Who I am and all I believe is marred with just one glance into angry, steel blue eyes. He seems to control my air, my ability to breathe. He makes me crave everything I know is a sin. Pure becomes tainted and lines are blurred. It’s my fault; I’m the one who isn’t strong enough. I’ve been damaged…broken. Breck’s words haunt me…’There’s a consequence for every choice you make.’
I’ve had so many women I can’t even remember over half of their names, but none of them are mine; I make damn sure of that. I take what I desire and never look back. I don’t need or want anyone, ever…not until I met Emma. Those eyes bore into what’s left of my soul and her touch sears me, weakens me. I want to hate her for that. She is my ruin…my sweetest hell.
Disclaimer: Intended for readers 18+ due to strong language, mature scenes, and some violence.
~ Xpresso BT
1. What would you say inspired you to write Ash to Steele?
I’ve always been a sucker for a bad boy with a good heart, and Breck fits this description perfectly…down to his tattoos and ‘I’ll kick your ass if you mess with me or my friends’ attitude.
Being from a small town myself, I wanted to write about some of the struggles a loved, but sheltered, girl goes through when deciding to break free from all she’s ever known and venture out into the world to find who she truly is, not just who she is supposed to be. Emma takes a chance to believe in herself and leaves the comfort and stability of home to find her ‘more’.
2. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
Becoming an author has helped me grow on so many different levels. I’ve dreamed of being an author for years but didn’t take the plunge into late 2013, and I’m so glad that I did! Much like Emma, in Ash to Steele, I’m reserved and not quite as confident in myself as I wish I could be, but I had this undeniable burning desire to find my ‘more’ and follow my dreams. When I write, all shyness seems to evaporate and I’m the real me: free and comfortable in my own skin.
3. Was there ever a time, during your work on Ash to Steele, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
There were several times when I felt like giving up when writing Ash to Steele. This novel is very different than the Rain Trilogy and the characters kept butting heads with me on the direction they wanted to go. I changed the POV so many times, my head was spinning. When I finally gave in and followed the characters lead, things started to flow.
4. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside from writing?
I’m a mom, wife, and I work full time as well as write. Life is pretty busy ;).
5. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
In every author’s perfect dream, no one would have a bad review, but that’s far from reality. I’m a reader and I am a firm believer in respecting a reader’s opinion of my novel(s). After all, it is the reader’s view on my book, not what I want them to think of it. Sure I want the reviews to be positive, but I respect the reader’s opinion on the negative ones as much as the positive reviews. I’m not going to lie, it hurts a bit when I read a negative review but I use them as constructive criticism and a learning tool. My advise to authors would be to not take negative reviews too personally and focus on the positive ones. When you can step back and read why a reader didn’t like something you wrote, it can be very useful to an author, especially if it’s something that needs adjusting, like editing, character development, etc. Of course, some of the negative reviews will be just because a reader doesn’t like the story. In these times, it’s important to remember that we’re all different and like different things; it’s impossible to write a book that everyone will enjoy, so don’t drive yourself crazy trying. Write the book you would want to read. One of the best things about this world is our differences.
6. Is Ash to Steele a part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next book in the series?
Ash to Steele is a standalone novel, but Gavin, the sexy, badass bouncer, will get his own story in 2015.
7. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside from Ash to Steele?
I am currently working on a paranormal romance. Jensen and Saige are the main characters, and I’ll announce the title in the near future. I hope to have Jensen and Saige’s story out by late this year. Then, I’m very excited to start Gavin’s story.
8. What made you decide to go the self-pub way?
I know this is awful, but I’m not very patient. I’ve read that it can take months to get a response about your manuscript if going the traditional route. Also, I liked the idea of having control of my novels. I respect both routes and am not at all opposed to being traditionally published.
9. What would you say was the toughest part?
Marketing is the toughest part for me. Not only am I a newbie author but I’m also a newbie social media user. Other than Facebook, I had only heard of the other social media sites and had zero experience with them. I’m learning as I go and loving the wild ride.
10. Did you hire professionals for editing, cover design, formatting?
I have a family member who helps with editing. The betas are also great about pointing out editing errors. Editing is my nemesis; it is so hard to find errors when you are reading what you have written because your brain knows what it’s supposed to say. I’m getting better, though, and each novel is cleaner before I submit it. All the covers I have used have been from Thinkstock or Fotolia. With the Rain Trilogy, Authorhouse helped with the formatting, but with Ash to Steele, I used the formatting template on KDP.
11. How long did the production part take, from the moment you began working on the manuscript to self-up to when you hit ‘Publish’?
Ash to Steele took me longer to write, but much quicker to publish, while the Rain Trilogy was the opposite. I had Healing Rain written by the time Saving Rain was live. The time varies with each novel.
12. Where is your work being distributed, Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks/Omnilit, and some other distributor? How did you decide which one(s) to go with?
The Rain Trilogy is in all major distributor sites, but Ash to Steele is currently exclusive to Amazon, however, the paperback will be available on Amazon and B&N very soon (probably by the time this is live).
13. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
The end to human trafficking.
14. Name your favorite fruit.
15. Coffee or tea?
16. Favorite season?
That’s a toss-up between Fall and Spring.
17. Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
18. Favorite food for breakfast?
A chocolate and cherry scone with iced coffee.
19. Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
I used to collect angels and giraffes but I’m trying to de-clutter. I get sucked in with anything bright and colorful, though. I can get in trouble in Kirklands and Pier One.
20. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
Another toss-up; I love pink and green so much, I can’t choose between the two.
21. Drama or comedy?
Depends on my mood.
22. Cats or dogs?
I have two dogs and a cat and I love all of them! If I have to choose, I would say that I’m more of a dog person.
23. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Definitely dinner by candlelight; I’m a hopeless romantic and proud of it ;).
About the Author & Links:
Karen-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards and is a nominee for the 2013 RONE Awards.
When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.