Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blooming Author: Ashley M. Christman!

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to
become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ~ George Sheehan

Ashley M. Christman is an urban fantasy writer whose book, The Witching
Hour, will be available from Lyrical Press November, 2010.

Tell us about The Witching Hour. What is it about and where will it be available?

Here’s the blurb:
Lucky Sands is anything but. His wife is cheating on him, his job sucks, and when she walks out on him and dies in a car crash, the only thing he can think of is drowning himself in cheap booze and cheaper sex. But when he finds his childhood friend Tuesday Peters working in a brothel, his luck
takes a steep downward dive after he finds out her twin sister is dead...and that Wednesday's death was no accident. Together Lucky and Tuesday embark on a search for answers, plagued by spirits and deities alike. Every clue along their path points not just to the truth of Wednesday's murder, but to divine machinations that prove everything Lucky knows about life to be wrong--and
prove there's no such thing as luck. Only fate...and the madness of the gods.

The Witching Hour will be available November 22, 2010 in ebook version at the Lyrical Press Website, Amazon, Barnes and, Fictionwise, Sony, Mobipocket, etc. We still don’t know about a print run yet, if it goes to print, the answer will be wherever books are sold.

What were your inspirations for The Witching Hour? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?

For The Witching Hour, I was inspired mostly because of my extensive research and knowledge of various pantheons and mythology. My inspiration in general can come from a number of places. It can come from a piece of music—I find that classical pieces inspire me the most, or a conversation
with someone. Sometimes, I’ll see a picture or think of a location and a character’s voice will come to me. That’s when I know that I have to write (my characters have a way of screaming in my head until I release them by writing their story).

What is your writing process? How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else?
A process would mean there is some method to my madness ~laughs~.  My process is a simple one. If I’m in front of my computer, I’ll just start typing, see where the voice in my head (yes, I am referring to my muse. I have enough problems without other voices) takes me. Once I have an idea, I’ll usually write a crude working pitch. Its three lines that tell me who are the main characters, what’s going on, what’s the problem.  From there I create a very basic outline. I have to say that my outlines are usually only chapter outlines. Now that I am working on more complex plots, I have a board where I pin up my plot points, characters, etc…so I remember to fill in all the holes.

Where did you work when writing The Witching Hour? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?

I literally wrote everywhere. I would write in my cubicle, the car, the coffee shop. Anytime I had any downtime I was writing. I’m finding that doesn’t work for me anymore—at least for revisions. I now make quiet time where I set up candles, incense and a can of  Red Bull (as you can see in
one of the pictures on my site) on my dining room table and work there. Now that we’re moving to the upper Midwest from the lovely western coast (I am going to miss the sunlight) one of the priorities was a room of my own. I find that the quiet time with the atmosphere helps me focus better, and thus
craft better tales.

So to answer the question, the environment I used initially for The Witching Hour, not optimal for me. I found that I really do need a room of my own and that is something that every writer needs to discover on their own. On a side note, I still have a fantasy of me being a broody writer with a cup of
coffee in a chic Parisian café. I can dream, right?

Tell us about your "story of getting published." How long did you submit before you were accepted? How did it feel to get accepted?

Goodness. That’s a long story, do you have all night. ~Chuckles~. I literally submitted hundreds of times between the five-six manuscripts I submitted prior to getting the yes. It was a long process. When I was subbing The Witching Hours, I had gotten a lot of personalized rejections rather than forms with the whole “we like it, but…”. I think those hurt the most, although I couldn’t help but find humor in one that basically said, “we like it, don’t change a thing, but we won’t publish it because the
heroine starts off as a prostitute”. I was like, people start off doing a lot of things, but it doesn’t define them.

When I finally got my golden ticket, the magical letter that every subbing writer hopes to get, I was ecstatic, excited, elated, more words that begin with “e” ~laughs~. It was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. It felt like I had done something right or maybe just gotten really lucky. I read
the letter several times. I kept waiting for a second one to come my way saying “sorry we made a mistake”. I don’t think there are really any words to describe the range of emotions I went through. When I finally signed the contract, I still couldn’t believe it. It didn’t really sink in that this was happening until I saw my name on my publisher’s website as one of their authors and my books title there as well.

What are the publicity plans you have coming up?
I am planning a virtual book tour and some readings at the moment. I also will be doing signed bookplates, so anyone that buys the book and wants a book plate can request one. Promotion is an on-going thing and as I come up with ideas, I add it to my marketing plan. And of course, the best type of publicity is to write another book.

You may also enjoy some of Ashley's previous work, such as the Rose Brown series. 
Midnight Rose: The first novel in the Rose Brown Series, this novel introduces Rose, a natural born witch, who takes a job at a fetish fashion wear company, not knowing that her entire life is about to change.  
Tiger Lily: When Rose Brown is summoned back to the small Texas town she came from, she discovers family secrets that will alter the course of her life forever. Throw in a psychotic serial killing vampire, and you have yourself a party.

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