Story Behind A Promise in Ash

This is a post I wrote for one of my book tours. You can view the original here: The Story Behind the Book.

The Story Behind A Promise in Ash by Elysia Strife

A Promise in Ash is a self-published blend of dark contemporary romance, suspense, and women’s fiction. My inspiration for this book stemmed from the two years my husband and I spent in Texas, living in three different cities. We visited Houston and the gulf coast, where the book takes place. The

long stretches of beaches, steady sunshine, and bath-warm ocean waters were mediating to a lot of the pain we carried then. At night, Pleasure Pier in Galveston would light up in a multitude of colors, and exotic cars would rev their engines as they drove past the boardwalks. It was a fantastic contrast between peaceful and stimulating life.

With all of my books, there’s a suspense subplot. We stayed near Austin the longest, and I had the luck of taking some classes in the area, including at St. Edwards University. Austin is a city with fast-growing tech companies. A lot of the ads I saw and inventions I read about got me thinking over the future of polymers and the influence of cybercrime. Being here prompted the addition of a modern cybersecurity threat as a secondary plot involving the polymer repurposing company that the main character, Norah, works for.

The Tough Stuff: I started writing A Promise in Ash after a miscarriage. But it hurt too much to talk about my own. So I chose to explore the concept at a fictional distance. My life isn’t that interesting, but people we’ve met across the states are. I’ve found a lot of inspiration in them. Most of my interesting conversations happen in RV parks and laundry rooms. There, it’s easy to meet people from all over, even different countries. I love it and look forward to every new story. It always brings me insight into the lives of others and helps me be more grateful for what I have.

I was particularly astounded one day by a story from a woman whose step-father abused her when she was young because she hadn’t had a child of her own yet. She said that she tolerated the abuse for years because it was normal in her area for women to bear children in their teens. She finally gave in and had a daughter. But the abuse continued. Realizing the threat to her child, this young woman found the courage to defend herself one night, then packed up her daughter, and moved away. I admired her strength to endure and her courage to leave behind everything she knew to make a better life for her and her daughter. Her story stuck with me and morphed my prompt into a plan for finishing A Promise in Ash.

In recent years, there’s also been an influx of erotica novels that feature BDSM relationships. While they’re all fun and fictional in the fantasy world, that’s not always the case in real life. I touch on this with a past relationship that haunts the main character.

Across all of the concepts included in A Promise in Ash, there was a common theme of self-worth, finding it, and knowing when to stand up for it.

Everything I write is for the few who quietly struggle to be “normal,” for those who are in pain and have no one to talk to, and for those who have made mistakes and can’t seem to be free of their past.

No one deserves abuse, and it’s just not discussed as much as I think it should be, like miscarriage. If society was more open and understanding about these sensitive subjects, I think women would be more inclined to seek help. I explore a lot of these topics in this book as a (hopefully) gentle way of opening another channel for conversation.

Thanks for having me!

Best wishes!


About the Author
Elysia Strife is a self-published author of science-fiction fantasy and romance novels.

Adopted by two educators, Strife developed a deep love for learning new things. In 2012, she graduated from Oregon State University with two Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Health and Human Sciences: Interior Design and Exercise Sport Science. Her past wears fatigues, suits, and fitness gear, sprinkled with mascara and lace.

“I like to question everything, figure out how things work, and do tasks myself. Experiencing new things is fun but also helps with writing raw and genuine stories. And I’m always trying to push my comfort zones.”

Strife likes the rumble of her project car’s 350-ci V8. She enjoys the rush of snowboarding and riding ATVs on the dunes. But nothing brings her more solace than camping in the mountains where the stars are their brightest.

Strife enjoys connecting with readers and welcomes all feedback and questions.






About the Book

A romantic-suspense novel featuring: miscarriage, hot co-workers, cybersecurity threats, and the struggle of defining family.

With only an abusive mother-figure to guide her, Norah has learned everything the hard way. An unexpected pregnancy with her fiancé changed her career plans. But miscarriage and betrayal thrust everything in reverse again. Eerie things start happening at work, and Norah finds herself at the center of the investigation.

Secrets tumble forth from Norah’s father, her ex-fiancé, and the mystery around her adoption, breaking the walls she’s put up to protect her heart. Now, more than ever, she longs for trust, love, and a family of her own.

Bonding with her handsome co-worker, Evan, and his teenage daughter, Ashley, Norah gets a glimpse of cohesive family life. She finds herself falling for Evan and becoming an unlikely source of help and understanding for Ashley. Evan and Ashley have an empty seat at their table, one Norah wishes to fill. Yet the guilt of taking the previous woman’s place threatens to keep them apart.
Can Norah overcome the scars of her past and discover her inner strength? And will the private letter from her father answer her questions or destroy the family, and the man, she’s come to love?


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