Behind the Book with Jackie Ashenden and the Talking Dirty Series

Behind the BookA long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away…. Okay, so maybe not that long ago. Four years. And the galaxy being New Zealand, I had an idea for a book. I was unpublished then and trying to change that, and my fabulously original idea was this: ‘I know, why don’t I start my story with the hero and heroine instant messaging each other? And they don’t know who each other is?? And then they meet up and it’s like whoa!’


That was pretty much it. Of course there were numerous problems with this set-up, none of which I’d thought about in any great detail. I just wanted to write my book. So I did. I called it something really embarrassing which no one will ever know, and then I sent it out to a particular publisher I’d been targeting. A publisher who really liked it and asked for the rest. Three months of revisions ensued, with me getting increasingly nervous the more revisions they asked for.  And then I got the final word. No.


Gutted, I put the book away and didn’t think of it again. More years passed. Along came the Mills and Boon New Voices competition and I thought ‘what the hell’. I rewrote the start, called it Talking Dirty with the CEO, and entered it inTdWtB.Ashenden500 the competition. It got nowhere. But feedback from people who read it online was that they really liked it.


Hmmm, I thought. A bit later, after some encouragement from my critique partners, I got out the book again and sent it off to another publisher. Four months later I got a flat out rejection. But this time I decided that this story wasn’t going to languish. I’d learned stuff since I first wrote it and I liked my characters, I thought it was good and I was going to make sure it wouldn’t be rejected again. So I kept the original beginning (with a few tweaks) from four years earlier, and entered it into an Entangled pitch competition.


I wasn’t expecting anything and was totally surprised when I subsequently got a request for the whole manuscript. Which I’d yet to rewrite. So in two weeks, while on summer holidays, in a stinking hot tent, I rewrote the entire thing. And sent it off.  And forgot all about it. (Total and utter lie. I thought about it every day!).


Four months later, after a bit of nudging, I heard that Talking Dirty had been passed on to another editor. More nail biting commenced. Then I got an email from another publisher saying they wanted one of the stories I’d sent to them at the same time as I’d sent out Talking Dirty. I spent that day shrieking. A day later, I got an email from Entangled. They loved Talking Dirty and could I make it a three-book series? I quickly gave Joseph, the Talking Dirty hero, two friends, made Marisa and Judith their heroines and voila: three book series.

Five years later, Talking Dirty with the CEO was published by Entangled.

And all my publishing dreams came true.



Read all the Talking Dirty books!  Click HERE.


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