“Nikki lives in Cheshire with her husband, two dogs and lovely mother-in-law who supplies her with endless cups of tea. She writes romance with a touch of humour and lots of love, and hopes that she puts a smile on her reader’s faces. Her ambitions of becoming a writer started at the age of 10 when she started writing poetry at school, and was given the honour of reading one of her poems to the rest of her year group (a truly embarrassing experience that she will never forget). Nikki is grateful for the wide variety of strange and wonderful people in her life, otherwise she’d never know what to write about! She is currently talking to family and friends, finding out their innermost secrets in readiness for her next book.”
Where are you from?
“I am originally from Stoke on Trent, a tiny little place called Goldenhill. However, I have lived most of my life in and around Crewe & Nantwich in Cheshire. Crewe is where Bentley cars are manufactured and used to be home of the Rolls Royce too.”
What is your favorite genre to write and read?
“My favourite genre to write is romantic comedy, although I do like to do a little bit of angst now and again. Funnily enough, I don’t read a massive amount of romantic comedy but mostly contemporary romance. Although, I love Helena Hunting. Kayley Loring and Jana Aston so maybe I read more romcom than I thought.”
Who/What inspired you to write the Dayton Valley Series?
“Two members of my group (Ashton’s Amorous Angels), Lynn and Janice said they wanted a scratch and sniff cover and the best sort of book for that would be a cowboy book. Conversation went on from there and while I didn’t agree to a scratch and sniff cover, I did agree to a cowboy book – Hunter and Ellie were then created. While writing The Triple Threat, I realised that there were lots of amazing characters in there who deserved their own story. That very same morning my editor, Anna Bloom, who had started the first set of edits messaged me with exactly the same idea, and so one book became six! I love small town stories and the communities that can be created within them, so while six books is daunting, I’m really excited about expanding the world of Dayton Valley.”
I loved the Maddison High School series. It is an amazing series to read with so much action and intense scenes. What was the hardest part to write in the series?
“It was hard to write as a teenager because it’s a long time since I’ve been one. Plus, times have changed dramatically since my teenage years – teenagers today are so very different in many ways. Luckily I have teenage nephews and nieces who helped me with the intricacies of teenage life and everything involved in modern society for them. I also found both the prologues difficult to write because of the content. Adam’s was particularly hard but it needed to be written for people to understand him more.”
Which book, if you could pick one, did you enjoy the most to write?
“I would say that has to be Pelvic Flaws because it’s all about my age group, specifically a woman going through the menopause. There aren’t many books out there about middle aged people so it was something I was really desperate to write. I loved the dynamic between Katie and Dex and how her insecurities because of her age threatened to stall their relationship. There was a lot of me in Katie, so she was an easy character to create. It was also great writing a more mature man who knew what he wanted and felt too old to play games.”
What is the hardest part when you create a character?
“I would say, firstly, making sure they have their own voice and that the male and female characters don’t sound the same. Also ensuring that my character has their own personality and isn’t a replica of a character I’ve written before. Depending on the story, they generally need to be realistic but likeable too which can be quite a task. Adam for example was hard. He wasn’t particularly nice to Sarah but I had to make him redeemable and show aspects that the reader would fall in love with, despite his frailties.”
Are you working on any new projects or new releases that we can expect?
“Well the next year to eighteen months will be taken up with The Dayton Valley Series. However, I have two books which need editing and can then be brought out. One is Deadbeat which I released previously under the pen name of Connie Rossen. I’ve edited and added to it, changed the cover and will be bringing it out under my name at some point – when I can get myself sorted. The other is my Dirty Riches kids book. That started out as a chapter a week for my group, Ashton’s Amorous Angels and I have decided to release it. Once again it needs to be edited first. Myself and Victoria Johns are also revising our book ‘I Wanna Get Laid by Kade’. It’s getting a total revamp with a new title, new cover and new content so we are both really excited by it.”
When did you write your first book and was it ever published?
“I wrote my first ‘book’ when I was about 7! It was supposed to be a short story but I filled a whole notebook, so no, it was never published. My first proper book was written about twenty years ago and that was Guess Who I Pulled Last Night. It was the first book I released and if I could write it again I would do it very differently. I suppose that is testament to how much I have improved my writing skills. I did have to change some of the cultural references in it then, so they’ll be even more out of date now. Maybe that’s another book that I could revamp at some stage.”
What do you think makes a great story?
“Personally, I love snappy, witty dialogue, a mixture of angst and light relief and something realistic that must have a happy ending. I love books that grab my attention from the first page and believe the first line of a book is always the most important.”
Is there any advice you would like to give to unpublished authors?
“If there is a story in your head, write it. If you write it, get a good editor and listen to their advice. While that story is your baby, just like a child, you have to let it grow and be the best that it can be. Being protective of it can only stifle it which means it won’t fulfil its potential. Then, when your finished book is published take on board all the reviews, good and bad and remember you can’t please everyone.”
Please feel free to join Nikki’s Facebook Group, Ashton’s Amorous Angels: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1039480929500429/
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I want to thank Nikki Ashton for participating in the November 2020 Author Spotlight.
Interview done by https://www.facebook.com/hvdbbooklife/