Gregory Ashe is a longtime Midwesterner. He has lived in Chicago, Bloomington (IN), and Saint Louis, his current home. When not reading and writing (which take up a lot of his time), he is an educator.
Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords picks up a few months after the events of the last book in the Hazard and Somerset Mysteries. These books trace Hazard and Somers’s efforts to stop a serial killer who has become fascinated with them.
The Borealis Investigations tells the story of Shaw Aldrich and North McKinney, best friends who run a private detective agency in St. Louis.
The Hollow Folk is a paranormal YA series set in a small town in Wyoming, where teen psychic Vie Eliot must faces monsters within and without.
Mailing List: http://bit.ly/ashemailinglist
THE RATIONAL FACULTY, book 1 in Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords:
Brad Shreve 0:00
Today’s episode Gregory Ashe tells us what’s next for Hazard in Somerset. And Justin reviews one cracker jack of a book.
Welcome to gay mystery authors with Brad Shreve featuring interviews with some of the most renowned authors and up and coming talent and LGBTQ mysteries, suspense and thrillers. Plus Justin is here with her weekly recommendation.
Brad Shreve 0:37
I’m going to start the show today with another shout out to a review that we got on iTunes. This came from No Spoiler Reviews and it’s a great review it said, discover a rich world of mystery fiction. Join Brad and Justene and their gentle yet informative podcasts about LGBTQ mystery novels for both writers and readers. So we’re gentle and informative. Justene, that’s us.
Yeah, we’re being gentle.
Brad Shreve 1:07
No wacky morning shows from us. That’s true.
That’s true. I don’t know. But we kind of rough around the edges still, I think.
Brad Shreve 1:14
Well, we’re getting there. We’re good.
All right. Wait, it really it sounds like we’re doing better people who consider us gentle.
Brad Shreve 1:24
That is true. And you have some information about Buffy today.
Okay. Yeah. Buffy is offering a 20% discount, or is it $20 off. $20 off $20 off. And all you have to do is put in the code fluffy 20. That’s FLUFFY, two, zero. And you can go to the Buffy link on our web page, because that supports the show. Get yourself a great comfort and support our show at the same time and get 20% $20 off the off the price.
Brad Shreve 2:04
Now let’s make that clear it is $20 off the price. So it’s a better deal than 20%. So, right.
So let me just say I’m still sleeping with my Buffy I can barely tell I have a comforter on it. And if you’re the kind of person who needs a weighted blanket to sleep, this isn’t for you. It but if you’re the kind of person like I am, where a weighted blanket is absolutely the last thing you would ever want. And you want to you want to be warm without getting tangled. This is really the comforter for you.
Brad Shreve 2:36
Well, I said I was going to get one and I haven’t yet. I’ve been very lax. I’m actually leaning more towards the Buffy pillow because I need a pillow more than a comforter, and I’ve heard I’ve looked at the reviews for the Buffy pillow and it looks pretty great too. And you have reviewed this week. Who are you reviewing?
I am reviewing a book that we got through our request for reviews this this book came in to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. So if you want to have a chance to have your your book reviewed on this show, feel free to send it along. And this book is by Jennifer Giacalone. And I don’t know if I’m pronouncing that last name correctly GIACALONE in case you need to know how to spell to search for it and the title of the book is called Loud Pipes Save Lives and the loud pipes, I believe it refers to the pipes on the back of the motorcycles. One of the characters is in a all girls motorcycle gang. So let me let me give you a quick synopsis of what the setting for this is. Okay. There were four siblings two male straight siblings one is married. The other one at the beginning of the book is single and recently lost his legs and the there then two sisters, one of which is a lesbian who was in a woman woman’s biking biker gang. And the other one is which is the main character, although not everything is from her point of view. And she is asexual and she ends up in ending up going into a relationship in the middle of the book was another asexual woman. And I thought that was that was an interesting twist. I’m not sure that I’ve ever read a book were the main characters a sexual so that that falls was in the LGBTIA and A is for aasexual
Brad Shreve 4:52
Well, that sounds interesting. That’s new.
Yeah, it is new. Yeah, it is new for me. And I was. I was I was intrigued. More than I thought I would I tend to sometimes say okay, you know this person straight this person’s gay this person is non binary. But when I realized that she was asexual have piqued my interest quite a bit. So the the main character Lilly Sparr is a police detective. Her sister Ainslie is in this biker gang. And the brother who is has been recently lost his legs is doing charity work. They’re all coming from a very rich family. And then the fourth brother is married and heads up the family business, which is a media and publishing company, which runs a couple of newspapers.
Brad Shreve 5:46
I’m going to take a guess here somewhere in the story, there’s a murder.
Well, you know, it’s kind of funny because you kind of lay it out. It’s like, oh, wow, this is this is a lot of pieces. Okay, so at The beginning you thinking that this kind of this overlay with a biker gang. The biker biker gang is is wreaking havoc and engaging in vigilante justice and the one sisters in the biker gang and the other sister is in the is the police detective assigned finding it. And but then you realize, wait a minute this fact where their father was murdered last year. That’s the mystery we’re supposed to solve. I call it it’s going to get my crackerjack recommendation. It’s got a lot of flavors and textures going on. It’s got the, you know, the track Jackson’s got the popcorn and then the nuts and then the sweet and the slightly salty. And then at the end, there’s a toy surprise and at the end of this mystery, the solution picks up all these themes and clues that have left along the way and you say okay, Well that’s kind of a character background thing and you don’t really notice it although you remember it when it comes to play at the end. And it works as well as Cracker Jacks does in terms of combining all the sensations and flavors and producing a great product.
Brad Shreve 7:18
So Jennifer is our first cracker jack recommendation.
She certainly is. And I gotta say there’s a as complicated as I’m making it sound and I think it is that complicated. She makes it very simple to understand. she introduces each component very clearly and then she starts getting into the, to the mystery and rocking and rolling and then at the end, all of a sudden you’re you’re into the full out finale. I found a very absorbing and very satisfying
Brad Shreve 7:53
Yeah. So we got that through one of the, you know, the submission and I was very pleased. I don’t think I would have stumbled across it in my usual looking for books.
Brad Shreve 8:05
And good I hope we get some more submissions. And I want to go back to the No Spoiler Reviews. I didn’t I told the review but I didn’t say thank you to them. And this came in over iTunes and over half of you listen to us on iTunes. So if you go to iTunes, they make it really easy to do review. If nothing else, click click five stars. That’s the easiest way to do it. But we’d like to review too
Yeah, well, if you do review will give a shout out. So absolutely. We can’t give a shout out to the five star leave people because we have no idea who they are.
Brad Shreve 8:39
Nope. That could be anybody.
That’s right. And so who you interviewing today, Brad,
Brad Shreve 8:45
I have Gregory Ashe, and I gotta tell you, it’s a great interview. So sit back and you’ll really enjoy it.
I really like Gregory Ashe. I he’s one of my favorite writers. I discovered him early in his his writing career and then I read a bunch of his books I, I contacted him and said, this is really great. And since then we’ve developed a relationship. So I consider to be a non objective review if I reviewed his books, but he is one of my favorite and I’m looking forward to hearing his interview.
Brad Shreve 9:16
Well, he certainly is extremely popular and like I said, it was a fun interview with Greg so great. You’ll enjoy it.
Good. Talk to you next week.
Brad Shreve 9:25
Okay, see you then. See you then. Thank you. Bye.
You can keep up with the Gay Mystery Authors on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Links are on our website. Gaymysteryauthors.com.
Brad Shreve 9:44
Gregory Ashe is a longtime Midwesterner he lived in Chicago, Bloomington, Indiana and St. Louis, which is his current home when not reading and writing which takes up a lot of his time. He is an educator. Gregory’s latest novel is the Rational Faculty: Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords, which is currently available to preorder Gregory, thank you. Welcome to the show.
Gregory Ashe 10:09
Thank you for having me. It’s good to have you on. Well, I’ve enjoyed listening to your other authors. It’s this is a real honor. I appreciate it.
Brad Shreve 10:16
Well, I appreciate that you listen to us. Now, you first published in 2011. And you wrote a number of books, but in 2017, you released Pretty Pretty Boys. And that was the first in your Hazard and Somerset mysteries, and that’s when things really took off for you, didn’t they?
Gregory Ashe 10:36
Yeah, that’s right.
Brad Shreve 10:38
Well explain the series for us. without too many spoilers, of course.
Gregory Ashe 10:42
Yeah, well, so Emery Hazard starts off in book one. He’s kind of the focal character. He’s the main protagonist and he comes back to his hometown, which is a small town in Missouri and his has gotten a job there’s a detective on the local police force. He He’s kind of, he left kind of under cloud his job as a detective on the St. Louis police force. And on his first day finds out he’s been partnered with his former high school bully, whose name is john Henry Somerset. And so the books follow. You know, there they are mystery novels with the strong romance subplot. And they follow the two these two men, you know, Hazard and Somerset as they solve kind of a mystery in each book. And also then as their own relationship unfolds, and they kind of move past the trauma that they both have in their background. You know, and I don’t want to give away all this at the end of book six, which is the end of the first arc, you know, they still have some things to work on, you know, so they they move forward, but there’s always more to to work on.
Brad Shreve 11:52
What do you believe it is about this particular series that made it so successful?
Gregory Ashe 11:58
Yeah, that’s a that’s a hard question because I think if you never really know why some books do well and why others don’t. I certainly part of it what like, looking at my own work, you know, some of it was, I was just a better writer, you know, like I got, but I think everyone gets better, you know, as they write and they, you know, I think by the time I got to Pretty Pretty Boys, I was doing some of the things I wanted to do. Well, well and so I think that came that paid off. And I think part of it is I was finally starting to categorize my books on Amazon in the gay mysteries genre, which I had resisted and resisted tagging, or putting any of my books in the gay category because I had I had this I don’t know irritation, or I just I thought it was silly that I had to do that. Like I was like, it’s it’s a fantasy book. Why can’t I just put it in fantasy even though the protagonist is gay or it’s a mystery? Why can’t I just put it mystery? And then I realized Like one day, I was like, This is silly, like the whole, when I want to read a book that has a gay protagonist, I go, look, the gay history is on there. Like, why wouldn’t I do the same thing to help people find my book? And so I do think that also helped, you know, putting in the right spot and using the right tags. But, you know, at the end, like at the end of the day, I don’t I don’t know, like there. It was the right readers and it was the right book and the people connected with it. And so I think, you know, there’s some some alchemy there that you can’t control.
Brad Shreve 13:33
Well, I definitely think coding as a gay mystery on Amazon would make a huge difference as you said, it’s a shame that that has to happen, but that’s the way life is
Gregory Ashe 13:43
Brad Shreve 13:43
Have your readers in either commenting to you directly or in their comments on Amazon. give you any ideas.
Gregory Ashe 13:53
I don’t read any reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or Facebook Like I Just, uh, I, and it’s not because I don’t want to know, but it’s because it becomes kind of a, it becomes kind of all consuming and it’s a rabbit hole. And so I, I will talk to other people that have read them. And I’ll I’ll ask for kind of the highlights. And so, you know, I think people have, from what I understand, you know, what friends and readers have kind of communicated. When I’ve asked them to give me the shorthand version is, you know, people connect with Emory Hazard, you know, and they like that character. They like his dynamic with some with summers, John Henry Somerset, so there’s a lot of back and forth. So, but yeah, that’s, that’s all kind of filtered through people I trust.
Brad Shreve 14:43
Well, I will say you’re smart man, staying out of Goodreads if anything else. I don’t know if you read reviews there. You know, somebody isn’t wild about your book on Amazon, they may say so on Goodreads, they rip you to shreds. Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know why that is.
Gregory Ashe 15:00
I agree, though that is and that that community can go the other way too, right where they are also your biggest advocates and your biggest fans can be on there. It’s it’s certainly more of the extremes of both.
Brad Shreve 15:11
yeah, you know, it’s not uncommon to look at somebody’s ratings. You look at all the books, they rate and then they’re all either fives or ones. They’re going there’s no in betweens, they either like it or they don’t. And that’s the way it is. Yeah, it’s just a different animal can be interesting the way it works there. As you said, you’ve you’ve written six books in the Hazard and Somerset series, and that arc has ended so that that part of the series is technically ended. But your newest book, The Rational Faculty, which as I said, it’s currently available for pre order, it’s an extension of that. It’s, it’s the first in the Hazard in Somerset: A Union of Swords series. That’s what makes it what makes it different than the previous novels?
Gregory Ashe 15:56
Well, I don’t want to give too much away about how book six ends in that first ARC But there’s some pretty major life changes for both of the protagonist. And so that part of it is book when they come back and professionally, they’re operating in a different way as they approach these crimes. The first six book arc also had like a longer background mystery that had to do with the death of Emory hazards first boyfriend. And so that’s also resolved in book six. And so I thought it was time because of the big changes in both kind of their professional and personal lives and the shift to a new series long arc. I thought it made sense to brand this as kind of a season two almost of Hazard. Yeah.
Brad Shreve 16:44
Welcome to sort of ended that first arc yet you continued Hazard and Somerset. I’m assuming that you love something about those characters. What is that?
Gregory Ashe 16:57
Something that I love? Is that what you said?
Brad Shreve 16:59
Yeah, but the Your characters hazard.
Gregory Ashe 17:02
I do love. I do love them. That’s true. Like, I think Emery hazard has a lot of anger. And he’s also somewhat emotionally detached. And he is. He’s like a little bit of a stick in the mud. And like all of those are traits that I sympathize with. And then, Somerset on the other hand is fun to write because he is everybody’s buddy. He’s nice. He is much, much smarter than he gives himself credit for. But he is also kind of the master at manipulating hazard, I say in a good way, like he knows how to let some of the steam off.
Brad Shreve 17:48
Yeah, manipulation gets kind of a bad rap. We tend to think of it as a negative, but actually, manipulation can be a positive as well. Yeah. So it sounds like in this situation itself, It’s very much an opposites attract.
Gregory Ashe 18:02
It is it’s an opposite. And it’s it is the kind of opposites attract, but they have a shared set of values and they have things in common that are just less obvious maybe. So yeah.
Brad Shreve 18:16
Now if somebody wants to order The Rational Faculty, where would they go?
Gregory Ashe 18:20
So it’s up for pre order on Amazon and on the 28th, which is the day it launches. It will also be available at Smashwords and Kobo and Barnes and Noble and I bought or Apple. Whatever that is iTunes I book. I can’t, I can’t keep it all straight, but it’ll be everywhere on the 28th pretty much everything.
Brad Shreve 18:38
That’s for both the book in paperback?
Gregory Ashe 18:41
the print will only be at Amazon to start with. Yeah. Okay.
Brad Shreve 18:45
Yeah. Okay, now, pretty pretty boys was your first mystery novel, is that correct? Who were your inspirations to write mysteries?
Gregory Ashe 18:55
Oh my gosh. I’m there. So let’s see. So I love You know Raymond Chandler love Sue Grafton. I think Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite like, current writers, but probably the person that taught that I learned how to do a mystery from reading was Agatha Christie, like the Miss Marple. I think that like sometimes the most stripped down version of a genre is what teaches you how to do it well so like, you know, those those golden age mystery novels are really stripped down in terms of character and subplots and but they they show you how to do the mystery part really well.
Brad Shreve 19:37
Yeah, they’re definitely true of Agatha Christie. Sherlock Holmes, I don’t know he he kind of pulls things out of his hat sometimes he says mysteries but you definitely go into the core with Agatha.
Gregory Ashe 19:48
Well and and i think you that point about Holmes and also if you look at you know, Poe are but you know cam the invention of the mystery novel like the my issue with both Those tends to be that you see them from the kind of dim witted partner, you know, and it’s also like the detective has access to all this information that the reader might not, you know, I could never solve a Sherlock Holmes mystery because I don’t like, I don’t know all those random facts and that wasn’t the kind of mystery that I wanted to write.
Brad Shreve 20:23
Well, that that’s Holmes would be something like, well, there was this mud on his shoe is the only type of mud that you ever find on Houndstooth Hill, and he doesn’t play fair with the reader.
Gregory Ashe 20:37
Brad Shreve 20:38
Well, you said you’re an avid reader, who are you reading now?
Gregory Ashe 20:41
Let’s see. I just finished Stephen King’s the Institute. Right now. I’m reading Annie Dillard’s Tinker at Pilgrim Creek, which is not a mystery. It’s a it’s kind of a nature writing book, but it’s it won the Pulitzer, you know, in the 70s. And it’s just, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It It’s her kind of it’s kind of like at her life at this place called Pilgrim Creek in West Virginia. And it’s just really beautiful writing.
Brad Shreve 21:08
But I think it’s good to always get outside of your own genre and yeah, yeah, you can learn quite a bit.
Gregory Ashe 21:15
Yeah, I feel like if I read I read a lot of mysteries, but I feel like a half two when I step away and read something else, like you said, there’s kind of these other aspects of the craft that are more visible if I look at something else.
Brad Shreve 21:29
Are there any particular Mystery Writers that you follow currently? Even more specific, perhaps gay mystery writers?
Gregory Ashe 21:37
Oh, man, I love it. I know I’m going to leave people out. So I love you know, Marshall Thornton. Boys Town. I love the CS Poe. And you had you had her but I love the Snow and Winter. Josh lanyon’s Adrian English. Those are that’s also a genre. Where there’s so much for me to explore still. So I, you know, I’m still reading and listening to the recommendations on this podcast and kind of reading around to find new stuff.
Brad Shreve 22:08
Well, that’s actually the whole reason I started the show. And it is kind of an unfair question because you’re like, Oh my god, there’s so many. I don’t want to leave. I don’t wanna leave anybody out. And it’s it. And
Gregory Ashe 22:19
there’s so many good ones too, which is awesome.
Brad Shreve 22:22
That is, it is pretty awesome. And I guess they all the books that you just listed are really good books, in my opinion. So yeah, you have good taste. Now. Let’s go back to where it all began. But describe to us your writing journey.
Gregory Ashe 22:38
Yeah, I think like a lot of people I would, you know, I would say that I wrote pretty from pretty early on it, but I did take this break, kind of somewhere in in like, middle school, high school age, like, I was like, Damn, I’m writing these like, you know, I’m not a very good writer, but like, I was just doing it for fun. So I guess I’ll stop and then I had in my head that I wanted Come back at some time. And like I was 25. And I was in grad school, and I was like, realize how tough this road trip and I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m 25, which is not that old. But when you’re 25, and all of a sudden, 30 years on the horizon, it starts to feel for people. I just was like, This is silly. Like, I’ve been telling myself, I’m gonna write a book for a long time. And I don’t know when that’s going to happen if I don’t do it. So I sat down and started writing. And, you know, I wrote I wrote for 10 years before, pretty pretty boys was successful. So I mean, it was a long time of, you know, writing and trying to learn and reading, writing and throwing stuff away.
And, yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s it in a nutshell, I guess.
Brad Shreve 23:47
Yeah. People are like, Oh, he’s an overnight success to me like, I don’t think so.
Gregory Ashe 23:52
It was a real long night.
Brad Shreve 23:57
But it’s funny what you were saying. I used to, right before I started this podcast, I moderated a Facebook group for beginning writers and for very green writers. And it was so often that we get people that say, Well, I’m 25, do you think it’s too late?
Gregory Ashe 24:14
Oh, yeah. I know. But when you’re that age,
Brad Shreve 24:19
Yes, it does. I remember.
Gregory Ashe 24:21
Brad Shreve 24:22
So I totally get that. It was funny. What do you think are common traps for aspiring writers?
Gregory Ashe 24:30
Um, boy, I would say, common traps for aspiring writers. One would be not reading enough. I think I think a lot of writers especially if they have hit, you know, have some success with that first book, start to turn all their attention to other things. So and that shows up in a lot of ways like not reading enough, too much time on social media and not writing the next book. Like before that if it’s before, you know, for people that are really just picking up like Uh, you know, the pen, which nobody does if people just sitting down for the first time to write on Word document. I think there’s problems with probably the two biggest problems are like structure and then prose like knowing what to tell and how much of it and when, you know, like those are tricky, hard things. And I think there’s no way to learn them except just practice and doing them over and over and over again.
Brad Shreve 25:26
Yeah, even Stephen King said he reads he says he’s he claims he’s a slow reader. But he reads he also says he reads 52 books a year so I don’t know where he finds the time. I sure don’t, but I tried to do the best I can.
Gregory Ashe 25:41
Well, and I I think I read the that same thing from him because when I read that I switched over to audiobooks in the car. I stopped watching TV like I have a TV at my front room. I don’t know when the last time was I watched it. I mean, yeah, cuz like you said, there’s just not enough time. You I’m sure you’re in the same boat with the podcast with your own writing with being involved in your own social media presence. I mean, there are a lot of things.
Brad Shreve 26:09
Yeah, it’s funny because you, I really think it’s important to read to hone your craft, and to continue reading, but just have so much else going on. How do you balance it? All?
Gregory Ashe 26:20
Right. No, that’s it. I mean, and I think the probably the answer is, nobody does a great job of balancing it because we’re all you know, like, but, but like it, my choices have been, as much as I would like to be more involved with my readers on Facebook or on Twitter. I’ve had to say, you know, that’s the part I’m going to do less of because I really feel like the greater service to them is learning how to write a good book, writing a good book, giving them the good book on time. You know, there’s X number of people on Facebook that want to talk to me and I’m happy to do it when I have a minute. Because I really do feel like that’s an honor to have someone care enough about your books to talk to you. I really Do but there’s a bigger number of people out there just waiting for the next one. And so I think you know, you can you serve more people by just by doing your job as a writer. It’s very well said,
Brad Shreve 27:11
You know, I think I interact in my group. And if it’s a small number of people, they tend to think, Oh, these are this is it. But then when I look at the actual number of books that sold compared to how many in the group, I think you’re right on target.
Gregory Ashe 27:27
Well, thanks. Yeah. And it’s never meant, as you know, for people who are listening who might be shaking their fists at me saying, you know what, you can’t turn my message. There’s no there’s no malice or ego. I just have so little time and I really do appreciate that people care about it, nothing care about, you know, my work enough to want to talk. So that’s a real, that’s real praise and an honor.
Brad Shreve 27:51
well, what surprised you most about becoming a writer?
Gregory Ashe 27:55
How hard it is. I mean, it will feel so hard like I mean, you know, I was just sitting here today, before you called working on this little side project that I have and I just get so frustrated. I want it. I want to know what they want when’s the day when it’s going to be easy every time but I don’t know. It’s not today, that’s for sure.
Brad Shreve 28:20
Well, I, Michael Nava was one of my first interviews and he said, it never gets easier.
No. Can you get back and edit that out.
Like, thanks a lot. Thanks for having me. No.
Gregory Ashe 28:37
Thank you. So funny. Well, I mean, is that been your experience as well? I mean,
Brad Shreve 28:43
I was really surprised how hard it is. And I was surprised how lonely it is. Yeah. And even when you love what you’re writing, just trying to get the right word. So yeah, it was it was surprising to me how hard because I love to write and yet it You think if you love to do something, you can just sit down and do it. And some days, it’s a lot easier to just stay on Facebook and yeah, yeah, it is. I agree it can be a rabbit hole. Yeah. Now, what are your feelings regarding the state of gay mystery genre today?
Gregory Ashe 29:18
Oh my gosh, it’s like an abundance of riches. It’s, it’s just awesome. How many people are writing? It’s awesome that we like, it’s awesome that it’s moving into, I guess what we could call mainstream fiction, you know, like, there’s less and less of the ghetto effect. And part of that is, you know, shifts in, in mainstream culture, you know, about attitudes towards homosexuality and all that stuff. But part of it that there’s just so many dang good writers, if you can’t ignore them forever, you know, I mean, there’s just many good stories with gay protagonists. And I think, you know, my hope my hope is that it continues to move that way.
Brad Shreve 30:00
I agree with you. I think it well.
Gregory Ashe 30:03
Yeah, I really hope so.
Brad Shreve 30:05
You have a sizable group of loyal fans.
I have a great group of people I’m really grateful for Yeah, they’re there. Yeah.
What is the most rewarding thing you’ve heard from a reader?
Gregory Ashe 30:14
Oh, gosh. Um, I don’t want to, like so I won’t give the specifics. And I’ll actually kind of lump a few together. But, but multiple So, you know, I have all my books deal with, I think issues that are serious for me and that are meaningful to me. And I think, you know, among those are things like abuse, depression, mental health. And I’ve had I have had a number of writer writers readers write to me and say that they connected with a book because they had experienced something similar and that it was helpful just to hear someone else’s version of it, you know, to know that they weren’t Only one that experienced something like that. You know, that’s a real trust to write to someone you’ve never met and share that part of your life. And I am kind of odd every time it happens. And I think, like, my hope is that, you know, the genre fiction and literature in general, kind of, you know, can be either really uplifting or it can be really disheartening. And I hope that I hope that what I’m writing is uplifting, I hope that it’s touching these people in a way that, you know, makes it easier to go out and live in a difficult world. I feel like the world’s hard enough like, I don’t need to read a depressing book on top of it. But yeah, so I would say those are the kind of the interactions that have been the most meaningful to me.
Brad Shreve 31:44
So this is going to be a silly question. When you get the those kind of comments. How does that make you feel?
Gregory Ashe 31:50
Well, I feel again, you know, like there’s this there’s this incredible sense of like, responsibility to the reader to treat these things with respect to treat them with respect. And and of course, like, you know, kind of, I want to i, it’s humbling in the sense that I just kind of can’t believe that people are willing to share these things with me because it’s something I wrote and I’m really, I do feel honored and you know, and grateful that they are willing to do that.
Brad Shreve 32:19
Is there any particular thing that was funny that you’ve heard from a reader?
Gregory Ashe 32:24
Oh, my gosh, I did have someone send a T shirt to me with like, every joke I made about a certain body part. I won’t say which one.
Brad Shreve 32:35
Oh, come on.
Gregory Ashe 32:38
I’m not gonna say any more than that. But I’m, I have the T shirt I have worn at once once. And that made me laugh really hard. But I thought mostly because I did not realize I’ve written so many jokes about that body part. I was like, oh boy, I feel like I better take a step back. For the T shirt. How awesome is that? It was pretty cool. It was pretty cool. And the same reader sent me a picture. Apparently, they also had a coffee mug made with the same quotes. And I thought, oh, gosh, don’t take it to work. Don’t take it too.
Brad Shreve 33:10
Well, by refusing to tell us you’ve avoided me having to put an explicit label on this episode.
Gregory Ashe 33:18
Brad Shreve 33:21
Oh, so I haven’t it’s time in our show with your listeners, so you’re well aware of. I know, it’s time for awkward question that authors get
Gregory Ashe 33:34
that. So it’s no longer that authors hate. I’ve heard the change.
Brad Shreve 33:38
Yeah, I used to say authors hate but they’re not always that we hate. But we do definitely get some awkward questions asked of us. You know, how many books do you sell? or How much do you make and that sort of thing, which I wouldn’t I would never ask you that. But we’re going to spin the wheel here and see what comes up. All right, here we go.
Okay, this is not one of the easier ones.
Unknown Speaker 34:09
Brad Shreve 34:10
How come I’ve never heard of you?
Gregory Ashe 34:16
Can I can identify smart alec response first? Well, so someone, someone came up to me recently? Well, I won’t. I won’t say where. But someone came up to me and said, I didn’t finish your book. And I wanted to say back. That’s okay. I didn’t finish yours. But my real answer is that’s just that’s just that little sarcastic voice in the back of my head. The real answer is, you know, I would say I’m still starting out, right? Like, I’m still building a career. I do think that when you write gay mystery, you write for a subset of a genre, right? And that’s something that is kind of of necessity going to have fewer readers. Um, and I, you know, I hope that I hope that as I write my Books and as I get better at my craft and I get more work out there that that maybe you will have heard of me, you know, instead of just kind of bumping into me on the street.
Brad Shreve 35:11
Well, I think your second answer was accurate, but I liked your first one better. Anybody that asked that question deserves that answer.
Gregory Ashe 35:22
All right, I like that. I’ll go with it.
Brad Shreve 35:25
Would you like to tell us about the other two series that you’ve written?
Gregory Ashe 35:29
Yeah, so the other series I have right now I have one that’s called the Hollow Folk, which is a paranormal YA. And it’s about a boy who moves to Wyoming kind of is forced to move to Wyoming. And he is a reluctant psychic, which I feel like is it’s a well trod trope, but I hope I’ve done something new with it. And so, so that’s one Hollow Folk and the other series I have is Borealis Investigations, which is a mystery series. It’s set in St. Louis. But it has a private detective flow, a pair of best friends with private detectives working in the city, and they specialize in LGBTQ cases.
Brad Shreve 36:15
Borealis investigations. I know that you’ve written less of those do do you anticipate putting more of those out?
Gregory Ashe 36:28
Yeah. So I have three right now. And it’s that’s the full arc for that, that first set of books. And I do think I’ll write another three books arc. But you know how it is, I think I looked at your web page, and you’ve got five or six prospective books on your list of things that are coming,
Brad Shreve 36:45
right. Yeah, I probably put more on there than I should because who knows when I’ll actually get around to them. But
Gregory Ashe 36:51
Brad Shreve 36:53
I’ve got so many notes for future books that they’re definitely going to come but how soon was My next book is way late. It was supposed to be out. My anticipation was this podcast would start after that book comes out. And that did not happen. So yeah. So now I’m trying to do both. All right, well, yeah.
Gregory Ashe 37:14
So um, yeah. So I will be writing more, but kind of like you said, the question is when?
Brad Shreve 37:19
Yeah. Now what about the young adults here? Are you going to continue writing the young adult novels?
Gregory Ashe 37:24
I my Gosh, I kind of I yes, I started. I started a spin off actually just a couple weeks ago as a kind of a backburner side project. So there will be a few spin offs of the Hollow Folk series. That probably will come out sometime next year. Because they’re backburner. They just kind of get my attention when I have a few minutes. So I don’t have a real clear timeline on those.
Brad Shreve 37:49
Well, you know, I I keep seeing more and more people writing young adult queer novels, and I think it’s wonderful.
Gregory Ashe 37:56
Yeah, there’s really I think that is really the genre. That has the most potential in some ways, because there, that’s an age where kids will read about queer characters without maybe the same level of bias that they might as an adult. And I just know, I teach high school and I’ve always been shocked when I see kids that I would have never expected holding a book that has an LGBTQ protagonist, and they, they don’t even bat an eye. So I really think that’s a genre that could have a lot of room to grow.
Brad Shreve 38:30
I would think you’d also be very rewarding too, right?
Gregory Ashe 38:33
Yeah, well, yeah, I think so too. And, you know, kids that age need someone that can see in the mirror, you know,
Brad Shreve 38:40
so again, to put you on the spot, have you seen any students walking around with your books in their hands?
Gregory Ashe 38:48
And, you know, my kids my kids know I write, but they don’t know my pen name. I might. I do use a pen name because there is some explicit content in the books and As I think I think your last guest spoke about this as well, there’s, as a public school teacher, you got to walk a real fine line. So
Brad Shreve 39:11
I would think that’d be difficult to because I my ego so big. I people asked her, you can use a pen name. I’m like, No, I want those idiots back in high school. I want them to know, this is me on that. In fact, I wrote this book, you know, what are they doing? I’m writing books.
Gregory Ashe 39:32
Yeah, there’s some days like that. There are some days where I wish you know, where I wish it were different. But, you know,
Brad Shreve 39:39
understand, but I’m not a teacher. So
Gregory Ashe 39:42
it’s just, it’s just one of those things where, you know, maybe down the road, that’ll be different, but but right now, I think that’s kind of the way it’s gonna be.
Brad Shreve 39:51
Okay, so you said that right now you are currently available for pre order on Amazon. And once the book is released, you’ll pretty much be available everywhere. If somebody wants to reach you, what’s the best way to do that?
Gregory Ashe 40:06
The best way is probably to go to my website, www.gregoryashe.com. I have a form on there to send me a message and I have a form on there to join my mailing list. I respond to every message I get, I promise I will write you back. And if you just want some free short stories, or you want to be part of a giveaway, I do those on my mailing list.
Brad Shreve 40:32
It’s been a pleasure having you on the show today, Gregory.
Gregory Ashe 40:35
Thank you for having me.
Brad Shreve 40:36
Oh, thank you for being on.
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