Interview with Sasha Marshall

What is your writing process?
The story starts in my head. I am an incredibly visual person with an imagination that sometimes gets me in trouble. Entire scenes play out in my head, and I sit down and type for hours on end. I walk away from the piece for several weeks, return and edit, then redevelop and clarify.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Flowers for Algernon was the first book I ever read that really impacted me. I felt so much emotion while reading the book, and throughout my college experience professors attempted to push me into creative writing. I have always been able to feel the emotion in well-written books, but I rebelled and graduated with a history degree instead.
How do you approach cover design?
I have been a photographer for fifteen years, and have dabbled in graphic design along the way. I wanted to create my own covers, so that it showed the main character as I saw her. I purchased my photos, and went through thousands of them until I came across the girl I envisioned Henley to look like.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
If I love a book, I will read it endlessly. I can't always say what my favorite books are, so I tend to go more with my favorite authors. If an author can make me love the first book, I will buy anything they write without reading the sample on my Kindle first.
I love anything written by Katie Ashley, because she really portrays how a man speaks. I find myself laughing at her books, especially Motorcycle Man. I enjoy the banter between Tyra and Tack.
I also love "Lick" by Kylie Scott. I was so wrapped up in this book, I couldn't put it down. I found my own heart breaking, and then being put back together when David moved to Portland for his wife. I have read this book so many times I have lost count.
Alice Clayton's "Wallbanger" had me literally laughing out loud, especially with the attack cat scene. It grabbed me emotionally, but kept me laughing at the same time. I can't wait for the rest of the series.
The Mighty Storm Series captured my heart. I love a bad boy, with tattoos and a guitar any day of the week. This is an epic love story that began long before the book, and watching two people fight attraction always has me on the edge. I love the way he loves her.
I also enjoy anything with abnormal psychology, so I must say I enjoyed The Lucifer Effect by my favorite psychologist, Philip Zimbardo.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of new adult romance. I prefer anything with a strong female lead, musicians, bikers, tattoos, and yummy sex. I also like spiritual books, historical references, and abnormal psychology.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle Paper White, but I also have a Kindle Fire
Describe your desk
My couch, surrounded by a Miniature Schnauzer, who has no idea he is a dog. I also have a black lab who thinks he is the size of the schnauzer and wants to curl up on the couch, and an American Bulldog puppy who thinks he is the boss and doesn't want the other two touching me. I play Pandora or my iPod through the surround sound while I am writing. I have been known to take the laptop outside and write all day and night as well. My desk is anywhere I feel comfortable really.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Macon, Georgia. It influenced my writing with the eclectic taste of music the area has. Macon is a very musical town, and always has been. Music is such a vital part of my daily life, it was only natural my writing include music at every turn.
If you were given a chance to travel back in time, what year or place would you go and why?
My undergraduate is in history, so I’m a little obsessed with Henry VIII and then entire Tudor dynasty. They were so scandalous. I’d love to travel back in time to Tudor England and visit the court just to see if I could catch the King’s eye.
Describe your novels in seven words or less?
Madness, Rock Stars, Sex, Redemption, Love, Realistic, bad boys, crude humor
Fictional crush?
There are so many. My poor husbands often asks, “Who do I need to pretend to be tonight?”, but he doesn’t mind the looks he gets from across the room when a book gets steamy. I love David from Lick by Kylie Scott, Shy from Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley, and Kip Paxton from my own Guitar Face series. Kip is my ideal man.
Who is your favorite character that YOU have written?
Ha, Kip. Kip’s an idiot. He’s a fan favorite, but I love him because he is the most complex character I’ve ever written. I like people and characters who have depth, and I enjoy wit.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Half-and-half for the copious amounts of coffee I drink, Diet Dr. Pepper, left over pizza, and beer. Don’t judge me.
What inspired you to write your first book? How did you come up with the title?
I toured with big name rock acts during college and had the time of my life. I photographed their entire lives and could really immerse myself into every aspect of tour life and their personal lives. Sharing a tour bus with rock stars doesn’t give you much room to hide. I found these musicians were just people who were doing what they love for a living, but they have to deal with a lot of bullsh&* to do that. They hurt, laugh, bleed, and live just like any other human being. They have struggles, and they love like the rest of us. They break hearts, and believe it or not they get their own hearts broken, so I often moonlighted as a pseudo psychologist. Guitar Face lived in my head for a long time, and over the years it morphed into the story it is now. I chose a female lead character for the beginning of the series because I wanted a woman to have a place in that world. I wanted her to defy all odds and be the exception to the rule in the music industry. The entire industry, especially rock is inundated with male musicians, and while I love a rock star as much as the next girl… I wanted my main character to sort of take the industry by the balls and refuse to be a door mat simply because she is a woman. I love strong women, and I don’t know if I’m capable of writing a docile female character.

The title of the series and book one, Guitar Face, came from time spent with blues artists and bands. The genre invokes a lot of emotions from both the musician and the audience. It’s very moving. I sort of picked up the words Guitar Face when I was touring and it just sort of stuck. The main character in the beginning of the series, Henley, becomes a guitar prodigy because she sees a man’s guitar face and decides she wants her own.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
Jimi Hendrix or Kurt Cobain, minus the narcotics, and the incredibly bad self-management techniques. They both pioneered a new sound and lived during eras of musical revolutions, and that isn’t something many musicians can ever accomplish.
What are 4 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
iPod, Phone, Kindle, Diet Dr. Pepper/Coffee
What type of person do you dislike most?
Anyone who is conservative, closed-minded, and/or uptight.
Published 2015-06-10.
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