Interviews, My Guests

Interview With Anne Ashby, Author of The CEO Gets Her Man

Contemporary romance, sweet romance, traditional romance, clean romance, New Zealand I’m delighted to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author Anne Ashby here today. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win in Anne’s giveaway!

Hi, Anne. Tell us a little about your new release, The CEO Gets Her Man:

“CEO” is the result of my sister querying why I’d never written a story set in Southland (my childhood home). It took some time to come up with an idea, and then a huge handful of poetic license was required as a 5 star resort in the area I describe is as unlikely as seeing an iceberg survive at the equator. But hey, I’m a fiction writer. I don’t have to deal with facts. I love reading stories that are just a little different from the norm. The rich, alpha male businessman heroes get done to death – whoops, forgive the clique – so I twisted this story around. It is the heroine who is the rich, powerful businessperson.


Ensuring her company’s success is Debra Laurie’s life. But when she goes undercover to investigate a failing hotel in southern New Zealand, she finds her confidence crumbling. Masquerading as a waitress is a disaster—especially when the hotel’s assistant manager is a former rugby star she once had a crush on.

Jase McEwan is struggling to keep the hotel afloat. An unpredictable manager, ridiculous demands from the head office, and employee unrest are problems enough. Now a haughty new waitress is causing mayhem in the restaurant—and in his heart.

Determined to be impartial, Debra sets out to discover if Jase is responsible for the hotel’s drastic situation. But the more she investigates, the more she likes his work—and the more their attraction sizzles. Before long, Jase has turned Debra’s world upside-down. But what happens when he learns the new waitress is really his CEO?

What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?

My first story “Worlds Apart” had a secondary character called Justin Titirangi. The explanation of exactly who he was etc got cut from Worlds Apart and left some readers wondering about him. I had always intended to tell his story, but it has taken me this long. With a working title of “Justin’s Story” this ‘action’ will take place in a time alongside Worlds Apart, with intermingled meetings with Raven and Greg. I’m about a third through the story and hope to have it ready for editing within the next 6 weeks.

I have been involved for some months with a “how to grow your business” course and subsequent preparation of work for public speaking engagements and writing workshops so will have a gap between releases. After the release of “CEO” this month, I have no new books in the pipeline until I can submit “Justin’s Story” –  and then, of course, comes the wait with fingers crossed for its acceptance (or otherwise).

What are your writing goals for this year?

After six months away from writing anything new, this year’s goal is simple – to write! I’m hoping I can get at least two manuscripts submitted, and hopefully accepted. I realise how important it is to supply readers with new stories and my ideal will be to release about four stories each year. But four stories will have to be next year’s goal.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love coming up with names for my characters. If a person is lucky they get to choose maybe half a dozen names in their lives (for children, pets etc). A writer can bring a hundred beautiful names to life.

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?

In most facets of my life I think I could call myself a planner, however with my stories, I fail dismally at any form of planning. I initially come up with some characters, sit at the computer and let them do whatever they want. Because I write contemporaries and set my stories either in New Zealand or other places I know very well, I don’t need a lot of research. What little I do need, I do as I’m writing.

What is the best thing about being an author?

Living in a fantasy world where you’re almost always in control. Or as much as your characters allow you to be. I also like the solitude and the quiet of this job. And I love that my husband always assumes I’ve had a great writing day if the housework hasn’t been done.

Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?

Not really. I’m quite disciplined – I guess that stems from my time in the Navy – I had four children so I got used to whizzing around doing the bare necessities of housework the second they were off to school, then I worked on my writing until about an hour before they were due home – enough time to prepare an evening meal. Years later I find myself still sticking to a reasonably similar schedule. Now, although my kids are grown, I still work “school hours”, with very little writing done in the evenings, weekends or school holidays.

Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?

I think Kelsey from “Time to Bury the Past” would be my favourite heroine. She had so much baggage from her abusive past, but it had turned her into such a strong and determined woman. Then to see how she struggled to help her son with his drinking problem, sometimes I wanted to cry. As well, she had a wonderful, loyal companion. It brought back so many poignant memories to include my German Shepherd, King, in a story.

What can I say about my heroes? I could never choose between them, I love them all.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Other than New Zealand? Other than Southland where I grew up? They have to top the bill. But I don’t think there is a country or place I’ve visited that I haven’t enjoyed. And so many I hope to visit again. What makes a place special? I believe it’s what you associate with it. Do I love the town of Rocky Mount in North Carolina or is it just that I love the people in three families who live there? I love Ellicott City MD for all the wonderful memories. I love Bali because we had the most amazing holiday there. Florence for the culture, Turkey for the history, France for the joy it brought my son while he studied there, Scotland for my roots. I could go on and on. But if I had to name a place other than New Zealand as my all time favourite, it would be the Shetland Islands, off the coast of Scotland. Part of my family originated from here generations ago, and I feel a real sense of belonging when I’m there.

What do you like to read?

I find I don’t read half as much as I’d like to anymore, but I have a very narrow reading range. I like sweet contemporary romance. Any surprise that’s what I write?

Do you listen to music while you write? What are you listening to now?

I like silence. I never listen to anything while writing. If my son is home I have as many doors shut between me and his (gospel) music as I can. I once read how instrumental (classical) music can be inspirational and gave it a try but I found it was very distracting.

Who first introduced you to the love of reading?

We couldn’t afford a TV when we were kids and now I realise how lucky we were (although at the time I was sure I was the most deprived kid on earth) – My mother is a born story-teller and loves to read. My childhood memories include our evenings of sitting around the fireplace listening to her tell or read stories until we were old enough to read our own. At 98 she is still a voracious reader. I definitely owe my love of books to her.


Jase had been surprised at the improvement in the new waitress’s service when he was in the dining room earlier chatting to guests. He dismissed his earlier concern about her employment. However now she caught his eye again. Not because she’s doing anything wrong.

Jase swallowed. His attention had little to do with anything except hormones. She was so very attractive. And the dark uniform, possibly a little on the tight side, accentuated her curves very nicely thank you. He didn’t even try to look away when she glanced in his direction and their gazes locked. Time ceased as his pulse rate quickened.

Her smirk as she hoisted a tray of wine flutes up to her shoulder irritated him. Clearly she found his regard amusing. His lips tightened.

He kept his narrowed gaze on her as, after what seemed like an intense but short conversation with George’s head waitress, she headed across the floor toward Karin Laurie’s table.

Within a couple of paces Jase detected movement on Debra’s tray. A faint wobble that experience had taught him would soon increase and cause a debacle. The breath caught in Jase’s throat. Disaster loomed.

Well before his sprinting legs could take him anywhere near close enough to prevent the shambles, as if in slow motion, the tray tipped first one way and then the other. The flutes took on lives of their own and acting like lemmings they fell to their death on and around the table of the hotel’s owner.

Karin Laurie’s guests both leapt to avoid the cascade of red wine and orange juice but she stayed remarkably still after an initial shocked jolt. Sliding to a stop beside her, Jase was horrified to see her clutching her leg, red of an alarmingly different hue from the wine slowly oozed between her fingers.

Snatching a white handkerchief from his top pocket he knelt beside her, uncertain whether he should touch the woman. With a wry grimace she took the offered cloth and placed it against a cut close to her ankle.

Jase shot a murderous glare at the reason for the sudden silence throughout the restaurant. Now the centre of attention, the waitress stood stock still, her eyes and mouth open in dismay.

“Get this cleaned up,” he snapped.

“The tray…” her eyes were on their guests. “I–I–“


Thank God a competent waitress appeared next to Debra and whispered something in her ear which sent the klutz tearing off toward the kitchen.

“I’ll have reception summon a doctor, Mrs. Laurie. I can’t apologise–“

“Don’t be silly, dear boy.” She dabbed the cut and peered down at it. “It’s only a scratch.”

George supervised the clearing away of the debris while Jase escorted the group to a nearby table. The return of the culprit with a container for the broken glass drew his glare again.

Her guilty glance in his direction slid away as soon as their gazes touched. As he continued to placate the guests, furious whispering hummed between the maitre d’ and his waitresses.

Karin touched his arm. “Jason, stop glaring daggers at that poor girl. It was an accident. Relax.”

Jase threw his head back. Relax? When one of his staff had just doused guests with an interesting mix of red wine and orange juice? The colours were blended on the white top of Joyce Harper, and all over Karin Laurie’s expensive cream skirt. Not to mention the possibility the glass could have slit an artery instead of making a slight nick on her ankle.

“Is she new? I haven’t noticed her before?”

“Yes,” he muttered. “And likely to be very short-term, I suspect.”

“It was an accident, Jason. Don’t harangue the poor girl. It could happen to anyone.”

Not in my hotel. His expression must have conveyed his continuing anger at the laxness of his employee.

“Look at it like this, Jason.” He couldn’t believe her eyes actually twinkled. Sitting there with liquid sprinkled all over her lovely clothes and blood oozing from her leg, her eyes sparkled with merriment. “If anyone had to have a tray of drinks upended over top of them, isn’t it fortunate it was me?”

Some of Jase’s ire trickled away. If she can look on this mess with humour…    

Debra’s stilted apology when she approached the table some moments later resurrected Jase’s annoyance. While her words of apology were acceptable, her tone and body language could only be interpreted as haughty.

Thankfully, Mrs. Laurie didn’t appear perturbed by the assertive nature of their newest waitress. She sent the girl away with a kind smile.

After assuring himself that Mrs. Laurie and her guests were comfortable, Jase picked up the first aid kit he’d had delivered and employed, and marched toward the kitchen. Where is that Debbie?

He sighted her, apparently helping the pastry chef. Good! George has sent her where she can do less harm. Her body stiffened as if she sensed his approach. He stopped at the pastry kitchen door.

“Debbie, a word please.”

Her face tightened, but she stalked toward him, her head high.

Giveaway – I’d love to give away a PDF copy of “The CEO Gets Her Man” to someone commenting during my visit – if Babette would be kind enough to choose a recipient please and get contact details. We’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.

Contemporary Romance, New Zealand, Sweet RomanceBio:

Hi, I’m a contemporary traditional/sweet romance writer from New Zealand, published with The Wild Rose Press.  I grew up in a very small coastal town in Southland, New Zealand’s southern-most province. An eagerness to travel, fostered by my mother, led me to join the Royal NZ Navy where I enjoyed a very satisfying career. I have been fortunate to have travelled extensively and lived in Singapore and Maryland USA. I began writing contemporary romances when my youngest child started school. I enjoy including family issues, genealogy, rugby and/or snippets from my past military life in my stories. I love bringing something of my beautiful country to romance readers everywhere, so New Zealand always features in my stories, normally as the setting.  When not reading or writing, I find plenty to occupy my time with my family commitments. I currently live in Auckland with my husband and the youngest of our four children.

You can find Anne at:

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29 thoughts on “Interview With Anne Ashby, Author of The CEO Gets Her Man”

    1. I searched for a while to find what my stories’ “point of difference” could be and I soon figured out that I like reading books set in foreign places so other people might to. Especially when New Zealand isn’t the most well known country in the world lol. Thanks for posting.

    1. Ahh, my rugby All Black hero, you liked him? I’m a sucker for rugby and loved being able to use the sport as a background into who Jase was inside. Alas my next hero isn’t an All Black, but I’m sure he’ll have played rugby most of his life – I must remember to put that into his profile. Thanks for stopping by

  1. I’ve never understood how waitresses can carry trays filled with drinks and food. Or when they line plates up both arms – how do they do that??? They have to walk more steadily than I ever have. My daughter says I walk like a listing ship in a storm – especially if I’m trying to negotiate in heels.

    1. I’m with you. I worked as a kitchen hand for a few months before joining the Navy and those waitressing girls just blew me away.The strength in their arms, and as you mention, their ability not to drop everything. I imagine I could handle a couple of plates, its all the cutlery that always amazes me, I drop that between my table and the kitchen bench lol

    1. Thanks Diane, Yeah we’re so lucky, and so thankful she still has her eyesight – she’d be lost without her half dozen books a week. Poor thing, she lives in a small town and often finds she’s taking home books she’s already read. I suspect she’s read everything they have. I’ll be able to give her my new book soon, just waiting for print copies to be shipped then I can get one in the mail to her

    1. Thanks for stopping by Nora, I love light, comic stories the best, too. One day I hope to find a heroine who doesn’t have heaps of baggage so I can actually write one.

  2. Anne,
    It was lovely getting to know you better. I yearn for the day when I can be a disciplined writer. With my kids, I am at the stage where I write in between events and duties. 🙂 Best wishes to you!
    -R.T. Wolfe

    1. Hey RT, It’ll come sooner than you want. I used to make sure I was available to help with homework – you know, tea (dinner) prepared and an hour of being on hand. When the kids got they didn’t need my help anymore, I’d wander around like a lost sheep. It took me a couple of years to realise they’d gone and grown past me listening to their reading or taking their spelling words – I never could get back to writing during that hour though

  3. Hi Anne! I love the premise of a female CEO going undercover…as a klutzy waitress at that. I’m glad you set your books in NZ…I spent 2 and 1/2 weeks on the South Island and absolutely loved it. You’re lucky you live in God’s country!

    1. Ahh, someone must have got into your ear about God’s country. Of course its definitely true lol. I’m glad you’ve had the opportunity to visit and hope you’ll come back again one day. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a comment

  4. I too am a writer who gets words in between kids social stuff & non-mom/wife time… in other words, when the house is empty save for me & kids are at school/hubs at work.
    My mom introduced me to reading too. We still share the love of it, and read quite a few of the same mainstream authors. (she doesn’t read any “sexy” books except mine LOL)
    Great interview!

    1. thank you Kacey. Are you finding you’re able to hand on that love of reading to your children? None of mine are what I call readers, at least nothing like my husband and me, although grandkids (3 & 18mths) like nothing better than to read so maybe it just jumped a generation. Great to meet you

    1. hey Kim, thanks. I’ve been extremely lucky to have such a supportive husband who never minded the housework not being done. If we want to write, I guess that often means something else in our lives might just have to take a back seat. With me its the housework lol

  5. Please forgive me for my lack of responses yesterday. I came down with some sort of stomach bug and to be honest, sitting by the computer was the last thing I felt capable of doing lol. I’ll make some individual replies now

  6. I’ve pulled the winner’s name from my coffee mug and the winner is:

    Voirey Linger!

    Congrats, Voirey. I’ll pass on your contact info to Anne and she’ll get in touch with you.

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