We’re proud to introduce our wonderful Dare and Modern romance author Jackie Ashenden – she shares her journey to becoming a writer, from getting ‘the call’ to writing sexy ‘alpha dudes’!
When I first became a published author, I knew two things. One, that I would never stop writing. Two, that I would never be published by Mills & Boon.
I’d been writing since I was twelve — mostly romances for my own amusement — but I didn’t start actually writing for publication until ten years ago. I tried to get accepted by Mills & Boon, since they were my publisher of choice, but after five years of pretty solid rejection, I gave up and turned my sights elsewhere. But those five years of editorial feedback had clearly taught me a lot about writing (not to mention perseverance!) so when I finally wrote something else, I was kind of shocked when it was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to. I was pretty shocked when the next book was accepted too. And after that, I began to write for other publishers, stories about alpha guys and strong women, some billionaires, some not, but always sexy and always high stakes and emotional, since I’d figured out that’s what I liked to write.
Then a door I thought had shut a long time ago opened. My agent was contacted by Mills & Boon, because they had a new, super sexy line starting up and they’d thought of me, and did I have anything I could submit? To say I was surprised was an understatement. Years after giving up on Mills & Boon, they had apparently not given up on me!
I was ecstatic. But the only thing I had to give them was a very explicit, very gritty biker story that I was going to self-publish and I was pretty sure Mills & Boon wouldn’t want that.
Reader, I was wrong. They did want it. And that became Ruined, my first book for the Dare line. And not long after that, after a chat with an editor at an RWA conference (useful things conferences!), there was an opportunity to submit to Modern. I used to read Modern way back when I was a university student wanting some escapism, and I’d always loved the combination of sexiness (though they didn’t all have sexy times back then, you had to skim the pages to look for it and believe me, I skimmed to look for it) and high stakes emotions, and since I’d been writing billionaires for other publishers, it was right up my alley. And because I never say no to anything, and because Modern was a line I’d initially targeted way back when I’d first started, I took that opportunity with both hands and ran with it.
So now I write for two lines, each allowing me to write what I love. More contemporary, gritty and sexy stories for Dare, which I write first person. And high fantasy, angsty sexy fairy tales for Modern. It’s the absolute best of both worlds — I mean, with wall to wall alpha dudes, who’s complaining?
So, there’s still two things I know as a published author. One, I will never stop writing stories. And two, I will never say no to any opportunity, because since you never know where it will take you.