12.11.2014

interview with an author

So I have a loverly blogging friend out there named Ashley. We met over a year ago through mutual blogging friends (how is the blogging world so small??), and since then I've grown to love this girl in so many ways. She's funny, exuberant, and passionate. And she's also a writer, which is cool all by itself, but what's even cooler is that her novel, Becoming Nikki, has just been published!! How fantastic is that! Ashley is in the midst of a blog tour promoting her novel, so of course I was happy to host her for a day. You can find the rest of her blog tour locations here, or you can just sit back and enjoy my interview with this sweet girl.

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Hello there, my lovely friend! Do pull up a chair and make yourself at home. Tea? Coffee? While I pour, tell me all about yourself....

Whyyyy, thank you! I'll have tea. I'm picky about my coffee, preferring to put heaping spoonfuls of hot chocolate mix in it. :D

Whale, I'm Ashley. Rather unique, if I do say so myself. I love to write, read, sing, play the piano and violin, hang out with my friends and siblings, and watch movies (and re-watch movies). I'm more of a tomboy than a girly-girl, although I swing between the two as often as my mood changes – which is, unfortunately, often. I'm also a fangirl, which adds a lot of drama to my personality. :)


Here's your cup of tea, m'dear, and I'll try to ignore what you said about coffee. ;) So when did you begin writing, and why?

I began writing – really writing – when I was ten years old. I read the American Girl Magazine almost religiously, and, one day in September, I decided to enter a writing contest. The contest was based off a picture prompt, and I wrote the story in a few days, then had my mom type it up and send it in. The story was about a young girl who saved her father, the President of the US, from being taken captive by terrorists. It was called The Greatest Adventure of the Summer, and, to this day, I am so grateful for the wonderful people at American Girl who made sure that it DIDN'T. GET. PUBLISHED. (And it never will, unless I get as famous as Jane Austen and it's published in a volume of my early work, much like Love and Freindship (sic). Heaven forbid.)


Well, we all have to start somewhere! So tell me about Becoming Nikki; the story, the writing process, everything!

Becoming Nikki is what I like to call the coming-of-age of a young girl named Nikki who ice dances with her older brother, Alec. Unfortunately, that's the only thing they have in common because their relationship is just shattered. Then, tragedy strikes (dun-dunnnnnnn), and Nikki is given the chance to rebuild their relationship. (That's exactly how I explain it to people, including the 'dun-dunnnnnnnnnn,' which increases dramatically depending on how well I know the person I'm explaining it to. Ha.)

I came up with the idea after watching the 2010 Winter Olympics and falling madly in love with ice dancing. Around the same time, I had also started developing a plot that involved a sister-sister relationship that was deteriorating, and, eventually, the two fascinations merged into one. I started writing the story as my NaNo novel for Camp in 2012, finished it at the beginning of 2013, and it's been stuck in Editing Land for the past year and a half... until I got the kick in the pants that I needed (THANK YOU, Morgan and CPE3!) and finished editing it.

I still get excited about ice dancing, which is great because that means I didn't see “too much” as I researched for Nikki. :D I did SO much research. I spent hours on YouTube and Wikipedia and I even joined an ice dancing forum. It was intense. I think that's the most I've ever researched for something, besides my WWII story I did for NaNo last year. Insane, but I loved it. And no, I don't ice dance. I barely ice skate. : )


Well, don't feel bad because my ice skating skills are so rubbish we won't even discuss them here. Now, you've told me before that Becoming Nikki is a story you believe God called you to write. Why do you think that? What has the Lord taught you as you've been writing it?

Oh, absolutely. I know God called me to write it because I know it changed me. It changed the way I view relationships, especially one in particular. At the beginning, though, I didn't know that God wanted me to learn something – I thought it was for “other” people who had relationship issues. It wasn't until I was writing a certain scene that God hit me over the head and said, “This is for YOU, TOO!” And it was hard, at first, to accept the advice I was giving Nikki – to let go of old grudges and view a collapsing relationship from a completely different perspective. But I really think that it's changed the way I see relationships. There's no such thing as a relationship that is “too far gone.” You can always make the effort to save it, leaving the rest to God.


Amen! So which authors are your biggest inspirations? What else inspires your writing?

Hmm...  I think my biggest inspirations are Robert Whitlow, Wayne Thomas Batson, Jeanne Birdsall, and R.J. Palacio. (There are definitely thousands more, but I think those are the main ones.) These authors strove to write good literature – books that everyone can enjoy reading, not just those in the book's intended age range.

Other writing inspirations: Pinterest (I'm totally serious here), my writing buddies who write with me and help me out of the pit that is writer's block (LOVE you guys!), and books (often, immersing myself in good books helps fuel my inspiration). I'm so happy that I have awesome resources at my fingertips. I'm incredibly blessed.


Do you have any other novels you're currently working on?

Oh yeah. Duh. I'm always working on something. The thing I'm working on now is a novel called The Art of Letting Go, which is about a teenage girl who loses her best friend in a school shooting and has to learn to let him go and move on. It's the most depressing, gut-wrenching thing I've ever written – I cry over it SO often – and I love it.

Thanks for interviewing me!
My pleasure, love!
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Sounds fantastic, right? Buy your own copy of the book here. But wait, there's more... you can enter this giveaway on Goodreads to win a signed copy of Becoming Nikki! Be sure to head over to Ashley's blog and show her some love, would ya? Congratulations again, my beautiful friend!

2 comments:

  1. You are SO sweet! Thanks plenty, dearest!

    -Ashley-

    ReplyDelete
  2. i just found and followed your beautiful blog! so lovely.
    laurenski
    laurenski-love.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

Your comments are the sugar to my iced tea. Which means they make my day.