It’s author Ashley Meira on my blog today. She is the author of the bestselling The Spire Chronicles. You can visit her website at http://ashleymeirabooks.com/
1) Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Your friends and family?
I’m a 21 year old author who grew up in LA and is now living in Asia with her best friend. We have no pets because we can barely take of ourselves, much less another living creature, but our neighbour has the loudest dog in the world, so it kind of evens things out. Somehow!
2) Tell us about ‘The Spire Chronicles.’
The Spire Chronicles is the first arc in the story of Morgan Maxwell, a witch who hunts down evil paranormal creatures. This arc really focuses on her past and seeing her mature as she finds the answers she’s been looking for all her life. There’s also lots of action and a dash of romance in the mix to keep things interesting.
3) How did you become interested in creative writing?
I’ve always been interested in writing and my favorite subject in school was English because we got tons of writing prompts. As a student, I wanted to turn those short assignments into full blown stories but never had the discipline or time to do so. Once I finished school, I decided to do NaNoWriMo and actually ended up writing a 200,000 paranormal romance! It’s probably never going to see the light of day, but finishing it gave me the confidence to start writing “Hunter, Hunted”, the first book in the Spire Chronicles.
4) How do you go about the process of writing the first draft of a novel?
First, I try my best to plot everything out in as much detail as possible. Sometimes I can’t, so I’ll chapters in my outline that say “Chapter 12: Long fight scene. Describe monster. Reveal creature’s weakness. Escape,” but I’m usually good at adding in everything that’ll happen. Of course, some extra stuff slips in once the characters take charge, but I’m okay with that 🙂 Once that’s all done, I just start writing. I try to get at least a chapter (3-5000 words) done a day. I used to take a really long time because I couldn’t stifle my inner editor, but I’ve learned to just let the little things go and fix them in editing, so I can usually finish a chapter within 3 hours or so. My first draft ends up being pretty clean, and I usually only need to re-word a few sentences or fix typos when I edit.
5) After finishing the first draft what do you do? Do you send your work to beta readers?
I actually re-write the whole thing! I’ll have the original draft open with a new Scrivener file next to it and just re-type everything, fixing lines or typos as I go. I can usually do about 15,000 words a day just copying everything, so it doesn’t take too long. Some people think it’s a little weird, but it helps me get back into the story and find any plot holes (did I change a character’s eye color halfway through the story? etc). Like I mentioned before, my first draft is pretty clean, so it’s not like I’m making major edits. If I was, I wouldn’t type it all out again or it’d take forever! Once that’s done, I’ll send it off to beta readers, then an extra proofreader.
6) Who edits your books? Who designs those awesome covers?
I currently only use proofreaders because most editors need about 3 months booking in advance and I’m absolutely terrible at planning that far ahead 🙂 I use Donna Rich or Deanna from PastTenseBooks as proofreaders depending on the situation. I discovered them both on KBoards. My covers were made by Ravven, who is an absolute genius! I’ve been admiring her covers for a long time now, so getting a chance to have my own designed by her was a dream come true.
7) You have had tremendous success in a short period of time. How did you launch your first book? Anybody who helped you out in the marketing?
I just threw it into the void and hoped it would stick 🙂 The biggest thing I learned about publishing is that you never know as much as you think you do. In my case, this was marketing. I’d read tons of posts on Kboards and other publishing websites, but I never realized how hard it actually was until I hit “publish.”
Hunter, Hunted (Book 1) kind of floundered around a bit its first month before I lowered the price to 0.99 in preparation for Ties That Bind (Book 2)’s launch. Sales rose from there and pretty much exploded by the time King’s Gambit (Book 3) came out a month later. My friend and fellow author Aimee Easterling promoted the launch to her mailing list, which I think was a big part of what helped me gain visibility and traction. Other things that really helped were great covers and releasing a book every month.
8) What is your highest single day word count?
I ended up doing about 15,000 words for Ties That Bind, which was pretty cool.
9) Which are your favourite books and authors?
There are too many to count! I haven’t had a lot of time to read lately, but I did start Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series a few months ago and fell in love with that. I love how she juggles such a wide cast of characters without overshadowing any of them. The Dresden Files, too, where Jim Butcher manages to keep things interesting after so many books in the series. Other favorites this year are Aimee Easterling’s Lone Wolf Dawn, Jasmine Walts’ Baine Chronicles, Linsey Hall’s Mirror Mage, and Caethes Farron’s Magic Born to name a few. As for all time favorites, I don’t think I’ll ever love anything more than Harry Potter 🙂
10) Any plans to write in genres other than fantasy?
I have an idea for a mystery series, but that’s on the backburner for now. I have plenty of ideas for other sub-genres of fantasy, too.
11) So what are you publishing next?
Shadowlands, the fourth book in the Spire Chronicles, will be out late July/early August and I should have a new series debuting before Christmas.
12) Anything you would like to add?
Don’t give up on your dreams! And thank you for having me 🙂
A. J. Chaudhury is a young author from India writing mostly in the fantasy genre. His historical low fantasy short “A Song of Blood” releases shortly. Click here to download his fantasy novella “The Drabird” for free.