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Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Human Experience (Interview with Claire Ashby, Author of WHEN YOU MAKE IT HOME)

Welcome, welcome my friends!  Today we have a very special guest on the blog, one of my favorite people in the whole world and one that fans of the blog will already be familiar with: Claire Ashby!


Claire is here today to promote her debut novel, WHEN YOU MAKE IT HOME, a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.  She has agreed to come on the blog today and submit to the usual gibberish questions that I ask my guests, so instead I FLIPPED THE SCRIPT and asked her ordinary ones.  Take that, expectations!

Now let's meet the author, and then dive right into the interview.  Oh, and make sure to stick around for the giveaway at the end!

About Claire Ashby:

Claire Ashby was born and raised in the heart of Atlanta. At a young age, she began keeping journals and over time embellished the details of her quiet days. Eventually, she let go of reality altogether and delved completely into the world of fiction.

When she’s not reading or writing, she spends her time watching extreme survival shows and taking long walks after nightfall. She has an unnatural love of high places, but still regrets the time she skydived solo. She believes some things are better left to the imagination. She resides in Austin with her family and a pack of wild dogs.

You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.


SK: Welcome, welcome, Claire!  Thanks for stopping by.  Let's dive right in.  Your male lead, Theo, is a GWOT veteran. Was it difficult for you to put yourself into a military mindset? What kind of research did you do?

CA:  Incredibly difficult. I’ve never served in war. I started reading military blogs and I discovered all these raw, brilliant accounts of day-to-day life. Military blogs share the human experience, in a way I didn’t find in the media. They’re first person accounts of war in real time: you’re not here, but this is what’s really happening. 

I also talked to a lot of people, read books, watched movies. One of the books that left the biggest impression on me was, WAR, by Sebastian Junger. Sebastian Junger also made the deeply moving documentary, RESTREPO, with Tim Hetherington, about a 15-month tour spent with a platoon in Afghanistan. 

SK: Theo lost his leg during the war and I thought you handled such a sensitive subject particularly well. Did you run into any difficulties portraying a Wounded Warrior?

CA:  Well, it’s heartbreaking. Since 2001, almost 2,000 Americans have had battle-injuries that lead to amputation. But again, we’re talking about warriors here, and I read story after story of veterans fighting to recover. Fighting to get their lives back on track. 

SK: Romance is kind of horrifying to me, yet WHEN YOU MAKE IT HOME was one of the best books I've ever read. How did you make your novel so appealing to male readers?

CA:  Wow—thank you! I didn’t aim to make my story appealing to male readers, I just told Meg and Theo’s story the best I could. 

SK: I understand you're very active in the (shudder) romance author’s community. Can you tell us a little bit about what groups you belong to and what events you've done?

CA:  I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America. If you write romance or woman’s fiction, RWA is the place to be. They offer the best workshops, monthly meetings, writing contests, critique groups, and an annual conference that will blow you away. 

SK: Well, thanks for being with us today, Claire! Everyone on the staff here is wishing you the best of luck with your debut.


Meg Michaels, a bookstore owner, has already walked away from two cheating exes. She’s learned her lesson and has her mind set on success—until she gets knocked up. Embarrassed and unwilling to discuss her situation with friends and family, she wears layers to hide the pregnancy.

When Meg gets sick at a party, she’s mortified. Even worse, Theo Taylor, the guest of honor, discovers her secret. Theo, an Army medic wounded in the war, agrees not to reveal her condition, and the two forge a bond of friendship that blossoms into love.

Theo is soon filling all of Meg’s late-night cravings—and not just the pregnancy-induced ones. But can their love overcome all the obstacles that stand between them and creating a happy family?

The novel is available exclusively on Amazon, and is free for KindleUnlimited subscribers!  Make sure to pick up a copy and tell your friends about it on Goodreads.

Read an Excerpt

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Congrats to Claire! I really love this cover, I was drawn to it as soon as I saw it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Leandra. Somehow the inside is EVEN BETTER.


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