Hello, wordmigos! Today I have the pleasure of sitting down* for an interview with splendid indie author Ashley Elliot from Inklings Press.
*To be fair, it’s quite possible she was standing up when she answered my questions. Or doing one-handed pushups with a baby koala on her back. Let’s not make assumptions.
Ashley and I, along with a handful of other indie authors, are doing a giveaway thingy [insert fancy giveaway clicky thingy here] together, and you still have time to go participate for a shot at one of eight free e-books!
It was good fun to ask Ashley some questions about herself and her writing, and she provided some great answers!
(Note: I’ve included some interviewer interjections purely for the sake of clarity.)
N: So, can you tell me a little bit about your writing style? What genre do you tend to work in?
A: My writing style is very seat-of-the-pants, never really planned (I’ve got general ideas and know how it’ll end, but I let the characters tell me where they want to go), and very sporadic. It’s changed from book to book, as I like for all of my characters to have their own voice, but I’m more dialogue-heavy than anything else. My first novel, Becoming Nikki, is very light and airy, whereas my second, The Art of Letting Go, is a lot heavier (and more depressing; sorry). I write young adult fiction, usually coming-of-age, with lots of lessons cleverly hidden inside the pages.
N: What’s been a favorite experience of yours as an indie-author?
A: Once, I got to go to a local authors’ spotlight at a library with a fellow indie author friend and sold exactly one book. I also love it whenever somebody tells me that something I wrote touched them.
N: If you could go back in time and offer one bit of advice to your younger author self, what would you say?
A: Keep writing. Never stop, no matter what people say. Your writing may suck now, but you’re getting better, and it’ll show… eventually. Oh, and write out what your plans are for that novel because you’re going to get old and forget and it’s going to be very sad.
N: What do you think is the hardest part about being an author, whether self-published or traditional?
A: I’d have to say that the hardest part for me personally is knowing that what I’m writing is actually good. I’ve got a lot of self-confidence outside of writing, but I hate showing people what I’ve written because I never think it’s any good. And that seeps into finding motivation to write, which I think is the second-hardest thing. Sometimes I just don’t want to write, and self-confidence can play a major part in that.
N: Can we get a peek at something you’re working on now? Or is it all FBI levels of confidentiality?
A: Haha*, well, something I’ve been working on that’s definitely more public is a novel called The Art of Letting Go
, which is about this girl who loses someone very close to her and has to figure out how to move on. I’m done writing it, but the revising stage is taking a lot of time and effort that I don’t really have at the moment. It’s on hold until I finish college, which will hopefully be in March! (When it’s done, though, I’m going to try and publish it through the traditional route. Fingers crossed!) The project hidden under FBI levels of confidentiality is currently in the brainstorming stage, and if I told you anymore besides that, I’d have to kill you**.
*Please note that such slang vocabulary does not reflect the serious, professional nature of the blog or the blog host.
**The interviewer had no desire to be killed, so he didn’t pursue this issue further.
N: You’re currently submitting Becoming Nicki as part of our December giveaway. Can you tell us more about that book?
A: Yes, I am! Becoming Nikki is about a girl who has this awful relationship with her brother, and after he loses his memory, she has to figure out whether to let everything stay the same or try to start anew. (Gosh, it’s been forever since I wrote a blurb on that novel. I started writing it when I was fifteen and published it on my twentieth birthday, and I’m turning twenty-two tomorrow*, so it’s been out of my mind for a while. I still love it, though.)
*Here, the interviewer pauses to wish the interviewee a happy birthday and to eat some cake.
N: You have ten seconds to choose your absolute favorite book from your bookshelf. Which one do you grab?
A: I’ve got the Bible app on my phone, so don’t you DARE try to judge me* for not grabbing that! I’d grab The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly. It’s not very well-known, but I’ve recommended it to all of my friends since I read it for the first time a few years ago. It’s a retelling of Little Women and it’s about finding your way in the world – and it came to me at a time when I was trying to do just that, so it holds a very special place in my heart. (And then I’d use the remaining six seconds to grab Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.)
*At this point, the interviewer wiggles his fingers judgmentally.
N: We all know being a writer is tough. Where do you find the most support or encouragement to keep going when things get hard?
A: Honestly? Pinterest. I don’t have very many writer friends, and Pinterest encouragement is available 24/7. I use it to brainstorm
, I use it to encourage
me, and I use it to file away all the ideas I get for later
, when I’m in a writing slump or just need something quick to write when I need a creative outlet. It’s amazing and I love it dearly.
N: Have you ever had any fun, unusual, or memorable interactions with your readers? Care to share?
A: Not really… although it’s always great whenever somebody reviews my book (period), but especially whenever someone’s like “There’s no way you’re not a professional ice skater!” I just smile and say, “Nope. I’ve been ice skating a lot, but I suck!” I love being able to allow my characters to do the things I can’t!
N: Random fun question to wrap up: if you could have written any well-known novel out there, which one would you put your name on? (Don’t worry, the real author won’t feel too bad!)
A: The Harry Potter series – or something like it. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have written something so universally adored by millions of people, connecting them through their mutual love for it? #goals
Huge thanks to Ashley for taking the time to share her insights into her writing world! It’s been great fun, and be sure to go follow her blog! In the meantime, have a great day!