If 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?)
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.
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?