HEY GUYS, MY GIRLS AND I ARE BACK WITH ANOTHER ROUND OF BLOG POSTS, AND THIS TIME WE EACH PICKED AN AUTHOR TO INTERVIEW! I PICKED ASHLEY JOHN, AND BOY AM I GLAD I DID, THIS GUY IS A GREAT INTERVIEW! I HAVE THE INTERVIEW AND LINKS FOR ASHLEY AND HIS BOOKS, SO LET'S GET STARTED:
Thanks so much for joining me today Ashley, I can't wait to ask you these questions so let's get started!!
1. What is something you have learned in the course of your writing journey that you would urge an up an coming writer not to do?
That's such a good question, because I feel like in the year that I've been writing, I've had a crash course in indie publishing. I started out knowing absolutely nothing and I didn't have the luxury of time to perfect what I was doing when I started out (but that comes eventually). I still make mistakes today, but I think any author who says they don't is lying to themselves. I have three things that I'd urge a new author not to do.
1) Don't get involved in Facebook dramas every five seconds. If you have an opinion on something, great, voice it, but don't jump on every bandwagon in hopes of getting attention. Over the last year, I've seen so many (SO MANY!!!) authors trading in controversy and negative drama to get book sales and I think it's a terrible foundation to build things on. Be nice to people and treat other people, especially your readers, with the same respect you'd like to be treated with.
2) Don't trust your own editing skills. This is the biggest learning curve I've had. In the early days, I sent my books out into the world thinking they were fine, only to hear back they were filled with mistakes. Find people you trust and you know will tell you the truth and ask them if they wouldn't mind reading your work and pointing out errors/mistakes (best to avoid family and friends). I have 6 amazing BETA readers who I trust and I always make sure I'm going through the book multiple times at each stage. Of course, mistakes do happen and it is annoying when things slip through after 6/7 rounds of edits, but it happens to the best authors in the world. Unfortunately, indie authors don't have huge teams of editors and proof readers behind us and if you don't have the budget to do that, BETA readers are a must! and
3) Don't give up. Your first book might not sell what you were expecting. When I first started releasing, I wanted to be No.1 right away, but unless you're really lucky, you're going to have to work hard to build an audience of people who want to read what you're putting out there. You're going to get a lot of negative reviews, you're going to meet people who hate your stories and you're going to find yourself wondering 'what's the point?' all of the time, but you never know if your next book is going to be THE book to put you on the map.
Bec- You have no idea how much I love this answer! How great is it when an author stresses that the craft should come first, and not the fans! If you write well the fans will follow, and you Ashley, are a perfect example of that!!
2. Do you find yourself writing a little of yourself into your characters, be it little quirks you have or personality traits?
I never intentionally do that, but it happens! There's a little bit of me in all of my characters in some way, I think. Sayings, phrases, mannerisms, likes, dislikes, fears, dreams, emotions...it all creeps in there! I never realize how much until I read the book back and that's when I notice the subconscious writing taking over a little!
Bec- I guess that would happen without you thinking about it :), it must be neat to read your book back and go..."wow that is a bit like me!" :)
3. When you finish a book do you need time to recharge your batteries or do you want to go right into the next one?
I probably should take time to recharge but I'm always working on something. This is my full time job and I look at it that way, but right now, I'm lucky that I've sold all of these books and I can take things a little slower without worrying about not having money coming in to pay the bills. When I say 'slower', I'm probably still releasing more than average, but I like being busy and I love having a project to work on.
My new book, Shelter, came out two weeks ago and I've only written about 4000 words on my next project, so you could say I've been taking things a little slower during those 2 weeks, but tomorrow, I'm throwing myself full force back into the swing of writing. I find that the more time I have off, the harder it is to get back into writing the next thing.
Bec- I guess it helps that you love your job! I love an author whose love for their work shines through, and that is certainly the case with your books :)!
4. What is the thing you find harder, starting a story, or ending it?
I think both things are really hard. I always stress over the opening of a story. You need to weave in your characters, your setting and your major conflicts and drama without overloading the reader with information and backstory! I always try to put as much backstory into the dialogue, so it keeps the pace moving, especially in those first couple of pages.
Endings are equally tricky and the majority of my books, I usually scrap my outline and come up with something totally different to what I expected. I find that when I get to the 50% mark with the book, the rest is a downhill ride to the finish line, it's just getting there that's the tricky part! I find that I write a lot faster in that second half though.
Bec- Well whatever you're doing, it is certainly working! I know I and all your fans can't wait for every book, and you never disappoint!!
5. What has been the most challenging story for you to write so far?
They're all so challenging in different ways! BOSS was the one I've got closest to scrapping entirely. Around the 1/4 mark, I was ready to throw in the towel, but I took some time away from it, wrote Surf Bay 5 (Sink or Swim) and I came back to it with fresh eyes. My BETA readers were great in helping steer me in the right direction with it. I think sometimes, you can look too closely at a book and you don't see the bigger picture.
Shelter, my last book, was probably the easiest to write in a way, just because I didn't have that 'fuck it, I'm quitting!', moment 1/4 through (that tends to happen more than you'd think). I don't know if that's because I knew these characters inside out before I started writing, or because I'm just getting into the swing of what I'm doing and the routine of writing a book!
I really struggled with the first couple of Surf Bay books. When you're writing a book, it's so easy to think what you're writing is terrible and sometimes you need to take time away from it to see that you have something to work with. My mantra is 'you can't edit a blank page', so it's always better to get something down so you can shape it into something decent. I've scrapped a lot of books in between projects that I've never announced, so I have a whole folder of 'this book was too hard to write!', that I might come back to one day!
Bec- I can't imagine how frustrating that is! I and so many others are so so glad you finished Boss, and might I say, you couldn't tell one bit in the book that it was a struggle to write at first! That is the mark of a great author!!
Thanks Ashley John, for joining me today, this was a blast! I can't wait to have you back!!
THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! HERE ARE SOME LINKS TO ASHLEY'S LATEST BOOKS HIS AMAZON PAGE AND WEBSITE, VISIT THOSE LINKS FRIENDS, AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE HIS BOOKS, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
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HERE IS ASHLEY'S AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE, CHECK IT OUT!
THANKS FOR JOINING ME FOR THIS BLOG POST AND INTERVIEW! WE HOPE YOU LIKE THIS WEEK OF POSTS, AND I AM SO THANKFUL ASHLEY JOHN AGREED TO HELP ME KICK IT OFF! SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW FOR DAY 2!!