I met Ashley at last year’s Utopiacon, and this year, I watched her work miracles as a conference volunteer. Her book OUR SONG explores what happens when people lose their identity within a relationship, and it’s a story that will keep readers turning pages.

I broke up with Trip four months ago. But with the exception of my parents, I haven’t told anyone why. Not my friends, not my little sister, not even Asher.

I’ve been missing my best friend every day for the last nine months. Even though Becca broke up with Trip months ago, she’s still been distant, even when we’re in the same room.

She thinks she can break up with me and then go on a “family” vacation with him? I’m going to prove to both of them that she never should have left me.

OUR SONG is your first self-published novel. What did you learn from the process of self-publishing, and what recommendations do you have for people who might be interested in doing it?

I learned SO much during the process of self-publishing OUR SONG. I learned there are a million decisions you have to make along the way that most people don’t tell you about until you start asking questions, especially when it comes to using Createspace. I learned a ton about formatting during the process, both paperbacks and ebooks. I also got to learn what it was like to be on the other end of working with others on my book. I’ve helped a number of authors with editing, proofreading, etc. But having to be the author, and work with a cover designer, and an editor, was very different.

My recommendations for people who might be interested in doing it…don’t be afraid to do it! And don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are so many amazing authors out there who are so willing to help however they can. (Including me!) And (within reason, of course) write/publish it the way you want to. Some people were really skeptical of my choice to use a sans serif font in my paperback, because I wanted to make it more dyslexia friendly, but it turned out fantastic. Also, PLEASE, if you are selling your book as a paperback, order the proof copy before you approve it for printing. You’ll be amazed how all of a sudden something will stand out to you when you’re holding the paperback, when it didn’t on screen.

I didn’t know sans serif was dyslexia friendly…what a wonderful idea. I love the premise of OUR SONG, and how Becca’s character develops throughout. What was the most challenging aspect of writing her story?

For me, the most challenging aspect of writing Becca’s story was using my own experiences with abuse to help guide her story, but to also not literally use my experience, and make it her own. Becca and I are not the same person, and didn’t go through the same experiences, not matter how many things seem to be similar between us.

Abuse happens in many forms–and I’m sure your story will be helpful in more ways than you know. You are also published in the anthology Hostile Takeover. What do you love most about writing short stories, and in what ways, if any, does your process differ from novel-writing?

Great question. What I enjoy about writing short stories is that you’re really working on making one moment in time into an entire world for the reader, or to take an entire lifetime of experience and turning into one powerful moment. I would say that for me, novel-writing is a bit like writing a bunch of short stories, and putting them together to form one much longer story. But the process is still quite different. When writing a novel, I’m a total pantser (I don’t usually outline, or write in order, etc.). But when I write a short story, I write it basically as an outline first, and start fleshing out more and more detail with each pass.

Interesting that you are both a pantser and a plotter! What are some of your current projects?

Ooh, shall I share my secret projects? 🙂 Well, it’s not really a secret that I’m working on a giant, 4 season dystopian/sci-fi serial, that’s actually based on the short story I wrote in the Hostile Takeover anthology. I’m having so much fun creating a futuristic world…but I also HAVE to plan and outline this one, as there are so many things I have to decide about what the world looks like 150-200 years from now.

I’m also working on books 2 and 3 after Becca’s story. They don’t have titles yet, but Becca’s younger sister, Olivia, will be the main point of view in book 2, and someone Olivia goes to school with will be the main point of view for book 3. These will also deal with sociopolitical issues.

I also have two contemporary standalone novels started, one NA, and one adult. I’m REALLY excited about these. Their inspiration came from songs that break my heart. And I can’t wait to dig deeper into writing them.

Sounds like you have a lot of stories in you! Thanks for sharing yours with us.

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