Ashley John on Creating Ricky
Most authors dread the ‘how do you come up with your characters?’ question, because it usually leads to ‘they just wander into my mind’. This was truer for Ricky than any of my other characters (and there’s been a lot!). The source of our inspiration is complex and tricky to pin down, because sometimes characters really do show up, fully formed, with all of their complexities, characteristics, backstories, and appearance fully formed.
Ricky first wandered into my mind in February 2016, as the friend of a character I was writing (Tom) in my book Timing. Tom was never supposed to have a friend. I went back and looked at my original outline for Timing and Ricky is nowhere to be seen.
In the first chapter of Timing, Tom is waking up, incredibly hung over and late for work, when a drag queen pops up from his sofa and asks for coffee (Ricky ends up settling for Vodka). I never questioned Ricky. He had just given birth to himself. I don’t know where he came from, but I knew why he was there. From the first time he muttered ‘sweetheart’ (his endearing catchphrase), I knew I’d found a man I wanted to write about. When those moments happen, it’s a magical experience for an author.
All throughout writing Timing, Ricky kept popping up more and more, and he wouldn’t leave me alone. I knew I had to write his story, but I wasn’t sure how readers were going to react to a six-foot something, chain-smoking, swearing drag queen, with a mouth like a drunken sailor, and a heart of gold. When most of the reviews of Timing mentioned Ricky and how much they loved him, I knew I had to give him his own book.
From the very first moment Ricky showed up on that sofa, I knew he had a dark past. He had a dead fiancé; I didn’t know why, he just did. This heart-breaking story was what compelled and pushed forward Ricky’s own story, aptly titled Ricky. Ricky’s life seemed so fun and perfect, but I needed to know what he was hiding behind that smile, and more importantly, why.
I love Ricky, and I’ve been living with him and Miss Kitty Litter (his drag alter ego) for most of 2016, so I’m now glad I can hand him over to you!
If you’ve met Ricky, you’ll know he had a commanding presence, and if you haven’t, you’ll find out soon enough. That’s probably why I haven’t even gotten around to mentioning Chase, the tattooed, sexy gym instructor who unexpectedly arrives in Ricky’s life to show him he can love again.
I love these guys. It was a rocky road to get here, full of scrapped drafts and endless rewriting, but I wanted to make their story perfect. Now that it is here, I’m sad to say goodbye, but now they’re yours to enjoy!
In the words of Miss Kitty Litter, "Buckle up, because when I'm around, you're guaranteed for a wild ride, sweetheart!"
Published ~ 23rd October 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
On the surface, Ricky Thompson’s life is one long party. His razor sharp wit and unwavering sexual confidence masks his true pain and suffering, and that’s how he wants to keep things. Ten years after the death of his fiancé, Ricky has completely given up on the illusion of love. Wild nights in the bar and even wilder casual sex have become his coping mechanism, and he wants to keep the party going at whatever cost. When he is attacked in a dark alley and left for dead, Ricky’s life takes an unexpected turn and the party suddenly comes to an end.
Chase Brody doesn’t know where life is taking him. Between running his gym and raising his son, Dylan, the only time he puts himself first is his once a week trip to the gay bars. His family has convinced him he needs to find a mother for Dylan, so he keeps his sexual desires secret. He always believed women were for love and men were for sex, but he is forced to reevaluate everything he thought he knew when he stumbles across a helpless man in need of his help.
After Chase takes Ricky to the hospital, he offers him free self-defense classes, but it soon grows into something more complicated and both men are forced to listen to their hearts once again. Chase doesn’t know how Ricky will fit into his difficult life, and Ricky can’t seem to let go of his past heartache. With so much at stake, will these men admit they were wrong about love and surrender their hearts to each other, or is the risk too great?
Meet Ashley John
Ashley John is a young gay author of gay romance novels. Living in the north of England with his fiancé and two cats, Ashley John spends his days writing down the voices he hears in his head. His books are primarily romance dramas with sprinklings of erotica and he has a knack for making you feel like you're living right beside the characters he creates. Ashley John is also a keen artist and he puts his artistic side to designing all of his own covers.
Find Ashley John at ashleyjohn.co.uk