Gabrielle Ash | Interview
Debut author Gabrielle Ash writes about fae, family, and forgiveness.
Her debut novel, The Family Cross, releases July 6th, 2021! This urban fantasy is the first book in the Circle Seven Trilogy and I was so lucky she was able to take time out of her busy schedule to allow us a look behind the scenes of her writing life.
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.
Thank you for having me! The Family Cross is about a business heiress that teams up with a telepathic criminal when she’s being hunted by shapeshifting fae assassins, which is… kind of out there. Haha! But I’ve always loved the idea that something otherworldly lurks beneath the fabric of what we know to be true. Ghost stories, vampires, werewolves, the whole nine yards. Just *what if*, you know? Then I imagined the worst possible person to deal with such a revelation, and Matilda Ashby, business heiress and too-nice doormat, was born.
I had the privilege of reading an ARC of the book and absolutely loved it. Matilda and Samson are such a mismatched pair, and it works so well! Tell me, what inspired you to become a writer?
Honestly, I always loved to write, I just never thought I’d actually do anything with it beyond school assignments. Being an author was always one of those dreams that I had that I never thought would actually be possible. But when we moved across the country for my husband’s career, I found myself alone with my thoughts a lot, so I started writing on my phone while I rocked one of the babies to sleep. Now, we’re here!
I understand completely! I also did a lot of plotting while rocking babies. Besides family obligations, what challenges did you encounter in writing this book?
The Family Cross was the first book I ever wrote to completion, and I really thought it needed to be in third person POV. I wrote the whole damn book, then I realized I’d made a very big mistake. HA. So I rewrote it in first person. It took a bit, but it was definitely worth it.
I’m so glad you did! The book works so well through Matilda’s eyes. If you can, pick a favorite character and tell me why they’re your favorite.
I love Matilda and Samson both, but I think I enjoyed writing Samson the most. Since I was in Matilda’s head, I had to get creative in showing Samson’s personality, quirks, and hints of his past, and I think that challenge made him my favorite.
I loved him too, he’s such a unique and multifaceted character. What drew you to write urban fantasy?
The thing that drew me to urban fantasy initially was the whole ‘masquerade’ trope—the hidden world and magic beneath the one we know. Cell phones and social media have made this trope less popular, but there have been a lot of cool subversions of it and worlds where the magic is already part of the mundane. There are so many possibilities with magic in contemporary worlds, and I love playing with those possibilities!
Speaking of tropes, what are your favorites to play with in your work? What about recurring themes?
Oh man, I actually have a list of tropes that I love. In The Family Cross, I played with the bodyguard romance trope, the masquerade, and sociopathic hero. One of my favorites is the chess master trope, but I used that one in my November release, FOR THE MURDER. As far as themes, ‘family’ (and what it means) and ‘forgiveness’ is something I touch on in all of my books.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and how is that working out for you so far?
I always said I wanted to be an English teacher and an author. I actually was a teacher for four years, and while I did enjoy my time in the classroom, the job was ultimately not for me. I’m new to this author thing, but I’m enjoying it so far!
Here’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to: what are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading LOVE IN THE TIME OF WORMHOLES by Jess K. Hardy. It’s a sci-fi romance forthcoming from Mystic Owl, an imprint of City Owl Press, in September 2021! Keep your eyes peeled for it.
Wow. I love that title so much! I'll definitely look for it. What are you working on right now? Does it connect to your new release?
I’m currently working on the untitled sequel to FOR THE MURDER, the book launching my next series in November. It’s an urban fantasy romance featuring a crow-shifter and a gunslinging clairvoyant.
That combination has me intrigued! Now that we’re wrapping up this Q&A, where can readers interact with you or find out more?
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today! Let’s leave some links here so readers can find your newest release, and let’s give them a taste of what to expect with an excerpt.
As I wrapped my fingers around the cool metal handle of the door, I heard his voice.
I looked at Coat Guy, hovering over the threshold with one foot on the sidewalk and the other in the café. He stalked over, coffee in one hand and scone in the other, and pushed the glass door open, yanking the handle out of my hand.
“Take a cab,” he said, arm braced against the door. The sun’s rays blasting against my skin again made it all the more curious he could stand to wear a thick coat in the late summer. “Don’t walk.”
“Maybe I need the exercise.”
“A stiff wind could blow you across Times Square, so I doubt it.”
The crowd bustling outside the door started to thin out, and if I pried myself away from him quick enough, I could merge right in.
“Take a cab,” he said again, voice low. So much for being quick. “See that guy on the corner? Super douche with the popped collar?”
I took a deep breath and looked over my shoulder. There was a man perched on the street corner with his shirt collar standing on end, just as Coat Guy said. He had a phone pressed to his ear and a hand in his pocket. White, early thirties maybe. Blond hair with too much pomade.
“He’s following you.”
My throat turned bone-dry.
“I doubt that.” The weakness of my voice did an excellent job contradicting my words.