Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Phillipa Ashley Interview and contest, Author of Dating Mr. December

SR recently read and posted a review for Dating Mr. December and the reviewer couldn't stop saying great things about it. We are thrilled to be able to welcome author Phillipa Ashley to Seriously Interviewed and to be able to get to know her a bit better :) Hang's sure to be as fun as the story

1. Do you travel when researching your books? If yes, where is the most interesting place you’ve visited?

I love to use locations I’ve actually visited so I can really make the scene come alive for the readers. I want them to smell, feel, hear and taste the location as well as see it. That was easy with Dating Mr. December, which is set in the Lake District where we’re lucky enough to have a holiday home. With its mountains, lakes, villages and ever changing moods, this stunning area is almost a character in its own right.

My favourite ‘hot’ place is Corsica where I’ve set my second book, Wish You Were Here (Coming out in the US in Spring 2011). It’s a breathtakingly beautiful French island in the Mediterranean, with jagged peaks, beaches to die for and a turbulent history – a dream setting for romance and a great excuse for a research trip!

2. When writing your description of your hero/ine what feature do you start with? Eyes, age, hair color, etc?
Naturally, a heroine’s physical appearance is a clue to her character and lifestyle. Emma in Dating Mr. December is a slick city girl and she really stands out in her power suits among all the locals in their hiking gear. She’s trying and failing to fit in with her new world at the start of the novel and her choice of clothing reflects that.

But whether a heroine’s blond or brunette is very much secondary to the conflicts and challenges she’s facing. Ultimately, I want the reader to imagine herself in the heroine’s shoes, as I try to do.

In contrast, I do have very specific ideas about the hero’s look and have started off whole novels based on a photograph.

3. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’ve tried all kinds of techniques and I’m still not sure what works best. Each book is different but I always rewrite drafts several times.

4. How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been a professional writer (in journalism and advertising) since I left university but I didn’t start writing fiction until 2005.

5. What’s the perfect romantic evening?
Any time after my lovely husband has been mowing the lawn or washing the car. My daughter (a biology PhD student) tells me it’s the pheromones.

6. What is sexier boxer or briefs?
Snug-fitting black boxers, preferably without novelty illustrations.

7. Where is the craziest place you’ve ever had sex? Or where is the craziest place you made your characters have sex?
Two characters in my third book have moonlight sex in a punt in Oxford.

8. What’s number one on your list of things you hope to do before you die?
Get a surfing lesson. I love body boarding but haven’t dared try the Real Thing yet.

9. What is your favorite candy bar?
Snickers Flapjacks. I daren’t even have them in the house!


Praise for Phillipa Ashley:

"Ashley’s writing is deft, sexy, and full of humor."


"Lovely books filled with warm and likeable characters. Great fun!"

—internationally bestselling author Jill Mansell

"Sharp, sexy, and exuberant."


She doesn’t need rescuing, she only needs a change of scenery...

After a disastrous discovery loses Emma Tremayne both her boyfriend and her high-profile PR job in London, she moves to the Lake District to recover her confidence and live a simpler life. She loves her new job with the tourist board, and she’s settling into small town life just fine—until she ends up responsible for a fundraising effort that calls for twelve naked mountain rescuers...

Buy it here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders


Phillipa Ashley studied English Language and Literature at Oxford before becoming a freelance copywriter and journalist. Dating Mr. December (called Decent Exposure in the UK) was the basis of last year’s Lifetime TV Movie “The 12 Men of Christmas.” A frequent guest on BBC national, local and independent radio on all matters romantic, she lives with her husband and daughter in Staffordshire, UK. For more information, please visit , follower her on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

Two lucky commentors will be winning a print copy of Dating Mr. December. Contest open to US and Canadian residents only. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. Two random commentors will be selected after midnight and notified via email :)


  1. Great interview - very entertaining.

    And, as someone lucky enough to have read 'Dating Mr December' in its UK incarnation, I can thoroughly recommend it!

  2. Men and lawns ... same result in our house!

    I've read that punt scene, Phillipa. *Fans self*

    And I'm with Rosy, Dating Mr December is a must for anyone looking for a fantastic read.

  3. does a wonderful job making her Heros and Heroines seem like people you know ...She is lovely warm and witty....sounds like another wonderful read

  4. Love Phillipa! Have all of her books. :-)

  5. I always imagine myself as the heroine, so its nice to know that this is the author's intentions when writing. And who wouldn't want to imagine themselves as the love interest of a hunky mountain rescuer?!