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Ashley Shuttleworth is a young adult fantasy author with a degree in English literature and a slight obsession with The Legend of Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy. They currently live in Ontario, Canada, with their cat named Zack and a growing collection of cosplay swords. You can find them online at AshleyShuttleworth.com.

What’s the strangest thing you searched for on the internet for your novel?

Honestly, for A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR I oddly didn’t have to delve too deep into any wild hole. However, I did spend a while looking up Canadian laws on restricted weapons (such as swords) so that probably earned me a bit of government attention.

What book (or author) made you fall in love with the romance genre?

I’m trying to remember the first book I read that was classified as romance that drew me to the genre and I think it might have been Nora Roberts. It was some vampire trilogy? I can’t even recall the name of it now, but it was either Nora Roberts of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books that pulled me into a deeper interest in romance stories.

What is your favourite trope? Why?

This is an extremely hard question because I have a great love for so many tropes. I do think the “misunderstood villain” trope is high on that list though, the “they’re an asshole to everyone except the person they fall in love with”, most likely because on a deeper level, most people are drawn to these tropes because of their own insecurities that they aren’t worthy of love, are too “messed up” for anyone to want to bother with, and getting to read something where a character painted as the villain is actually not is a small but necessary reassurance that someone out there could see past all that.

On a (sort of) lighter note, hit me with the “enemies to begrudging partners to lovers who only realise they love one another when the other is on the brink of death”. Give me peril or go home. Give me the SONG OF ACHILLES

It’s the morning after, and a lover is making your main character the perfect breakfast in bed. What is it?

Well, if this was Arlo and Nausicaä, Arlo would be won over by bacon and scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Nos would be won over by lucky charms in a bowl where all the cereal is picked out leaving just the hardened marshmallows. But Arlo would never serve her just that, so buttermilk pancakes slathered with butter and maple syrup and chocolate sauce and topped with bacon. Bacon is a pretty big staple for both.

For Vehan and Aurelian, Aurelian would have an enormous breakfast laid out for him, a full course of pretty much everything because he thinks Vehan doesn’t eat enough. Vehan would attempt making Aurelian something from scratch, with his own hands. Something healthy including a lot of eggs and avocado and he’d really try his hardest, but it wouldn’t turn out all that great. Aurelian would love it regardless.

What book are you reading currently?

My current reads are:

SIX CRIMSON CRANES by Elizabeth Lim

BLOOD LIKE MAGIC by Liselle Sambury

JADE CITY by Fonda Lee (because I need to re-read this before the last book comes out)

THE WITCH KING by H. E. Edgmon

And a book I don’t have yet but am begging the universe to send me:

IRON WIDOW by Xiran Jay Zhao

The rapid fire question: Roll of the dice or cautious pro and con list?

I feel allegiance to “roll of the dice” and for the most part, I am pretty spontaneous. But I don’t tend to rush blindly into things, so there’s still a little forethought. 

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