Kristen Ashley discusses Dream Keeper

In a fantastic event hosted by John Charles, The Poisoned Pen welcomed a favorite local author, Kristen Ashley, to discuss her latest book in theDream Team series, Dream Keeper.

Kristen, known for her captivating romance novels, shared insights into her journey from a charity executive to a prolific romance novelist with over 80 published books. She humorously recalled her early days, when she knew “precisely” what she wanted to be, “but couldn’t get published.” Her determination and love for romance eventually led her to success.

Ashley shared her experience with indie publishing and how a government-subsidized program in England helped her get started. Being a hybrid author, publishing both independently and with traditional publishers, gives her the opportunity to collaborate with professionals while also maintaining creative control.

Dream Keeper is the fourth installment in the Dream Team series, blending characters from her Rock Chick and Dream Man series. Kristen explained, “It’s a younger generation. A lot of my readers wanted stories about the kids of the heroes and heroines from the past.” This series explores the lives of strippers and commandos, making for an intriguing read. Ashley shared her passion for music and how it influences her writing process. She talked about the songs that inspired Dream Keeper and the connection between music and emotions in her stories.

One of the hallmarks of Kristen’s books is the sense of sisterhood and empowerment they convey. She noted, “My brand is really about sisterhood and supporting each other, even if you don’t know that person”, as her stories inspired real-life sisterhoods among her readers.

When asked about writing series, Kristen revealed that it’s often organic. “You go in thinking something’s going to be one way, and it surprises you.” She emphasized her dedication to her craft, writing up to 20,000 words a day during a creative burst.

She also talked about her experience with audiobooks and how she collaborates with narrators to bring her books to life in audio format and reach a broader audience.

With regard to social media and the impact on her journey as an author, Kristen referred to the importance of connecting with readers on social media. She mentioned she prefers Facebook and Instagram, and humorously admitted to struggling with Twitter’s cleverness. She also touched on her passion for food, intricately woven into her books, and mentioned her cookbook, Dream Bites, and how the royalties from its sales go to women’s charities through her organization, the Rock Chick Nation.

Finally, Ashley shared exciting plans for the future, including a trip to Paris to connect with author friends and hints at upcoming projects, including a surprise release in January and the next book in her River Rain and Fantasyland series.

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