Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Author interview with AJ Ashton

My next author interview is with AJ Ashton who writes High Fantasy Romance and was first published in 2023. She has 3 indie titles to her name just now, but has another 8 unfinished manuscripts. It takes Amanda about 3 months to finish the first draft of a novel, but it takes about a year until she feels it's ready for release or betas. So let's meet her:

'I have been writing stories since I was a child. I always wrote as a hobby, then as I reached my 50th birthday I realised I needed to just take the plunge and put my stories out there. So at the start of 2023 I released my debut novel. 

I am also a gamer and love open world games. I'm obsessed with Baldurs Gate at the moment. I am a big Linkin Park fan too. Also love to read mainly fantasy books with a bit of Sci-Fi as well.'

OMG, she's fifty? I need a better face cream! Does she have a tweetable for us (tweet here)
'AJ Ashton is a high fantasy romantic adventure author. The world of Zentos books are full of adventure, magic and romance with strong FMC* and Alpha Roll MMC*.*Female/ Male Main Character

What inspired her to become a writer?
'I watched Star Wars when I was 7 and I loved the idea of a kick ass princess and my imagination just went wild with ideas. Also being an only child it was my escape for adventure.'

Does she have a daily writing routine?
'Most days I try to do at least an hour of writing. I mainly write on the weekends, where I can be writing for several hours.'

What has she found the hardest part of writing / publishing process?
'Getting myself known. It's a slow process but this year I'm trying to connect with my readers and hopefully find some new fans for my books. Being an indie author you don’t realise how much you have to do that isn’t writing.'

Very true, and it is so time consuming. What's been the best money she's spent as a writer so far?
'The artist I found for my bestiary, he was amazing. Also finding software to help me make my books look professional.'

I'm no expert but this sounds money wisely spent! Indie authors have such a battle to get their work noticed and one thing that puts readers off is an unprofessional finish, so anything that helps on that front has to be a sound investment. 

What does she find the most difficult about writing characters very different from herself?
'I haven't had much difficulty so far. My characters are alive in my head and yes the first draft they can be a bit one dimensional but they grow as I edit the novel.'

How wonderful! How about reviews - has she read them?
'Yes, I read the reviews. Some can hurt but I look at them and if I see something that I think, yeah I could have done that better, I take it on board for the next book.'

Brilliant answer, and as I keep saying (sorry, worn out record here!), we really need to keep writing reviews to help authors get seen. If you find this daunting, just take a look at my post here as it's really not difficult and they will thank you!

Moving onto her books now, which should readers try first?
'I have my Outcast series which Outcast Origins was my debut, followed by Outcast New Beginnings. 

I then have Quest of the Stone, which is book one of a duology. 

So readers can start with Outcast or Quest. But for timeline order it is Outcast 1, then 2 and then Quest.'

Great! Could she give us an extract from one of them?
'The Tarrenfall family are pure-blood lycans. They fought against evil to protect the innocent. Then evil won, leaving Lara and Derwyn, the two remaining of the family line - Outcast Origins.'

Having published three books, what have been her writing highs and lows so far?
'I am still getting my bearings with my writing, but for me the high was when I received my first proof. To see my work as a paperback was just amazing. My low, I think, was my first review that was negative.'

That is a tough one. So, if she could go back in time and talk to herself at the start of her career, what would she say?
'I’d tell myself to take the leap earlier and not to worry.'

Aww, love that! What plans does she have for future books?
'I have big plans.' (I suspected she might!) 'I am already working on Quest of the Stone 2 which will be out later this year. Also the beginning of 2025 will be the release of Outcast book 3 where Lara returns home. 

But I also have another novel in draft for Lara and Evie. Also I have a stand alone Dragon novel coming out in 2025.'

My goodness, I'm exhausted just hearing about this! I do love Amanda's energy though. To finish, I asked if there was anything she would like to share? 

'Just that I hope anyone that reads my books enjoy them as much as when I wrote them.'

Great words indeed! If you'd like to find out more about her, please click onto her links below:


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