Interview with Author Avril Ashton

I am in fangirl mode today, y’all. Avril Ashton is one of my very favorite M/M authors. Her Brooklyn Sinners series is incredible. These men are larger than life and broken and hard and searching and HOT! I squeed all through an email to her after I read the first one and haven’t stopped hanging on every word she writes or says since… If you have not read this series, go, do it as soon as you get done reading the interview below, or so help me…

lovethesinner1. I know I’ve asked before, however, please talk again about how you came up with the Sinners series…  

I was listening to Rihanna’s Man Down. In it she talks about shooting a man, in public, taking his life. A scene flashed before my eyes of that shooting. Two men. One gets shot. Who did it and why? What’s the story? I based Love the Sinner (Brooklyn Sinners #1) on that premise and worked backward, exploring the characters and their motivation. I’m a huge fan of conflict, of gray areas, of the anti-hero, so I thought well, hell, why don’t we have two men fall in love? Why don’t we make it a cop falling in love with a gang leader, the same gang leader he’s trying to arrest? The same one who shoots him? Eh? Eh? I loved it! I’d only planned to do that one book, but as supporting characters popped up I had to change that train of thought fast. It appeared everyone had secrets, everyone wanted love, and they all wanted me to tell their story.

2. Do you have a favorite set of characters in the Sinners books? They make you laugh, cry, get all kinds of HOT… Are any of them more favored in your mind?

I love them all. Clichéd, but man, so true. They’re all damaged, all so completely taken the instant they meet that one special person. They offer no excuses about the life they lead, just state the facts and let you make your judgments. I love that about the men of the Brooklyn Sinners. Cop and Angel do it for me, they always will, because they were the first, they broke the mole. JP and Shane hold me captive because of how broken Pablo was, how much losing Angel hurt him. Shane comes in and bumrushes his life, twists him into a freaking emo-pretzel, and forces him to choose between the life he led and the one he wanted. Syren and Kane. Ho boy. Another beast, but the most personal. The subject matter, especially Syren’s personal demons, are mine, so I relived some pretty heavy stuff while writing A Sinner Born. I still love Syren and Kane because no one could’ve handled Syren, but Kane.

3. Which comes first…the music or the book idea?

Both at the same time. Really. Sometimes hearing a song sparks a scene. Just like Melanie Fiona’s  “4 A.M” sparked that fierce, brutal love scene with Angelo and Cop in LtS in Coney Island the night of Angel’s birthday party. I heard that song and the scene was there, all I had to do was write it down. And that was before I’d even written page one of chapter one. Other times, the story comes then a song suddenly makes sense, and fits beautifully. Like Lupe Fiasco’s Battle Scars. That song made so much sense while I was writing A Sinner Born. It fit both Syren’s physical and emotional state.

sinnersavior4. Pantser or Plotter? Panster. I sit down to start a new WIP with the book title, my characters name, and at least one scene in my head that I know just has to be included. How, when or why, I never know.

5. You need your coffee as much as I need mine, so… Dark, Medium, or Light roasts? Cream? Sugar? Syrup? How big is your favorite mug? How many times do you refill your favorite mug each day? What is your favorite drink from Starbucks?

Believe or not, I’ve never tasted Starbucks. Regular coffee mug, refills about twice if I make it. Sometimes I buy from the Dunkin Donuts three doors down from me. I’m not one for any kind of fancy mess. Folgers. Light and sweet. Cream and sugar. Easy peasy. I’m a New Yorker. Don’t need anything more than that.

6. And cake… You like cake. What is your hands down favorite cake?

Cake! In the West Indies we have a cake called Black Cake. It’s basically a cake infused with rum and wine. Dark food coloring gives it its name, it is black and soft and hmm. I’m freaking drooling right now. My sister-inlaw makes them with peanuts and dried fruits. It’s so good. Usually it’s only made in West Indian households at Christmas time. Depending on the amount of liquor involved, one slice can get you drunk. The last time she made it for us, ‘cause I don’t bake, I ate one all by myself, in about one hour. I murdered that cake. R.I.P. Now I need to go beg her to make me one. Thanks very much.

7. What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten on one of your books?

That someone likes it. That alone makes my day. I’m easy to please.

8. How did you get started writing?

I’ve always been into it, but I lost my way for while. It took me getting with Mr. A, and him being all kinds of awesome and creative, to give me the impetus to finally say, this is what I love, this is what I want to do. I began writing in summer ’09 and here I am.

9. Who is your favorite all-time author, book, characters?

Can’t pull anyone off top, but the book that sticks in my mind is Mary Lynn Baxter’s Like Silk. I was reading it at the EDJ one day, crying my eyes out and thinking, this is what I want, to make someone cry while reading my book.

10. Will Mr. A ever appear in a book as a secondary character?

LOL Every one of my characters are influenced by Mr.  A. He’s the original Brooklyn Sinner and my own personal anti-hero. He’s all over those books, son.

asinnerborn_msrA Sinner Born

Book three in the Brooklyn Sinners series.

One man buried in secrets. Another still grieving the love he lost. Their worlds collide in a battle between memories, old and new, while trust hangs by a fragile thread.

Syren Rua is at war. He battles painful childhood demons and his intense need for the first person who makes him feel. As Faro, Syren makes deals with the worst while taking the steps necessary to bring his family’s killer to justice. He isn’t one to indulge in selfish needs, but he’ll make the time in this instance. Syren has been watching Kane Ashby, craving the grieving man for his own. He’s always stayed away from temptation, but that’s about to change.

Kane isn’t over the death of his long-time partner. He’s certainly not ready for a relationship, sexual or otherwise, but Syren isn’t a man who takes no for an answer. The unpredictable Syren offers nothing but secrets and brings with him memories so dark, they could wipe out any chance the two might ever have. Syren brings Kane’s heart back to life. But it is also Syren who could inflict the most damage.

Inside Scoop: One of our heroes has a panty fetish. And it’s hot. This book also contains brief references to rape and child abuse.

A Romantica® gay/lesbian erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Ellora’s Cave | Amazon

 

“Heard you were looking for me.”

Kane scowled at the man on his computer screen. “Really, it’s been days since I told Gabe to tell you to call me.”

The man now known as Rafe Soto-Ashby lifted his shoulder in a careless shrug. “I was busy.”

“Uh-huh.” Rafe did freelance architectural work out of the couple’s home in North Carolina, nothing major to bring attention to himself and Gabe, just enough to keep him out of Gabe’s hair and to keep Rafe busy and engaged in something he liked doing. “What are you working on?”

“Community center for at-risk teens.” Rafe’s face broke out in a grin. “Good stuff.”

With a spark in his eyes like that, Kane could understand how his brother fell in love with the former gunrunner. Now Kane only felt slightly guilty for wanting to shoot Rafe when he found the man in his brother’s kitchen naked except for a pair of tight black briefs. He was Angelo Pagan then and his body was nuts. Kane may have peeked a little.

Okay a lot, but he was entitled.

“What’s up?” Rafe asked.

Kane leaned forward on his elbow as he stared into the laptop he’d placed on the island in his kitchen. “In your former life you had dealings with a guy named Faro, right?”

For his part, Rafe didn’t so much as blink. “Is this an official question, Marshal?”

Kane glowered. “Of course not. This is me, your brother-in-law, asking you something I really hope you answer.”

Rafe crossed his arms. “Personal then?”

“Which response gets me an honest answer from you?” He took a sip from his coffee cup, watching over the top as Rafe leaned forward.

“You tell me what’s got you asking about Faro and I’ll tell you what I can.”

Kane sighed. “I know who he is because he told me. What I want to know is why he knows who I am. He helped me find a runner in New Orleans and he’s been, uh, calling me.” He looked away from the computer when he spoke the last part.

“Calling you, how? Threatening?”

He shook his head at Rafe’s sharp words. “No, nothing like that. The opposite really.” His face heated and he really didn’t want to talk about Faro anymore. “He says I intrigue him.” God, he embarrassed himself saying those words.

Rafe cocked his head to the side, his mouth open. “Intriguing, huh?” He barked a laugh. “Good one.”

Kane waved his words away. “I need to know how to make him go away. I don’t need a criminal calling me and compromising my job. I’m sure you have something I can use.”

Rafe’s eyebrow shot up. “Blackmail, Marshal?”

“He’s a smug little brat with too much time on his hands,” Kane said fiercely. “I want him gone.”

“Uh-huh. I hear you.” Rafe didn’t sound convinced. Not at all.

“Do you have anything I can use?” Pretty please.

“I have a lot of information on Faro. He trusts me and I trust him.” Rafe came in real close on the screen. “He was the one who helped me get out of Brooklyn. He was the one who watched out for your brother when I was locked up. He knows my secrets and I know…some of his.”

Kane stared at him. “What?”

“I’m not telling you shit to use against him, Kane. You can forget that.” Rafe got the saddest smile on his face. “I can tell you this. Faro is a man with many faces who wears a lot of hats. He’s a great number of things to a great number of people, none of them real. None of them true.”

“Talking riddles now, are we?” Kane gripped his coffee cup tighter. “Can’t you just tell me if I should stay away from him or not?”

“Do you want to stay away from him?” Rafe didn’t wait for a reply. “Faro is a lot like many men I know, he’s not all good nor is he all bad.”

“God, you’re no help at all.”

Rafe barked a laugh. “I think you like him, Marshal. Despite thinking you know who he is. Eerily familiar.”

“Yeah, whatever. Do you keep in contact with him?”

Rafe’s face morphed into a blank slate. “We speak. Do you want me to give him a message, warn him off?”

Hell no. “No, I’ll do it.”

“Oh?”

God. Kane felt the blush wash over his face. “He, uh, I have his number.”

“I just bet you do.”

 

AUTHOR BIO

A Caribbean transplant, Avril now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y with a tolerant spousal equivalent. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who loves reading and school (not so much school anymore). Avril’s earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing the plot points of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother.

Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of ’09 and never looked back. Spicy love scenes, delicious heroes, and wicked women burn up the pages of Avril’s stories, but there’ll always be a happy ending; Av remains a believer of love in all its forms.

Addicted to cake, the ID Channel and the UFC, Avril writes Erotic and GLBT Romance for Ellora’s CaveEvernight PublishingeXtasy BooksSecret Cravings Publishing and Total-e-Bound.

Visit: http://www.avrilashton.com

Friend Avril: http://www.facebook.com/writeravrilashton

http://www.twitter.com/#!/AvrilAsh

http://avrilashton.tumblr.com/

Snippet Saturday – Winter

Today was hard for me to pick. I have several books to choose from which are set right in the middle of Winter and freezing cold.

I also had a new M/M release this week that has a Christmas theme and it takes place with snow and ice and cold and requires quite a bit of hot chocolate.

And, snowballs…

Snippet 1:

He’d hated to wake Adam, but Josh wanted to get him up to the house and out of the wintry mix that had started falling and the wind that had started blowing.

The first thing Adam had said to Josh was to ask to see his car. Josh was hesitant but knew he’d have to relent sometime. Adam would be upset and rightly so. The car was pretty damn banged up and would take some extensive work to get it fixed and drivable again.

The back end was in fine shape except for a few scratches that could be buffed out, but the front quarter panels and the hood…

“I can’t believe it looks like this.”

“The impact was pretty hard,” Josh said from beside Adam.

“I realize it was a hard hit, but, fuck, this is… I hadn’t imagined it would be this bad.”

“I’m sorry, man.”

“I just can’t believe this. I don’t know how much of this insurance is going to pay for or if they’re going to total it. I guess it’s time I call them.”

“Yeah. I’ve pulled out what I thought you might need after I got you out of the car.”

“You’ve been really good to me through all this, Josh. I don’t know how to repay you.”

“I’d have done it for—”

“Please don’t say you’d have done it for anyone,” Adam said, his eyes full of pleading. “I don’t think I could take it if you did.”

Josh nodded. He understood what it would feel like if Adam had said the same thing to him. They were wrapped up in each other, and it was more than the blowjob from earlier. “Okay.”

Adam looked at Josh, and Josh couldn’t look away. His skin was flushed, and the snow was starting to fall harder, though Josh didn’t think Adam even realized it. He hadn’t wanted to upset Adam by showing him the condition the car was in, but Adam’s smile and softly worded request would have melted a glacier.

“Will you, ah… Will you show me around a little?”

“What? Now?”

“Yeah.”

“Adam, it’s freezing and snowing.”

“So? I know you can’t be afraid to get wet and a little cold.”

“Of course not. I was just worried about you.”

“Well, stop. I’m a grown man. I’m sore, not at death’s door.”

“You sure seemed like you were when I found you a little while ago.”

“Just take me outside and show me around. Please. I want to see the trees.”

Josh held out his hand and didn’t have to wait long for Adam to take it, to lace their fingers together. Josh’s breath caught, and his eyes met Adam’s again immediately. The feeling coursing through him at the connection singed his nerve endings. His heart thumped double-time, and his cock started hardening. He was even having a hard time thinking straight. “Damn, what is this between us?” Josh asked, unwilling to name it himself.

“I don’t know. I mean, I think I know, but at the same time, I don’t know.”

“Eloquent.”

“You’re the one who asked the question.”

Josh shook his head and led Adam out of the barn. “C’mon.” There was a wide swath cut through the center of the yard where Adam’s car had slid across the snow and ice crusted on top. He’d come in at an angle and missed the tree lot.

Adam stopped and turned his body one way, gazed around, then turned his body the other way and gazed some more. Josh tried to view things through Adam’s eyes, but he wasn’t sure if they saw the same things. Josh saw peace and comfort and home. What did Adam see?

“It’s really beautiful here.”

“It is.” The farm was located in a small valley with mountains to the west near Boone and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and north. Hills and trees and views that were breathtaking filled Josh’s sight and mind every day. He was happier than he could ever have imagined being, having this place to come home to after seeing so much destruction overseas.

They started walking again, and when they got to the edge of the sales lot, Adam removed his hand from Josh’s. Josh felt the loss, and his hand was suddenly cold, but not from the temperature outside. He missed Adam’s touch.

Adam moved through the trees slowly, winding his way through each of the rows. “I’ve never seen such perfect Christmas trees before.”

“We pride ourselves in having the very best. They’re full and fragrant. They are hardy too. With proper care, they’ll last longer than most other trees from other farms.”

“How long has your family been doing this?”

Snow covered the branches and bristles, and it was several inches deep on the ground. It was supposed to rain through the evening and right on until morning. The wind was picking up, blowing snow across their faces. The cold would turn biting soon, and even though it wasn’t yet dark, he would need to get Adam back inside shortly.

“My great-grandparents started the farm when they first got married. The land was a gift to my great-grandpa from his father, which had been in the family since before the Civil War.”

“And the house I’m convalescing in?”

“I grew up in it but live alone there. My parents built a house on up the road, on the other side of the nursery. Todd and Kelly have a place farther up the mountain. There are aunts and uncles and cousins all over these parts.”

Snippet 2:

Jared slid his arms around Bryson’s waist and held him close and tight. Something had started cracking inside him when he and Bryson were quarreling with words last night, but that something kept right on fracturing, and soon all that hardness was going to fall away and he would be a vulnerable mess again. Bickering and squaring off with words was what they’d always done to settle disputes and arguments. It was familiar, comfortable, and it warmed him. The kiss hadn’t hurt either.

And while a day, a week, a month ago, he might have been annoyed at Walt showing up, that something cracking inside his chest extended to Walt as well. Jared’s hold on Bryson could be, or might be, construed as possessive. It wasn’t what he was feeling, though.

He was hungry, needy, wanting exactly what Bryson had suggested he wanted. To be between them, one in each of his holes, filling him, and surrounding him with their heat and lust and touches. He wanted them, wanted their love, and at least in his head, he could admit it.

But the last time he’d come clean about something, the last time he’d admitted how he felt about something, his father had decked him and called him every vile name not mentioned in the good book. He was a little gun-shy in the admission department.

“It’s a little cold out here to play. Maybe want to get the work done and then venture inside?”

The way Walt said the word “inside” set off every nerve ending from Jared’s brain to the soles of his feet. He wanted to bend over the middle railing of the pasture fence, putting himself into position for one man in front and one behind.

It might be cold out, but his cock was hard as stone.

“Maybe if you get off your high horse and help out, it’ll get done faster.”

“High horse?” Walt slowly dismounted. “My high horse?” His boots crunched on the snow and dead grass as he made his way, steady and sure, toward them. Bryson smirked, but Jared wasn’t sure how to take the look on Walt’s face. The closer he got, though, the more a smile broke out across his lips. Walt made a lunge at Bryson, but Bryson ducked out of Jared’s embrace and spun away.

When Walt caught up to him, Bryson was ready with… A snowball? Jared blinked. The snowball landed square in Walt’s stoic face. He wasn’t smiling anymore. No, he looked fit to be tied.

Another snowball flew, this time hitting Jared smack in the face. What the hell? He wiped the ice crystals from his eyes and cheeks just in time to see Walt tackle Bryson to the ground. The men laughed and wrestled, both losing footing and falling.

Jared just stood back and watched, unfamiliar feelings welling up inside. Lightness. Fun. He’d never really associated either with himself and definitely not with Walt, but his lovers—and yes, they were his lovers—looked to be having so much fun rolling around in the snow and ice, and mud found underneath.

If he just let go and stayed in the moment, he felt like a completely different person. He wasn’t so serious or so much in his own way. He liked this feeling, this energy, and this desire to be part of something bigger than his fears. It was how he’d been before that blasted dream so many months ago. He wanted out of his self-imposed exile and back in the warmth and decadence of male arms and hot, dirty sex.

For the moment, though… “Uh, how exactly is this getting the work on the fence done?” he asked when there was a lull in the laughter and he thought he might be heard. Both men looked over at him, their smiles falling, and for a moment, Jared felt bad about intruding on the fun when he’d rather be joining in. He hoped there would be time for it later. After the work. It was the one positive his father had taught him. Work before pleasure, because then pleasure could be enjoyed freely and without rush or guilt over things undone.

“You know, he’s right.”

“Yeah. He is. This really isn’t getting any work done.”

“No, it’s not.”

“We should do something about it.”

“I agree.”

Walt stood first, then lowered a hand down to Bryson and helped him stand. They brushed their clothes off, but they were already soaked through. Walt took a step toward the four-wheeler Jared and Bryson had ridden out on, but at the last moment, detoured and made a move toward Jared. He had Jared flat on his back before he could catch his next breath.

The cold from the ground and the force of the impact took the following breath too. Bryson was on Walt’s back, working to pull him off Jared, but all he succeeded in doing was tangling them all together, as Walt’s hold on Jared was unforgiving in its strength.

“Two against one is totally unfair,” Jared huffed out, a grin breaking across his face.

“Maybe,” Bryson conceded. “I was trying to help though.”

“Help who?”

Bryson pretended to think about it, but just grinned. “You, at first, but…” He casually lifted a shoulder. “I guess you could say it’s now two against one.”

“Figures.”

“Fun though, yes?”

Jared rolled from beneath Walt, his hand under his ass a conscious move. His fingers gathered snow, and he tilted to the side, back toward the big Native American. Their lips met in a searing kiss, one hot enough it should have melted the ground beneath them, but then Walt’s lips were gone, a hiss issuing from them. Jared’s hand was empty of the snow because he’d worked it inside Walt’s jeans.

Bryson was kneeling off to the side, laughing.

“Think it’s funny, huh?” Walt growled, trying to get the ice from inside his pants. It dropped out from the bottom of his jeans. He reached his hand down the front and scooped out a rather large chunk of snow, which he promptly threw at Bryson.

But then, when he turned that look on Jared, Jared didn’t know whether to run or stand his ground. Revenge was written all through Walt’s eyes. A wicked tilt to his lips made Jared think of very naughty acts, and suddenly, though the play in the snow was fun, he couldn’t wait to get back in the house.

“I’ll be getting you for that, cowboy,” Walt said, promises and threats threaded through each word.

“I’m counting on it,” Jared replied. He found he meant it too. He couldn’t think of anything he wanted more in that moment other than for Walt to get him back, for Walt to punish him in some way for having played dirty enough to let loose a snowball over Walt.

end Snippets

I’m headed out to do some holiday shopping but y’all be sure to check out the following blogs for great snippets:

Rhian Cahill
Leah Braemel
Myla Jackson
Caris Roane
Jody Wallace
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
HelenKay Dimon
Shiloh Walker
Delilah Devlin
Eliza Gayle
Lauren Dane
Felicity Heaton
Shelli Stevens
TJ Michaels

Have a great Saturday!

~lissa