Zoe has made it through the first round of the 2021 Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award with Tempted!

Zoe
Ashwood

Zoe Ashwood writes sexy paranormal romance for women who believe in magic and true love.

While she's always been a reader, Zoe's writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back. Some 700,000 words later, she's still in love with the art of making up stories - and making her characters fall in love.

When she's not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She's happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they're cute.

How I found Zoe's books

I was first introduced to Zoe through a book bloggers Discord chat group. Someone put out the call that Zoe was looking for bloggers to read and review her first novel and gave a link to some info about the book, Trust the Wolf

I liked the sound of it, so reached out to ask if I could review her book. She said yes and since then I’ve read all of her novels because I love them!

Why you should read Zoe's books

Zoe’s books are captivating, engaging and has a lot of drama jam packed into a short time period. None of them are particularly long, so you can get through them fairly quickly.

And I can assure you that as she writes more and more, you’ll wish you had the whole series ready to go because they are that good!

What Zoe writes about

Zoe writes paranormal romance almost exclusively. While they’ve always had a steamy element to them, her foray into more a more erotica feel came from the Sea Dragons of Amber Bay trilogy. 

While there are humans involved in her stories, generally speaking, the romance involves werewolves, werebears, witches and aliens. 

My top picks

Top pick

Since Zoe writes series I’m going to cheat a little and tell you to just go ahead and buy all three of the Sea Dragons of Amber Bay trilogy. It’s a reverse harem involving a witch and 3 sea dragons. Unless you absolutely hate reading about paranormal stuff and romance, you will LOVE this!

I’ve yet to have anyone read it after I recommended it, and not tell me they loved it. It’s that good! 

One friend went so far as to say she almost broke her fingers rushing to buy the second and third book because she didn’t listen to me when I said to have all 3 ready to go. So go! Buy them! Read them! Love them! Tell more people about them!

Second choice

Moving on to my second pick, I’ll go with Cold Temptation. Right from the get go, the sexual tension was buzzing and I loved it!

I didn’t realise aliens (especially ones who live on a frozen planet) could be so sexy!

My chat with Zoe

1. What drew you to writing novels?

I used to be a book blogger and reviewer, which I did for about three years before I learned about NaNoWriMo from another blogger. Then I played with an idea for a contemporary romance for a while and finally participated in my first NaNo event. That draft never got finished (and will never see the light of day, haha), but I caught the writing bug!

3. What drew you to writing about paranormal romance and reverse harems?

I’ve always been a fantasy reader. Some of my favourite novels (or stories) of all time include The Lord of the RingsHarry PotterThe Lies of Lake LamoraThe Name of the WindUprooted, etc. Then I discovered romance novels, and what I write — paranormal and urban fantasy romance — is at the intersection of that. 

As for reverse harem, I read a couple of books in that sub-genre and they were just so much fun!

So I decided to write a story of my own during the first lockdown of 2020, and I enjoyed writing that series so much (that’s Sea Dragons of Amber Bay). Then those books turned out to be my bestsellers by far, so I’m now writing and planning even more reverse harem books. 

5. What is your greatest writing achievement?

My greatest writing achievement is getting fans who read all my books. I mean — as a reader, I fangirl really hard over some authors, and when I get a message from a reader who tells me that she loved my story and that she can’t wait for the next book, that just makes my heart soar. 

From a practical point of view, I’m proud of myself for finishing two series — my mind likes “chasing squirrels” and I often get the “shiny new idea syndrome,” so having the patience and endurance to finish a series is something I had to learn.

2. What is your aim with your writing?

My aim with writing is to bring beautiful, emotional stories to readers. My author tagline is “Steamy paranormal romance for women who believe in magic and true love” — and I think that’s it exactly. My stories are escapist, romantic, action-packed and hot

I also want to be a full-time author, so that’s a big part of what I do — trying to get my books out into the world and make a good living from it so I can write even more stories!

4. How do you decide what stays in your books when editing?

Oh, editing. 

It’s my least favourite part of the writing process!

At least developmental edit. So to avoid the need for excessive edits, I plot out my books obsessively ahead of time. That way, I hardly ever write myself into a corner or spend 3 chapters writing a sub-plot that later gets cut out. 

I figure out all the major plot points in advance so I know where my story is going and which crucial scenes need to be in it. I also look at what my main characters’ wounds are and what motivates them to progress through the story. 

As for the edits themselves, I have an amazing critique partner, Jolie Vines, who is also a wonderful contemporary romance author. She acts as my first reader and developmental editor, and she tells me where my story needs tightening. In my latest book, Cursed in Love, she noted the places where my plot slowed down and made suggestions on what could be cut to make it run more smoothly and keep the tension. 

When I receive her comments, I read through them — then take a day to grumble and mull over what she said. It’s not pleasant! 

(I’m still hoping that someday, she’ll return a manuscript with one comment only: “I love this story. It’s perfect. Don’t change anything.” It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m an optimist, haha!)

Anyway, I usually end up taking at least 90% of her suggestions. We’ve been working together for years (I proofread for her), and I trust her — this is so important. I wouldn’t just take suggestions from anyone, but Jolie knows my writing strengths — and weaknesses. 

I cut whole paragraphs, add emotional stuff (she’s way better at it than I am — I love writing action scenes for example!), and avoid repetition. 

Reviews

Shift

Ice Planet Rendu

Sea Dragons of Amber Bay

Norse Sea Dragons

Coming soon…

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