Ashley R. King | Interview
Vampire Reality TV At Its Finest
Author Ashley R. King joins me today to talk about her newest release Forever After, a paranormal romance that takes place on the set of a reality TV show. Releasing November 18th, 2021, this is the first in a reality show series published by Mystic Owl, an exiting new imprint of City Owl Press.
Thank you for coming to this little chat and congratulations on your new release! Tell me a little bit about where you came up with the idea for this book and what’s it about in a nutshell.
Thank you so much for interviewing me! One night I was watching one of my favorite shows, What We Do in the Shadows, and I thought, they should totally make a reality dating show with vampires—thus the idea was born! In a nutshell it’s about an impoverished vampire duke who agrees to star on Forever After, a vampire dating show akin to The Bachelor. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love.
I love this premise so much! Readers will be charmed by these characters. Now, tell us a little about yourself. What inspired you to become a writer?
By day I’m a middle school ELA teacher. My parents actually inspired me to become a writer. My mom always took me to our public library and would let me check out the max limit of books (and sometimes my favorite librarian would let me sneak more than that lol). She’d read to me every night and from there I knew one day I wanted to create stories for people to enjoy. Later on, my dad encouraged me when I actually sat down and started to give it an earnest shot in middle school—I loved Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer back then and would write serialized horror stories and share them with my friends and eventually graduated into writing screenplays and romance novels in high school!
That is so cool. You started at such a young age! If you can, pick a favorite character from your new release and tell me why they’re your favorite.
This is tough but I’d say Oliver! He was so much fun to write and I loved his sarcasm. I kind of threw together several of my favorite things that I enjoy reading about—vampires, dukes, English accents, reality show bachelors, historic clothing, and of course snark and thus Oliver Gray was born!
That’ s a lot of things to throw together and I’m absolutely here for it. Where does your book take place and why did you choose this particular setting?
My book takes place in a fictional small town, Covey Crossing, in Georgia. I chose this particular setting since I was born and raised in a small Georgia town. I’m always more comfortable setting my stories in places I know well because then I feel like it can come across on the page in a more authentic way.
Authenticity is important! What drew you to writing paranormal romance?
I usually write contemporary rom-coms, but this idea struck me and I knew I had to write it! I’m a huge fan of paranormal romance with vampire romances being my all time favorite. I love Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, Morganville Vampires, and the Sookie Stackhouse novels just to name a few. The worlds these incredible authors created are so fun and unique that I knew one day I’d want to give it a shot as well. I mean, bats are one of my favorite animals so it had to happen!
And bats are one of Autumn’s, the main character’s, favorite animals too! Looks like she was destined for a vampire LOL. What are your favorite romance tropes and themes to play with in your work?
I am a big fan of enemies to lovers—that’s probably my favorite trope for sure and I included a little bit of that in Forever After. I enjoy snarky banter so much and try to include that in all of my novels, along with little pieces of myself. Autumn is awkward just like I am and incredibly shy—also her motto (you’ll see in the book) is the same as mine!
Oh, nice! I think I remember the motto you're talking about. What do you find is the most challenging thing about being a writer?
Facing creative burn out. I’m currently dealing with it right now and will say it’s the toughest thing I’ve experienced as a writer. The only way out is through, so I’ve been working on taking time to relax and rest my brain. That and reading a good book will usually help fill my creative well again, but for the time being I’m taking it in stride, knowing this is something that will ultimately make me a better writer in the long run.
The struggle is real. What did you want to be when you grew up and how is that working out for you so far?
As a child I had three dream professions: 1. Writer 2. English or History Teacher 3. Any sort of job dealing with helping animals. So far I’m two for three with that—I’m an ELA teacher and I’m writer! One day I want to also help animals, so that’s why having my own animal sanctuary is on my bucket list.
And that leads right into my next question perfectly! What are the top three items on your bucket list?
1. Visit a bat sanctuary and hang out with the bats.
2. Have my own animal sanctuary one day!
3. See the northern lights.
Come up and visit me in Canada, and I’ll order some northern lights for you 😊 Are there any words of wisdom you want to share with new writers?
Keep going and don’t give up! The world needs to read your story and you’re the only one who can write it. There will be a lot of ups and downs in writing—it’s kind of a rollercoaster, really—and I would say enjoy the ride and know that each obstacle makes you a better writer. You got this!
That is some excellent advice. So what are you reading right now?
Christmas in the Grotto by Colby Bettley and it’s phenomenal!
Awesome! I’ll check it out. Wrapping up this little chat, what are you working on right now? Does it connect to your new release?
I sent in book 2 of The Vampire Reality Show series to my editor this summer and will be working on first round edits shortly. Aside from that, I’m working on brainstorming ideas for my second gothic romance.
Oooooh! Gothic romance! *GRABBY HANDS* Where can readers interact with you or find out more?
I’m on Instagram the most, so I’d love to chat over there! I also love getting emails from readers too—it’s always so cool!
Thank you for chatting with me today! Let’s leave the link for your new release so readers can find it and please give them a taste of what to expect.
Thank you so much for having me! I enjoyed and appreciate you thinking of me! 😊
Buy link for Forever After: https://smarturl.it/VRS1amz
When she stopped in front of him, she arched a brow. “I’m Autumn,” she all but spat onto his polished shoes. His lips formed a firm line, because if they didn’t, he’d laugh. She’d make one hell of a vampire with all that vitriol. She smirked. “I like lots of garlic on my pasta, love to wear crucifixes around my neck—the more the better really—and I like to keep all the windows in my home open during the brightest part of the day. Bats are my favorite animal, but I can’t hold you against them. The poor little things.” She thrust out her lower lip in an exaggeratedly pouty expression, but it did something to Oliver. He coughed into his fist to regain his focus.
Her dislike of him was clear in the staunch lines of her body, the tense set of her shoulders, the tiny lines forming from her narrowed gaze and pinched lips, arms crossed defensively over her chest.
“Garlic, crucifixes, bats, and sunlight. Seems like you hit on everything. Perhaps I should tell you my favorite things?”
Autumn shrugged, eyes sparking like a lightning storm. “If you want.”
He edged closer, hands clasped behind his back, a habit he’d picked up from his father all those years ago. “I love blood. Fresh, warm blood straight from the vein.”
“Well, that sucks,” she emphasized as she did what looked like an attempt at walrus teeth, her two fingers pointing down from her mouth, “for you because the blood letee has to be willing and this girl,” she pointed to her chest, “ain’t.”
“That’s enough flirting,” Kerrie snapped from the darkness off camera.
“Gag,” Autumn said at the same time that Oliver said, “Ridiculous.”
Oliver met Autumn’s pointed stare; her nostrils flared.