In August 2024, I’m excited to combine two of the loves of my life: cruising and LGBTQ+ fiction and romance. I hope you’ll consider joining me on the first Rainbow Readers Cruise! Until then, I’d love to introduce you to one of the attending authors, Ana Ashley.
About Ana Ashley
Ana Ashley was born in Portugal but has lived in the United Kingdom for so long, even her friends sometimes doubt if she really is Portuguese. After getting hooked on reading gay romance, Ana decided to follow her lifelong dream of becoming an author. She writes sweet and steamy gay romance set in America, often in small towns where everyone knows everyone. These days you can find her in front of her laptop bringing her stories to life, or in the kitchen perfecting her recipe for the famous Portuguese custard tarts. Her favorite flavor in the whole world is chocolate and her superpower is parallel parking in a single move.
If drinks by the pool are already a given, what are you most looking forward to about the Rainbow Readers Cruise?
Spending chilled time with readers and fellow authors. Not having the pressure of a line in a signing room so we can have actual proper conversions about the stuff we’re really passionate about, queer love stories. This will also be my first-ever cruise so I’ll be wide-eyed taking everything in and wondering how this is my life!
Which of your books would you recommend as the best way for readers to get to know you before meeting you on the cruise?
I’m a small-town girl through and through. I love the connections between people, supporting local businesses, and being there for friends and family. All of my books have that vibe, whether or not they’re set in an actual small town. I’m an even bigger fan of found family. Probably because I moved to London on my own when I was a very naïve twenty-year-old and had to forge friendships and relationships with people who were so different to me but had so much in common by virtue of having done the same thing, moving to one of the best cities in the world on their own.
Readers who want to dive into a world that is complete should start with my Chester Falls series. Those who read chronologically should read How to Catch a Bookworm first, which is a short prequel, and then move on to How to Catch a Prince, book one in the series. Each book is so different but readers will for sure find a trope they like.
I also can’t stop talking about my newest release, The Lost Fiancé Twist because not only is it a great second-chance story with amnesia at the center of it, I’ve also indulged in showing a little bit of what it’s like to be in a Portuguese family. Extreme love, ribbing, and meddling all wrapped in a nice package of parents and grandparents. I wish I could say the portrayal of the Spencer family is exaggerated for fiction, but it’s really not.
Which of your characters (from any story) would you most like to go on a cruise with?
I think it would definitely have to be Xander from Midnight Ash. Not only could we talk all day long about publishing and books — he’s just taken over his family’s publishing company — he’s also super sweet and generous. If I’m not feeling like peopling, Xander would be the kind of friend who’d order a bunch of nice food to get delivered to the cabin and then spend all day reading romance in bed.
Even if you don’t use this trip as fodder for a future project, most stories require a bit of research. Can you tell us the coolest thing you’ve learned while researching for your work, regardless of whether it made it into the text?
One of the coolest things I’ve ever researched and used in a book was how maple syrup is made. In my book Stronghold, which is part of Sarina Bowen’s World of True North, one of the main characters, Skyler, is a maple syrup producer.
I enjoyed learning about it all so much. One of my bucket list places to visit is the Vermont Maple Festival. I want to try all the maple things among the beautiful Vermont countryside.
Hey, this is supposed to be a review blog! Recommend your favorite book that I should read and review by another author joining us on this high-seas adventure.
I’m going to color outside the lines for this one and recommend two series by two authors that I absolutely adore.
The Rainbow Cove series by Annabeth Albert tickles all my small-town taste buds. I read it a long time ago and I’ll never get tired of recommending it because it’s such a good series.
Another series I love to recommend is Nora Phoenix‘s White House Men, because it has my adored found family and something I don’t usually read in romance, suspense and conspiracy theories all mixed with real-life events.
|Note from J.L.: I also adore the White House Men series! Find my reviews here:|
Press (#1) | Friends (#2) | Click (#3) | Serve (#4) | Care (#5) | Puzzle (#6) | Heal (#7)
Finally, what other projects are you working on currently?
I’m currently working on two short stories for two anthologies. I can’t wait to wrap those up so I can return to my Spencer Brothers world with the second book. The Lost Fiancé Twist ended on a super teaser and I can’t wait to see how that unravels in book two, which will be another brother’s turn to get their HEA [happily ever after].
Connect With Ana Ashley
About the Rainbow Readers Cruise
The Rainbow Readers Cruise celebrates the readers and creators of LGBTQ+ fiction and romance. The cruise departs from the Port of Fort Lauderdale on August 19, 2024, and returns August 23, 2024, with stops at Key West and Coco Cay (Celebrity’s private island). Along the way, meet and mingle with some of your favorite LGBTQ+ fiction and romance authors and creators, as well as attend panels, meet and greets, small group social activities, and the Signing at Sea. Plus, the cruise itself, with fabulous destinations, food and drinks, entertainment, and more. You can find all the details about the Rainbow Readers Cruise on our website: https://rainbowreaderscruise.com.