petrol head either to be honest, I'm more into what drives the drivers! Love your books and can't wait for the next one.