I successfully attended my very first Rock Chick Rendezvous! Though I didn’t attend all of the events, the two days I spent with the Rock Chicks was unparalleled to any other romance book fandom. Here’s my small recap and a look into the Q&A with Kristen Ashley and Jay Crownover!
After a full day of work and an hour drive to downtown Cleveland in the summer heat, Rock Chicks arrived at the Metropolitan at 9 to pick up their KA swag bags. Custom to any event, RCR18 featured a crazy cute swag bag for the Rock Chicks to pick up before Friday night’s party. With a 1001 Dark Nights teaser pack, candy, guitar pick, custom t shirt, hat and 4 copies of Crownover & Ashley’s titles this bag of goodies was TOP NOTCH! I gave Instagram followers a sneak peak at the bag Friday night with a live video but my favorite piece was definitely the custom baseball tee.
Want to win some Kristen Ashley swag? Check out this exclusive giveaway for your chance to win a signed copy of The Greatest Risk and Rock Chick Reawakening. Start the Rock Chicks off with a bang or close out the sinfully good Honey series with your own signed copies!
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:
I may be a Cleveland native but it’s been about ten years since I’ve walked through our infamous Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Glammed out and ready to party, dozens of Rock Chicks descended upon the halls of rock. After a killer photo-op with Kirsten in her 70 pound sequin dress and Jay rocking her bad-ass style, Rock Chicks were encouraged to walk all 6 floors of the Rock Hall and enjoy drinks and appetizers fit for rock queens. With the dance party going all night filled with drinks, laughter, and all things rock babes, the Hall’s never seen so much romance royalty.
Signing & Q&A:
My favorite thing about Q&As with any author is the chance to peak inside their minds and see how they develop the wonderful stories readers like you and I adore. Check out some the fabulous questions readers asked and let me know which one was your favorite!
As always, Kristen loves to tell the story of stealing her mother’s romance novels from the age of 12. She would hide them under her bed (on the lower bunk) and unfortunately the cat would pee on it. But she would still get under the covers and read her cat-pee romance novel.
Jay claims she wouldn’t be a romance novelist if it weren’t for Kristen and her Rock Chicks. Her wonderful mom was a librarian so Jay always grew up reading (her fav was Nancy Drew). But has she got older: “Hey…what’s this Sandra Brown book all about?”.
Q: Is there a character or land or idea that you think of but it gets stuck and you can’t quite write the whole book that you write? What do you do?
KA: I’ve only ever given up on one book and I still haven’t finished it but it was Tack’s original book. His first woman’s name was Clara. It was a dark time in my life and it’s a much darker story and he’s a much darker hero. And I didn’t feel that from him at all; he’s got his rough edges. She was run-down and she was publicly humiliated by her husband. It even had Tabby and Rush in the book; it’s almost written. BI just abandoned it and went back when I wasn’t in a bad place and I was like “This book is really frickin good!” But it wasn’t Tack; I’ll probably do some rewrites. Normally though when an idea hits me, I’m just obsessed with it and it never lets me go.
JC: If I can’t figure out if they’re important enough to get their own story or interesting enough, I usually work em in somewhere (as one of her many side characters). I’m sneaky, I’ll just work em in there!
Q: When do you think your books will be coming to movies with Passionflix?
KA: I have no idea, sorry. I sold Three Wishes and The Will to Passionflix. (Find out more about KA & Passionflix here)
Q: How do you come up with the names (for characters) for your novels?
JC: So I have a running list and honestly I started it when I bartended. And I live in Colorado so there’s lots of hipsters with cool names. Anytime I would get a cool idea and their name was really different I would be like “I gotta remember that!” Rule’s honestly is just my backward thinking of “I’m gunna write these twins and one of them is going to be a rule breaker.. Oh Rule!” In real life, all my family is J’s so I knew all the boys had to be R’s. Brains work weird.
KA: Sometimes my characters come to me named (Tack, Jake Spear, Tate). But I have two just enormous names list for any name that I come across that I write. Heroines, nicknames, animal names, another separate for all bar names. IF the character doesn’t come to me name, I’ll unfocus and scroll through the list. It HAS to be their name though; I have to get to know them.
JC: Also if you’re a reader with a really cool name, I might steal it. (Day, Emerys)
Q: Is Jane going to get a story?
KA: No, it’s highly unlikely. Jane is obviously me. I love the fact that her happy ending didn’t include a man. She got what she wanted out of life and she had family around her. She did wrong by those men (the women didn’t care) and they loved her and accepted her and it’s her family now. That’s what she’s always wanted to do. But I never say never or you might find her in the background and she might have somebody, but right now I’m not feeling it.
Q: Do you write the same way, same desk, same laptop, candle, wine? Is there a structure to your day in terms of how you guys write?
JC: I do. I write the same hours and I sit at a desk. I watch The Amazing Race while I write. Normally between noon and 8pm, my power hours, cause I have big dogs. I don’t write very well when I travel.
KA: I’m the same way except I’m morning. No distractions, no music or TV. Kylie Scott was staying with her one time and she would always take an hour out of every day to sit down with her laptop. “I have to be with them!” Scott said. She wrote in a hotel once and that was awesome because she could order a hamburger at any time.
Q: Are you ever going to write Darius a book?
KA: I want to, I really do. I really can’t explain what makes Darius so special to me; that trio of boys is super special to me. It’s kind of like what I just went through with writing Rush, There’s a lot of stress to make it perfect. And I want to make it perfect for you, but it has to be perfect for him, for me to give it to him. He might bookend the Mace and Stella. I might just delay it but I hope I get to spend a good amount [of time].
Q: The model from Built, is he Zeb? Because he’s really hot!
JC: His name is Matt and he lives in New York. He’s actually a concierge at one of the Ritz Carlton’s in New York. Doesn’t he look like Leonardo DiCaprio a little bit? I was with Harper Collins at that time and I had to convince my publisher that I needed a big burly bearded due. At the time, big bearded burly dudes were not on romance covers. Not like a nice trim beard, I needed a dude with a Colorado beard!
KA: I personally thank you for getting the bearded guys on the cover.
JC: I totally take credit for that!
Q: Are we going to get Lachlan and Emily’s story?
KA: Yes. The Loose Ends that’s coming out in November. Hopefully that will do well and then I’ll do another one next year and that will be one of the novellas that I do.
Q: When I read the books I can see them and I can hear them. Do you have visual muses or are they all in your head?
JC: I have a really vivid imagination. So I just see it all and it plays like a movie in my head. So the characters look very specific to me. It’s really rare that anyone in real life or even on my covers look exactly like who I pictured. I try and get close as often as I can. The girl in my new book though, in the first book of the series I said she looked like Taylor Swift so I’ve had to stick with that through six books!
KA: I think we were separated at birth by like a decade.
JC: I will take it!
KA: Cause that’s exactly how I am. I can’t listen to my audiobooks because it freaks me out to hear somebody else doing the voices. I’ve only heard one of my audio books; when I started the sample, I started crying because she sounded just like Feb in For You. I actually sat at my desk weeping. The first time ever I wrote Toby and Addy and Johnny (The Hook Up) was such a strong character in my brain. He kept shoving Toby out, including his personality, I could not capture him at all. So then I found Jerry Mello, You’re welcome when you google him. Ooh my god! He’s my Toby. There’s a picture of him in profile with the beard, yeah, that’s the only time I’ve ever done it.
Q: Kristen would you be able to tell the story of Hector and Sadie’s book?
KA: Hector and Sadie, Rock Chick Regret. I was actually writing Rock Chick Reckoning, Mace and Stella. I had three friend reading the book as I wrote and there’s this one moment where Mace and Stella that is a cliff hanger if the story ended there. So I finished that chapter and sent it off to my friends and went to take a bath. And Sadie came to me; if you’ve read the book she’s violated in the first few chapters and it’s really terrible. I don’t think I dried off; I jumped out of the bath tub and put on sweats and I went directly to the computer and began to write because I needed her to have happy ending. I had to get out of that zone. Her history, her dad, everything came to me, slamming in to me. So it was crucial to make her happy. So then I emailed it to my friends and said “I’m stopping this book and this other book started” and they were like, “WAIT A SECOND! THEY’VE JUST BEEN SHOT AT! THEY FELL DOWN THROUGH THE STAGE!” Well you’re gunna have to wait!
Q: One of things I love most about your books is how you write about real places and we get to go and visit them. I was wondering if there was a real gladiator place that we can go to?
KA: That book [The Greatest Risk] is only a couple months old and that is like the most asked question to me EVER! One of the very fun things about writing the Honey series was the research I got to put in to that. I probably could’ve got a lot more writing done last year if I didn’t some much time on Google. You just think of new search options and it just gets crazy! I saw a picture of these two men in like a boxing ring, and then my mind went. I save that picture. I don’t think I can put that on Pinterest.
Q: It’s [The Honey Series] romance but its closer to erotica do we have any more of that coming our direction?
KA: *turns to Jay* Have you done erotica?
JC: *laughing* No. I’m a delicate creature.
KA: There is a novella in Loose Ends for Diesel, Maddox, and Molly that’s very erotic. Very, very, very erotic. I should go read it and see what percentage there is of like dialogue versus….smut. But I think Ami will probably follow up with a novella. The spirit just has to move me and I would not close the door to that at all.
Q: At the begging of this, Jay you said that you were inspired to become an author because of Kristen. What was that process and when did you make the jump?
JC: I’ve always written but in ever finished anything ever. I was married and it went south. I just happened to pick up the Rock Chick series and I was reading it. I’m a Colorado native and I’m proud to be a Colorado native and I’m super proud that they were set in Denver; not by somebody that didn’t know Denver. But someone that KNEW Denver, like the places. And the guys were very different from most romance guys; they were not Nora Roberts’s heroes. They were these distinctly Colorado men. After I read what had been out I read the Colorado Mountain Men series and I was like “I love this girl. Can we be best friends?” But I starting reading about her and her story. So when Rule was done I was like “I wrote a punk rock hero, in romance; like that’s not a thing.” You didn’t have purple mohawked heroes in romance. But I was like that was my dream guy when I was 20. If Kristen Ashley can write it and put it out her and readers like it…maybe the same thing will happen for me. And if not then I’m just gunna call my mom and be like ‘Hey mom I published a book! How cool am I?” But I wouldn’t’ve known that you can write books for you and for readers and not for publishers if I didn’t read bout Kristen. I wouldn’t know that you could write about dudes that you thought were interesting and not necessarily a wide appeal for romance if it wasn’t for Kristen. She was definitely the one author of all the authors that I read, that I was like “I can be like that girl”. Rule wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her.
KA: Tell em what happened when you published Rule.
JC: I didn’t know what I was doing, let’s just clarify that. I finished it and it got very shoddily edited and I published it two days after I signed my divorce papers. So he don’t get none of that money. I hit publish literally on December 31, 2012. I went to bed. I woke up the next morning and sometime between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day that book was number 5 on Amazon and it sold 10,000 copies in one night. Y’all needed a little purple mohawked boy in romance apparently!
KA: If you’re a writer, or whatever you wanna do. Whatever motivation you get of whatever lift you get, take it and do something about it. Jay did and she made it her own and she sold 10,000 in one night. That’s’ crazy. I was told for years and years nobody wanted my novels. And now I’m sitting here in front of you and that’s just not true. There’s an audience. There’s a lot of beautiful voices out there that we’re finally getting to hear.
JC: One of the important things to takeaway form that was the uniqueness of what she was doing. I think that’s why Rule spoke to so many people. Cause it was different. And I think that’s why the Rock Chicks spoke to so many people. I wasn’t trying to write the Rock Chicks, cause I could never do that, ever. But because she did something that was so singular and so true to her, I was like “I can do that because I ran around with punk rock dudes and tattoo artist when I was a teenager.” I have that story to tell.
Write your own story; it’ll be way better.
– Jay Crownover
Q: How many of your characters are based around real people?
JC: My newest book that just came out in March [Recovered] is based on my very first real life boyfriend that I dated when I was a teenager. It’s his story. But he’s married to a ballerina right now so I can’t give you his phone number.
KA: Most of my secondary characters are based on people in my life. I found that especially in early writing I was able to imbue some emotion into the stories. Trixie, in Rock Chick Rescue, has my friend Dixie’s hands. Trixie is nothing like Dixie. Tex, Todd, Stevie, Uncle March, and Aunt Bette are based on real life people. Tack and Wood, both of them I met a guy in Sturgis and he was…oddly enough the story of Justice and Deke is the story of me first seeing this man in Sturgis. I did end up making out with him in a bar. It was a fun night. It was very inspirational obviously; 3 characters came from that. But I didn’t really get to know him, let’s just say! That was just that one lovely night. He was a gentle guy and a gentleman and he was HOT.
Kristen Ashley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Mystery Man,The Gamble, and Own the Wind. She grew up in Indiana, but has lived in Colorado and the West Country of England.
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Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.