Recently, I was able to get in touch with a fellow author, Ashlei Hawley. She’s an up-and-coming author with works published both independently and traditionally. Her published material consists of the Fated trilogy (Fated: Blood and Fated: Crown are available now), The Cameron Connelly series (All Purpose Exorcisms, Book One is available now), and the Pain and Love trilogy, of which the first installment (Seared) was recently released. She has taken the opportunity to answer a few questions about her life and her work.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
First I have to say I have always been a writer. I can’t fathom a time when stories weren’t the fire of my soul. After writing my first few serious short stories when I was very young, I began to make the connection that the books I loved, pieces that invited me on journeys to new worlds had to be written. When I realized that I could one day bring readers along on journeys of my own in my early teens was when I embraced the goal of writing for a living.
Are there any specific authors who have influenced your craft?
I think we are all influenced by somebody, and I am no different. My biggest influences in my genre are Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton. The talent and scope between them is enviable and they will always have my admiration. Outside of my genre I would have to credit Dean Koontz as my most important and revered influence. He is the best writer I have ever encountered and even if we don’t write the same type of material, I always hope to emulate his dagger-sharp intensity and interwoven symbolism and fantastic character development that are omnipresent in his works.
What, if anything, do you do outside of writing?
What don’t I do? I am a full time student, I give my time to an internship, I have a young son to look after, family and friends to spend time with and hobbies that include sketching, movies, cooking, and photography. I even like to play around with cover design in my free time; that’s my most recent addition to my busy life.
How do you manage with such a full plate?
It’s hard to give an apt description of how I can do what I do without going insane. I think the most important thing to note is that writing is my escape. It’s my painkiller and stress reliever. When I make time to write, it puts me in a better place to handle everything else.
Seared, an erotic romance, was recently released. What can you tell us about the book?
Well, Seared is the first of three books in the Pain & Love set. It follows the story of Tyler and Reyna, two souls who are meant to be together even though Reyna’s soul becomes trapped on Earth, separating her for many lifetimes from her alien lover. In Seared, Tyler risks his life and claim to the throne of his world to recover his lost love, beginning the sequence of events that take place and then reach a climactic conclusion in the second book, Pierced and third, Scorched.
You’ve taken both traditional and independent publishing routes. How do they differ, and which do you prefer?
I think this is a really great question because there are notable differences between the two. I have to say I love the freedom and artistic control one has as an Indie author-don’t we all? But Indie publishing is a hard sell and it is so easy to work your hardest and still get buried under the incredible amount of cheap, readable material out there now. With traditional publishing, I find the support system is the biggest advantage. I could never express the gratitude I feel for the amazing teams of cover designers and editors I’ve worked with. An Indie author can definitely make their projects shine, they can market their heart out and build success from the ground up and that’s a fantastic accomplishment. On the flip side, with a traditional publisher, it’s just nice to not have to go it alone. I’d have to say I’ve been lucky to experience both avenues and wouldn’t trade either. I love being a hybrid author!
Is there any particular project that is close to your heart?
I’ve called myself a “special kind of MoM (Mother of Many)” so often. All of my stories are honestly like children to me. However, I would have to say the current apple of my eye is my short story collection, A Whisper In The Dark. I plan to self-publish this arduous labor of love, and it includes shorts that will precede several spin-off novels. The anthology is one of the works I’m most proud of, and I am beyond excited to see it in print.
What advice do you have for new authors embarking on this journey?
Write and learn. You should aim to learn one new thing every day and write at least a page a day. It’s so much easier to live your life as a writer if writing is one of your main focuses every single day. Don’t listen to haters if words are the fire in your soul. Brand the pages with your mark and damn anyone who says it’s not good enough. Writing is, first and foremost, for the writer.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Lots more! I have so many projects in the works, it’s hard to keep track. In the next few years I tentatively have planned to release another short story anthology-this one a collection of erotica fairy-tales called The After Dark Collection-and two different series, one fantasy erotica and the other horror. I am so very excited to get as many projects out as soon as I can!
Where can we find out more about your published works?
My project updates can be seen on my Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/authorashlei. Also feel free to look me up on Goodreads and check out my Amazon Author Profile at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00I8RQY2U.