10 Things to Know About… Ashlyn Kane - An Author Interview

It's another amazing author interview today! I want to thank Ashlyn Kane for taking time out of her holiday schedule to hang out with us!

Hi Heather! Thank you for the opportunity to say hi and get to know your readers! I’m a Leo… unfortunately we love talking about ourselves! đŸ˜‰

Ashlyn, if you didn't like talking about yourself it would be an incredibly short interview, lol... but since it's a busy time of the season, let's jump right into the questions:

1. Plot or Pants? Do you pre-plot your books, use an outline, fly by the seat of your pants or some combination of things?
Oh, pants, all the way. It definitely bites me in the ass (plot wedgie?) from time to time too. Usually when I start a project I know where it begins and I have a strong idea of the last scene of the book. Sometimes I get a really strong feeling about moments in between. And then the fun part is getting from A to B. Or from A to C to F to B.

2. Tell us about your most recent published books.

I’m actually going to tell you about two, because it’s not often I have two come out this close together! 
The Winging It Holiday Special came out at American Thanksgiving! I had a lot of fun writing it. It was fun to revisit Gabe and Dante from Winging It, and I definitely enjoyed getting to do so from Dante’s point of view. Obviously a lot of readers really loved those characters, so it felt totally natural to spend a few months catching up on their lives and finding out how they’ve grown. I didn’t want it to end!

In October, I released The Rock Star’s Guide to Getting Your Man. This book plays with the “famous character coming home” trope. I think a lot of people move away from their hometowns at transitional ages—we moved right before I started high school, so my character Jeff and I have that in common. And the years leading up to that, and after it, were a struggle for both of us in different ways. Now I’m no rock star and I don’t have the baggage Jeff does, and I didn’t stay away for fifteen years. But I think there’s a fantasy among people who move away young that one day they’ll go back and somehow everything that hurt them will be healed. And that’s really powerful, and I wanted to give people that fantasy.
Here’s an excerpt of Jeff meeting back up with his former best friend, whom he was completely in love with at the tender age of fifteen.
Carter had his feet up on the porch railing when Jeff came back. He accepted the painted tin mug Jeff handed him. “Thanks.”

“Sure.” Jeff looked at the remaining Muskoka chair and debated that versus the railing. The chair felt couple-y. The railing felt awkward.

He sat in the chair and refused to fidget. “So. Long time no see, I guess.”

Carter sipped at his coffee. “I don’t know, seems like it was just yesterday.”

Fuck, was he going to make dad jokes? Jeff refused to be attracted to that. “Really?”

“Hm. Tough crowd.”

You have no idea. “I admit it crossed my mind that I might run into you while I’m in the area, but I wasn’t expecting it last night. I guess you weren’t either.”

“You could say that.” He rested the mug on the arm of the chair. “What are you even doing here? I had the impression you never intended to grace us with your presence again.”

The words were confrontational, but Carter’s demeanor had never lent itself to snippiness. The handful of times they’d fought as children, it’d been Jeff’s temper that got the better of him or else some thoughtless oversight on Carter’s part. He was too good-natured to be intentionally cruel. In any case, what he said was true and no less than Jeff deserved.

“It’s kind of a long story.”

Carter shrugged with his whole body, same as he always had, loose and languid. “I’m off today.”

3. Do you write full time or part-time?
Part-time. When I finish a book, I usually have a couple of months of “hangover” time when I can’t start anything new because I haven’t let go of the one I just finished. Once that’s edited and proofread I can work on something new again, but I don’t think I’ll ever be prolific enough to write full-time. Unless Netflix decides they want to do a miniseries on one of my books, I guess, or unless I suddenly experience a huge surge in popularity. (Call me, Netflix.)

4. What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I spent a good portion of my life living in Europe. When I was a teenager, I moved over there with my parents for a few years, and then I did it again as a newlywed with my husband. I will say it was significantly easier as an adult—I already spoke some German, I was over a lot of the little personality quirks that make dorks like me have a hard time making friends—or I was over caring about them, at least—and of course I was not trying to navigate the social circles of teenagers. Plus I had my husband to lean on, obviously.

5. Where do you write? Do you have a routine?
Usually sitting with my laptop in the corner of my couch, with the TV on in the background. Somehow this signals to my dog that this is Mom’s working time and she’s not just ignoring him. Also, writing longhand in bed with a white noise machine on, right before I go to sleep. No idea why, but this is a great way for me to get out 500 or so words at a time.

6. What are your writing goals for the next year? The future?
Just in general, I would love to get to a point where I have three books coming out every year. I somehow managed that between December 2020 and October 2021, so I’m proud of that momentum and I want to keep it going.

One day I’d like to write a fantasy novel. I have a couple plots in mind. One is a story a good friend of mine used to talk about writing before she died, and I know she hoped I’d maybe bring it to life one day, and another is one I idly used to tell her snippets about. But worldbuilding is hard, and grief is complicated, and I know if I start either of these before I’m ready, I’ll never finish.

7. What is the funniest scene you’ve written?
You know, I pride myself on writing funny moments, so it took me a few hours to come up with it… but I think it’s this scene from Fake Dating the Prince. Prince Flip has asked a flirty flight attendant named Brayden to attend a fancy ball with him, but Brayden doesn’t have any appropriate formal wear, so Flip takes him to his tailor.


Flip stepped out of the dressing room just in time to hear Bernadette ask, “Left or right?”

Still on the podium in his underwear, Brayden seemed perplexed. “Um? I think that one might be lost in translation.”

Flip fought down a blush. Maybe he could escape back to the dressing room unnoticed?

But no, because Bernadette looked up just then from measuring Brayden’s inseam, looked right at Flip, and switched to English. “Left or right?” she repeated, winking at Flip. “You know, when you dress. Which way do you… tuck?”

Brayden’s mouth dropped open. “I… that matters?”

Flip wanted to groan. Tailors asked that question so they could measure an inseam without accidentally copping a feel. But Brayden was out there in his underwear—Bernadette knew exactly where his dick was. She just had a sharp sense of humor when it came to her craft.

Bernadette nodded seriously. “Yes, of course. One leg will be sewn slightly wider to accommodate… you.”

Now Brayden threw his arms wide in exasperation, showing off excellent muscle definition across his back, shoulders, and chest. Flip swallowed. “What kind of guys have you been dressing, if you have to put extra dick room in their pants?” He gestured down at his boxer briefs, which hid nothing—not that Brayden had anything to be ashamed of. “I mean, you can basically see it. It doesn’t need its own trouser leg.”

Flip raised a hand to his mouth to smother a laugh. He didn’t want Brayden to think he was laughing at him—or at his dick, which Flip was trying very hard not to look at.

Bernadette similarly restrained herself, though she did betray the sliver of a smile. “They’re very closely tailored trousers, Mr. Wood.”

8. What’s the hardest part about writing?
The fact that I write best when I am exceedingly busy with a zillion other things I should be doing. If I am not absolutely slammed, the words come out at a crawl. But when I barely have time to sleep at night, when I go to bed knowing the next day’s—or week’s—to-do list is a mile long, when I spend the morning dog walk planning how I’m going to have to ration my time for the day… I can whack out a thousand or two thousand words an evening no problem. It’s just that I’ll be absolutely exhausted.

9. What do you do if you hit a wall while writing? How do you combat writer’s block?
I get writer’s block on an actual schedule. Finish the book, go into a fugue state. I can’t start anything else properly until that’s edited and put away. It’s very frustrating because it basically means I have six months a year in which I can actively write, and six months a year of recovery. So if I want to write those three books a year, that’s technically writing a book in two months, three times a year.
In the meantime, I retreat to the craft room. I actually just built myself a nice crafting desk using Ikea Kallax shelves and an old desk top that I had, plus I emptied out an old rolling drawer, also from Ikea. So I have everything at hand and a nice big workspace to cover in glitter. I’ve got my Silhouette Cameo set off to the side within reach. I like working with paint, ink, printmaking, vinyl, paper—I’m making holiday cards this year. But I’m also a little ADHD about crafting, which means I’ll start doing something, then get distracted by a hobby that’s adjacent to what I’m doing, and start doing that too, and so on and so on, forever.

10. How can we connect with you?
I’m on Facebook! I have an author group where I post updates about what’s going on, and also silly puns, and sometimes pictures of my dog or wildlife I saw on my morning walk.

I also have a BookBub, a website, and a monthly newsletter. I have Twitter too, but it’s so ephemeral; I don’t spend a lot of time on it. But if you tweet me, I will see it eventually!

I hope to see you around!