Twitter Interview of Ashlee Shades

So, just over a week ago, I took to Twitter to ask you all to tweet questions for me to answer in a blog post. A little "Get To Know Me" post, actually. Some people sent them to me via DM, others tweeted, but either way I collected some pretty terrific questions! Thank you to those of you who RT'd that tweet for me, and to those of you who took a few moments (some a few more than others, lol) to ask a question (or two, or three). You will find the questions, along with who they were asked by, with the answers below.

1) Any past lives you remember and want to discuss? Asked by Naya Free (@AuthorNaya)

This was a great question! Thank you, Naya. I cannot say that there are past lives that I remember, however, there is a period of time in history I feel a strong connection with. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been drawn to the Regency Era in England. I love everything about it: The clothing, the hairstyles, furniture, art, you name it and I have probably seen it or read about it. When I get a chance to read a book for entertainment purposes, it is usually a Regency inspired historical book. It doesn't even have to be a romance, as long as it is set in Regency times I usually love it.

The next few were asked by Blake Flemming (@bj_flemming)
2) How did you choose your pen name?

This one is easy, in a way. 1) I have always loved the name Ashlee (yes, with that spelling). One of my closest friends when I was little (who passed away when we were still young) had that name, so I guess you could say it is a way to remain connected with her; and 2) I LOVE sunglasses, or "shades", so I combined the two to come up with 'Ashlee Shades'! Now, when I switched to the pen name, Amazon didn't like it and they gave me trouble for using the last name of 'Shades'. After uploading the 5th one, they finally backed off.

3) Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Michigan, USA. Until I was 8 years old, my family lived in a small town in the northern lower peninsula. When I was 14, we moved to a larger town in the southern part of the lower peninsula. When I was 19, after meeting my husband, I moved with him to a small "village" in the lower peninsula. We lived there until we moved out of state at the end of 2014.

4) How did you get started writing professionally?

I have always had a love of reading and writing. It wasn't until early in 2014 that I turned it into something professional. Until then, it was always something I did as a hobby (reading and writing). My husband actually got me started. He issued me a dare, in a matter of speaking, by saying, "You should see if you could write a book and publish it."

Well, anyone who knows me will tell you that I do what I can to prove people wrong, or accept challenges (most of the time). I do not usually accept something I cannot do, and I hate being told I cannot do something (or when someone doesn't think I can), so I did it. In late 2013 I started work on my first book, 'Brielle', that I published in March of 2014. It was published, originally, under my real name, under a different title. When I switched to 'Ashlee Shades' I put that book through another round of editing and published it under a new cover and title.

5) Are you married? And if so, what does your spouse think of your writing? (Asked by Anonymous)

Great question(s)! As a matter of fact, I am married. :) I have been married to my best friend and strongest supporter for going on 12 years. He is the person who got me started on writing professionally, and most of the time, acts as a manager when I feel like slacking, so I guess you could say that he is 100% on board and loves that I am writing!

6) How old are you? (Asked by Tonya)

I am in my 30s. I am older than 31, and younger than 36 ;)

7) Do you have a favorite book? (Asked by John)

I do, actually. When I was in high school we were required to read a certain amount of books from a list we were provided. I chose the historical biography of Elie Wiesel titled 'Night'. The book talks of his horrific experience in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. It is one of those books that kept me up for hours, reading and taking notes. It captured my attention and took me on one of the most intensely emotional rides out of any book I have read. It is now almost 20 after I first read that book and it is still with me. 

8) What is one motto, or favorite saying, that you go by? (Asked by Dan)

I actually have a few, thanks for asking, Dan!

a) Always do your best in whatever you do. If it is worth your time, then it is worth doing well.
b) Tomorrow will never come, so be the best version of yourself that you can be today.
c) Shoot for the moon. If you do not make it, then you will be among the stars.
d) Be the light for others to see. Shine!

(Okay, so I had four to be exact, lol!)

9) Do you have a favorite piece from your own work? (Asked by Anonymous)

Hmm, that is a great question, and one I find hard to answer. I try to write entertaining stories, and I enjoy each one. If I had to pick a favorite, I would say that it would be the one I am releasing titled, 'Michael'. It is the fourth book in the Revenge series. It is about a man who catches his wife cheating, on their anniversary, and decides to exact his revenge on her. It is entirely from the male POV, and I went outside of my comfort zone while writing it. I think that may be the reason it is one of my favorites, because it allowed me the chance to expand on what I felt comfortable writing.

10) What are your biggest aspirations? (Asked by Mr. Blackthorne @Mr_Blackthorne)

Ah, what a great question, Mr. Blackthorne! If I had been asked this question when I was younger, my answer would have been to grow up and become a lawyer who fought for the rights and fair treatment of the underprivileged. I had such huge dreams when I was younger, and I still have dreams/hopes, they have just changed.

Now, I would love, more than anything, to use what I have been blessed with to help others. I want to be someone who inspires others to be the best they can be, to do the best they can. I want to do what I can to encourage them to believe in themselves. I think the best thing we can do as humans is to support and encourage others to believe in themselves and encourage them to be more confident in who they are - to accept who they are without worry of what others think of them. This is something I struggle with myself, and I hate knowing there are others out there who may be feeling about themselves the way I feel about myself.

I would also like to be successful in my writing career - not necessarily in wealth, but in reaching people and entertaining them with my stories.

Again, I would like to thank you all for sending/tweeting your questions. I hope you enjoyed reading these answers and getting to know me a little more. And as always, thank you so much for your support! (And for those visiting for the Blackthorne's Dungeon event - my middle name is Isabelle)

Love, Ashlee Shades

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