Wednesday, October 19, 2011

INTERVIEW: Ashley M Christman (author of Nightingale)

Good morning, all! It's time for another first stop along the Bewitching Book Tours literary route, featuring the lovely and exciting Ashley M Christman, author of Nightingale.

As a child, Ashley spent many hours in imaginary worlds, exploring the depths of mythology and immersing herself in a breadth of classics. After spending so much time reading, she decided to try her hand at writing. An avid fan of film noir, she combines fantasy, noir style heroes and heroines, and the paranormal in a modern day setting in such a way that hopefully would make even Bogie proud. When not writing, she can be found in the wilds of Minnesota enjoying great cuisine, avoiding the gym, and being walked by the dog with her partner, Tom.

Before we get into Ashley's interview, let's take a quick look at at Nightingale:

Being Sidhe is hard, but a Sidhe without a heartbeat?

Life is lucrative and easy for Dr. Grace Caldwell--daughter of vampire father and fey mother--until her ex-boyfriend, FBI agent Jack Montgomery, blackmails her into helping him solve a prostitute's murder. If only she wasn't as attracted to Jack as ever, she could concentrate on finding the murderer and get back to her regularly scheduled life. And then there's the vampire Constantine, seductive and powerful, a family friend she's supposed to marry...

Not much of a vampire, and clueless about her fey powers--if she has any--Grace must journey to the Sidhe and enlist the help of the fey to unravel the riddle of the murder. She and Jack might just get killed, but then, two worlds depend on her success. If she fails, both her worlds and all of humanity will descend into chaos of epic proportions.

Without further ado, please welcome the lovely Ashley M Christman!


♥ For those who may be new to your writing, and who haven't yet checked out your latest release, please tell us a little.about yourself.

I'm a nurse, writer, and all around miscreant (just kidding about that last one...or am I). I'm also a fan of things that go bump in the night and film noir, two things that I often mix together in my writing.

♥ The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one, even in the era of small presses and digital publishing. When did you begin writing, and how did you feel when you first saw your work in print?

Like many writers, I began writing as a child because I had stories to tell--though my stories tended to be horror stories. Eventually I found works in my genre and began writing paranormal/ urban fantasy. I was determined to see my work in print someday, so I braved the torrent waves of rejection. The sense of accomplishment that came from seeing my name on the cover of a book was incredible. I celebrated with dinner and cake.

♥ Did you deliberately choose a genre because there's something specific that draws you to it, something you feel it offers that other genres don't, or was it just 'right' for the story you wanted to tell?

I was attracted to the mix of romance, mythology and horror that blends well in urban fantasy. I've utilized this freedom in my own writing to create complex characters who aren't so much defined by being supernatural as they are by how they react to the world around around them, just like any other character. Sometimes their supernatural status can be problematic to their own lives, other times its a non issue.

♥ How does your past influence your writing? Are you conscious of relating the story to your own experiences?

I'd like to think my past doesn't influence my writing, but we all know that isn't true. You're past is your experiences and whether or not you mean to do it, it works itself in there. I find that in my own writing, my protagonists tend to be the loner types, perhaps because when I was younger, I was the lone wolf type that just wanted to spend my days at the piano or in my room, reading or creating fantastic worlds.

♥ Do you have a schedule or a routine to your writing? Is there a time and place that you must write, or do you let the words flow as they demand?

I write whenever I feel inspired. Sometimes I will sit at my computer for hours, getting ideas down on paper. Other times it will be only a couple of minutes. I suppose I'd feel to restricted if I had a schedule because inspiration doesn't always come when you want it to.

♥ Do you have a soundtrack to your writing, a particular style of music or other background noise that keeps you in the mood, or do you require quiet solitude?

I love listening to music while I write and each book has its own soundtrack based on the characters' tastes. Sometimes I listen to show tunes, other times classical music or rock, the blues, country, etc. There isn't any real cohesive feel to it.

♥ For some authors, it's coming up with a title, and for others it's writing that first paragraph - what do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing?

For me, the difficult part comes after the book is written and I have to come up with a synopsis or blurb. I find it difficult to distill my novel into two pages or two paragraphs and make it exciting.

♥ Is there a favourite quote or scene from your work that you feel particularly fond of? Something that reminds you of why writing is important to you?

In my novel, The Witching Hour, the character of Tuesday summons the god Apollo to heal the MC Lucky. Apollo is doing some godly stuff to heal him, but then turns and says he's not sure he can heal him because the magic that is killing him come from a different pantheon of gods. Tuesday is less than impressed with his answer and in just a moment, we see a god go from being this calm, cool all-powerful being, to a petty, pouting teenager with just his words. The fact that I could take a god and reduce him to pouty and almost human is what I love about writing.

♥ When you're not writing (or reading), what are some of the hobbies and passions that keep you happy?

I love theater and am very active with the local theater scene in my town doing backstage work and acting. I also love going on paranormal investigations.

♥ Is there a particular author who has influenced or inspired your writing? Somebody who either made you want to write in the first place, or who refreshes your literary batteries?

There have been many authors that have made me want to write. Adolus Huxley inspired me to think with his novel, Brave New World. I thought, if I could inspire someone like that, then writing is the right profession for me. But there's also Neil Gaiman, whose works aren't necessarily thought provoking, but they are thoroughly entertaining and fun to read.


Thanks so much to Ashley for stopping by. If you'd like to follow her virtual journey in support of Nightingale check out her schedule at Bewitching Book Tours. You can also keep tabs on her on her website, her Facebook page, and her Twitter feed.

No comments:

Post a Comment