Meet Ashley Robertson
Author Interview by www.selfpublishordie.com
When did you first decide you wanted to write? Before I hit double digits in age, I was writing songs and, at the time, I thought I’d be a famous singer and perform with my own material—only later I learned I couldn’t sing worth a darn. So my songs turned into poems (very personal ones), and I used that as a method to vent things about my so-called life. High school was where I learned I had a much deeper love for writing, and that’s when I began experimenting, turning some of my essays into short stories or novelettes, and later on, I even toyed around with a few screenplays.
How do you feel about self-publishing? At first, I hated it—absolutely hated it. I mean come on, who would love being rejected by countless literary agencies? But it was the few personal rejections I received that actually motivated me to self-publish. Apparently a lot of agents are sick of vampires, and anything to do with them is an automatic “no,” so when a few of the agents responded with, “I like your writing style, do you have something else you can submit to me?” I knew I couldn’t just put my book to the side and abandon it; there had to be others out there just like me that still loved the mysterious, sexy, and sometimes malicious undead. So I moved forward to publish Crimson Groves, learning everything I could about the indie industry along the way. By the time I had UnGuarded ready to publish, the whole process was a LOT easier. Thankfully I’ve formed a system to the madness of self-pubbing, and so far, it seems to be working. I have a wonderful editor (Stephen Delaney with Close Reader Editing Services) and graphic designer that does my book covers (Claudia with PhatpuppyArt). Yes, these are additional expenses to your book—but they are essential to your success as an author. Recently, I discovered Nick with Everything-Indie who is helping me with custom formatting for the ebook versions of my novels.
Was it scary the first time you put your work out there? Heck yes! We all want to sell more copies than just to our immediate family and friends, right? **Sigh** Marketing yourself is another essential to being an indie author. Since we don’t have a publicist—which if an agent took us on would be provided—then we have to be our own publicist. Thank God for my previous (successful) career in real estate, through which I’m very familiar with marketing myself and the importance of networking with others in the industry.
What is your favorite genre to write? Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. I’ve been keeping it in the young adult sub-category, but I think I’m ready to branch out to adult once the sequel to Crimson Groves releases this winter.
What is your favorite genre to read? Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance! I’m totally obsessed with all things supernatural—especially vampires!
What do you like to do in your spare time besides write? Spend it with my husband and stepson. I also enjoy horseback riding on occasion and I’m an avid exercise junky. I have a home gym that I spend time in five days a week. No exceptions, no excuses, plus it helps relieve some of my day-to-day stress.
What was your favorite subject in school, was it English? Am I that obvious? (chuckles) I also loved science, and still watch a lot of interesting stuff on Discovery and the Science Channel. And though I have religious differences with Stephen Hawking, I’m intrigued by his brilliance and have a huge soft spot for him, so if one of his shows is on, it’s a guarantee I’m either watching it or recording it to watch later on.
Do you have a favorite author? I have several, and the list only continues to grow as I read more badass books. Richelle Mead, Jeaniene Frost, Keri Arthur, Karen Marie Moning, Nalini Singh, Stacey Kennedy, Heaven Liegh Eldeen, Stephanie Nelson, and Stephenie Meyer to name a few.
Is there something you want to write about that you haven’t yet? Yes. When I finish up with the sequel to Crimson Groves—Crimson Rain (the title may change to Crimson Flames)—I’ll be starting an adult novella series about a…succubus. (gasp) See why I may need to venture away from YA? LOL.
What is one silly fact about you? I have a bit of OCD when it comes to my electrical hair-styling accessories and my clothes steamer. Not only do they need to be turned off, but they also must be completely unplugged before I can leave my house. I’ve been known to turn around many a time to go back and make sure everything is unplugged—only to find that it was. My husband thinks this is absurd as I don’t go around unplugging lamps and kitchen appliances—thank God—before leaving the house.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far? A few months ago, I would’ve easily said Selene fromUnGuarded on this one. I love her inner struggle with doing what’s right, and since she’s a guardian angel that can shift into human form at will, she has extra challenges and temptations that the average angel doesn’t have. And then her version of “what’s right” gets all mixed up with what her human body desires most. But now, I’m falling back in love with Abby as I write the sequel to Crimson Groves. Abby is a hybrid—half vampire/half all-powerful sorceress—and learning how to understand and control her powers is the key to her survival and countless others of both the human and vampire worlds. Now she’s stronger and has accepted her fate of being changed into a vampire hybrid, so there’s a lot less whining about the loss of her humanity, and a lot more ass kicking and hot-‘n’-steamy temptations.
Does that reflect anyone you know? Personally, no. Though I’m certain my protagonists are a blend of some of my favorite heroines from other books I’ve read.
If you could go on a picnic with a character from any novel, who would it be, and what would you bring? Bones from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. I’d bring a good bottle of red. After a glass or two of wine and lots of sexy small talk, he’d be sending me to euphoria-ville with his bite.
Spaghetti or lasagna and why? I guess spaghetti, but I would need a side of alfredo sauce to mix with the marinara because I’m a huge sucker for rich, creamy sauces and I find that mixing them usually creates the best flavor.
Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves, or none, and why? Vampires! I’m obsessed with them.
Anything you want to say to the aspiring writers reading the blog? I touched on this in one of my previous answers, but I can’t stress enough the importance of having a good team on your side (editor, cover artist, publishing company, bloggers, reviewers, etc.). And don’t just be a taker, give back to the book community too. Help other authors by sharing what you’ve learned, and read and review books by others too. Yes, this takes time away from your writing, but I believe it’s extremely important in connecting with others and maintaining successful “blogationships.” Trust me when I say it will come back tenfold if you’re willing to put yourself out there and be helpful, and it’s even better if you’re genuine about it. Being involved in a writing group is a great way to not only give back, but to also learn lots of helpful information too. I’m a member of several groups and my life would not be the same without them.