Would You Rather (2022)
The Roommate Pact (2023)
Allison Ashley’s two books, Would You Rather and The Roommate Pact show how friends can be supportive and love each other in different ways. These books show that as love grows so does the intimacy as well as finding a soul mate.
Would You Rather has the heroine, Mia, given an opportunity to pursue her education and find her dream job. The problem is that she needs her job because she needs health insurance. She has a kidney disease and is awaiting a transplant. Noah, a friend since the age of seven suggests they get married, in name only so she can study full-time and go on his insurance. Although it takes some convincing, she agrees. What will happen with this marriage of convenience and will the relationship grow into something more.
The other book in the series The Roommate Pact is also a friend to lovers’ story but with more humor, great banter, and a fabulous plot. Graham, the hero, and Claire, the heroine, agree that if they are still single by the time, they’re forty, they’ll take the proverbial plunge together and get married. But after a few glasses of wine, Claire changes the rules to being hookup buddies now. The attraction was there, the tension between them was there and their first kiss turned passionate quickly. But life got in the way. Graham was seriously injured in a rock-climbing accident. He needs ER Nurse Claire’s help to heal. She’ll do whatever it takes to nurse her good friend back to health, even if it means moving into Graham’s bed and putting up with his little dog, who hates her. There are many emotional moments as Graham struggles with his recovery and Claire is struggling with her past. Will the tragedies interfere with the relationship that is forming between the two?
Both books are heartwarming sweet stories, with readers laughing and crying along with the characters.
Elise Cooper: Are these a series?
Allison Ashley: I am a science nerd with an artsy reading and music side to me. I am kind of an anomaly. For now, the series will be just with these two books. They are stand-alone but in the same world. I enjoy writing friends to lovers’ stories. The first book has Mia and Noah as lifelong friends, while in the second book Claire and Graham are just friends.
EC: Would you write a book with the roommate Reagan?
AA: I am somebody who writes with the characters coming alive for me and they just pop out. Reagan is a little young for me to write. I am not sure I can write a twenty-five-year old’s story. I want to write as I know, and I am turning forty so I am not sure I can use the younger generations terminology.
EC: In the first book, Would You Rather how did you get the idea for the story?
AA: I wanted to write a story that included marriages of convenience. Being in the medical field I have seen where some are unable to afford a certain medicine. They either have insurance restrictions or do not even have insurance. This prompted me to think what if they married because they needed health insurance. I loosely based Mia’s condition on someone that was treated for a kidney condition at the Cancer Center I worked at. It is relatively pricey for a chronic kidney condition. I wanted to write a story with these issues.
EC: How did you come up with the scenes where Noah and Mia played practical jokes on each other?
AA: It came from several different places. I wanted to portray their deep friendship and the comfort level where they can be just silly. I remembered my first year as an oncology resident where I shared this tiny office with five co-residents. We were stressed and worked long hours. We would mess with each other’s desks. One time I literally turned everything on my neighbor’s desk upside down. This spurred the idea. I also goggled some of the ideas put into the story. I also put them questioning each other, ‘would you rather.’ They bring these questions up to deflate a situation and a way to tip toe or test their feelings regarding a relationship.
EC: How would you describe Noah?
AA: Serious, someone who does not like change, compulsive, thinker, calm, gentle, observant, discipline, and a protractor. He is also thoughtful, kind, quiet, introspective, and adventurous. He was greatly affected by his brother’s death. He is the embodiment of the saying, ‘still waters run deep.’ He is very stoic who does not let his emotions show. These features intensified after his brother died.
EC: How would you describe Mia?
AA: Sweet, genuine, charming, mischievous, and feels guilty that her illness has affected those she loves. Through her I was able to show how certain drug companies have support programs, but there are other things that are not covered. She is a little bit of a dichotomy. She always makes new friends everywhere she goes but then she also has introspective times.
EC: The role of her kidney disease?
AA: She has a chronic life-long condition, something that is impacting her. She had to learn to allow those close to her to take care of her. She tried to avoid that because of the hardship it presented. She had to work through the feelings since she did not want to disrupt people’s lives or be a burden on them. I put this quote, “The thing we fear most has the greatest reward.” Having the kidney disease, brought about a traumatic incident regarding her parents. She was shocked. She used it to push her parents away because she feels guilty for what they did on her behalf.
EC: What about the relationship?
AA: Around Mia he seems to allow his emotions to be freer. They tease each other a lot but will do anything for each other. They can be jealous and intimate. They have an intense relationship. They went from a friendship to an intimate relationship, going from 0 to 60 quickly, a whole new level. Mia would not let herself think about her feelings, while Noah acknowledged his first. They knew everything about each other.
EC: In the second book, The Roommate Pact, the dog, Gertrude the dog, was a common thread for the main characters?
AA: She can be cute, cuddly, and sweet but has another side toward the heroine, Claire. She can be possessive of the hero, Graham, and domineering. She is a complete daddy’s girl and does not like to share with anyone else.
EC: How would you describe Claire?
AA: Opinionated, hare-working, strong willed, outspoken, direct, loyal, compassionate, and independent.
EC: How would you describe Graham?
AA: As the story goes on, he has a big arc. In the beginning he is a playboy who avoids commitment, superficial, outgoing, and adventurous. Then he becomes very kind and caring. He always put up a front while growing up. When he could not speak because of an accident he found the ability to show Claire his true person.
EC: What about the relationship?
AA: They had a physical attraction, competitive, irritated each other, and enjoyed a lot of the same interests. Their personalities are very similar, which causes them to rub each other the wrong way sometimes. The accident of her father affected the relationship. She has a fear of something happening because Graham is a first responder. This part is personal, because it is something I know very well, since my husband is a first responder. Claire watched her mother live in fear over worrying that something could happen to Claire’s dad.
EC: Next book?
AA: I am working on a book that has a science side, and a love triangle. A girl had a stem cell transplant and is attracted to the boyfriend of the girl who saved her life. Another book I am thinking of writing is an opposite attracts book about a woman who works at the medical examiner’s office, based on my neighbor. My agent is negotiating with different publishers.