Ashley Fontainne, Welcome back on our live talk show, and thank you so much for accepting to be our guest this evening. It's a real joy to have you on this show, and please add to this joy and tell us something about your both books, Accountable to None, and Zero Balance?
Ashley Fontainne Thank you for having me as a guest tonight!
Ashley Fontainne Accountable to None and the sequel Zero Balance are the first two books in my trilogy entitled "Eviscerating the Snake" series
Ashley Fontainne The story came to me after reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. I wanted to explore the whole revenge motif in a modern setting, and follow that up by what happens AFTER someone seeks out and exacts revenge against those that hurt them.
Ashley Fontainne The first book, Accountable to None, takes place in Phoenix, AZ at an accounting firm by the name of Winscott & Associates. The heroine, Audra Tanner, is brought forth as she recalls the events of her traumatic rape five years in the past by the Managing Partner, Olin Kemper.
Ashley Fontainne Not only did he rape her, but he then promises to pay her buy-in to become an equity partner as a "gift" for her silence for what he did to her. As Audra flees his presence, she discovers that evening that not only did she just suffer a mind-altering event at the hands of a vile monster, but other partners at the firm were well aware of what Olin had planned for her that evening.
Ashley Fontainne When she realizes that no one came to her aide and just turned a blind eye and refused to help, she decides that not only is Olin going to pay for what he did to her, but everyone else that ignored her cries for help.
Ashley Fontainne The story then unfolds from the perspective five years later of each partner on the day that Audra "eviscerates the snake" by exposing all of their hidden sins and deceptions that she has taken five years to accumulate.
Ashley Fontainne At the end of Accountable to None, Audra finally realized her plans were well worth the wait as she exacted her revenge and believed that the end of her five year nightmare was over.
Ashley Fontainne In the sequel, Zero Balance, the story begins 9 months later after Accountable to None ended. Audra then finds out that seeking revenge on those that were already supremely evil has deathly consequences for all those involved.
Ashley Fontainne The third and final installment, Adjusting Journal Entries, I am currently working on.
Shah Sight Ashley, thanks, who else in the story is helping Audra to achieve what she is after, does she have a family and friends who are supportive of her in the story, what other challenges and difficulties does she face throughout the story, please tell us something about that?
Audra devoted her entire life to the firm, spending an extraordinary amount of time making sure her work was perfection. This dedication to her work caused her to have a miscarriage a year prior to her rape, and then a few months after her miscarriage, the demise of her marriage. Audra is an only child that had minimal contact with her parents due to her work schedule, and most of her friends drifted away due to lack of contact from her.
Ashley Fontainne For five years, Audra suffered through her issues alone. However, during her five years of hacking into the firm's computers and unearthing all of the other partners hidden sins, she also discovers that Olin may have ties to a murder. Upon this discovery, Audra enlists the help of a Detective named Steve Ronson to aid her with her final retribution plans.
Ashley Fontainne Without giving too much of the sequel away, Audra does make an attempt to bridge the gap in her relationship with her parents and tries to overcome her emotional trauma and baggage that she still carries with her from her rape.
Ashley Fontainne In Zero Balance, Audra is slowing learning to deal with her issues and try to trust again, but those hopes are quickly dashed as she discovers that someone is out to kill her.
Audra's character, although extremely damaged mentally, is also very strong in some aspects. She is very tenacious and does not give up easily, especially when someone she cares about is in danger. She is no longer a naive, fresh from college graduate just learning the "ropes" of the business world. When she learns the harsh reality that some people are simply evil due to overwhelming greed, her viewpoint on life shifts dramatically.
Shah Sight Ashley, what do you expect your readers to get from your story, do we feel a lot of sympathy towards Audra, do we feel like we want to be in the story and rush for her support, or do we feel that what a great personality and fighter Audra is, what do you want your reader to feel towards your main character?
Audra is in no way perfect. Although she refers to the firm as a "snake pit full of vipers" for their heinous deeds, at times, she is just as greedy. For example: she devoted so much of her time and energy to her job that she neglected her own body and lost her child, then her marriage. I wanted people to connect with her on a "real" level, because all of us are a mixture of good and bad traits. Her decision to exact revenge on her own, rather than using traditional, legal means to obtain justice, is something I believe that a lot of readers will connect with, since haven't we all wished to seek revenge on someone that has hurt us?
In the end of Accountable to None, I wanted the reader to stand up and cheer for her strength and determination to bring out the truth of the so called "elite" partners, and force them to come face to face with their dastardly deeds. I also wanted them to see, which I showcase at the end of Accountable to None, the incredible pain and sorrow that Audra has carried with her all this time, as she finally is able to release some of it.
However, in Zero Balance, I wanted the reader to walk away with the sense that seeking personal justice on your own is never truly the answer to atrocities perpetrated upon them. Audra, as well as others, experience life altering (and for some, life ending) events that, unfortunately, are part of the vicious cycle of revenge. Even Audra realizes at the end of Zero Balance that her actions, even though originally brought about by one evil act of another, having everlasting consequences.
Ashley Fontainne Ultimately, I want the reader that is thinking about seeking revenge on someone for hurting them, to sit back and truly contemplate all of the things that seeking human reckoning could bring down upon not only them, but those that they love. The revenge cycle is like throwing a huge stone in a pond: the ripples spread far and wide, and touch many things in their path.
Shah Sight From what I personally know about you, you are a joyous person, do we see a lot of you in the story, is there also lots of humour and laughter in the story, which character in the story makes us also smile throughout, and how do you rate the humour in your books?
Ashley Fontainne Well, considering I write suspense/thrillers, and both of these books take place in over a very short time period, humor is very minimal. I wanted the tension to be high for the readers, making them WANT to turn the page!
Ashley Fontainne Yes, I am, in real life, a very happy-go-lucky person. I love to laugh, and do so often. So no one in the story really represents any portion of myself, except for one character that has a small part in Accountable to None, but a larger role in Zero Balance: Mrs. Milligan.
Ashley Fontainne Although Mrs. Milligan is well into her seventies, she is the voice of reason to Audra, and the one that speaks to her truthfully about love, hate, revenge, retribution, sacrifice and forgiveness. She is my personal arm of my Christian faith.
Ashley Fontainne There are a few moments where some of the characters experience some funny moments, but they are more of "wickedly ironic" humor than actual knee-slapping humor.
Ashley Fontainne I save the humor for my family and friends! :)
Ashley Fontainne So, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate the humor factor at about 2.
Shah Sight Thanks, will you please read a few lines of your books to our audience, we would love to see ourselves with your characters in this brilliant story for a while?
Ashley Fontainne Sure, I will read to you from the beginning chapter of Accountable to None, when Audra is alone in her office after being raped and the decision she makes:
"She started forming her plan for the entire firm, the filthy place that had destroyed so many lives over the years, including that of her unborn son. The nasty, blood sucking reptile that lured people into its lair with promises of gold, only to suck them bone dry and toss their empty carcasses aside when they were no longer interesting, would pay. She would make sure they were held accountable and would not stop until every last one of them felt the same shame and humiliation that she had experienced tonight.
"Her eyes widened as she felt a strange sensation deep inside her core, and she noticed that the eyes that looked back at her from the mirror were those of someone else, a stranger she didn't recognize. Even through the intense swelling of her right eye, she saw that they were no longer the naive, innocent eyes from before - the ones that had viewed the world as a place where hard work and ethical behavior prevailed and were followed accordingly by just rewards. Those had been replaced with eyes full of smoldering anger which now skewed her once lofty view of the world and had turned them a deep emerald green.
"Her mind crossed over into territory unfamiliar to her, and her thoughts became dark and sinister as she began to mull over her new purpose in life. Never had the snake been exposed for all to see, for its secrets were buried beneath its lair under countless piles of blood money, just like the pile that had been offered to her tonight. Those piles of money had bought the silence of its victims for so long that accountability was not in its vocabulary. She would change all that, no matter how long it took. She wasn't quite sure yet how she would do it, but she would change every single one of them from being accountable to none to accountable to all."
Shah Sight Thank you so much Ashley, can I ask you where does Audra go from there, I don't want you to give away a lot of the story, but this is the last question about Audra, does she go home, does she go to seek help from someone, does she go to church, for instance, where does she go from the office, you may want to tell us something please?
Well, at the beginning of Zero Balance, she is searching for answers to help her pain ease. Through the advice of Detective Ronson, she does try counseling with a therapist, but that doesn't help her. Eventually, she is drawn to Mrs. Milligan and the spiritual advice and assistance that Mrs. Milligan offers her truly does offer Audra a different perspective of her life. Unfortunately, Audra does not get much time to reflect upon Mrs. Milligan's advice, for she is confronted by the dire consequences of her previous revenge bore and now, she is fighting for her life. I can't tell you about what happens in Adjusting Journal Entries...trade secret! LOL
Ashley Fontainne What I wrote earlier from Accountable to None was the preface that happened five years ago in the past. You don't hear from Audra again until about half way through the novel. The first few chapters deal with each of the partner's reactions to the day, and then finally she confronts them all with the arsenal of hidden sins of theirs that she carries.
Ashley Fontainne Audra doesn't seek help until Zero Balance.
Ashley Fontainne She was too busy focusing on revenge in Accountable to None to do anything else. :)
Shah Sight Ashley we really enjoyed your story about Audra, now tell us a little bit about how other people enjoy this story, what are you doing to make people know about your books, you may want to tell us something about it please?
Ashley Fontainne Well, the revenge motif behind these books seems to hit readers hard, connecting with a core instinct to "strike out" against something that has hurt us. Most people that have reviewed both books refer to them as page turners, a story they couldn't stop until they finished.
In terms of marketing, I am active on Facebook and Twitter, posting not only "promos" for myself, but other Indie Authors as well. I also have a blog where I generally post reviews of works I have read, a website with all of my connection links, and I host a BlogTalkRadio show three times a week. This show, Ramblings of a Mad Southern Woman, is a platform for other Indie authors to come and discuss their books. I recently just had my first book signing at two Barnes & Noble locations in Texas, and I have two more upcoming in Central Arkansas in April and May at Hastings.
Ashley Fontainne Oh, and now I am a part of this lovely live interview! :)
Ashley Fontainne Also, I am active on Goodreads.com and have hosted several "giveaways" of my book which has been highly successful.
Shah Sight Thank you so much, do you want to add anything to what you have kindly said here, anything that you think we should know before we end this interview, as we know you have other things to do, believe me we can ask you questions for ever and keep enjoying the answers, but we are well aware of your timing as well, please say anything you want at the end of this live interview?
Ashley Fontainne First of all, I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to host me here this evening. To readers out there that love a suspenseful read, I invite them to watch both trailers to my books to see what they are all about: Here is the trailer for Accountable to None: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHEYq5hCSl0
Accountable to Nonewww.youtube.com
Official book trailer for Accountable to None by Ashley Fontainne.
Ashley Fontainne And here is the trailer for Zero Balance:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBwbOpgZZHg
Zero Balance Trailerwww.youtube.com
Official book trailer for Zero Balance by Ashley Fontainne
Shah Sight If you want to buy Ashley's books, please visit:http://www.facebook.com/groups/shahsightshop/
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Ashley Fontainne And if anyone out there would like to learn more, my website is www.ashleyfontainne.com
Biography - Ashley Fontainnewww.ashleyfontainne.com
Ashley Fontainne Thank you so much Shah for having me here tonight. I am almost finished with your book and I must say, what a fantastic read!
Ashley Fontainne Have a wonderful rest of the weekend everyone! Shah, it has been a pleasure!
Shah Sight Thanks, Ashley, I appreciate your time, and we hope to have the joy of having you on our show soon. Good night Ash, and everyone.