kLover of the Month Spotlight Interview Questions:

Ashley G.

1. What was the first romance novel you ever read? How did it affect you?

"The Wedding" by Julie Garwood was the first and the most influential romance novel I read, not counting "high school day" books. I've read it four times since being a teenager. This book touched me emotionally, physically and mentally. I truly loved every moment of it especially the characters and how they come together. That experience was a blessing.

The "Historical Romance" genre changed how I viewed love, romance in "real" life, relationships, etc. That particular novel really stands out to me. Also, I really love Johanna Lindsey novels, too!

2. What's your favorite sub-genre of romance? What do you love about it?

Historical / Medieval & Paranormal. I know, I know, but it is a tie! With Paranormal, I like the Vampires, Fairies, Warewolves and Shape- Shifters with their magical, mystery, fantasy and radical twists. Realizing the world is fake, it feels so real when reading which makes me a happy girl. Abnormality attract me.

Historical... This genre takes me to another realm or place that I would have never experienced because I was not a being of this world yet (obviously.) Everything about the past before us fascinates me.

3. Here in the Kensington office, we were talking about our favorite and least favorite romance tropes. For example: Michelle loves the "pretending to be a couple and then falling in love" storylines; Jane can't stand plots about secret babies. What romance tropes do you love to read? Which tropes get on your nerves?

I love the "characters that do not know one another, run into each other somehow, then there is a huge battle that they win together" or "a journey they take which makes them be together." Sometimes not necessarily being in love and possible not even knowing each other. I also get my rocks off with "witty banter back and forth, sensual exploration, may hate each other at first." I love love love when they finally fall for each other.

I DO NOT love "cliche' one setting meetings, fall in love immediately, or any instant sex/screw on first date." I prefer depth. Deeper themes with plot and twists, not "meet, sex, marriage, happy."

4. What would you say to the romance haters out there?

I would tell them: You cannot judge something you've never tried.

Everything deserves a change before judgement.

How can you understand or comprehend a real romance novel if you've never EXPERIENCED(read) a REAL romance novel? Understand how much it touches your heart and your world personally.

5. When did you start your blog? What made you want to start blogging?

I started a year and a half ago. Lots of fails and mistakes, which I use to learn from to achieve my goals.

I've been reading all my life and always wanted to be involved with authors/writing/editing. I saw very quickly how I could express my thoughts with a blog; expressing my thoughts being very important to

me. So, I started blogging, reviewing books and reaching out to authors which has taken me to this point today. Now, I am a personal/virtual assistant, hosting online parties with a growing review blog.. all for authors. I took steps towards realizing my dreams and now pushing to make them come true.

6. What's your favorite thing about being a blogger?

Absolutely favorite thing is being able to reach out to fellow readers such as me. Also, I'm able to express, with my honest opinion, what I think about books with reviews that I share to my Kilted Sisters. I relate with them.

Other likes: knowing I help authors to succeed, gives me writing practice, helps me expand or grow as a woman with my own business. I am very excited.

7. What has surprised you about your blog? About your readers? What did you find in blogging that you didn't expect?

Main surprise? All the attention I've got now. I started kind of low-key; like a blog for personal use. I was wanting to simply give my opinion on books. Still, I am surprised that it drew people in so quick and I've gained such a following.

Readers? How personable they all are, especially being through the internet. How much we start to care for each other as we become

friends. You want to do extra things, that extra mile, to make your readers happy. Also, luckily in my case, vice versa!

I definitely did not expect how hard it is to give a bad review. When I don't feel so positive about a read I communicate to the author, which is hard. You want authors to succeed; great book = lots of sales which benefits us all in this field. But, there is always the ones we just do not like.

Also never expected the time and effort it takes to keep a blog together; editing posts, appearance, newsletters, etc.

8. Do you do any special or unusual types of posts on your blog? Any particular memes that you participate in? What kinds of blog posts do you find get the most attention?

Author Interviews/Spotlights and "swag" are special posts I've done so far. Now with a newsletter I am spotlighting members which is starting to get a ton of attention.

In the past, reviews for "bigger" authors get a lot of views. I do not participate in any Memes yet, but I will sure start since you guys have asked me!

9. How do you balance your personal life and your blogging life? How do you make time to read?

I admit it is HARD but, I get it done with help of my husband and other family. I mainly read at night after working, spending time with family and putting kids to bed etc. Lay down and read, baby!

10. Any tips for would-be or aspiring romance bloggers?

Always post your honest opinion no matter what. Keep a schedule and stick to it. I use pen and paper mostly as it fits for me. Do not get so stuck working that you forget to spend time with family and friends. Balance is key; fun, work, family, etc.

Do not spend time on social media playing around! Make sure you are getting things done/being productive. Schedule helps with that.


11. Where on the internet can people find you? Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.

Here are all my links:

Official Blog/Website: http://www.thesecretrealm.com
Services Offered for Authors: http://www.thesecretrealm.com/services
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Secretrealmnation - Secret Realm
Books Page
Kilted Sisters: https://www.facebook.com/groups/824236350961441/
Personal: https://www.facebook.com/mysecretrealm
PA/VA Services Page: https://www.facebook.com/secretrealmpava
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SecretRealmBook
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/secretrealm/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/SecertRealmBookMania
Goodreads Group: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/154813-ebooks-ibooks- audiobooks-and-reading
Instagram: http://instagram.com/MYSECRETREALM/
TSU.com: https://www.tsu.co/secretrealm
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/114655261353247034040/posts