Friday, April 17, 2015

Indie Author: Ashley R. Carlson

Happy Friday, one and all! Today we have with us Ashley Carlson, author of The Charismatics.

Ashley R. Carlson ~ The Charismatics

Twitter: @AshleyRCarlson1

How long have you been writing?
Dabbling since I was eighteen, and started seriously writing in Nanowrimo 2013. That was the epiphany moment for me. 

What’s the most rewarding thing about going indie?
The most rewarding thing so far about being an indie author is getting my book into the hands of readers FAST. I wrote something last summer, published it in December, and I’ve gone to high schools for readings and have it in a local bookstore (Changing Hands in Tempe, upcoming staff pick!), and I’m winning awards for it. I didn’t have to wait five years to query an agent, find a publisher, and wait for it to hit the stands! Instant gratification.

What inspired The Charismatics?
Funnily enough, the first inkling came to me after watching an episode of “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” I know, I know. But there was a woman in the cast who was obviously in a very unhappy marriage, and she was acting out because of it. I started to think about that situation, and how a young woman would handle it. “The Charismatics” grew exponentially from there! 

What’s the blurb for The Charismatics?
An arranged marriage. A corrupt government called Legalia. A forbidden spiritual realm. 
Duchess Ambrose Killaher was just seventeen years old when exiled to Shinery—a city of snow and darkness—to marry a man who despised her, finding her only solace in an invisible companion named Roan. 
Now as the poor starve in the streets below and rebellious acts become a frequent occurrence, Shinery holds its yearly celebration to commemorate Legalia’s rule. But when Ambrose stumbles into a hidden courtroom and witnesses a violent murder, she is thrust into a secret world of the supernatural-one that could endanger everyone she's grown to care for. With the help of a handsome stranger, Ambrose learns of the past Legalia has covered up, and that she alone possesses the power to stop their unspeakable plans for the future.

We wants it, precious! Where can we buy The Charismatics?
Currently you can buy my book on Amazon for $2.99 (e-book) or $12.99 (paperback) here, or a signed paperback through my website for $14.99 (S&H included for the U.S.!) here
It will soon be at both Changing Hands bookstore locations, located in Phoenix and Tempe. 

What project are you working on now?
My contemporary adult novella, “Misery and Marlene.” It has not been easy—I’m writing in a different tense and POV, and a different genre than ever before. It’s a lot sadder and heavier than “The Charismatics” as well, but I think it’s got a great message. Then back to the sequel of “The Charismatics” this summer!

What are three books that have shaped you as a writer?
Gail Carson Levine’s “Ella Enchanted,” most definitely. My favorite book of all time—amazing fantastical elements, a strong heroine, beautiful relationships, simply glorious book. 
J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, of course. Also, Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass”—my novel, “The Charismatics” is similar to it in a lot of ways. I’ve been told that it’s sort of a mash-up between that and “The Hunger Games,” which I’m not upset about! 

Are you a plotter or a pantser or an all-of-the-above-er? What is your writing process?
I’m what I like to call a “half-pantser.” I wrote a blog post about it here, actually. I only outline the current scene I’m writing, usually on my whiteboard. I do keep a notebook of characters’ names and ages, but that’s about it. 

What advice would you give to a writer about to take the plunge into indie publishing?
DO IT! Do it immediately. 
And do it right. Get a team together, utilize beta readers, find a great editor, cover designer and formatter—make sure your book is just as good as something that could be found on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. Build your author platform through all of this as well, meeting others through Twitter, Google+, etc. 
Most importantly to know after you launch a book—it’s probably going to be a long, uphill battle. So whatever you do, KEEP WRITING. Keep producing great work. Enter contests, try to get out into the community to share your work—but NEVER stop writing. The more books you have to offer, the easier it will be for readers to find you. 

How do you take your caffeine?
In an IV, straight to my vein. ;) 

Thanks so much for taking part in the interview series, Ashley! Best of luck as you continue to promote The Charismatics and work on your new books! ~ Joanna


Ashley R. Carlson grew up wanting a talking animal friend and superpowers, and when that didn't happen, she decided to write them into existence. “The Charismatics” is her award-winning debut novel. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with four (non-talking) pets and one overactive imagination.


Virginia said...

Yay! Likely going to buy a copy this weekend. Sounds like a fun read.

Ashley R. Carlson said...

I can't believe I never thanked you for hosting me on here, Joanna!

*Major author fail.*

I will make it up to you with an Altitude coffee and air conditioning, since apparently we live on THE SURFACE OF THE SUN.


Also, thank you Virginia! I do hope you enjoy it!