Thursday, 18 March 2010

Interview with Ashelynn Sanford

I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone for stopping in and reading my blog. I'm glad others find it interesting to hear about other aspiring writers. I like the fact that it seems more like a community when we can be here for each other and cheer each other on!

Today we're talking with Ashelynn Sanford.

Welcome, Ashelynn. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a young aspiring author who lives in Northern Wyoming. I teach a group of five nine-year-old girls dance every Wednesday, and I spend two days of the week learning the routines that I teach from my boss. I go by the name Ashelynn D. Sanford, or Ashy.

You lead a very artistic life. What is the name and genre of your manuscript?

"The Year the World Ended" is the novel I’m focusing on now, and it’s a action/adventure. A genre I don’t normally write in.

And what is this action/adventure story about?

The Boudoirs are a French couple who know one secret, and if that secret lands in the enemy’s hands, North America’s empire is going to expand from just one continent.

Elijah Anson and West Anderson have been assigned the mission of getting the information from Pierre Boudoir. Eli’s only issue with the assignment is his burning desire for Chance Boudoir, Pierre’s wife.

When Pierre becomes sick with a plague, Eli reacts irrationally and takes Chance Boudoir with him to Florida, where the last space shuttle to the moon is launching. West is tracking them down, determined to get the information from Chance who pretends she doesn’t know the secret…

It’s a race against time, enemies, and trust. How can Chance trust the one person who captured and saved her?

The description's got my blood pumping already. How did the idea of the story come to you?

I believe it came when I was sitting my history class, watching a movie about World War II and the great depression. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been rethinking the plot, trying to further it along, and those ideas came to me when I’m in the shower…like always…

Is your manuscript complete or still a work in progress?

A work in progress.

Do you have a word count goal, and how far along are you at this point?

I don’t at the moment, but I’d like if it was over 75K. I’m still in the beginning stages, but hope to be much, much further, at least 1/3rd of the 75K goal by the end of March, early April.

What will be your next step when you're done?

Querying for an agent. I think everybody should try to get an agent before going to self-publishing; a lot of bestselling authors received a ton of rejection letters before somebody decided to take them on. Self-publishing isn’t something I’m looking into, and I hope I don’t have to.

I agree with you on trying for an agent. Good advice. So do you have a critique group or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

When I get to the editing phase, I’ll send it my close friends—Mireyah being one of them. I think being in a critique group helps writers and even friends whose advice you trust.

Yes, a fresh set of eyes helps a lot. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Finding time to write. You’d think for a nineteen-year-old not going to college would have a lot of time to write, right? My mother seems to think that I’m her housemaid, so I’m usually away from the computer nine hours in the day, and then when I am able to get on the computer, I either get distracted by the shiny things (Oo, internet…) or my mom has decided the fridge needs to be cleaned.

I'm sure most of us are often distracted by the internet. Can't be helped. Any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

Manage your time very well; if you have a few hours to kill, open up your MS and start writing. Whenever you can write, write. It will help you in the long run, even if it’s just baby steps. A lot of people say you need to write every day, but I don’t. As long as you’re thinking about it, I think that’s good enough. Some days you don’t have time to write at all without sacrificing something, and writing shouldn’t be your top priority. Family, job, relationships, etc. should be your top priority.

That's a healthy perspective. So who are your inspirations?

Kate Chopin because she wrote scenes that weren’t safe to write about in her time, and she was a woman and not a lot of women wrote “unsafe” scenes in the 1800s. I have a lot more other inspirations, but I’m just going to leave it at Kate Chopin because I could go on.

She sounds awesome! Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. Can you name three things about yourself people may not know (or maybe they do know but they are special traits/hobbies/quirks)?

  1. I love perfume and body spray. I can six bottles on my desk right now, and that’s not including all the bottles I have in my bathroom! Since I have decision-making issues, I have somebody else pick what perfume I’m going to wear that day. My Stepsis really likes this job.
  2. I can’t read one book at a time. I usually read two-three books at the same time, but right now I’m reading seven (yes SEVEN) published books and TWO manuscripts from two very talented young writers.
  3. I don’t want to write a bestseller; sure, it’d be cool, but it’s not something I’m aiming for when I become published. I’d rather have my book become banned than a bestseller. Not because banned books make a lot of money or anything, I’m not doing this for the money, but because I could say, “Yeah, my novel so-and-so is banned. Pretty cool, eh?”

Aha, I see. Well, that's one way to stand apart from the crowd. Okay, here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Who would you like to give a shout out to?

My best girls: Dawn, Amy, Mireyah, and H. C. They’re always there for me, and even though there are a lot more people who support and are always there for me, these four are *always* there and not afraid to kick my butt into gear if I’m stalling with writing!

And finally, where can people find you online?

My blog:
My twitter: @AshelynnS

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Ashelynn. Good luck with your book, and be sure to let us know when you've reached the next step of your writing journey!


Annie McMahon said...

Great interview as always, Dorothy! I enjoyed reading it.

Ashy, we think the same way when it comes to writing every day. I'm the kind of person who writes whenever, wherever. My family has priority over my writing. That's just the way it is.

And yes, I remember how busy I was as a college student. I totally understand.

Jay said...

Great interview, Dorothy. Thanks Annie for retweeting so I could find it.

Ashy! Time is hard to come by when writing is not your full time job, so you have to find time wherever you can. Totally, agreed.

Anonymous said...

Aw, I feel all loved and stuff. And I definitely agree with the being banned rather than bestseller--generally speaking, the banned books are the ones that last a long time and *say* something to the readers. :)

Dawn Embers said...

Great interview. I, also, feel very loved. :-D

It is very hard when dealing with non-writers who have the upper hand in the situation. Some day, Ashy, you will be out of her parents house and no longer banned from writing. But until then, you just gotta do whatever you can to get by.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

I also wanted to add, Ashy, that most writers have "real life" getting in the way, so we all feel you. For me, as I'm the mom in the house, it's equally frustrating to be away from my manuscripts because I have to help with homework, make dinner, do laundry, spend time with my husband so he doesn't feel abandoned, etc. Hang in there!

J. D. Brown said...

When I saw Ashy's name in the title, I just had to read this! *Waves hi to Ashy* I can't say that my writing comes first, but it's pretty damn close! It's tied with my family and my boyfriend and yeah, it sometimes causes arguments. lol. I agreea about having to *make* time to write and no, you can't write every single day no matter how hard you try to. But I also think that if you're at least thinking about your MS, than that counts!

Awsome interview! I love reading about the up-and-coming authors! Good luck with your novel, Ashy.