Let’s Welcome
Author of:

Jackie Ashenden

Rad-Reader:  How did you come up with the motor city series?

Jackie:  I wrote an erotic series that was published by Samhain and set in New Zealand, and it was pretty dark and gritty, but I wanted something that would reach a wider readership. So I thought I’d write a similar series, but set it in the States, plus make the heroes mechanics because I wanted a dark, dirty, oil-stained atmosphere.    

Rad-Reader:  Was there a person behind the character Levi or did you just come up with him?

Jackie:  No, no specific person. Funnily enough, Levi and Rachel's book was supposed to be the first one in the series. But when I sold it to my publisher, they wanted Zee's book to come first. Levi initially was supposed to be a financial genius come back to his old stamping ground of Royal Road, but as I wrote Zee's book I decided that it would be way more interesting if he wasn't a guy in a suit. And since the atmosphere of the books is pretty dark, I decided to go with the idea of Levi being an ex-con instead. Of course, once I decided that, I realized he would be VERY dark kind of guy, which made me even more interested in writing his book!
Rad-Reader:  The way you had Levi feeling when he got out felt real.  Did you talk to anyone that had been on the inside?

Jackie:  That's such a lovely compliment! No, I didn't talk to anyone (though I do have a few fans on the inside). I just imagined what it would be like to be a guy who'd been in prison for years and how he might feel being free for the first time in years. I just have a good imagination. :-)

Rad-Reader:  How did you pick Detroit for the setting?

Jackie:  Initially I set it in Reno for a kind of hot, dusty vibe, but it was my agent who suggested Detroit. So, I read a few articles about the city and what happened to it and what's happening now, and realized was the perfect setting for the Royals. It's gritty and rough, but there's rejuvenation and hope which is pretty much ALL my books in a nutshell. 

Rad-Reader:  Was Rachel’s character difficult to write?

Jackie:  Yes. Her life was really rough and so was her backstory, and she was so wounded. She was very painful to write, especially with Levi being so angry with her. 

Rad-Reader:  I saw that you live in New Zealand.  How is it that you make your stories feel so life like that you are like from places you write about?  This story takes place in Detroit.

Jackie:  Again, thanks so much! Well, I read a lot of articles about the places I set my books in and in this case, I read a LOT about Detroit. And I look at a lot of pictures too. I decided to make up a neighborhood rather than use an existing one, mainly because I could put what I wanted to in it. And again, the rest of it is imagination. A rough neighborhood in NZ is pretty much like a rough neighborhood anywhere else, just the architecture and the language might be different.  

Rad-Reader:  Was there an inspiration behind the character Gideon Black?  Or did you just come up with him?

Jackie:  No, no particular inspiration. I didn't have a clear idea of Gideon when I first started writing the series because I wasn't writing his book till later. But as I wrote Zee's and Levi's book, he started to become a little clearer to me. I always knew he was going to be a dark character, though, and he was. 

Rad-Reader:  Did you come up with the characters first for the story and put the scenery in or how does that work for you?

Jackie:  My books are character driven so it's always the characters first, though the setting does influence how the characters come together. 

Rad-Reader:  Your description of everything in the opening scene really sets the stage.  “Rachel Hamilton came to a stop outside the battered metal roller door that was the entrance to Black Vintage Repair and Restoration.”  This and others like it are great.  Is this something that you worked at or did it come more naturally as a storyteller?

Jackie:  Oh, that's so lovely to hear! I don't work consciously at it, but the atmosphere of a book is really important to me as a writer, and that comes from the setting and the characters. And I like to set that atmosphere up right at the beginning of the book. Actually, now I think about it, I DO work at the description because I don't actually like writing it. But I try and do it without making it too obvious if that makes sense. :-)

Rad-Reader:  Was it difficult to write some of the scenes between Levi and Rachel because of his anger coming from a female writer because some of them were intense?

Jackie:  Yes, it was difficult because he was very angry. But I hate pulling back just because it makes people uncomfortable. It feels like I'm short-changing my characters. So what I did (I do this with all of my books) was just write the scenes as if no one will ever read them, then send to my editor. He didn't have a problem with Levi, so I left it.  Anyway, the depth of his anger is really a reflection of how much he loved Rachel and pulling back on that would have felt like lessening how much he cared about her.  If you don’t care, you don’t get angry, right? ;-)

Rad-Reader:  Did this story flow or write itself in a way or did you change it from what you originally thought it was going to be about the characters?

Jackie:  Like I mentioned earlier, this book was supposed to be the first book and Levi was coming back home after spending years as a stockbroker in Manhattan. After Zee's book, I found I didn't want to write that, so I changed Levi's character completely and the story was MUCH easier after that.

Rad-Reader:  Changing subjects, how did you get involved with the “Deacons of Bourbon Street?”  That was a really good series, written by different authors and where I came to notice you as an author.

Jackie:  Oh, the other authors are friends of mine and we thought it would be cool to write a series together. So we did! I really loved writing Hold Me Down. In fact, I have another biker series coming out with Harlequin in 2018, as part of their new Dare category romance line.
Rad-Reader: You have to be really good friends because your voices become one in your writing to pick up each story so fluidly without skipping a beat.

Rad-Reader:  Was that you first work to get published or did you already have books out?

Jackie:  No, I had quite a few books out already by the time the Deacon's book came out. I think it was my 15th book?

Rad-Reader:   Was there anything special you did for yourself or for you family once you got your first book deal?

Jackie:  I think my husband and I went out for a special dinner and had champagne. :-)  
Rad-Reader:  Was the description about Levi’s eye something that is real?

Jackie:  Yes, it is. David Bowie had it. It's where the pupil is permanently dilated and it's something that can happen after a head injury. I wanted Levi to be marked by his prison experience in a noticeable and physical way, that wasn't simply a scar.

Rad-Reader:  What are you working on next?  When will it be coming out?  I read this series Motor City Royals and Your Texas Bounty Series also.

Jackie:  Oh, I write billionaires for St Martin's Press and The Dangerous Billionaire is out in May. This is a series about three Navy SEAL brothers who inherit their foster-father's oil empire. It's not quite as dark as the Motor City Royals. If you're a Royals fan, though, I have a new series coming out with the same publisher called the 11th Hour. It's about a group of ex-military guys who do 'special jobs'. It'll be the same kind of atmosphere and is also erotic romance.

Rad-Reader:  If your book was made into a movie who would you have play…

Rachel:  Jessica Lowndes

Levi:  Chris Hemsworth

Jackie:  I don't really use actors as my characters so I haven't thought about it, but I like your choices!

Rachel:  Jessica Lowndes

Levi:  Chris Hemsworth

Rad-Reader:  What song out today best describes your couple or your story as a whole?
“Cat Scratch Fever” – Ted Nugent

Jackie:  Oh, I like that. Good question. Sometimes I do have a song for a particular book, but not for this one.

Rad-Reader:  Where did you get your first kiss?

Jackie:  OMG, now I'm going to have to remember….I think it was maybe on my first date when my boyfriend (now my husband) kissed me goodbye in the driveway of my parents' house. Not very exciting. ;-)

Rad-Reader:  What can’t you leave behind when you leave home each day?

Jackie:  My phone. Sad but true. Also, house keys are a good idea, heh.

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers find your books?

Jackie:  I have paperbacks in bookstores (for some books) and Amazon/B&N/iTunes/Kobo for every book. 

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers find you on the Web?

Jackie:  website: www.jackieashenden.com (links to stores are on my site too)

Thanks for answering all the questions for me and doing this interview also.  I have your next book and I am really looking for to reading that soon.  I don’t do a lot of these interviews it is mostly my wife.  So, thanks for Letting this misfit welcome another Misfit into our 1 Rad-Reader Family.
Thanks, and Please come back anytime you have a new book coming out and use our Shout Out: An Author’s Place Page to do so.
Thanks again,

Pat & Char

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