Today I am very excited to share another Q&A from one of my fellow 2020 Debut Authors.
When I first joined the group late last year I was immediately drawn to Ashley. She is the ultimate cheerleader for her fellow authors, always the first to like or share a post and celebrate each accomplishment no matter how small.
Her smile is infectious as is her love for writing and the writing community around her. I appreciate the insights and advice she has shared in her interview and I know you will to. Enjoy!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was in elementary school. I remember it vividly—I was in second grade and my teacher, Mrs. Oliver, enjoyed a story I’d written about a cow (lol) and said I had a knack for it, so I kept going. That dream intensified as I grew up. I started writing less short works and more full length novels, all with the dream of being a published author.
What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was getting published?
This question makes me smile because I don’t ever think I’ll forget that moment or that day! I was actually at work (I’m a middle school English and Language Arts teacher), and my students were taking a test that day. I just happened to check my email, and there was an offer from Charissa Weaks, my amazing editor at City Owl Press! I’d sent her the requested materials a few weeks before, but after being rejected so often for my previous novels, I tried to temper my hopes. But no. I freaked out in the best possible way when I read Charissa’s offer letter. My hands were on top of my head, and I tried to fight back crying because you know, my students were there. They knew something was up, and when I told them, they cheered and clapped, causing my heart to nearly burst. Of course, I texted my husband, who has been my biggest supporter. He texted me that he was crying, and I’ve never seen so many exclamation points and emojis in a text. It was the best. Then he came up on my lunch break bearing two of my favorite things—a caramel latte freezer and an apple cinnamon muffin from Elliano’s. A week later, he took me to St. Augustine to celebrate at the beach. October was already one of my favorite months, but now even more so.
How long did it take you to write your debut novel?
It didn’t take too long to complete Painting the Lines. I started the first draft in June of 2017 and finished around August of that year. That’s definitely not the norm for me when writing novels. It usually takes anywhere from six months to a year.
What does your writing schedule look like?
During the school year, I’ll write in the evenings after dinner for about an hour or two. I’ll also write on the weekends for a few hours, depending on the deadlines I put on myself. If it’s during the summer, I’ll write from around 8 am to about 3 pm and take the weekends off. I’m always careful not to let that get in the way of life either—I enjoy hanging out with my husband, reading, and traveling too.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk or habit?
Hmmm…maybe that I have to create a playlist specifically for the book before I start writing it. It’ll start off with just a few songs that I feel will encompass the tone of the book, and along the way, I add more. By the time I’ve finished the book, there is a playlist of anywhere from 20-40 songs. Every time I write, I’ll listen to that novel’s playlist, and it really helps me stay on track. It also helps a ton when I run into writer’s block, which is more frequent than I’d like.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
I learned a lot about editing! My editor, Charissa, is not only brilliant, but she’s incredibly patient and took the time to give me valuable insight and resources regarding the writing process. I even have an editing notebook where I’ve written all of her editing notes from past drafts of Painting the Lines so that I can refer back to them while writing book 2 in the Ace of Hearts series. From her notes, I’m able to think about my tendencies as I write and avoid ones like opening a chapter passively or becoming a tad too obsessed with certain words.
What is your biggest writing-related dream?
Honestly? My biggest writing-related dream is for one of my novels to be made into a movie or television show! I would be interested in seeing how similar and different it would be to the book, as well as who they would cast.
ABOUT PAINTING THE LINES
Amalie Warner wants another shot to prove that she can be a successful writer. After hitting the bestseller list nine years ago, she’s lost her spark. Feeling pressure from her father to leave her writing behind and to work for her family’s lucrative hotel business, she’s desperate to find inspiration for her next big idea, something that challenges and excites her, something real.
Enter Julian Smoke, a failed tennis player making a dream run for the US Open. After a chance meeting at a bar, Amalie hates him instantly. He’s cocky and arrogant, but Amalie knows his story could be her big break. Could he be more?
Everyone knows that in tennis, love means zero, but these two are about to change that.
Perfect for fans of The Hating Game and Wimbledon.
Coming August 25, 2020. Pre-Order your copy here:
ABOUT ASHLEY R. KING
Ashley R. King is a middle school English teacher whose love of the written word began when her mom took her to the public library, letting her check out stacks of books taller than she was. She’s the least athletic person you’ll ever meet, but that doesn’t decrease her love for her favorite sport, tennis.
She loves swoony romances and is addicted to sweet tea. When she’s not teaching or writing happily ever afters, she can be found snuggled up with a book, travelling, or quoting obscure lines from her favorite movies and tv shows. She lives in a small town in Georgia with her favorite person in the world—her husband, and their sweet and chatty spoiled cat, Cleo.
Author Website: Ashley R. King
Facebook: Ashley R. King Writes
GoodReads: Painting the Lines
Publisher’s website: City Owl Press