Bleu Montclair knew as a young girl that she would one day escape the hard, unrelenting streets of Flint, Michigan, and when her desperate prayers are answered in the form of a scholarship to UCLA, Bleu knows she’s struck gold. But soon after arriving, all her beautiful, bright dreams begin to fall apart. Endless temptations abound in the form of cars, clothes, booze, drugs, and Bleu cannot keep up. When her roommate gives her the opportunity to make a lot of money fast, Bleu goes all in-and heads straight down a path of violence and addiction that only her newest protector, Iman, can save her from.
Tamika speaks with Ashley:
- Tell us how you developed the story for your newest series Luxe? What does the title mean? There was really no method to the madness when I was developing Luxe. I had no direction, no outline, no end game in sight as I was writing this novel, which is really uncharacteristic of me. I simply started writing about a girl from Flint with a dream. A girl with goals. A girl who wanted more out of life than what she could see in front of her. That girl was me at a point in time. From there every single word that I typed was impulsive. It was like I was on a roller coaster and surprising myself at every hill, dip, turn, and twist of the story line. The plot was unpredictable even to me. So as I unraveled the characters and the dilemmas I literally had no idea how it would end. I just let it flow from the first word to the very last. I was tired of overthinking every single detail of every single page. I just wanted to let my pen go. I just wanted to free my creativity. I wanted to write as if it was a hobby, not as if I had a million dollar brand depending on it. I think the end result was a good one. Luxe, made writing fun again because I wrote it on my terms.
- You’ve personally written over fifty novels, how do you keep your concepts fresh? I feel like every day when I wake up I see the world through a brand new lens. My perception grows daily so my stories evolve with that growth. This is what keeps my concepts fresh. As I experience more, see more, feel more, I convey all of these new emotions and circumstances through my characters.
- Tell us about the character Bleu Montclair in Luxe, how will readers accept her? Readers will root for her. She isn’t a dumb girl, but she is young and her naiveté is something that all women can relate too. We’ve all been that girl who lost her way on her journey to womanhood. I think readers will enjoy watching Bleu find her way, no matter how much she stumbles. That reflects life. Bleu’s resiliency will be very familiar to women everywhere.
- What is your proudest moment thus far on this journey? I think my proudest moment just happened actually. After signing to St. Martin’s Press, I flew in to meet with the editors and publicists and CEOs and here I was sitting at the head of this executive table, leading a meeting. Everyone in the room was there for me, supporting me, and listening as I spoke about my vision for Luxe and my goals for my brand. It was amazing. It was empowering. There I was, in a sky rise office building in Manhattan, directing my team at St. Martin’s press. Hard work and talent had gotten me there. As a business woman I couldn’t have felt more accomplished. It was a culmination of so many words typed, so many sleepless nights, and so many books sold. It was just a good day.
- Your journey as a published author has been a historic one for African American writers, what’s developing for you over the next two years? I don’t really know what lies ahead lol. I can say that we have films and television projects working and of course, I have so many more stories inside of me to tell. All of these things are already in progress and something that I’m very proud of, but if I’ve learned anything in life, its this… while I’m shooting at these baskets, trying to accomplish things in new arenas like TV and movies, God may be putting things in line for something even greater. Before I made the New York Times best seller’s list, it wasn’t even a goal of mine. I didn’t even think that it was possible. In fact, I had never thought of it at all, but then it happened. Then all of a sudden we were on Power 100 lists, and having five page spreads in magazines, being interviewed by The Financial Times. I never predicted any of these things and it has become a reality for me. One that I am so grateful for and humbled by. That’s how I know, God’s plan is the only one that is certain. Which is why I honestly have no clue what’s coming in the next two years, but I’m sure it will be bigger than anything I can imagine.
- What can we expect in the future parts of this new series? You can expect my best. Each time I release a new novel it will be better than the last. That’s all I can guarantee. As far as the storyline, *sighs*…I think I’ll just let it flow lol.
Ashley Antoinette is one of the most successful female writers of her time. The feminine half of the popular married duo, Ashley and JaQuavis, she has co-written over 40 novels. Several of her titles have hit The New York Times bestsellers list, but she is most widely regarded for her racy four-book saga, The Prada Plan. Born in Flint, MI she was bred with an innate street sense that she uses as motivation in her crime filled writings.
Get your copy of Luxe today http://amzn.to/1NtKKpz