How did the writer’s journey begin for you?
Gosh, I remember playing with paper dolls at a young age, and making up sad stories about them having accidents and living miserable lives. A real drama princess! I began writing plays then poetry, moved to science fiction and on to women’s fiction. Finally I switched to humor and romantic suspense. Good thing, too. My poetry is terrible.
Tell us three things about you-the writer-readers wouldn’t typically know.
1. I lived and traveled in an RV with my then husband for almost two years. We visited many of the major national parks, traveling the U.S. from coast to coast and seeing parts of Canada. Once a Bald Eagle has kept pace with your vehicle along the highway, life is not the same.
2. The RV experience is probably why I’m no longer married. Just kidding, but then again, maybe not. When my former spouse began calculating board feet while I silently rhapsodized about the Redwood Forest’s beauty, I realized we’d grown apart over twenty years of marriage.
3. I worked in the human resources field for many years. Many of my quirky characters and nasty villains have a basis in fact. Scary thought, but true.
It all began when…
The idea for Death Stretch came from my friend and critique partner, Robin Weaver. She was describing her first yoga lesson, which led to my “aha” moment – what a unique place for a murder! Who knew yoga could kill you?
Where did you get the premise for this book?
Oops, guess I answered this question as part of the last response. I lived in Asheville, NC, at the time I began the story. If you’ve ever visited there, you know the city is filled with old hippies and artists. Kind of like Austin, TX, I’ve heard. Anyway, I decided to write about “alternative” folks. The opportunities for humor and quirkiness abound in the NC mountains.
What stands out about this story that made writing it different for you?
I’d never attempted romantic suspense before, though both of my critique partners are published in the genre. Writing a mystery was a dream of mine, so I gave it a try without expectations. I’d never written for fun before. I found my voice and received a contract, likely due to all the failed manuscripts under my belt. Actually, I don’t wear a belt – the manuscripts are hidden away and concealed with spider webs and dust bunnies.
Were there any difficult challenges or special subject matter you came across while writing this book?
Challenges? Oh, yes! Researching poisons and making my chosen toxin work gave me fits. I hope I made the death believable, but know I’ll hear about my errors if I didn’t, and use the corrections to avoid mistakes in future.
What about this book would make us want to read it more than others of similar taste?
My heroine, Katie, has a sassy attitude and makes down-to-earth observations about men, sex and the importance of chocolate. She and her friend, Ginger—the Demonic Duo–have been getting in trouble together since grade school. It’s nice to know some things never change.
What do you want readers to take away from this book?
Humor can help us overcome difficult situations. Laughing helps when facing your fears.
Tell us about the finished book. Is there anything special we might not know after reading it?
Death Stretch. Here’s the blurb:
She’s leery of overprotective men—he’s sworn to protect and serve.
When Katie Sheridan’s best friend is blackmailed over an affair with a yoga instructor, Katie stuffs herself into workout togs to help identify suspects. Instead of getting fit, she learns yoga can be a killer when the instructor winds up dead. Worse, Katie is a suspect, and finds herself tangling with the sexy, commanding cop investigating the case.
Detective Dirk Johnson knows getting involved with a material witness—especially one as reckless as Katie—means trouble, but his heart and protective instincts aren’t logical. More than once, she rescues herself just before he arrives to save the day. Dirk’s not sure he can keep up with her, but he’ll go down trying.
Blackmail, murder, and adultery teach Katie and Dirk that love obeys its own laws. With passion as the final reward, they find fighting temptation is highly overrated.
Well, here’s an excerpt of Katie and Dirk’s story. And after reading DEATH STRETCH, you may like to know that the characters return in future books.
I watched him inhale, like he held in a rant. Shame on me, but pissing off the man held a certain appeal.
He inhaled through his nose, his gaze lifted for divine inspiration, or perhaps patience. “Break-ins are common these days, so maybe you should use the lock.”
“How do you know I don’t?”
“The lock didn’t tumble before you opened your door.”
“Oh.” It’s hard to be sarcastic to a guy whose job is to “protect and serve.” Speaking of serve, those lips could offer… no, I wouldn’t go there.
“So, Detective Johnson, what does bring you by?”
“I have a few more questions. Mind if I come in?”
My brain stopped at the word come. Silly, but have I mentioned it’s been awhile since I’ve dated?
He grabbed my arm. “Ms. Sheridan? Katie?”
The sizzle of his touch jolted me back to life. “Um, sure. Sorry, I haven’t cleaned yet today.” Or last week, but who’s keeping count? And why apologize?
I closed the woman’s magazine I’d left open to an article on Giving Good Head and shoved it under a pile of papers, hoping Detective Johnson hadn’t noticed my reading preference. His smirk suggested he probably had.
My attention shifted into hostess mode. I might be a slut wanna-be, but my Mama raised me right.
“Something to drink? I have iced tea, bottled water, Pepsi.” I stopped before adding “wine and beer.”
The smirk disappeared and his jaw tightened. “All I want are answers.”
Where can readers find you and your books?
The Wild Rose Press is offering a free DEATH STRETCH download on Amazon between September 10 and 14. Please download and I hope you enjoy the read! Beginning November 6, the book will be available from the Wild Rose Press web site. Oh! And I’ve got a Christmas book – DEATH UNDER THE MISTLETOE, releasing this year. It’s the story of a fantasy Christmas wedding gone wrong. Very wrong. (Insert villainous laugh here.)
My web site is www.ashantay.com. DEATH STRETCH heroine Katie has written a blog article about finding studs and Mona, the owner of The Chocolate Fix, contributed several yummy chocolate recipes. They’ve promised to send me other good stuff every month or so. I’m also on Facebook under Ashantay Peters.
Is there anything else you want to share or add?
Thank you for the invitation to visit The Ranch! I enjoyed the experience and hope I’ve brought a smile to your readers.
Thanks so much for playing along, Ashantay! Good luck with your writing and I’m so glad you came by to share!