Kristen Ashley and Own the Wind: A Q&A with Editor Amy Pierpont

Book Own the WindIf you've been online, especially on Twitter, you've probably seen some reader discussion of Kristen Ashley and her contemporary romances, which feature motorcycle clubs, alpha heroes, some of whom are mighty mighty antiheroes, and some feisty heroines. I think it was Mandi at Smexybooks who said her books were like Pringles – you can't read just one. Jane and I discussed Ashley's books on a few podcasts, too. At some point in the last six to eight months, you might have stumbled upon someone talking about Kristen Ashley. 

Own the Wind ( A | BN | K | S | iB ), Ashley's newest book, is being published today by Grand Central digitally. I asked Amy Pierpont, Executive Editor for Grand Central and Editorial Director for Forever, about her acquiring of Ashley's books, and she was kind enough to answer all my nebby questions. 

What was your goal when acquiring Ashley's books? What grabbed you about them? (Do you love them as much as her readers do?)

Amy Pierpont: Mystery Man ( A | BN | K | S| iB ) was my gateway novel, and from the first page I was absolutely hooked on all things KA.

Kristen’s voice is refreshing, and her characters are awesomely larger-than-life, and humbly real, all at the same time. I count myself among the many loyal (some might say rabid) KA fans, and, like any rabid fan, it’s my goal to have everyone read her work. I want to share the pleasure of reading Kristen with as many readers as possible! 

Own the WInd, the first novel in Kristen’s all-new Chaos series goes on sale in ebook 4/2, and then we’re hitting the shelves nationwide with the print edition on 6/25. I feel like I’m going to have to stalk my local bookstore waiting for that very first new reader to pick up Own the Wind. I know we’ll have found Kristen a new fan, so I don’t think I’ll be able to keep from squeeing “Gotcha!”

One thing that I've noticed discussed about her books is the lack of editing. How much editing did you do for the new ones? Is it a difficult balance to do a good edit but also leave in all the things readers love about her books?

Amy Pierpont: Kristen is an incredibly engaged author—she communicates daily with fans, keeps them up to date on her life and her writing, and asks them for feedback on what it is that excites them—in books and in life. 

It’s extremely important to Kristen and me that we deliver books that speak to Kristen’s growing fan base. To that end, I edit with the goal of providing editorial guidance that brings a fresh perspective to her work, but at the same time honors the magic that Kristen brings naturally to her stories as well as the promise she’s made to her readers to deliver books that consistently rock their world.

The biggest criticism I've seen about the GC versions of Ashley's books is the lack of international availability. How is GC going to address those fans who won't have access to her newest book?

Amy Pierpont: We bought US/CAN rights to Kristen’s Dream Man, Colorado Mountain, and Chaos series. Kristen and her agent, Emily Sylvan Kim, are hard at work getting books into the hands of readers all over the world.

However, we kept Kristen’s $3.99 pricing when we took over the backlist titles, and we’re releasing the all-new titles at exactly the same $3.99 price. The print edition of Own the Wind will be $6.00, which is $2.00 less than most mass market paperbacks cost.

 

What's your favorite thing about the new book? SHARE!

Amy Pierpont: There’s a scene where Shy and Tabby discuss the most mundane of mundane relationship battles—who does whose laundry, and who leaves whose stinking dirty clothes lying around the dang house!  This scene had me laughing so hard I was crying.

And this is a pretty common reaction to reading Kristen—I’ve literally guffawed like a hyena on a very quiet, very crowded commuter train, nearly scaring my fellow passengers half to death, I’ve shaken with laughter so hard I’ve sent my laptop crashing to the floor (sorry kitty!), and gasped in shock so loudly people thought I must be having a heart attack. Nope, just reading Kristen again. 

 

After Ride the Wind, what's next?

Amy Pierpont: Fire Inside, the next Chaos novel, goes on sale in June then comes Jagged, an all-new Colorado Mountain Series novel that goes on sale in November. We've got another Colorado Mountain novel coming in Spring 2014.

 

If a reader had never tried Kristen Ashley before, should they start with this book, and why?

Amy Pierpont: Yes, I think Own the Wind is an excellent book to introduce readers to Kristen Ashley! Although it’s the start of a brand-new series, it’s a spin-off from Kristen’s popular Dream Man Series, so readers won’t have to wait longer than it takes to click “buy” to read more stories featuring the fabulous characters they meet in Own the Wind.

Own the Wind is on sale today for $3.99 (or perhaps a bit less) at Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks.

Thank you to Amy Pierpont for answering all my nosy questions. Have you read a Kristen Ashley novel? What did you like (or dislike) about the book? 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    I devoured this book and even with the editing—it still read like a fab KA Novel.  Thank you Amy!

    I loved tabby and shy—and agreed, the mundane moments were so great.

  2. 2
    Emma Barron says:

    I’ve been looking for some good, non-paranormal contemporaries. Funny books with alpha heroes riding motorcycles? I’m in!

    I’m curious, though. Is there a big age difference between Tabby and Shy? In the blurb, Shy is a friend of Tabby’s father. Is Shy her father’s age?

  3. 3
    Angela James says:

    @Emma: I’ll jump in with an answer, though I’m not associated with the book, just a fan :) Shy is a member of the MC, that’s how he’s a friend of Tabby’s father. The age difference between Tabby and Shy is fairly negligible, not much more than five years.

  4. 4
    Rebe says:

    I agree with Rachel – this still reads like a KA book, but without all the typos and long descriptions of clothing in her self-pubbed book. This would be an excellent gateway book to her writing, I believe.

    And Emma, Shy is 6 years older than Tabby, so there’s not a huge age difference.

  5. 5
    Jessi Gage says:

    SO glad the price points are staying low on KA. Just picked up Own the Wind. Can’t wait to see how Tate’s daughter handles her crush on Shy!

  6. 6
    Amy Pierpont says:

    @Rachel and @Rebe—so happy you enjoyed OWN THE WIND!  And @Jessi and @Emma, can’t wait to hear what you think.  @Ang, as always, thanks for spreading the KA lurve!

  7. 7
    Kati says:

    It was totally me with the Pringles thing. I once read a Kristen Ashley book, and then read four more over a weekend. You cannot read just one! FACT.

    I truly loved this book. I discovered Kristen’s books last year and literally (not kidding even a little bit) read her ENTIRE backlist over about 8 months. The one I go back to most is Motorcycle Man, which is a total comfort read for me now.

    What I appreciate most, Amy, is that you really did honor Kit’s voice. She’s so unique and really has a great sensibility about her books. I’d have been so sad if her vision and voice hadn’t been honored.

    I must say, having bought and read all of her backlist when she self-pubbed them, you did a marvelous job of cutting down on the copy editing issues, which could occasionally be a bit glaring in her self-pub stuff.

    I’m so excited for more readers to discover Kit. I really believe she’s the next big thing in contemporary romance!

  8. 8
    Minnie says:

    I’ve decided I enjoy KA’s books so much because of the overwhelming exuberance. I agree with the comment that they don’t always appear to be very tightly or conventionally edited – something that would normally drive me nuts – but I honestly don’t mind.

    People think about mundane things, just like they do in real life. I find it so refreshing that not everything is exposition, or will have a call back. Parts of the books take place in something close to the ordinary, tedious, familiar, modern world. Yeah, I know the Alpha trope remains strong in these books and no one exactly stays dirt poor, but I’m bored reading about billionaires and rarefied worlds I don’t necessarily aspire to. Sometimes a character goes to the supermarket where *absolutely nothing happens* beyond the food shopping.  This feels like a mini revolution. For me this has the effect of concentrating the fantastical romantic element.

    I think the magic in KA’s writing might be that she makes it so easy for me to suspend my disbelief – for example when she describes an outfit that I would not find appealing in real life she writes with such conviction that within the story I find myself gladly going along with it.

    At there core is someone writing about lively characters, the importance of found family, with a total commitment to HEAs. I understand why the style is not everyone’s cup of tea but I love them.

    I also can’t believe I just wrote 300 words on this topic, I only meant to ask when Own the Wind was coming to Kindle in the UK.

  9. 9
    Minnie says:

    Gnah! I mean at THEIR core.. (4th para, because I haven’t taken enough space up on this page)

  10. 10
    Melai says:

    The giggling-sobbing-laughing-crying routine while reading KA books is a normal scene in my life. I LOOOOVE KA characters and I’m a proud, happy pimp when it comes to her books! ;)

    p.s. I must, I really, really must mention my love, Tack Allen! Righteous!!! :D

  11. 11
    Karen says:

    I love KA books and agree with Minnie that I love the ‘mundane life’ parts of her books.
    I found Kristen’s ‘stream of consciousness’ writing style a bit jarring when I started to read her books, but I love it now. She writes in a way that allows us to truly understand her characters because we can hear their thoughts. People do not think in logical, sentence structure – our thoughts are chaos (nice play on words … if I do say so myself). Her characters go shopping and they clean the house – they live ordinary lives … well with really HOT guys around …

    I know that some have complained about the clothing, house, etc. descriptions but I love them because those things make the book real. I think it is very real to obsess over what you are wearing because um … we all do it. I can’t be the only person who has totally changed my outfit about 2 minutes prior to leaving the house?

    It is a personal preference but I like to be able to ‘see’ physical locations as I read, so I like to know how the house is laid out, etc.

    I am holding off starting Own the Wind because I need to be alert tomorrow. But as soon as I can – I know I will read the whole book in one sitting.

  12. 12
    Kaetrin says:

    I read Motorcycle Man a few days ago.  I had planned to read Own the Wind next but I decided to read the rest of the Dream Man series first.  So, 3 x one-click buys later I was able to start Mystery Man and have Wild Man and Law Man awaiting. 

    I resisted trying KA for so long but now I am hooked.  They’re not perfect, but the enjoyability factor was off the charts.  And Tack is awesome.

    Count me as another who has fallen down the KA rabbithole! (and Kati and Jane from DA are responsible) :D

  13. 13
    JoJo says:

    Thanks Sarah for the great interview with Amy!

    I did a marathon read of Own the Wind yesterday and was greatly relieved that Grand Central did not strip away KA’s great story telling. Like a lot of readers, I really like the descriptions of the characters clothing and homes. It paints such a clear picture in my mind of every detail of the story…like a movie in my head. So, please Amy, don’t cut back too much! Grand Central did a great job with the cover art. And, finally, THANK YOU for keeping the ebook price at 3.99!!!!

  14. 14
    Jessi Gage says:

    Question: If I want to buy from KA’s backlist, should I wait until they’re re-released? Will there be significant changes made to coming editions? Thanks!

  15. 15
    Emma Barron says:

    Thanks for the answers, everyone!

    I’ve downloaded it to my Nook, can’t wait to read it.

  16. 16
    JoJo says:

    @Jessi. The Colorado Mountain series and Dream Man series are the only ones, at this point, that KA has said will be re-released after re-editing. Check out her web site for her suggested order of reading and description of her series. I started with Knight b/c of a review I read but then went right to the Rock Chick series. Think I devoured all her books within weeks!! I also want to mention that KA has a great Facebook page; she responds to her fans comments and questions almost daily. Happy reading!

  17. 17
    Jessi Gage says:

    @JoJo. Thanks for the tip! I checked her website and liked her FB page. And will check back for latest news:)

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