Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Allison Ashley Interview - The Roommate Pact

Photo Content from Allison Ashley

Allison Ashley is a science geek who enjoys coffee, craft beer, baking, and love stories. When she's not working at her day job as a clinical oncology pharmacist, she pens contemporary romances, usually with a medical twist. She lives in Oklahoma with her family and beloved rescue dog.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill? 
I’ve always had sort of an unusual combination of strengths and interests. I love science and my day job is a pharmacist. My major in college was a science-based major, and I always excelled that those courses in school. But instead of math as another strength, which most science people have (NOT me, lol), I’ve always been into all kinds of art. I’ve always loved reading fiction, I minored in Art History in college, and I find music incredibly inspiring. I think I was always going to end up being some strange combination of science and art, which often don’t go together. During the day I focus on the science part, and when I come home I need that creative release, too.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre? 
I’m never able to nail down a single book that’s my favorite, so I’ll give an author instead – Amy Harmon is an author I love and whose books I pretty much always devour. Her writing is so diverse – historical, contemporary, some with elements of magic and fantasy, and always, always a deeply moving love story. I find her work engrossing and captivating. I rarely stray from books that have some romance thread in them, but for a book outside my genre, I’d have to say I recently really enjoyed all of those in the ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas. Romance is obviously a big part of those so I’m sort of cheating, but they’re technically fantasy!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Recently a reader posted that one of my books was their comfort read they come back to when they need something they know they loved. I have some favorite books like that, and knowing how much I love them, knowing someone thinks of my book that way was just such an honor and incredible compliment.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
Social media! When I started writing, well before I had an agent or was even thinking about making a name for myself, I wasn’t on Twitter or Instagram. Once I had a few completed novels and was ready to start querying and looking into publishing, I learned the importance of developing a social media presence. I started spending time cultivating that and networking in online author/reader spaces, and this quickly became an easy distraction from writing.

Can you tell us when you started THE ROOMMATE PACT, how that came about? 
THE ROOMMATE PACT stemmed from two side characters in a previous novel that just would not leave me alone. I don’t always write multiple books in the same world, but for this it was inevitable. As I was writing WOULD YOU RATHER, which is about Noah and Mia, these two side characters just came to life and by the end of writing the first book, they made it clear they deserved to have their story told, too. Graham and Claire were really fun as side characters, sort of balancing out the serious, stoic nature that characterized the couple in the first book, so it was really fun to pivot to something more fun and lighthearted when it was their turn.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters? 
Honestly, they all surprise me at some point. One of the most fun parts of writing is how I truly feel as if the characters are their own people and I’m just here to tell their story. There are times when I sit down to write with a loose idea of what might happen in the next scene, and as I start writing and listening to the characters, they take me in an entirely new direction I never anticipated. It’s such a freeing experience to just be along for the ride and let them guide me.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from THE ROOMMATE PACT
In THE ROOMMATE PACT, the hero, Graham, suffers a rock-climbing injury where he’s bedbound for a few weeks. Claire suggests he start journaling to pass the time, but instead of journaling for himself, he starts documenting his days and thoughts to Claire in secret emails he never actually sends her. At first these emails start of sarcastic and entertaining, but as the book continues and he begins to let his guard down and fall for Claire, they become secret confessions of things he’s too afraid to say out loud. These emails became my favorite part of the book, and here's a couple excerpts from various emails he writes to Claire:


I just googled what to write about in a journal and here are the suggestions:

1. Inspirational quotes. That seems cliche, but I heard something once I try to live by:

“A ship is safe in the harbor,
but that’s not what ships are made for.”

I have no idea who said it. (Also, are you impressed with my formatting? I played around with it and went with italics and center alignment, and now I’m several seconds closer to Noah’s arrival and getting out of this fresh hell that is journaling).


Another Google suggestion for journal topics is the high and low of your day.

High: I woke up with you curled up against my side. Don’t get weird about it, I’m not. I’ve just always liked sharing my bed with someone else. Women, preferably, but I won’t lie and say Nathan, Noah and I never cuddled for body heat when camping in the winter. Anyway, it was nice, and I’d like to make a motion we keep that up even when I get my voice back.

Yes, I realize I’ll need to bring that up IRL at some point, because you’ll never read this.

Low: You left for work. Again, don’t get weird. I’m just bored and I hate being here alone. Gertrude is lovely company but she sleeps too much.


You just left for your date with Mr. Real Estate. You wore the yellow dress. Which makes me an asshole, because while you look damn good in it, it’s the green top that would have made the guy lose his mind. And contrary to what I said, I guess I’m not ready to let this go yet.

I’m not sure what it is, but I’m inclined to blame you. You’ve been taking my dog on walks, for crying out loud. If there’s a faster way to my heart I don’t know what it is. Don’t freak out (me—I’m telling myself that), I’m not professing my undying love or anything ridiculous. I’m just feeling...something.


I’m writing this from my phone while you sleep beside me. We’re at my parents’ house and I just had the best night of my life. I tried to show you when we got back how much you mean to me, and I hope you felt it. I hope you know. I’m sorry I couldn’t speak the words out loud, but I have to say them somewhere. So here goes:

You. Are. Extraordinary.

You’re an insanely beautiful, sassy, sometimes crass woman who takes no shit and isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants. You’ve experienced tragedy in the worst way and yet you emerged strong and resilient. You refused to let your past steal your ability to laugh.

Your laugh is the most incredible sound, did you know that?

And the final paragraph of his last email to her:

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but (1) I got in the habit of writing things down (thanks to you) (2) I wanted to tell you how badly I want to hate you for how this turned out, but (3) I don’t hate you. I love you.

What was your favorite subject when you were in school and why? 
Science, because it fascinated me – I loved it so much I pursued a career in it. I still love it just as much.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid? 
I feel pretty lucky to have grown up in the late 80s, early 90s. I’d probably pick it again!

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
Walking along the Great Wall of China

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
Damn that’s a lot of freckles

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? 
Whatever book I’m currently writing

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours? 

What is your greatest adventure? 
Heli hiking in Denali, Alaska (helicopter flies you up above the tree line to hike in the Alaskan mountans – I’ve never seen anything so beautiful

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
I have a pretty serious fish phobia. I don’t get in water that has fish – no lakes, rivers, not in the ocean, nothing.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them? 

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh? 
Today as I left the office, talking to my wonderful colleagues about, as moms of young children, the things we find under the seats in our cars (the winner was a popped can of biscuits lol)

What is the first job you have had? 
My best friend’s parent’s gift shop. A big part of the job was offering professional gift-wrapping for things people bought, and I was so bad at first my boss had to rewrap everything I did. But now, after having that job for 4 years, I’m a master gift-wrapper and have friends to ask me to wrap their gifts at Christmas time

All of the fun, none of the heartache…as long as they stick to the agreement.

The proposition is simple: if ER nurse Claire Harper and her roommate, firefighter Graham Scott, are still single by the time they’re forty, they’ll take the proverbial plunge together…as friends with benefits. Maybe it’s the wine, but in the moment, Claire figures the pact is a safe-enough deal, considering she hasn’t had much luck in love and he’s in no rush to settle down. Like, at all. Besides, there’s no way she could ever really fall for Graham and his thrill-seeking ways. Not after what happened to her father…

Just as things begin to heat up way before the proposed deadline, Graham’s injured in a serious rock-climbing accident—and he needs Claire’s help to heal. She’ll do whatever it takes to nurse him back to health…even if it means moving into Graham’s bed and putting up with his little dog who hates her. But with this no-strings arrangement taking a complicated turn, keeping “for now” from turning into “forever” isn’t as easy as they’d planned.

You can purchase The Roommate Pact at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ALLISON ASHLEY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Roommate Pact by Allison Ashley.

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