Join Melanie and Michelle as they chat with Leah Ashton about her latest release.
From runaway bride…
To pregnant princess!
When Princess Ana runs out on her wedding she needs a place to hide — fast! Family friend and sexy security tycoon, Rhys North’s Italian hideaway proves the perfect place to escape scandal. Until she has one unforgettable night in the arms of the brooding ex-soldier…
When Ana’s duty calls, they must go their separate ways but as Christmas approaches, Ana realizes she’s carrying an unexpected gift…Rhys’s baby!
About your book
His Pregnant Christmas Princess is set on the fictional island of Vela Ada, a small island nation off the coast of Croatia. It is a sweet contemporary romance, featuring a heroine who has unexpectedly become a princess, and a hero with a tragic past.
RITA Award-winning author Leah Ashton writes fast-paced, sexy romantic suspense and smart, modern contemporary romance. All her books feature strong heroines, deliciously heroic heroes and swoon worthy happily ever afters.
Leah lives in Perth, Western Australia with her gorgeous police officer husband, two amazing daughters and the best intentions to meal plan and have an effortlessly tidy home. When she’s not writing, Leah loves all day breakfast, rambling conversations and laughing until she cries. She really hates cucumber. And scary movies.
Q.Where did the idea for your book come from?
I wanted to write another book set on the island of Vela Ada, after really enjoying writing about the fictional island nation in my previous book, The Prince’s Fake Fiancee. My mum’s family is Croatian and my grandmother was a huge help with the Croatian-inspired details of both my Vela Ada books.
Q.Why do you write romance?
I love to read romance – I read it almost exclusively. I love the guaranteed happily ever after, and I love reading about strong heroines and the heroes that deserve them. I feel romance is a really important genre, especially in the #metoo generation. Romance novels show women that they can be loved for being themselves, and that they deserve love and respect from good, truly heroic men.
Q.Is there anything which sets it apart from any other book in the genre?
My heroine Ana is quite unique in that she became a princess only after her royal father finally admits her paternity on his deathbed. This turns her life upside down, and when the book starts she is just about to runaway from her wedding – realising that in the blur that her life has become since becoming a princess, she’s made a terrible mistake and is about to marry the wrong man!
It’s also partly set in the beautiful Northern Italian town of Castlerotto, which is famous for its Christmas markets – so of course that’s where I sent Ana and Rhys!
Q.What, if any, were the challenges you faced writing your book?
This book has been the toughest I’ve written for a while, I wrote myself into a corner with Ana and Rhys’s conflicts, to the point where I thought they could never be together! My hero lost his wife several years earlier, and he has so much pain to overcome before he can fall for Ana – but I think I pulled it all together in the end 😊
Q.Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?
My process is to procrastinate for several months, and then write the book in about ten weeks in a panic 😊 I don’t truly plot, but I do always know where my books are heading, and I know my character’s internal conflicts and how they clash with each other.
Q.What is the underlying theme of your book, if any?
The theme is definitely learning to trust in love, and to risk your heart for the person you love. Both Ana and Rhys have really strong reasons why they wouldn’t believe in love, but together they (eventually!) learn to believe again.
Q.Would you call your hero and/or heroine a typical romance hero and/or heroine? Why not? What sets him/her apart from the men/women we usually encounter in romances?
I’m not sure what a typical romance hero and heroine is, as I feel most author’s strive to write strong and unique characters. That’s the beauty of romance, the general public believes they are generic and cookie-cutter, but we know how rich and diverse the genre really is.
Q.What was your inspiration for your MC?
I hadn’t really thought about this, but the name came partly from my youngest sister Annie, and the cover image of Ana actually looks a bit like her!
Q.What kind of research did you undertake when writing?
I spent a lot of time learning about Castelrotto, and also learning about anxiety and panic attacks. My grandmother was very helpful for the Slavic dialect spoken by the people of Vela Ada.
Q.What was your favourite part in writing this book?
I loved writing the scene in Castelrotto when Ana and Rhys kiss for the first time. I also loved writing the Christmas scenes!
Q.Besides the gorgeous cover, what about this story will draw your reader into your world?
If you love Christmas, royal romance, strong heroines, and complicated heroes – you’ll love Ana and Rhys’s story.
Where to buy your book
On the shelves now in Kmart, Target and Big W, or in eBook from all online book retailers.
You can read a longer excerpt and find buy links here
Excerpt from His Pregnant Christmas Present.
“Ana –“ he started, then swallowed. “I mean, Your Highness –“
“You got it right the first time, Rhys,” Ana said, emphasising his name. She liked how it sounded on her tongue. Why on earth had she insisted on calling him Mr North?
Distance. That’s right.
He shook his head. “I don’t think this is a good idea. You’ve had a rough few days. You’ve been drinking –“
“One drink, Rhys. I’m not even tipsy. And yes, I have had a rough few days, and I know that this probably isn’t a good idea. But then – I’ve known that all year about a variety of things, and where exactly has that got me? At least this bad idea feels pretty good right now, don’t you think?”
Rhys’s gaze was locked on hers and didn’t move as he nodded slowly. Oh so slowly, as if he really didn’t want to, but was helpless to do otherwise.
The idea that such a strong man could feel that was because of her was the most delicious sensation.
“I’m still a reclusive widower who doesn’t like Christmas, Ana,” he said, “I’m not going to be your prince.”
Ana laughed out loud. “A prince is the last thing I want, Rhys,” she said. “Tonight, I don’t even want to be a princess.”
How can readers connect with You
The best way is through my Facebook page
you can visit my website – I love to hear from readers!
Thank You for taking the time to chat to us about your writing and your book.