The time it was about Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail

Posted November 21, 2022 by Stacee in Interviews | 2 Comments

When I got the opportunity to interview Ashley Herring Blake, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.  I’ve been a fan of Ashley’s since her YA books and of course I devoured Delilah Green Doesn’t Care.  And when Astrid Parker was available to read, you know I jumped.

Before we get to Ashley’s answers, let’s check out Astrid Parker Can’t Fail.

Title: Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail (Bright Falls #2)
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Pages: 400
Publisher: Berkley Books
Pub Date: November 22, 2022
Find it: PRH | Indiebound | Bookshop | Goodreads

Synopsis: For Astrid Parker, failure is unacceptable. Ever since she broke up with her fiancé a year ago, she’s been focused on her career–her friends might say she’s obsessed, but she knows she’s just driven. When Pru Everwood asks her to be the designer for the Everwood Inn’s renovation, which will be featured on a popular HGTV show, Innside America, Astrid is thrilled. Not only will the project distract her from her failed engagement and help her struggling business, but her perpetually displeased mother might finally give her a nod of approval.

However, Astrid never planned on Jordan Everwood, Pru’s granddaughter and the lead carpenter for the renovation, who despises every modern design decision Astrid makes. Jordan is determined to preserve the history of her family’s inn, particularly as the rest of her life is in shambles. When that determination turns into some light sabotage to ruffle Astrid’s perfect little feathers, the showrunners ask them to play up the tension. But somewhere along the way, their dislike for each other evolves into something quite different, and Astrid must decide what success truly means. Is she going to pursue the life that she’s expected to lead or the one that she wants?

Sounds good, right?

1. Please give the elevator pitch for Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail. 

When perfectionist interior designer Astrid Parker meets her match both professionally and romantically in Jordan Everwood while working on a home renovation show, Astrid has to decide between the life she wants and the life she’s always been expected to lead.

2. While setting up the story line for Astrid, were there any plot points you immediately knew you wanted to include?

As a romance, there were many! Of course, I knew my two main characters would eventually kiss, have sex, and have their HEA. But more specifically, I knew I wanted Astrid to have a sex dream about Jordan and sort of freak out about it, and I knew I wanted Delilah to be the one Astrid went to for help. I knew I wanted Astrid’s wooing to include tarot cards (I’ll omit the specifics because spoilers!). I also knew that Astrid would fail spectacularly at her entire goal for the home renovation. Other than that, and even within some of that with the details, I had a flexible synopsis to get me going and then the story took more shape as I wrote.

3. Why do you love Astrid and Jordan and why should readers root for them?

I think Astrid and Jordan are very relatable—they’re messy, flawed, and each of them is on a personal journey that’s pretty integral to their happiness and well-being. Like all of us, they’re looking for themselves, but they’re also looking for people in their lives who will love them exactly as they are, and I think that’s a pretty universal desire.

4. Were there any weird things you googled while drafting?

For this book, I did a lot of googling about home renovation, carpentry, and interior design. All the designs in the book are more or less my own, though I did use Pinterest as some inspiration more than once! But all I know about design is what I like, which, honestly tends to be more Astrid’s clean, sparse style. For Jordan, whose style is darker and cozier, I really had to think outside the box, look up some design “dos and don’ts” and then try to come at the rooms at Jordan would. In terms of anything carpentry related, I had to look that up for sure, as I know nothing about tools or wood. :)

5. Without spoilers, which scene was your favorite to write?

Well…sex scenes are always really fun, but my favorite tend to be those more tender moments—right before the first kiss, or when someone realizes, oops, they have feeling. In Astrid’s book, I think one of my favorite scenes is the one when Astrid goes to Delilah’s apartment after her sex dream about Jordan. I loved writing the formerly estranged stepsisters talk about things that matter to them.

Speed {ish} round:

1. You find out that you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes. 

Elation plays a big role, of course! Gratitude, disbelief. Mostly elation.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

My phone (e-reader app, hello), soap, giant jar of peanut butter.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Oh goodness, this is cruel. Wow. Um…I feel like it needs to be a long book, to last me a while. Plus, by the time I finish it, maybe I’ve forgotten some of the beginning. So I’m going to go with The Priory of the Orange Tree.

4. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

At the end of the day, all you can control are the words you write. Literally, that’s it.

5. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently?

Wow, what a great question. Absolutely love Twilight, and honestly, I can think of a million things I’d do differently. But honestly…not sure I’d actually do any of them. I think Bella needs some hobbies, some independent interests, and if I’m Bella, I’d probably research the hell out of being a vampire and make sure I really wanted it for me regardless of Edward. But that’s me. I’m forty-two. I have a lot of hindsight. A lot of mistakes behind me. Bella was sixteen when she met Edward and I think she acted how a lot of teen girls would—and well she should. That’s all part of the journey of first teen love. She acted like I probably would have in a lot of ways. A desire for a bit deeper character development notwithstanding, Bella is…Bella. :) Maybe not the flashiest answer, but there we are. Though, of course, if I’m Bella, then Bella is bisexual and gets to explore that as well—um, hi, I had the biggest crush on Ashley Green, the actress who played Alice in the movie, not to mention, Elizabeth Reaser, who plays Esme. So I guess that’s the gist—Bella is bisexual!


Ashley Herring Blake is an award-winning author and teacher. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and cold weather. She is the author of six novels for young adults and middle grade readers, as well as the adult romance novel Delilah Green Doesn’t Care. She lives on a very tiny island off the coast of Georgia with her family. website | instagram


Huge thanks to Berkley for the opportunity and to Ashley for taking the time.  Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail releases tomorrow and buy links are above.

Have you read Ashley’s books? Which one is your favorite?

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