Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Author Interview: Ashlynne Laynne (The Progeny)

The Progeny is book one of a series about half vampire, half human Ascher, a “half-bloodling” from a vampire clan with the purest bloodline. Ascher is like the misfit vamp, unsure of his role in his clan, forced into a prearranged partnering that he does not want. Enter Shauna, a beautiful wiccan, who steals his heart, and you just know why I am cheering for this book! (And did I mention there are tattoos?)

The Progeny is a seriously sexy read, and I am thrilled to chat with author Ashlynne Laynne about the book and the series. 

Tell me about The Progeny.

The Progeny is the first book in a paranormal romance series that chronicles the love story of half-blooded vampire, Ascher Rousseau, and his eternal love, Wiccan-human Shauna McCutchin. In my world, vampires are not night-stalking killers, but rather immortal men who are just as real as any human. They live by an honor code “No fate other than the one I choose.” This motto just happens to be part of a tattoo each Rousseau man bears on his bicep.

What inspired you to tell the story of Ascher?

Ascher began as a weird dream after a grueling day at my morning job. I dreamed him just as he came to be on the pages. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with the dream at first, but I knew there was something there. I immediately woke and began sketching the special amulet each of my boys wear. I am not blessed with the talent to draw or sketch, so to say the picture is hideous is an understatement. My husband and fan artist are the only people to ever see that sketch. (Ed note: Of course, now I want to see it too!) 


Most paranormal romance books are told from the point of view of the women. Why did you chose to tell the story from Ascher’s point of view?

The Progeny starts in Ascher’s POV, but I also use Shauna’s as well. Most romance novels I read as a teenager included both the hero and heroine’s POV. In the beginning, Ascher was my progeny because of his human/vampire existence. As I wrote Shauna, I realized that she too was a progeny of sorts.

This book is spectacularly romantic. From the short excerpt I fell a little bit in love with him! What do you find sexy about this character?

Ascher is beautiful in the literal sense of the word with his silky, dark locks and pale blue eyes. But that is only the superficial surface of what makes him unique. Even as he is in the middle of a hot sex scene, there is still this innocence that shines through. For all of his faults, he loves Shauna’s with a purity and passion that I think endears him to a reader. His appearance and demeanor change over the course of the series, but I am intent on keeping his tender core intact. Under all of the angst and doubt we see in The Progeny, the heart of a warrior beats strong within his chest.  In Blood Bewitched, that warrior finally breaks the surface.

My intention for Ascher was always to show him grow up, so to speak, as the series progresses. I love books where we meet a hero who is already secure and sure of himself. For Ascher, I wanted him to start off as an unsure man, and then show him evolving and changing when Shauna enters his life. I’m a hopeless romantic by nature. I’ve been married to the sweetest man for eleven years. I’ll tell anyone that he is the reason I am able to write such passion between this couple. 

My motto as a writer will always be hard sex mixed with harder love. This simply means that no matter how much these two tear into one another between the sheets, this amazing love will always be the reason for such intense actions and emotions. In life, I believe that to be true as well. Anyone who has read through to book five will also see a shift in the intensity of the love scenes in the books. The Progeny was my test book, it was my first shot at writing a novel, so I wasn’t exactly sure of how hot I wanted to write. In Blood Bonds, I ventured closer to where I wanted to be as far as heat. When I started writing Blood Promise, I was sure that I wanted to write erotically, and the scenes definitely reflect that. 

Some of the best advice my editor has given me was that a writer not only writes a love scene for the heroine, but you are also writing to satisfy the reader as well. I’m always asking my husband if I went too far with a particular scene. His answer is for me to write what is in my heart and I’ll never go wrong. I’ve had readers write to me and say that they don’t usually go for books written as explicitly as mine tend to be, but that they don’t really mind it because of the way they are written. My hero will never force the heroine to do anything she doesn’t want to do. Her pleasure, comfort, and well-being will always be his greatest concern. 

What do you think it is about vampires that make them such wonderful romantic leads?

If I am to be honest, Interview with the Vampire and the yummy Brad Pitt started my love of the fanged ones. I am a vamp girl, through and through. The appeal for me, I think, is the fact that they are usually very self-assured and polished. They are strong and loyal. And I imagine that centuries of experience in what pleases a woman would make them excellent lovers.

Now that The Progeny is released, what’s next for you?

The Progeny was actually my first release back in 2012. Blood Bonds, Blood Promise, Blood Reborn and Yearning have followed since. Blood Bewitched is the sixth in the series and it is set to release February 10, 2015. (Ed note: I have some catching up to do!) Book seven, Belonging, will follow next spring. The Progeny got a voice back in September. I was fortunate enough to connect with this awesome voice artist, Shana Pennington-Baird, and she has taken on the task of giving my books an audible life. She is doing an excellent job, too. She has all of this theater experience and can do crazy accents, so she is literally making these characters came to life outside of the book. The Progeny audio book is in post-production, and will release later this month. Blood Bonds goes into production next week. So, that is exciting. I’m currently writing Belonging, Blood Rising, and a related novella attached to the series. Yes, my plate is full and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Do you have any writing rituals?

I like to do a rough outline before each project, just to have a starting and end point. It was easier earlier in the series. Now, my characters are resistant to the plotting and tend to be most uncooperative when told what to do. I am a Chapstick addict, so I keep it in a tiny glass box on my computer desk. I usually apply it to my lips the entire time I write. 

Where is your favorite place to write?

I write all over the house on my laptop, but when I need privacy to really think about a scene, I go to my writing room. I have a comfy leather chair, my iMac, and huge posters of my characters all around to help inspire me.

What inspires you to write? 

My brain is funny. I dream a lot of the scenes that end up in my books. But anything might set me off—a fight scene in a movie, a love scene. Oddly, I do the most thinking about plot points and such in the bathtub while I’m getting ready for work in the mornings. I usually just keep my tablet nearby and plug the thoughts into my note program for later.

What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now?

Sadly, my own books are on my virtual book shelf right now. I tend to keep them queued to fact check. With a six book history for this series, writing the seventh and eighth requires me to constantly refer back.

What do you recommend people see/read/hear?

For contemporary romance reading, I love Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Series. Gideon Cross is my book boyfriend. The thought process and depth she uses to develop those characters is simply amazing. They are, honestly, the only books I will stop writing to read. For vampire lovers, I recommend the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward. I’ve only read three of them, but they were awesome. I look forward to finishing the series once I’m done writing my Progeny books. I also love Anne Rice’s vampires. She is the mother of the modern day vampire in my mind. My favorite recent horror movies are The Conjuring and Sinister. For a tear-jerker young adult movie, I loved The Fault in our Stars, even though I never read the book. And my favorite TV shows are Chrisley Knows Best, Family Guy, and Stalker

I’d just like to take a moment to thank you for having me on your blog today. It has been an absolute pleasure and delight. I do hope your readers will give the series a try. Book one is only 99 cents, so it’s the perfect way to discover the books and get to know Shauna and Ascher. 

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