Behind The Pen: with Barbara Ashford (+giveaway)

I love interviews.  But I find the artists behind the stories equally intriguing, and I think they deserve as much limelight as their characters. So here, instead of a list of questions about the story, the plot, or the characters, I ask authors the same 11 questions about themselves and hopefully get a glimpse behind the pen...

Just last week I had the pleasure of reading Ms Ashford's debut novel, Spellcast, and still a week later, I can't get it out of my mind.  I think it's forever taken residence in my heart & my soul. So, what do I do when I'm granted such an unexpected gift of amazing?  I bug and pester the people responsible. I'm so happy that Ms. Ashford had the time to participate in this segment, because I'm psyched to know more about her.  And due to my sheer annoyance enthusiasm, DAW is offering up a copy of said book, for one lucky commenter.  So without further adieu...

Q1: What is the last book you read?
I just finished rereading The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. Top-drawer historical fiction set in 16th century Europe with an anti-hero to die for and – after many travails – a happy ending.

Q2: If you were stuck on a desert island, what book would you like to have with you?
Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen. Hey, when you’re stuck on a desert island, you’ve got to be practical.

Q3: What is your favorite swear word?
Definitely “fuck.”

Q4: What is your biggest pet-peeve?
People who are ALWAYS late for appointments. And men who miss the bowl while peeing and don’t clean up afterwards. (Not my husband – he is very well trained.)

Q5: What quality do you most like in a man?
Apart from accuracy in peeing? Definitely a sense of humor. And the ability to listen.

Q6: What quality do you most like in a woman?
Ditto. Minus the peeing. I have a few close women friends and I love being able to bypass the chitchat and talk about the things that are really important in our lives, whether it’s the work that inspires us, the causes we believe in, or the people we love.

Q7: What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
I’d love to be an artist or a dancer. Unfortunately, I can’t draw or dance. So if I’m being even slightly realistic, I’d choose acting. Again.

Q8: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Somewhere with four seasons and a view of the sea. Which is what I have now in New Rochelle, NY. Damn. I was hoping for someplace more exotic. Oh – how about New Zealand? Beautiful, beautiful country. Visit the south island – you can travel from rolling English countryside to blasted heath to snow-covered mountains to deciduous rainforests all in one day.

Q9: What inspires you?
Music. And good conversation.

Q10: If you could be one person (dead or alive) for a day who would you be?
Cleopatra. Pre-asp. Power, beauty, servants, jewels, exotic locale. Plus, the sanitary conditions in ancient Egypt were really quite good. (Hmm…a lot of my answers revolve around the bathroom, don’t they? I don’t even want to THINK about what that says about me.)

Q11: Mac or PC?
PC. I guess I’m an old-fashioned girl.

I could not be happier that DAW is allowing me the opportunity to share this book with you guys.  They're giving away a copy of Spellcast to one lucky winner. Here's how the giveaway will go:

  • US & CAN only
  • Your comment is your entry
  • If you follow this site you receive an extra entry
  • Contest will end Sunday, May 22nd
  • Winner will be announced the following day here, so be sure to come back. 


  1. Ohh that was a fantastic interview. The book sounds really intriguing!
    Thank you letting me know about it. I cannot wait to check Spellcast out.

    terilhack at yahoo dot com

  2. I really want to read this one. It sounds like a unique premise for an urban fantasy novel.


    sarace (at) gmail (dot) come
    Ps I follow your site

  3. Sounds really good. Thanks for sharing!

    I am a follower

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  4. Been hearing a lot of great reviews about this book, thanks for the giveaway!!

    - Blog follower


  5. Oh I like books that stay with you. Thanks for the chance to win.

    I follow your blog StuckInBooks


  6. "Accuracy in peeing". Wouldn't that look great on one of those online dating questionnaires?! LOL I say it every time and mean it every time - I love this feature! And thanks to you Jess, I really really want to read this book!

  7. I loved the interview and and a couple of Barbara's answers just blew me away. I have this book on hold at the library, but I would love to actually own a copy for my home collection.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

  8. P.S. and I follow your blog AND get e-mail updates.

  9. Now I'm excited Miss. Jess after all your talking of this book! LOL. I find it hilarious with your accuracy of peeing answer, Barbara, because I have that same pet peeve! The grossest thing is sitting on a toliet after a man has peed on it and you didn't know until it was too late. Or guys that don't put down the damn toliet seat! I hate wondering through the house at night in a sleepy walk, in the dark, and go to sit on the toliet and almost fall in. Gross! Ok now I've talked enough about toliets and such...I'll stop! :-D


  10. This book sounds really good. thanks for the giveaway I've heard that Dunnett is an excellent author. I need to try some of her books.
    GFC follower

  11. Love it! Peeing accuracy is totally a plus! Thanks for the interview :)

  12. Oh and I'm a follower :) Hi Jessica! Happy birthday girlie!