Author Katharine Ashe shares how she conquers fear and taps into creativity

Today’s blog post is a guest post from award-winning author Katharine Ashe.

In this Q&A, she shares how she conquers fear, taps into creativity and loves deeply!

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Katharine Ashe Guest Blog with Tivi JonesWhat do you do?

I am a full-time, award-winning author of historical romance for HarperCollins Publishers and a part-time professor of History at Duke University.

How do you conquer fear?

By meeting it head on.

I have a very hard time with indecision and inaction. When I see a problem I want to solve it—NOW. I consider fear a problem. It paralyzes me, and that’s just not okay.

This may sound clichéd, but life is way too short to waste any moment of it in paralysis. (Auntie Mame said it best: “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”) So I pretty much have to tackle my fears as soon as they arise. Sometimes the tackling works and has long lasting effects.

Sometimes the fear resurfaces and I have to try something new. But I won’t allow fear to sit in my gut and eat away at me. And I try not to let it make me angry, resentful or cynical. Admittedly, that last one’s tough. I’m in two very competitive industries in which it’s awfully challenging to succeed. People left and right are happy to tell you all the reasons you should be afraid, angry, or resentful, and it’s easy to get cynical. Fortunately I write books about hope and resourcefulness and the strength of love, so I have daily reminders of the good to help me avoid the bad.

What’s your no-fail recipe for tapping into creativity?

I run. For me a happy body creates space for a relaxed, active imagination.

I read too, mostly history but also beautifully written fiction. The more beautiful the writing and the more powerful the story and the more hope I find at the end of the tale, the more it inspires my creativity. The easiest time I ever have writing is right after I’ve read a gorgeously written book.

Who inspires you to do what you do? Who encourages you?

My wonderful mom, sisters and fans. They read my books and tell me they love them. That’s all I wish — that the stories that give me so much pleasure to write touch others and make them happy.

When it comes to encouragement, my husband is behind my writing career entirely, and I’m very grateful for that.

I also find inspiration in the beautiful writing of other novelists.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Just love him.”

This came from my brother years ago. I had adopted a puppy — an energetic bundle of Great Dane and Black Lab enthusiasm for life, and especially for any creature smaller than him. After only a few weeks of new motherhood I was thoroughly exhausted.

I spent hours and hours every week in and out of obedience class training him and reading books on dog behavior, but none of it seemed to work. In tears one day I called my brother, an animal specialist, and begged his advice. He said, “Just love him.” That piece of advice changed my life far beyond the training of my dog.

I started looking at every relationship as an opportunity to love, simply, no string attached, no expectations involved. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that shortly after that I wrote my first romance novel. I write historical romances featuring lords and ladies and pirates and intrigue and adventure and a lot of really, really fantastic sex. Fantasies, to some extent. ☺

But at the core of each book is an honest, powerful love between two people, a love strong enough to overcome any obstacle.

Clap me in irons for spouting clichés today, but for all the complications, tragedies and challenges of this mortal coil, the Beatles really had something. All you need is love.

Any current or upcoming projects or releases people should know about?

How a Lady Weds a RogueHow a Lady Weds a Rogue, my latest historical romance from Avon Books, features a country miss and a hardened spy who set out on a quest only to find themselves caught up in the most perilous adventure of their lives.

Miss Diantha Lucas wants to find the mother that abandoned her as a girl, and dashing, dangerously handsome Wyn Yale seems the perfect Knight In Shining Armor to help her. But Wyn knows he’s no hero, and he’s determined to return Diantha to her family and get on with his own mission: murdering an evil duke. The trouble is he can’t seem to keep his hands off of Diantha. And where his hands go, his heart seems to want to follow . . .

How a Lady Weds a Rogue will be on bookstore shelves and e-readers on September 25.

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As an unapologetic romance novel fan, I can’t wait to read How a Lady Weds a Rogue! You can pre-order it NOW via links on Katharine’s website!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Katharine!

Always inspiring!

If you’re interested in guest blogging for me, submit my guest blog questionnaire. All spots for 2012 are currently full, but submit the form to get in the wait-list queue.

11 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing how you conquer fear, Katharine!

    Something that Katharine didn’t share, and wouldn’t because she’s not one to brag, is that she is a great mentor and all around helper of authors starting out or even in the middle of their career. And she does this without expecting anything in return.

    Honestly, I think she’s a fabulously strong woman, friend and mentor that writes beautiful romances. But I might be a bit biased. 😉

  2. I totally agree with marquitaval. Katharine is a totally wonderful mentor and friend and books keep me up at night.

    One of my favorite movies/musicals is Auntie Mame and one of my favorite quotes is the one mentioned. Fear does stop a lot of people from doing things. For good reason sometimes…but we’re not talking about sky diving. 😉 It is those regular things like being able to walk into a crowded room full of strangers that can make a difference in some people’s lives. And Katharine’s way of conquering fear by meeting it head on is the best way to do it sometimes. Forcing yourself to just walk in there and start talking.

    In case you hadn’t guessed it that would be me….and I find that once I start talking it gets easier and easier. And I have found that over the years it isn’t a fear at all. It is an “opportunity” to meet people I don’t know. If I hadn’t conquered that fear I wouldn’t have found a lot of friends and people I admire and respect in my writing group. It pays to conquer fear in whatever way you can you it. Maybe just one step at a time.

  3. Katharine, I’ve had to face many fears in my lifetime (and you know how long that is, my friend) and I agree with you about facing those fears. Not always easy. Not always achieved. But if I allow fear to control my life, I’m a #1 loser. So I barrel ahead with hope and a pinch of stubbornness for good measure. I win some and lose some, but I am happy knowing I tried. I wouldn’t be buying green bananas if I didn’t have hope.

    The story of you and your pup touched my heart. Your brother’s advice to “just love him” … well, that made me blubber shamelessly. All you need is love. Such a simple and beautiful solution. Now I’ve got that song running around in my head, too.

    Thanks for your beautiful books that bring hope and love and happy-ever-after joy to so many readers.

  4. What I love abut Katharine (besides the fact that she writes beautiful, transporting stories!) is her heart– she is never afraid there’s not enough good to go around and always shares great advice, wisdom and good spirit. World needs more like here, writers and otherwise 🙂

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