Thursday, August 1, 2013

Meet Military Romance Novelist Heather Ashby

I’m so excited to introduce today’s GLIAS author, Heather Ashby. Heather writes military romance novels for Henery Press and she’s here to tell us about her new novel “Forgive and Forget,” part of her series, “Love in the Fleet.”

Heather is a Navy veteran, whose mother was one of the original Navy WAVES in World War II. Heather taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In gratitude for their son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, she now writes military romance novels, donating half her royalties to Fisher House Foundation – Helping Military Families. She lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her retired Naval Engineer husband. “Forgive & Forget” is Book 1 in the four-part series, “Love in the Fleet.”

Read on and you’ll be immediately hooked on the book’s storyline. Read further to find Heather’s great answers to fun questions AND her haiku challenge!

Welcome to GLIAS Heather!

Heather Ashby
Book: Forgive & Forget
Publisher: Henery Press

When Navy journalist Hallie McCabe meets Philip Johnston at a picnic, she is drawn

to his integrity. He is a gentleman—and an officer. From her ship. Aware of the code against fraternization between officers and enlisted, Hallie conceals her Navy status, hopeful she and her secret will stay hidden on their aircraft carrier until she can figure out a way for them to sail off into the sunset together. Sneaking on and off the ship works for Hallie for a while – until the USS Blanchard deploys.
Caught in an emotional firestorm, Hallie faces a future without the man she loves, a career-shattering secret from the past, and the burden of being the one person who can prevent a terrorist attack on the ship she has sworn to protect with her life. Prepare to set sail for the Persian Gulf with a crew of 4,999 sailors and officers—and one terrorist in search of his own kind of Paradise.

One lucky commenter today will receive a copy of “Forgive and Forget.”

LIZ: What’s your favorite “love” word?
HEATHER: Trust. Without trust a relationship cannot survive, thrive, or flourish. And that means any kind of love relationship: between lovers, parent and child, family members, close friends, or soul mates of any kind.

LIZ: What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?
1.      Language of Flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaugh
2.      The Fort – Aric Davis
3.      Atomic Summer – Elaine D. Walsh
4.      Lowcountry Bombshell – Susan Boyer
5.      Scandal in the Night – Elizabeth Essex

LIZ: What one thing about your hero drives his heroine crazy? And what one thing about your heroine drives her hero nuts?
HEATHER: On the one hand my heroine is drawn to the hero because he is the model of integrity. Not having dealt with men she could trust thus far in her life, this is a good thing. However, it drives her crazy that he is such a strict rule follower, because he is an officer and she is enlisted. If he discovers she is in the Navy, he will walk away from the relationship, because it is against the rules for an officer an enlisted member to “fraternize.”

My heroine has a tendril of hair that falls down over her right eyebrow. It drives the hero crazy, as in he loves it and calls it “the golden tendril.” However, after he discovers she’s in the Navy and on his ship, it drives him nuts when the golden tendril falls, because half the men on the ship are in love with her, too, and they love it when that lock of hair curls down over her right eyebrow. The golden tendril is kind of a key piece throughout the story.

LIZ: We’d love to see a haiku about your hero or heroine! Could you write one for us?
Sailor girl, Hallie
No one takes wind from her sails
Kick-ass heroine!

Integrity plus
Officer and gentleman
Hot, nice guy, Philip.

LIZ: Name three things that are, at this moment, in your heroine’s purse, weapons belt, or pockets.
HEATHER: The following would be in the deep pockets of Hallie’s camouflage uniform pants: her military ID, a small notebook and pen for taking notes on anything, since she’s a journalist, and a “brick,” a hand-held radio for communications on board a U.S. warship.

LIZ: What sound or noise do you love?
HEATHER:  The ocean, hands down. I live at the beach, and now that I am retired I walk on the beach daily. The sound of ocean waves is the most relaxing sound in the world to me. I love falling asleep listening to the ocean.

LIZ: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?
HEATHER: I would go back to mid-19th c. America to work on the underground railroad. I have such a fascination with it, and since I have Quaker ancestors who came to this country for religious freedom, I often wonder if perhaps I DID work on the underground railroad in another life. Every year that I taught school, the URR was my favorite unit to teach and we always read FREEDOM TRAIN, either as a read-aloud or as a novel study. I might not be able to abolish slavery in my little sojourn, but I would help as many escaping slaves as I could in whatever way I could for as long as I could.

LIZ: What will always make you smile, even on a bad day?
HEATHER: Music. My father was a musician and dancer, so my sister and I grew up marinated in music. From Classical to Country. I have some strange playlists on my iPod, but they always cheer me up. I don’t do boring, so whenever I have to do mundane things, I pull out my music and make a party of washing dishes or cleaning the house. The same goes for being down in the dumps. How can you be miserable when you’re singing and dancing?

LIZ: What is your biggest vice?
HEATHER: Swearing. My mother used to say, “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t even chew gum. I should get to do something “gosh darn it.” (PG-13 version) She had been a Naval officer during WWII and claims that’s where she learned to swear. I’d say I learned to swear in the Navy, too, but in truth I learned it as a child, listening to my mother drive! And since I don’t drink, smoke, or chew gum, I think I should get to cuss too – gosh darn it.

LIZ: What’s your favorite kid joke?
HEATHER: Having taught third grade for a number of years, I’ll share one of our favorites:
Q: How do you catch a unique rabbit?
A: You neak up on it.
Q: How do you catch a tame rabbit?
A: Tame way. You neak up on it.

LIZ HAS GOTTA ASK: What’s the most personal thing you’ve ever put in one of your books?
HEATHER HAS GOTTA ANSWER: Pretty much the premise of my first novel, Forgive & Forget. The basic conflict in the story is that an enlisted sailor and a commissioned officer fall in love. The Uniform Code of Military Justice states: Personal relationships including dating, cohabitation, and any sexual relationship between commissioned officer and personnel of the enlisted ranks is strictly forbidden.” When I met my husband, we were both in the Navy. He was an officer. I wasn’t. We’re going on 37 years of marriage and we haven’t gotten caught yet!

LIZ: And last but not least, Heather, I hear you have a great challenge for your fans today.
This was such a fun interview and I LOVED the opportunity to write haiku about my hero and heroine. I challenge the readers here to write a haiku about the book they are currently reading or writing.

Thanks so much, Heather. This was an amazing interview and I had such fun with your answers! I definitely hope you’ll come back to visit us here at GLIAS soon!

Facebook: Heather Ashby Author
Twitter: @hashbyauthor

“Forget Me Not” – Henery Press – December 2013
This is the story of the zany aviator sidekick from “Forgive & Forget.” It was a 2012 Golden Heart finalist, entitled: “Cat on a Hot Steel Flight Deck.”


Clover Autrey said...

A haiku is beyond my brain power this early in the morning, but I enjoyed getting to know more about you and your books...

Angi Morgan said...

Oh my goodness, Heather. Like Clover, much too early to make my brain work on a haiku. Best of luck with the books, they sound awesome.

LizbethSelvig said...

Good morning Heather!
I'm excited to have you here today. I came up with a haiku simple though it is--so I'll be the first to try:

Stoic Brit David
Tough, scared city girl Rio
Tall boots and tattoos.

Hah, figure that out-lol. Loved your interview answers! Can't wait to read your book.

Terri L. Austin said...

Great interview, Heather! Love the pics and the personal history behind your book. Congrats!

bn100 said...

Very nice interview

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Maureen said...

I agree love and trust go together.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Heather Ashby said...

Thanks, Clover. I got so lost in my own story today, that I forgot I was appearing on this blog today, so don't tell me about brain power :-) Thanks for stopping by!

Heather Ashby said...

Thanks, Angi, but keep the thought in mind. It's fun to write haiku about your characters - and your neighbors, old boyfriends, etc. :-)

Heather Ashby said...

Thanks, Liz, and thanks for inviting me today. I love the fact that you came up with the Haiku idea right before sending me the questions. I lived in Japan for 4 years and taught American school there. We LOVED doing Haiku!

I love this blog and feel honored to be able to share today. Thanks

P.S. SOOOO nice to finally meet you at Nationals!

Heather Ashby said...

Thanks, Terri! Great to see you here. This is an awesome blog and I'm so excited for the opportunity to post today. See you at the diner? :-)

Terri Osburn said...

Afraid haiku is not my thing, but this was a fun interview to read. Love the part about your mom cussing. Now I don't feel like such a heathen. :)

Heather Ashby said...

Thanks, Maureen. I fiddled around with words like: stroke, kiss, hold, cuddle, tender, heart, etc. but I kept coming back to the fact that without trust, none of those mattered. It really is the basis of relationships - at least to me. Thanks for stopping by today.

Mary Behre said...

Hi Heather,

Congratulations on the release! A former NAVY wife myself (husband now works as a civilian for the NAVY), I have a special place in my heart for military love stories.

And I love the unique rabbit joke. I told it to my boys. They cracked up!

Heather Ashby said...

Why do you think I enjoyed your first book so much? Seriously, when it naturally flows off a character's tongue, it's like it fits in the story. (Whether it belonged in the car with children in the back seat is a whole nuther matter :-) Thanks for stopping by, Terri!

Heather Ashby said...

Thanks, Mary. I did not realize you were a former Navy wife, but all the more reason to enjoy F&F with it's, ahem - colorful language - and Navy lingo (not necessarily the same thing.) Not only do I have a newly-released book, but I'm fortunate to have a lovely necklace with my book cover on it that a special and unique friend made for me. I've received lovely compliments on it. Thank you so much for stopping by tonight.

Write On!

Lauren Christopher said...

Oooooooohhh! I find it fascinating that you and your hubby met the same way your hero and heroine do! How romantic! Great interview, Heather and Liz. Love the haiku. (Too much brain power for me today, too.) Heather, your book is up next in my TBR pile!

Susan M. Boyer said...

Great interview! I'm afarid I can't haiku, either. But I'm so thrilled for you and also very happy that LOWCOUNTRY BOMBSHELL is in your TBR stack. :)

Wishing you many, many sales!

Heather Ashby said...

Hi, Lauren! Congratulations on selling your book this week!!!! (Everybody, be looking for books by Lauren Christopher starting in 2014 :-) Well, they say everyone's first book is an autobiography??? My husband still jokes that the hero isn't him because Philip is 6 feet tall, has brown eyes, and he talks. :-) But the premise, yes. It's a great conflict and *shhhh, it is still a problem in the military* Thanks for having F&F on your TBR pile! I hope you enjoy it and I can't WAIT to read yours!!!

Heather Ashby said...

Oh, yeah. I can't wait for your next book to release next month! I was jealous when I saw someone had already reviewed it, until I realized that until Amazon starts selling "Time to Read," I couldn't have read it yet anyway. Your first book was so awesome, I can't wait for the next!

Kay Hudson said...

Hi, Heather! My dad was in the Navy (before I was born), but my late husband was an Army man. I found Forgive & Forget waiting on my doorstep this evening, and it's now on the top of one of my several TBR stacks.

Elizabeth Essex said...


I had no idea we shared an affinity for the Anglo-Saxon cuss words. :) I loved Forgive & Forget, but I am really looking forward to your foray in to the deep waters of the Royal Navy. Now you're on my side of the pond. :)

And thanks ever so much for the shout out. Wishing you many hours of happy, uninterrrupted reading! Cheers, EE

Heather Ashby said...

Bless your family for their service, Kay. Thanks so much for ordering Forgive & Forget. I hope you enjoy both the love story and the military "stuff" in the book. Granted, Army folks do speak a different lingo than Navy types, but many things are the same. And the conflict in the book - fraternization - is verboten in both. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting tonight :-)

Heather Ashby said...

Oh, honey, I'll cuss in any language :-) Um...that book about the Royal Navy? That's Book 3...and um... that's what I was "Lost in" all day today, not quite noticing that a new month had, what can I say? I was Lost In A Story. Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by, Elizabeth. And, yes, just as soon as Amazon starts selling "Time to Read," I will be jumping into that TBR pile. Can't WAIT to read SCANDAL IN THE NIGHT!

Talia Quinn Daniels said...

Forgive and Forget sounds soooo good! I can't wait to read it!!!! And Heather, you give good, meaty interview. Love the idea of participating in the underground railroad. I've been fascinated by that time too, as well as by the people who risked so much to help Jews escape Nazi Germany. Love that you used your time in the Navy as fodder for your books. How did you get your husband to agree to date you, or is that a spoiler? ;)

Elisa Beatty said...

Fabulous interview, Liz and Heather!! You're both hilarious. Can't wait to read Forgive and Forget...and I so love that you're donated part of the profits to help military families!

Heather Ashby said...

Agree to date me??? We're going on 37 years and he still doesn't know what hit him. LOL! First of all, it was the 70's. Things were a bit more lax - to a lot of social mores in the military. As long as we were not in the same chain of command, there were many blind eyes. We didn't marry until I was released from Active Duty. But I stayed in the Naval Reserves and drilled for another 10 years - and it was really fun walking out of my home in Officer housing on drill weekends wearing my Enlisted uniform. But then, I've always been a bit of a rebel :-)

Thank you for your fascinations for URR and those who helped Jews escape Nazi Germany, Talia. Sometimes in my classroom we would find ourselves studying BOTH issues in different subject areas and I loved it when the kids put it all together - the connection of two different periods of history, different continents, etc. yet there were those who helped.

Thanks so much for coming by tonight!

Heather Ashby said...

Thanks, Elisa! We had fun with this. Thank you SO MUCh for stopping in :-)

Kathleen Bittner Roth said...

Great interview, Heather. What caught my eye was your idea of going back to the 19th century and help with the underground railroad. We once lived in a small town in Western NY where we bought a big old Victorian house. It had two basements, the first once used as a carriage repair, the second was a tunnel that once led across the street to the funeral parlor. Escapees were brought into basement one hidden in the carriage, and then run through the tunnel to the funeral parlor where they were taken out in caskets and transported to Canada! We were fascinated. There was still a child's shoe down there!

Heather Ashby said...

OOOOh, I'm loving this, Kathleen! LOVE taking them out in the caskets! And wow. The shoe. I'm from Wilmington, Delaware and lived right near the state line into Pennsylvania, So there are lots of houses there with secret rooms. I used to think of Harriet Tubman every time we crossed the state line. She was quoted as saying as she stepped over the line into PA, 'I looked down at hands. Then I looked around and there was glory over everything!" Still gives me goosebumps to drive over that line. Thanks so much for visiting tonight.

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather,

Loved the haikus :-) Here's a haiku and a review for your book:

"Forgive & Forget",
Adventure on the high seas.
A fantastic read.

Catherine, Australia :-)

Heather Ashby said...

Oh, VERY NICE, Catherine!!!! And here's one for you:

Good Critique Partners,
Last minute edits? No prob.
Worth their weight in gold.

Thank you so much for stopping by and giving me a CLASSIC REVIEW! Maybe folks will start posting Haiku Review on Amazon. WAIT! I like the sound of that:

HAIKU REVIEW!!! I think I've just come up with a new Blog :-)

Prisakiss said...

Jumping into the fray really late here, but I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the article and loved the insight into what makes you tick.

I tried thinking of a haiku really fast, but this time of night my brain is a little fried. :-)

Heather Ashby said...

"loved the insight into what makes you tick."

Ha, Pris, that is a scary place to be! LOL! I've had teachers and students and children and friends and husbands - okay, only one of those - trying to figure out what makes me tick for YEARS! I'm so glad you came to visit. No Haiku required :-)

Linda said...

I had to Google Haiku (how pathetic is that!) so pardon my maiden attempt at it. Do I get brownie points for trying?

Guardian and ward
Love and redemption
Ends happily all

I'd love the hear the stories both you and your mother could tell of the Navy & WWII. Utmost respect for anyone who went thru such an experience.

Natalie Lloyd-Evans said...

Hi Heather, great interview and any time you want to trade Anglo-Saxon oaths, give me a shout. Like Elizabeth Essex, I'm really looking forward to reading your Royal Naval book, and F&F is on my 'Kindle waiting' list along with Susan's Low Country books. As I'm writing a book set in France during Nazi occupation, I can't resist a haiku with guns in it; here goes

War pulls its trigger
Heart pounding, my girl fires back
Spinning destiny

Heather Ashby said...

Yes, you absolutely get Brownie pointe, Linda! THanks so much for coming by and sharing your first attempt at Haiku! (and the book sounds great! LOVE the last line in particular :-)

You may just read about some of those stories in Forgive & Forget. Many of my civilian readers have claimed they felt like they "vicariously joined the Navy for the duration of the book and were ON that cruise with Hallie and Philip." I work really hard at telling a story with the Navy as the setting, but make it perfectly clear for civilian readers - the lingo, acronyms, etc. Thanks for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

A bit late on my response...but once again you've given us another great interview and insight into your writing....soooooo looking forward to book 2!!

Heather Ashby said...

OOOHHHH, this is awesome, Natalie! Yes, I think we definitely need to have a Haiku Review blog :-) - Thanks for the offer of more Anglo-Saxon oaths. I will be emailing. I need a couple more for Book 3, so that each of my British characters can have their own special, identifiable, cuss word :-) and I can't WAIT to read your book! It sounds fabulous!

Heather Ashby said...

Thank you! It sounds like you've read Forgive & Forget and enjoyed it. I hope you'll enjoy Forget Me Not as well. It's about the aviator sidekick from Book 1. I have lots of readers who were so taken with my bad boy, Sky, that's their review for Book 1, as in, "When do we hear more about Sky?" December, honey :-) Thanks for stopping by.

ceblain said...

This interview was fantastic. I love to learn something new about an author each time I read a new post or blog. I am half way through Forgive and Forget and absolutely LOVE the book, Heather. I can't wait to hear what my friend Kerrianne says after she reads the book you sent to her; I know she will love the story as I do. Keep up the great work with your writing; you already did great work in the military now this is the frosting on the cake so to speak. Thanks for taking time in your busy life to read all of these blog postings. Sincerely,

LynDee said...

What a fabulous interview, Heather! I missed it yesterday because I was so busy gushing all over the internet about how much I LOVED your book! ;) I can't wait for the next one!

Heather Ashby said...

Always great to hear from you, ceblain! Thanks so much for reading F&F and for your kind words! (love the "frosting on the cake!") And I love reading readers' comments and responding. It makes such a terrific connection with my readers. I will ship Kerrianne's book off this afternoon. (Be very wary, all other commenters, CEBLAIN always seems to win a free book :-) But she is SO COOL, she's having me send her last prize to a military reader.) Hope you enjoy the rest of F&F :-)

Heather Ashby said... kind of forgot I was blogging yesterday *hangs head in shame* because I was gushing over your reviews :-) AND then I got Lost In my own Story! Book 3 sucked me in and held me captive until around 8:30 last night, when somebody said, "Yes, it's August first. Don't you have a blog today?" SO glad you enjoyed Forgive & Forget and thanks so much for "passing the word," as we say in the Navy.

Laurie A. Green said...

I just finished Forgive & Forget this evenings and I LOVED it, Heather! (OMG. Hot Mic!) Can't wait to grab your next book when it comes out. I was going to ask you if Sky would ever get his own story, and then I read the teaser at the end! Yippee! He does! Yup, I'm definitely among the ranks of the Sky Fan Club, here.

(My unsuccessful attempts to write Haiku were really quite sad, so I'll spare you that. LOL)

Heather Ashby said...

SO glad you enjoyed Forgive & Forget, Laurie! Yes, Forget Me Not features Sky in all his glory :-) He was SO demanding of my time and energy in the first book and by the end he was jumping up and down on the flight deck, crying, "Write about ME!" So I did. I will pass on your high regard for Sky to Suzanne, my critique partner, who is the president of the Sky Crawford Fan Club. Membership guarantees a chance to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of Forget Me Not. So I'll be in touch at the end of the summer :-)

Write ON, Laurie! Cuz next it will be my turn to read your debut novel :-)

Donna E said...

I'm anxious to read FORGIVE & FORGET. My hubby of 46 years was a 27 year Air Force (retired E-8)man, but my first fiance was Navy - and he made it a career also. I took the tests and was going to be an Army officer, but married instead. So I know exactly what you mean by the military non-fraternization policy.
I'm afraid haiku is beyond my literary powers -- could never do it in school either. :)
Enjoyed the interview very much. And I will be looking for all your 'Love in the Fleet' stories.

Heather Ashby said...

Hi, Donna! Thanks to your family for their military service (Yes, spouses and kids "serve" too. We military families know that:-) I hope you'll enjoy FORGIVE & FORGET. I worked really hard to have my hero and heroine try to "do the right thing," concerning the rules. I hope it comes across that way. I try to keep the military in a positive light throughout all of my books. Thanks for stopping by.