After spending countless hours memorizing both traditional and simplified Chinese characters, perfecting her tones, and practicing her speaking with any Chinese native she could find, Ashley successfully graduated with a degree in Mandarin Chinese. She was determined to be the next best Chinese translator in the world... Then she discovered writing historical romances was as much fun as reading them, and her Chinese capabilities have never been the same. When she isn't writing about sexy, untamed heroes and intelligent, independent heroines in Victorian England, Ashley stays busy trying to entertain her two young daughters, attempting to do housework, and hiking in the beautiful foothills of Colorado.
Kim: You generously hosted "March Madness" for the entire month of March. You hosted fun authors and bloggers ... plus awesome prizes! What did you learn from this experience?
Ashley: Thanks so much for the kind words, Kim! I'm so glad you participated and enjoyed it. =) I have to admit that when I first started planning the 1st Annual March Madness Blog Party, I knew it would keep me busy. However, I don't think I could have ever guessed how much time it would truly consume. My hat goes off to you and all of the bloggers out there who regularly post. It's hard work! But besides learning about how much time it takes to get blog posts ready, the experience re-affirmed my belief that the romance community--authors, bloggers/reviewers, and readers alike--are some of the most fun and most generous people out there. I had such a great time reading the discussions we had and interviewing my fellow authors. I can't wait for next year's March Madness--which I promise will be even bigger and better!
Kim What influenced your interest in studying Chinese? Do you foresee any Chinese influence in a future book?
Ashley: When I learned in 4th grade that my substitute teacher could speak four languages, I was in awe. I've always loved words, and the ability to be able to use language to interact with people of other cultures appealed to me as something interesting and extraordinary. I originally settled for becoming a Spanish teacher, but then decided I didn't have it in me to be a teacher. I also didn't think that Spanish was challenging enough. I wanted to learn Chinese for no other reason than it appeared to be the most difficult language (I now know that each language has its difficulties, and Hungarian is said to truly be the most difficult to learn by many linguists). Since I no longer wanted to be a teacher, the most natural thing to do with a Chinese degree seemed to be translation, where I would work with words all day long. Circumstances changed, and I ended up taking another road, but I still love studying languages and hope to one day visit China after I've brushed up on my speaking abilities again. As for including my study of the Chinese language and culture in any of my books, I have to admit that I've toyed around with the thought. However, I'm still waiting on the perfect idea for a story where I could use it. Right now I have too many Englishmen with sexy British accents running around in my head. =)
Ashley: I'm so happy it did as well as it did! I have learned a thing or two as a new author, though. First, as much as you would like for EVERYONE to love your writing and your stories, it just isn't going to happen. Both my hero and heroine in SEDUCING THE DUCHESS turned out to be quite controversial for some romance readers, and it's such a temptation to bemoan that fact and wish I'd written the story a different way, but then I have to remember that there were even more readers of the book who absolutely adored the hero and heroine. Lesson: I must stay true to my characters and my writer's instinct. Secondly, I learned that an author's work isn't finished with the publication of a book. Beyond the actual book, so much is involved with marketing and publicity simply to try to get your name out there and make sure that people have heard of you and your title. Lesson: Invest heavily in clone research.
Ashley: I'm so glad you asked, Kim, because I'm really excited about this year! On September 6th my new stand-alone book, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, will be released. This story is about an earl and his best friend's wife who are drawn together after their spouses are killed in a carriage accident and it's discovered that they were having an affair. It's a sweet, sexy, and very emotional story, and I can't wait to hear what readers think about it! A little bit before, on August 2nd, a separate (short!) e-novella related to one of the characters in ROMANCING THE COUNTESS will be released. Its title is ROMANCING LADY CECILY.
Mahalo, Ashley, for visiting us at SOS Aloha! To learn more about Ashley, her books, and her blog, log onto her website. Ashley is giving away a copy of SEDUCING THE DUCHESS to one randomly selected commenter:
It was just another scandalous night…
Gambling. Carousing. Flirting. Charlotte, Duchess of Rutherford, will do anything to create a scandal large enough to force her husband to finally petition for a divorce. Once madly in love with Philip, she is now determined to escape from their less than civil marriage and the reminders of his betrayal.
Until he stole her away…
Philip Burgess, Duke of Rutherford, is not a man to tolerate regrets. He wed Charlotte for revenge, not for love or convenience, knowing she would come to hate him. But he never expected he would one day find himself craving her attention or desiring her company….
And gave her something more…
Philip is no longer the cold, deceitful man she married years ago. And when he promises Charlotte a divorce if she will help him become a better husband for another woman, she wonders if she truly wants to lose him—and if Philip may still possess her heart after all…
To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about what a teacher inspired you to learn.
2. This giveaway is open to US residents ... but I welcome comments from all readers!
3. Comments are open through Saturday, May 28, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 29.
Kim in Hawaii
The Hawaiian have a few titles - Ali'i (chief) and Kahuna (priest) but certainly not as many as the British aristocracy! But one English title had a significant influence on Hawaii - The Earl of Sandwich. From Encyclopedia Britannica,
John Montague, 4th earl of Sandwich, (born Nov. 13, 1718—died April 30, 1792, London, Eng.), British first lord of the Admiralty during the American Revolution (1776–81) and the man for whom the sandwich was named.
His interest in naval affairs and his promotion of exploration led the English explorer Captain James Cook to name the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) after him in 1778. His Voyage Round the Mediterranean was published in 1799. In his private life Sandwich was a profligate gambler and rake. The sandwich was named after him in 1762 when he spent 24 hours at a gaming table without other food.
Even though the Kingdom of Hawaii was recognized by other countries and monarchs, Hawaii was still referred to as the Sandwich Islands by Queen Victoria. In fact, Queen Victoria served as godmother to several members of the Hawaiian Royal family.
|The white obelisk is a memorial to Captain Cooke on Hawaii;|
the land was deeded to the United Kingdom.
Notice the dolphins in the foreground.