Interview with Ashley Lavering, Author of Curse of the Beast

Do you believe attractive book covers help in its sales?

Yes. It is true that people do judge a book by its cover. While they might give it a second chance and pick it up or scroll down to read the product description, a cover is what will draw in a person first.

Do you enjoy book signings?

Yes, I love to meet fans and new people. It is fun to hear their stories or what they are doing. I really love to connect with people and talking about books is a great way to do that!

Do you reply back to your fans and admirers personally?

Yes. Sometimes it takes me a little time to answer, but I enjoy the correspondence. I have met people from all over the world via my social media sites and that is always fun.

How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion?

Writing is a passion for me. I love to create new stories. With young kids, I find my writing time limited right now, but I love the draw of the written word and try to write whenever I can.

Is it true that anyone can be a writer?

Yes, what quality of writer will depend on their willingness to take classes, practice, and put in those long hours. It all depends on their commitment and love for writing. So, yeah, not everyone becomes writers because of that.

What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?

I think better now with a computer. My figures have gotten so good and fast at taking the scenes out of brain and putting it on the screen that I can’t argue anymore that pencil and paper work best for me. When I am out and about and need to jot down notes use my notebook, and let’s just admit it, there is something so therapeutic about writing with a wooden pencil.

Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors?

Oh, this one is easy. I love to travel! It is nice to come back to my house after trips but I simply enjoy seeing the world. I love outdoors and love to hike where I am sure to find water. Going to the beach is another favorite of mine, and I enjoy scuba diving and rafting.

Is it true that authors write word-perfect first drafts?

No way. First, drafts are just that a draft. They are us trying to get the story out of our heads and on paper. So, while I don’t have to delete large sections of writing out of my first drafts, I do have to reword or add more detail on the second and third time through. Sometimes I even have to write in new scenes. A bullet point outline helps keep the plot focused and organized.

Poets and writers in general, have a reputation of committing suicide; in your opinion, why is that the case?

This is a sad reality of many artistic people. When someone creates something, whether it be music, the written word, art, ect., we put a part of ourselves into that creation. This leaves us vulnerable to attack and uncertainty. When we share this part of ourselves with the world, there will be someone who doesn’t like it. That is inevitable. It takes time to build confidences in who we are and be “okay” with others criticizing or ripping apart our work. We also think in that creative world that is different from the analytical world and often find reality hard or brutal. It is through balancing all these aspects that make us stronger and able to put ourselves out there time and again, knowing that we are creating art for ourselves and those people who appreciate it. This is not easy and thus, many slip into depression and degrade their own work, thinking it is worthless. When this happens, their self-esteem spirals downward and soon they start to think that the world would be better without them or that they can’t handle the rejection and loneliness anymore and end their torment with snuffing out their life. I pray that we can lift up those who feel this way. That we can love those who struggle and be a friend to those who’s heads hang down. The world can be very cruel, but we can counter that with love and understanding that we are all different which doesn’t automatically mean “bad.”

Writers are often believed to have a Muse, your thoughts on that?

I think inspiration comes from many sources and are considered muses. I think it is my active mind always cooking up ideas and my faith in God that constitutes the bases of my “muse.” I read my scriptures and pray every day so that I can have God’s help in my work. So that I will be inspired and not run into those annoying writer’s blocks. It really does help. I have wonderful people in my life also that play a part in my “muse.” They share their ideas or perception on a subject or event in my novels that helps me improve it.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

No. When I was young I struggled with reading and writing. I was in special reading classes and was impatient when it came to write anything down. However, I did love to tell stories or play make-believe. It wasn’t until college that I gained a love for reading and a desire to learn how to write better. My passion for writing came gradually. After college, I remember reading a book that ended horribly and I said to myself, “I’m going to write a book that ends the way I want it to.” So, I got into a creative writing online course and have never stopped writing since.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

No. In fact, English was my weakest subject in school. I hated writing papers but loved to tell stories as long as they weren’t lengthy. I remember having to write down a story for sixth grade. I was really into the beginning of the story and made it very detailed. As the story got longer, (as in a few pages) I quickly came to the end in some not-so-clever way and declared it finished!

Which authors inspire you?

Patrica Briggs, Tamora Pierce, J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Stephenie Meyers, Richelle Mead, Maria V. Snyder, E.D. Baker, Juliann Whicker, M.R. Polish and Veronica Rossi and many more!! Reading is so much fun.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?

In my Curse of the Beast series, it was really hard for me to write Aunt Lily and how depressed she was. I have seen that kind of depression and have had depression myself. Those scenes were both hard and therapeutic for me. Also, whenever you get into writing deep emotion like that, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the task.

While you were writing, which character did you connect with the most?

I would have to say that I connected to Beast in Curse of the Beast. His side of the story just flowed out of me. In my new series, the Land Magic Saga, Bear is another character that was very easy to write. Both characters are protective and sweet in a manly way:-) So I guess the trend here is if I name a character that starts with a B we have a solid connection. Lol

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

I love the ocean and so as a kid I wanted to be a marine biologist. I even looked at a college in Monterrey California that specializes in marine studies. I still love the ocean. My favorite movie growing up was “Little Mermaid,” by Disney.

Which book inspired you to begin writing?

There were three book series that inspired you to write. The Black Magician novels by Trudi Canavan was amazing right up to the end where it ripped my heart out. Combine those novels with Pellinor series by Allison Croggon and I was a sobbing mess. It was then that I vowed to write my own stories and end them the way I wanted to. But it wasn’t until Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series (the first two) that I decided to act on that vow. Her books looked simple in their writing form and still told an amazing story. Something I thought I could do. It was after several classes in creative writing that I could see how easy she had made it look.

Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

Um..no. That is why we have copy editors that like to make our manuscripts bleed…really they enjoy it! It helps to know the basics and to read books or take classes on grammar but don’t let that stop you from becoming a writer. I am not a grammar Nazis, but I have learned quite a bit from the ones I have working on my books…and you also learn what pet peeve you have unwittingly littered your whole manuscript with very well.

How important is research to you when writing a book?

I think research is very important to make your story have a real feel to it. Now, I am not talking about huge amounts of research for your average fantasy writer, but if your character is French and you know nothing about how French people act or what habits they have as a culture, then you had better do some research. Historical novels require a ton of research and should since they have to recreate a past world with all of its social dynamics, wars, and environment.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I think to keep from having to do a lot of unnecessary rewriting, you having to have some sort of plot outlook. For me plot is one of my greatest strengths. It comes naturally to me, so I find that I don’t need have a detailed chapter by chapter plot structure/outline. I do need to have bullet points that show where the story needs to go and what the final outcome is going to be. How I get to those bullet points is up to the characters, well kinda, I they still have to move the plot along and sometimes I am surprised by what they do!

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to our book recommendations