Thursday, September 18, 2014

Author Spotlight: Alisha Ashton

The Jazzy World of E's Bookshelf's Author Spotlight is venturing into the paranormal world today with author Alisha Ashton. Ashton is the author of the book Darkness Descends: A Skye Faden Novel. It is a book that gives a fresh take on the vampire/werewolf genre.  Ashton's novel tells the story of Skye Faden, a young woman who kills vampires. Her life changes after she is bitten by a werewolf. Darkness Descends has received rave reviews  on Goodreads and Amazon, and fans of the story have singled out the detailed storytelling of Ashton. In my interview with her, she talks about the time, effort and inspiration that went into her book.  It's my pleasure to present today's Author Spotlight on Alisha Ashton.

Alisha Ashton's Biography

Alisha Ashton is a fanfiction author, novelist, and unabashed fangirl. She has recently published her first original novel, Darkness Descends: A Skye Faden Novel. Her hobbies include: chasing her mischievous, bare-assed toddler around the house, goofing off with her husband, and fangirling the CW's Supernatural like 'whoa!' 

An Interview with Alisha Ashton 

Your debut novel Darkness Descends is very detailed when it comes to breaking down the vampires, werewolves, and languages, which created a very well-rounded story. How much time did you spend getting the specifics just right?

It was a very lengthy process. My goal was for readers to be able to completely immerse themselves in the world of Darkness Descends. I wrote the majority of the story over a period of about seven months, but that was just the framework. The skeleton. I went over it from start to finish for a couple of years after that putting meat on the bones and making it into a living, breathing thing. It took forever before I was satisfied with it. Each time I added a new character, they took on a life of their own and brought something new (and sometimes wholly unexpected) to the table. Ciaran, for example, was only intended to be a comic-relief character… He had other ideas, and he was very persuasive, as anyone who has read the book knows.

Skye Faden is one strong, fierce character. She definitely holds her own well. What was the inspiration behind her character?

Funny story – the very first spark of Skye Faden came as a result of a conversation with my husband. I personally have blue and yellow eyes. The yellow does become inexplicably more prevalent at times. I am also allergic to silver. My husband made a comment about how he wished he had known in advance that he was marrying a werewolf. Haha
As for Skye’s personality, I wrote the book through her eyes, so I had to find a way to relate to her. She is the personification of my own bad attitude, after I stripped away all of the softer sides of my personality. She is, in essence, my inner bitch.

When building her character, I modeled a lot of her quirks and traits after my own. I gave her some of my own anxieties, my slow-to-trust nature, aversion to physical contact, and even the way she compulsively counts to soothe her nerves. I spent time as a mechanic in the past and sold construction tools and equipment for several years. Those experiences were the inspiration for Skye being thrown into an all-male environment.

Skye grew from there and became her own person. Her character is very outspoken. I often hear her snarking away in the back of my mind.

What is it about the paranormal genre that inspired you to write Darkness Descends?

There is just so much you can do in the paranormal genre! While it is true that I did a LOT of research and fact-checking to write Darkness Descends, I was able to write my own rules and mythology regarding the breeds. That freedom was what drew me in. It allowed me to paint far more detailed images in my readers’ minds.

Also, there is this fine line between what is super scary and smolderingly sexy. Creepy can be enticing. I have a lot of fun toeing that line. When you read Darkness Descends, if you find yourself thinking that the ‘Big Bad’ of the story is sexy, you’re not alone. I have had numerous readers ask me whether they’re weird for finding him frighteningly/disturbingly hot. Haha

Besides Skye, you have some standout supporting characters. How important was it to have characters like Taran, Miko, and Ciaran in the story?

The supporting characters are absolutely crucial to the world of Darkness Descends. Without fail, whenever a reader tells me who their favorite characters are, they name Miko and Ciaran. Taran is the sweet, sexy, romantic lead, but there is something about Miko and Ciaran that readers absolutely adore. The friendships in the story – new and old – and the camaraderie and bantering between these men are a pivotal part of the story.

The Vampire/Werewolf genre is popular. How do you, as a writer, make it fresh so that it not only appeals to readers who love the genre but those who are new to it as well?

I went back to the basics and tore up the widely-accepted script. I rewrote the myths and origins and introduced my own explanations. When everything is revealed in Darkness Descends, when all of the questions are answered, readers get a whole new take on the breeds.

What has been your favorite part of writing and publishing Darkness Descends?

Sharing it with readers and getting their feedback! I seriously live for reviews. It’s not about the money, which is why I often put the book on sale and why it is regularly priced at only $4.99, despite being over 667 pages in eBook format. The most important part for me is getting my book out there for readers.

I went through a hell of a lot in the years leading up to getting Darkness Descends published. I endured a great deal of loss in my family and grieved accordingly. Then, a few months ago, I was finally able to say, ‘It’s time to share my story.’ Every review I get is a reward for pushing through and getting to this point.

Do you plan to write any more books about Skye Faden?

Most definitely. I plan on there being at least 3 books in the Skye Faden series. I am far from finished playing in Skye’s world!

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Honestly, I rarely ever get time to read. I used to all the time when I was a teenager, but these days my #1 joy is writing – be it fanfiction or originals.

Terry Goodkind was the author who inspired me to take on such a HUGE project when creating Darkness Descends. When I was in high school, I found a copy of ‘Wizard’s First Rule’ in my Mom’s book collection. It was the original cover with the gorgeous red dragon art… *sigh* I still have it – it’s my favorite book. I remember picking it up that first day and marveling at how thick the paperback was. I started reading it, and I don't think I put it down until I was finished. I remember thinking, “Now THIS is how you write a book.” ‘Wizard’s First Rule’ set up this whole rich, detailed world that I just wanted to escape into. He made me care about the characters and I eagerly devoured every book in the series. I could see everything as I read. I told myself, “If I'm ever going to write, I want to write like this.”

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love spending time with my son. We are so incredibly blessed to have him in our world! Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for him.

Also, I am an unabashed fangirl. My current addiction is Supernatural. I am generally either watching the show or writing fanfiction for it. Love me some Dean Winchester. ;) I'm counting the days until the Season Premiere.

In 10 words or less tell readers why they should read Darkness Descends?

It’s a STEAMY emotional rollercoaster you’ll never want to end!  

Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans and or readers new to you?

Fans – you rock my socks! Thank you so much for the reviews and feedback you have given me. Without you, I would not have the inspiration to write. I owe you all so much.

New readers – I look forward to sharing my writing with you! When you get the chance to give Darkness Descends a read, be sure to drop me a line. I adore hearing from readers and would love to hear your thoughts! 

Darkness Descends


Skye Faden has had a crappy decade. Seriously. She survived nearly ten years of torture, then escaped and killed the vampires responsible for the deaths of her entire family. She should - by all rights - be free to spend the rest of her days on a warm, sandy beach somewhere.

Unfortunately, those plans are quickly derailed by a bite-happy werewolf. With just a few days until the full moon and her first transformation, Skye has no choice but to accompany her ADHD-prone handler, Miko, to Scotland in search of answers.

Faced with a supremely sexy ancient werewolf (woof!), a hushed prophecy about how her arrival will trigger a war, and a handful of unexpected new supernatural abilities, Skye is in for one hell of a ride. As the shaky truce between the breeds races toward its abrupt and violent end, she must unlock the mystery surrounding her identity and uncover a secret of betrayal that has been kept for over 4,000 years. Piece of cake, right?

Where to Buy Darkness Descends 

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