Interview and Giveaway with Jennifer Ashley!

Holla Maidens! Guess who has stopped by for a little chat with the ladies at UTC? JENNIFER ASHLEY!!! *squee* Okay stop, we’re going to embarrass ourselves. Anyway, Jennifer Ashley writes Highland Pleasures, a series about the most delicious brothers the Highlands have ever seen. She also writes paranormal romance with her Shifter Unbound series. Plus, she also writes as Allyson James and as Ashley Gardner. Really, this woman does it all! And that’s why we love her! Now help me welcome Jennifer Ashley!

UTC: Thank you Jennifer for taking the time to chat with us today! Let’s get started by talking about kilts! MMMMmmm, I love a man in kilts! How did Highland Pleasures come to be? What was the inspiration behind this series?

The family Mackenzie just sort of walked into my head. I remember sitting on the sofa staring out at my backyard at one point, and seeing these guys in kilts tearing up Victorian London. Bad boys, in and out of scandals, untrusted–and they don’t care. I always pictured four: The leader (Hart), the dangerous one (Cameron), the charmer (Mac), and the madman (Ian).
These guys stayed in my thoughts, waking and sleeping, and wouldn’t let go of me. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I figured, if I couldn’t, maybe readers wouldn’t’ be able to either.

Coming up with the heroines was much harder. Isabella was always there–the woman who loved the Mackenzies but marriage to one drove her insane. Eleanor was always there too–things didn’t work out for her and Hart at first, but she’s always loved him and is there for him.

Beth and Ainsley–oh, my, it took forever to find those two! I hired and fired many a heroine before they were right. Oy. But I like Beth and Ainsley came out well, so I’m happy.

UTC: Lord Ian Mackenzie has Asperger’s Syndrome. This is a unique characteristic that sets him apart from other heroes. Why did you decide to make Ian have this disorder?

I always knew that the youngest Mackenzie brother would be “mad,” or at least different from his brothers. Ian popped into my head that way and never changed (he’s stubborn). I realized after watching him a while that he had high-functioning autism, or maybe Asperger’s Syndrome. I did a lot of research on Asperger’s, and that’s what he had. I incorporated much that I learned about AS into Ian’s characteristics. I wanted to explore how those in the Victorian world would react to Ian, when AS and autism weren’t yet recognized. I’m always interested in incongruities and how people respond to them.

UTC: In Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage, Lady Isabella and Mac Mackenzie have a lot of bitterness towards one another after their divorce. Do you feel that it is more difficult (or easier) to write a rekindled romance?

It was quite difficult to write the rekindled romance, because rekindled couples have so much baggage! The writer has to make it believable that the h/ h had a good reason to break up, but not such a horrific reason that it’s unbelievable they can get back together. I did *not* want to write an infidelity story–I wanted to explore their characters and other possibilities. (Marriage is complicated!)

Some readers didn’t like or get what I was trying to do with Mac and Isabella’s story, but I had quite a few people tell me they’d been through almost exactly what Mac and Isabella went through, that I’d captured it spot on. That’s good for me, the writer–though I’m sorry those readers went through the pain!

UTC: You write paranormal and historical romances, which genre is easier to write about?

Neither. Both have their difficulties. With historicals, the trick is not to be too modern: in language, attitudes, knowledge, and the like. At the same time, you can’t be so non-modern that the reader can’t relate to the characters.

The Shifters series is present day, which you might think is easier–but I have to say that I started writing anything contemporary rather late. I read, wrote, breathed and slept historical novels until about five years ago. Figuring out how to make the present-day, mundane world interesting is hard! How exciting is going for coffee or grocery shopping?
Also in a paranormal series, you have to watch consistency. If the Shifters can only shift this certain way, they can’t be shifting any old way because you need it for the plot. Also, my Shifters must always be affected by their Collars when they fight, so I can’t have them just start to fight without consequences of that.

So, each genre is fraught with peril, but each is wonderful as well.

UTC: Of all your heroes and heroines you have written, which couple is your favourite and why?

Eee! This is always a hard question! Well– I really love how Cameron and Ainsley turned out (in Many Sins of Lord Cameron). That said, I had a blast writing Eleanor and Hart (Hart really shaped up to be an amazing man). And then there’s Mick and Janet from the Stormwalker series I write as Allyson James. Those two are fiery (pardon the pun), and I love following them from book to book. But then there’s the Shifters–Andrea and Sean are wonderful. But then, Wild Cat, out in January, has my favorite Shifter couple–Diego and Cassidy. They’re just hot!

UTC: What can readers expect from Lord Cameron in The Many Sins of Lord Cameron?

Frustration, passion, laughter, tears–you find out what happened in Cameron’s first marriage, and why he’s both so protective of his son Daniel but still doesn’t really know what to do with him. Cam has a lot of healing to do, and Ainsley helps him do it (while driving him nuts at the same time). You’ll learn about Ainsley and her four brothers (The McBrides), and see what’s up with the Mackenzie family as a whole.

UTC: Hart Mackenzie’s book is out April 2012. When will the cover be revealed?

The cover for The Duke’s Perfect Wife is being worked on as we speak. I saw a draft of the cover art. It’s a clinch, with a cute red-headed Eleanor, and Hart–hunky, shirtless man in a kilt. 🙂 I’ll post the cover as soon as it’s final. Usually it’s a month or two from draft to final cover.

UTC: If you got transported back in time and landed in the Mackenzie’s time, which brother do you think you would fall in love with?

Wow, that’s a hard question! I wouldn’t mind sampling each of them. But I might settle on Mac–he’s full of fun and so sexy, but also so gentle and protective. But then–Cameron. Hart. Ian. Can I have all of them? I don’t mind.

UTC: By all means, go ahead! Without you, we wouldn’t have these men to drool over! Do you find that there is a difference while writing your Shifter Unbound series and your Highland Pleasures series?

I personally don’t *feel* different, but I do have a different approach to each series. Highland Pleasures is very character-driven, with some plot, much heat, and lots of romance. I try to focus mostly on the hero / heroine and the development of their relationship.

In the Shifters series, there’s more plot and action in addition to the romance. Not only am I telling the characters’ stories and taking you through their romance, but there are problems the Shifters as a whole have to face. I like to enlarge the story to the other Shifters as well as the main couple. And there’s plenty of heat!

UTC: What made you write about Shifters rather then vampires? Have you always preferred furry over fanged?

Before I wrote the Shifters, I told my publisher I wanted to write a vampire series (and I have one percolating in my head even now), but my publisher basically said no. I think they were dismayed by the thought of yet *another* vampire series on the pile (and I can’t really blame them).

I decided to do shape shifters instead, because I’d also had an idea for a shapeshifter world (starring the Morrisseys, those Irish wildcats, a family of bachelors living together), so I didn’t mind at all putting vampires on the back burner and starting the shape shifters. I’m very glad I did, because I love the Shifters! But I’ll get to the vamps eventually.

UTC: Let’s say you had the chance to drop your characters into another author’s world. Whose worldbuilding fascinates you and why would you choose this author?

Hmm. Good question. I might pick the Sookie Stackhouse universe, which is funny but edgy at the same time. I could imagine my Shifters hanging out there, thinking their shifters were crazy. But still getting in on the action, not to mention the heat. I think Charlaine Harris did a fabulous job with that series (and will I be smacked if I say I think the books are better than the television show?)

UTC: If you could pick three fictional characters to attend your dinner party, who would you choose and why?

This is a tough question, because the fictional characters I am most fascinated with are not necessarily ones who are particularly nice or likeable (e.g., Sherklock Holmes). They’re interesting, but in real life, probably too obnoxious for my taste. I have a low tolerance for bad behavior (especially at my dinner party!)

However, I wouldn’t mind inviting Paola and Guido Brunetti from Donna Leon’s fabulous Venice-set mystery series, as long as Paola cooks. That series is good for the food descriptions alone! (mmm, risotto).

UTC: Tough question coming up….who is hotter? Shifters or Highlanders?

So not fair! They’re both scorching, and I wouldn’t mind being swept away by either one. It’s a tough call! I think it has to do with the characters themselves–my Shifters and Highlanders are similar, they just live in different times and places (and the Mackenzies don’t shift–that I know of!)
Again, can I have them both? I’ll take them . . .

UTC: Thanks so much for chatting with us today! It was so much fun! And now, maidens, Jennifer Ashley has a treat for you! 

Jennifer Ashley is giving away a signed copy of the re-release of The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie! Open to everyone!
To enter, please:
1. Be a follower
2. Fill out the form below

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I love your books,There some of the frist ones i started to read:) Thank you for the great giveaway!!

Book Savvy Babe

Great interview! I have been wanting to read this book for forever! And really, who can choose between shifters and highlanders??

Raonaid Luckwell

That cover is really striking. Catches instant notice!


Looking forward to read this book. I hope I win *finger crossed*
Its really hard to choose between highlander and shifter? But how if mix them? It will better to have a highlander who is shifter too 🙂


I love Jennifer Ashley, I read her Immortal series and totally hooked, have been wanting to read more of her books since.


Awesome interview! I’ve only read her Allyson James series so I’m very interested in trying her othe books! Thanks!

Çråz¥ K¥

great interview 🙂


Great interview. What a beautiful cover. I love Jennifer’s books. Thanks for the giveaway.


I’ve had this Jennifer Ashley book on my Wish List since it was first announced–I cannot wait to read it. But, the chance to win a signed copy…WOW! *fingers crossed*

Arianne Cruz

thank u for this opportunity! 😀 i love the cover, totally love stories like that 🙂


Thanks for the giveaway!

darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com


I LOVE your books!! I first found you on Amazon as a free read and quickly began collecting n reading more of yo, love your stuff all genres! Thanks for the giveaway.

Drmgrl99 at yahoo dot com


I didn’t enter, but I *did* want to stop by 🙂

great interview! Anyone who hasn’t read this series-it’s amazing!

BLH Mistress (hey Donna! waves!) I found her Immortals series first, and was instantly hooked too!

Loved the interview and I havent had a chance to read any of your books but look forward to do it soon. Would love to win.


Love the new cover! This series rocks! Lord Cameron is my favorite of the brothers, but I am looking forward to Hart being taken down by Eleanor! Ian has grown so much; love the part when he lifts the honey from the table – priceless!!!

Rhonda (Queentutt) What are you waiting for – get reading!!!

Danielle West

Thank you for the giveaway- the cover is just gorgeous!

Great interview!! I love the cover of this book 🙂 Definitely adding it to my TBR list!


Awesome interview, Jennifer! I’m so glad you talked about Asperger’s Syndrome – my son is very high functioning, thank God, and it’s really great that you did your research into this instead of going on stereotypes. I can’t wait to read your book! It sounds like something I would really enjoy:)
jwitt33 at live dot com


Fun interview ladies 🙂 I’d want BOTH shifter and highlanders. Who needs to choose when you can have them both

June M.

I have been wanting to read this book. Everything I have seen about it has been great so I would love to win a copy to read. Thanks so much for the chance.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Denise Z

Hard questions for this wonderful interview – I think I would love a highlander shifter – whoopee!


Awesome interview, always well done – thanks for making the giveaway international!! 🙂


Another great interview-thank you! Love highlanders and shifters and I think this book looks HOT!

mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com


I simply love Jennifer Ashley however, I have only read her shifter books. I agree with the other commenters~ why not have both-highlander shifter?



What a great interview!!! Can’t wait to read this book!!! Added it to my TBR list!!! The cover is very captivating!!! Thanks for the chance to win!!!



I love the cover! And the interview was great! Thank’s for the chance to win!



Ahhhh…..I’ve been wanting to read this book since it 1st popped up in The Book Depository! Hope I win *fingers crossed*; I’ve seen nothing but rave reviews.

Thanks for sharing the interview. I love Ian’s new sexy cover!

Wow, just wow. How the hell did I miss this? Was I living under a rock or something? Hot shifters and highlanders and I didn’t know about them?! I am ashamed LOL! Nonetheless, these sound great. I love the idea of your lead man actually having some sort of condition, makes him more real. I never heard of Asperger’s Syndrome, but I am definitely interested. Man you asked some tough questions hon especially the one about actually transporting to the time of the Highlanders. I agree Ms. Ashley, it is only fair to sample them all LOL! Great interview and… Read more »

Karen C

Really great interview – thank you!! Thanks for the giveaway.


Fabulous interview and I love all your books, especially the Mackenzie series. Loving the fabulous new covers!

lindsey hutchison

awesome interview! i love your books. you always know how to pull me in.

Bona Fide Reflections

An new author to me. I find this exciting. Love reading “new material”. Ashley’s books are gong on to by TRB piles. I am excited to be adding more books. The more, the merrier… Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!
Happy Blogging,


Great interview! I really enjoy your books,paranormal and historical. Thanks for the giveaway.


Great interview. This is a new author for me, but have heard many great things about her. would love to win and read this book. please choose me for the giveaway. love the cover of all her books that are shown. I am a huge cover lover and if i like the cover i will usually get the book. thanks for the giveaway and the chance to winl.


I loved the interview & I just know I will love your books.



I loooved this book!!!, is on my favorite’s list. You can leave out of the give away, just came to read the interview, I will definitely revisit this book if it comes out on audio.:D hell, I might just read it again today…
Have nice day!

I have heard so many great things about this author…the cover is beautiful!

mmafsmith at gmail dot com


Great Interview!

Can’t wait to start this novel. I loved the first 2 books in this series, and I heard this novel is steamy toe curl worthy! Woo Hoo! That’s what I like!


I love your books. They are some of my favorites.

Great interview. I’ve got to admit, her shifter series was one of my most favorite shifter series.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Himitsu Me

I love Mackenzie family. Any talk about them caught my interest. And I can’t wait to have the new version cover of The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie.


Great post! I love her novels!