Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Meet Author Ash Penn

Today I am excited to be interviewing English author, Ash Penn.

*Lillian flops into a deck chair and waves a hand at Ash.*

Sit, sit.  Here have a blanket. I turned the temperature down so you would feel at home. Now we can imagine we’re on a British beach in the middle of summer.

I did want to use Cornelle Keeven’s set but he got a bug up his butt. You make one small mistake and he bears a grudge for months. Hell, I even told him Debbie wasn’t coming and I’d frisk people to make sure they weren’t carrying explosives. He got real freaked out when I offered to show him my frisking technique.  Anyway, this is cosy isn’t it?

Q. So, Ash, this book Passing Time is your second release with Loose Id.  Tell us a bit about the characters and the plot. I understand it’s a bit spooky. Woooohoooo.

A. There are spooky elements but it’s not really a ghost story. Louis Duncan is a rather grouchy guy, fast approaching middle age and wallowing in his own sense of hopelessness. Jake is younger and embraces life. Their differences make them perfect for one another. Even Louis’s boyfriend, Carter thinks so. And he’s dead.

Q. As you know, I only write Male/Female romance, soooo I have always wanted to ask how do you write Male/ Male?  Being as you’re a girl I can’t work out how you know what goes where and who does what to whom?  I am only dealing with plugs and sockets but you have a plug overload and some interesting sockets to use!

A. Imagination plays a big part. Plenty of research via m/m novels. I have been known to lurk on certain forums where people discuss the intimacies of their sex lives. Another great resource is the m/m group on Goodreads.

Q. Have you always written Male/Male romance?  What made you chose that genre?

A. Yes, I’ve always written m/m in one form or another, long before it was even a genre. I used to sit at home penning my stories thinking I was the only girl ever who thought the idea of two men together was hot.  This was long before the internet taught me otherwise. I do have a strong masculine side to my nature which doesn’t tend to emerge in real life but in my writing I can explore those facets of my personality which is why m/m romance is my perfect genre.

Q. I did have the joy of reading this book before publication and I love the characters. So, where did this story begin, with the characters or the plot?

A. Characters definitely. Without the characters there is no plot. In complete contrast to my first book, I wanted to try my hand at writing a much gentler, sweeter kind of romance. There’s plenty of sex, but unlike my first book, Stray, these characters are actually likeable. I hope.

Q. What things in life inspire you to write?

A. Good books, mostly. And places. I could certainly find inspiration on a Greek beach, or wandering the backstreet of Venice which I don’t do nearly often enough.

Q. Whilst you have only been published recently, I wonder, when did you first get an inkling that you could write and when did you first act on it?

A. I’ve always written. In school, English was my favourite subject. Although I’ve taken long breaks where I didn’t write anything at all, I always come back to it. I take my writing so much more seriously now and try to fit in around four hours a day. I say try because I rarely manage to make four hours. I waste far too much time on the internet for one thing and I can’t always pass that time off as research.

Q. What is a typical day for Ash Penn?  Do you have set hours when you write or do you only get to hide under the stairs when life allows?

A. I tend to write mostly in the morning. I’m fortunate in that right now I can stay at home and write full time. This isn’t going to be a permanent thing so I’m making the most of it while I can. I’m also most of the way through an English degree. One more year to go.

Q. Tell me about your muse and are they in charge or do you manage to rein them in?

A. My muse and I don’t communicate well, which is why I take so long to write a story. I don’t tend to outline so I’m often taking wrong turns and writing myself into a corner. Sometimes my muse will throw me a map, more often than it’ll stand there laughing at me while I try to figure my own way out.

Q. When do you usually get plot motivation?  How do you keep hold of those ideas before they disappear into thin air?

A. My characters dictate the plot and the ideas come along as I write.  I’ll often make notes as ideas come to me. I keep a notebook by my bedside table for when the muse strikes in the middle of the night. If I don’t, the brilliant plot idea I had at 2AM evaporates by the following morning. To be fair though,  in the harsh light of day I tend to find it wasn’t such a great plot point after all.

Q. What has been the most exhilarating moment to date in your writing career?

A. My first publication, closely followed by my second publication. Also, finishing my first book and sending it out into the world

Q. So, what’s next for Ash Penn? Any new stories in the pipeline you can share with us?

A. I’m working on a novel at the moment. I’ve been working on it for the past nine months. I keep saying it’s almost done, and this time I actually mean it. I don’t like to give out too many details but it’s a romance that takes place over the course of about ten hours. It’s actually quite difficult for two people to fall in love in such a short space of time, but I think my guys might just end the story with the start of something special between them.

Now some questions just for fun

Q. Looking back over your life what was your favorite year and why?

A. Writing related? 1999. The year of my first proper computer.

Q. Favorite movie and favorite movie quote?

A. I don’t really watch movies but I’ve always enjoyed the original Star Wars trilogy. The newer films I don’t like so much, actually not at all. ‘May the force be with you’ is not my favourite quote, by the way.

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island what book would you take to read and why?

A. The Complete Works of Jane Austen.  I love her characterisation and witty observations.

Q. What is the stupidest thing you ever did?

A. Not working hard enough to get myself published years ago.

Thank you for coming Ash. Gees I think I’m going to have to turn the thermostat up. You poms sure do live in the cold.

Be sure to check out Ash’s new book at Loose Id and if you haven't read her first one you are really missing out on something special.

You can get your copy at Loose Id


When world-weary Louis Duncan returns to the English town where he grew up, the last thing on his mind is finding love. He's come home to be at his estranged mother's side as she lies comatose in a hospital bed.

The always-sunny barman Jake Harvey yearns to offer Louis much more than a willing ear. After an evening of too much wine, too much Indian take-out, and too much of Jake's soft lips, Louis succumbs to the young man's charms. Jake proves to be a passionate lover as well as a loyal friend.

When his mother’s condition deteriorates, Louis leans on Jake to help him through the difficulty of another loss. The love of his life died two years before, but to Louis he remains every bit alive as Jake. He and Carter continue to chat, smoke together, even argue over whether Louis is living or merely existing. They do everything as they always did, except have sex. Now, despite Carter urging him to take the risk, can Louis give up his first real love and take his chances with the living?

Toward the end of yet another tedious day, Louis Duncan found himself wandering streets he’d not trekked in twenty years. Since his unexpected return to his hometown, he’d tried a variety of the pubs and bars that had sprung up along the High Street in his absence, but only one managed to draw his attention night after night.

The Prince of Wales public house had undergone a total transformation since the dark and dingy days of his youth. It was now a classy-looking modern bar called Harvey’s. Wood paneling and floor-to-ceiling windows had taken the place of the traditional beer-and-nicotine-stained walls Louis recalled as being off-limits to a teenager looking younger than his years.

The usual hum of voices permeated the low-level music as he entered the bar and approached the array of bottles. He took a moment to scan the various spirits, although he never ordered anything other than a large bourbon.

“Hey, Lou.” The barman, Jake, greeted him as though Louis had been a regular for years. “How’s your mum?”

Louis had spent most of the day at her side, the rhythmic chug and beep of the complicated machinery keeping him company. Occasionally a nurse would rustle up a coffee, and a doctor might pop in to update him on her progress, but apart from that the only conversation he’d shared these past couple of weeks was with a fresh-faced, eternally cheerful barman.

“No change,” he said, catching the faint nasal vowels of his own adopted New York accent.

Already the longed-for bourbon, a drink he had yet to order, sat before him. For all his youth, this guy knew how to keep his customers happy. Louis lifted the glass and swallowed the contents, savoring the thin heat flaming down into his belly.

“Another?” Jake asked, already reaching for the drained glass.

Louis smiled. For reasons unknown to himself, he always tried to arrange his features into an expression that might pass for pleasant with this particular guy. “Thanks, Jake.”

Jake returned the smile and then turned away to fetch the bourbon, affording Louis a prime view of plump ass. He wasn’t totally desensitized to the allure of a well-presented body.

“Cute,” Carter said softly, taking a perch on the stool next to Louis’s.

“I’m a little long in the tooth for cute.” Louis glanced at his lover, a handsome, smartly dressed man with a shock of sandy hair. Carter grinned, his gray eyes bright and mischievous, exactly like the man he was before the illness had yellowed his skin and ravaged his body to a wispy husk.

“You’re a little long in the tooth for spending yet another evening alone in a bar, but that doesn’t seem to bother you so much.”

Louis hunched forward on his stool. “Every day I get to sit by and watch the mother I haven’t spoken to in twenty years slip closer to death. I think I’ve earned myself a few lousy drinks, don’t you?”

“You don’t think you might have earned yourself more? A shot of that, perhaps?” Carter gestured to the barman on his return.

“Only you, my love,” Louis muttered as Jake set a fresh bourbon in front of him.


Louis glanced up to meet Jake’s curious gaze. “Nothing. Just talking to myself.”

“Is that something you do a lot?”

“More than I should.” Louis was long past caring whether he looked like a fool or a loon.

“Do you answer yourself too?”

Louis shook his head. “Now that would make me insane.” He tried another of his smiles, but his lips refused to tilt.

“Well, I’m here,” Jake leaned his arms on the bar, all traces of humor gone. “If you feel like talking to someone.”

Louis laughed. “Haven’t I bent your ear enough these past couple of weeks?”

“With that accent you can bend my ear any time you like.” Jake gazed at him, although to Louis it felt more like a stare. Did he expect an answer? A few more bourbons, and perhaps Louis might have one for him, but not tonight.

He downed his drink and reached for the wallet in his jacket pocket. “How much do I owe?” he asked in his best business voice.

Jake waved a hand. “On the house.”

“You think that’s a good idea?” Louis took out a note anyway. “I wouldn’t want you getting yourself fired because of me.”

“That’s not likely to happen. I have a very understanding boss.”

Louis set the note on the bar. “No boss is that understanding.”

“Mine is.” Jake slid the note right back. “Did I never tell you my last name?” He grinned. “It’s Harvey. My dad owns the place.”

He’d not mentioned it, but then Louis had no cause to ask. “Still, I’d rather pay what I owe.”

“I’ve got a better idea.” Jake took the ten pounds, folded it neatly, and leaned over to slot it into Louis’s shirt pocket. “Why don’t you repay my hospitality by taking me out sometime?”

He stroked a thumb across Louis’s nipple through the cotton. Louis pulled back as a jolt of pleasure tingled down his body.

What was this? Flirting? No. No, it was part of the job to amuse the sad fucks who visited bars alone in order to drink themselves senseless before bedtime.


  1. Ash is the one who first convinced me to write gay fiction. I owe her so much for her faith in me. She’s a quality lady with fantastic writing skills. So glad Passing Time found a home. I’m also very anxious for her next book!
    Great interview. It’s wonderful learning more about the people I admire.

  2. What a great interview ladies! I for one would like to announce I loved the characters in Stray, as you well know Ms. Penn. The guys in Passing Time are just as endearing but in different ways. I also admit in my mind Carter looks like a young Mark Twain. Yes, I am warped. Loved the book! Now, get busy finishing the next.