Author Peter Ashley
Tell us a little bit about you outside of being an author.
Well, my name is Peter Ashley. I am thirty one years old. I live in Hampshire, England and I have worked since the age of seventeen as a Roofer. I come from a very working class background, my Father grew up in a poor side of the city, working at the docks of Southampton and my Mother is a country girl who comes from a farming family. I have two brothers, the oldest of whom is an officer in the royal navy.
My siblings and I grew up on a small farm, riding my Mum’s horses and looking after our small army of chickens, ducks and goats – as well as chopping up endless piles of wood for our wood burning cooker that heated our old house.
What is your earliest writing memory?
Ha ha, I think I got inspired to write by an old favorite cowboy film of mine, Shane. I loved the film so much I started to write sequels! I was pretty rubbish at school until my teachers decided to encourage my writing and even gave me a permanent spot on the school wall to show off my stories, then there was no stopping me really!
Describe your writing style.
The most important thing to me as a writer is my characters. I love every one of them, good or evil. I try to make them alive as possible, everything, even the main story takes a backseat to them.
However when I started to write properly, I had no understanding of how a book was set out, especially when it came to ‘points of view.’ So I used a novel by ‘Christopher Colden,’ to teach me about that! So if I have a particular style, it’s thanks to him!
What feelings do you experience once you are satisfied with your completed manuscript(s)?
Actually I feel like I’ve done something wrong! Probably many things wrong. I am lucky (or unlucky) enough to really enjoy reading what I write. I must go into some trance because when I read my chapters back I can never remember writing the words and it really doesn't feel like I wrote them in the first place. But the point is I like it and can't usually see where I’ve gone wrong. This is why I’m actually looking forward to some critical reviews!
Tell us a little bit about your work in progress and/or your upcoming release.
I am so lucky to get published at my first attempt at a novel. I like big stories, so I began to write my own series after all my favorite television shows ended. (I wanted to entertain myself I suppose) I thought up a story and characters that I would want to read about, if that makes sense? I think people who share my taste in movies and TV shows will like my books!
The series is, so far, three books long. ‘A Human Reaction,’ is the first novel of the series and it is due out in the next month or so. I really hope to get the other books out there because I see my writing and the story getting better and more exciting as I go. (Not that the first one is by any means dull, lol)
In your upcoming release or newly released book, how did you come up with the idea of your main character(s)?
That's my favourite question!
My characters', in the way they look, are real people. I have what they look like in my head and just describe them. Sounds really easy doesn't it lol.
As far as they're personalities go, that's where my imagination takes over. I can't think where I got their personalities from, perhaps they are part of my own character - how I imagine I would like to act in their shoes or maybe some could be inspired by heroes or villains I have encountered before in book or in films, but I honestly couldn't say where they definitely came from - except one, she is inspired from a character I have loved in a show, but I’m not going to tell you who it was!
I’m a big believer that word of mouth creates more sales than advertisements. Let’s say we’re standing at a bus stop and I’ve never read any of your poetry before, how would approach me and persuade me to purchase your book?
I think the people who would buy my book are those who are into big stories, something to sink their teeth into. Those who are into character development and twisting plot lines. Readers who like their villains/heroes not to be just good or evil, but torn between the two. It has strong love stories, even between the ‘baddie’ characters. It deals with conscience, spiritual belief, personal ambition and personal freedoms through several very different perspectives.
I consider myself a tough critic when reviewing books. What would you do if you received a mediocre or less than average rating from a reviewer or reader?
It’s funny, ever since I started writing my series I’ve been looking for criticism! I’m not university educated, I have never been to a writing class and I just don’t believe you can learn more about your work until someone who knows can tell you.
Friends won’t say anything is wrong with it, nor my publisher but I am enjoying my editors’ corrections! So I say bring on your honest opinions – I can take stick – I’m a roofer!
If you could change one thing you did during your road to publication, what would it be and what would you have done different?
I wish I had a better grasp of grammar for one! Before when I started to pitch my work, I didn’t even know what an indent was!
I think I followed all the basic rules of submission. Although I’m now told I should have approached a literary agent before a publisher, but I’m quite lucky in the way my publisher can answer any kind of questions I have.
I really didn’t flood agents or publishers with my work, I was of the attitude that if it happens it happens, I love writing and I have the rest of my life to get published. Saying that I’m both overjoyed and gob smacked that it did happen for me!
What authors influence your writing dreams, goals and aspirations?
I wouldn't say any author influences my writing dreams, unless I count myself! Of course I would like as many people to buy and read the book as possible, but my main motivation is to hear what my readers think of my stories. I want people to enjoy my work as much as I have enjoyed other peoples.
What books would you recommend on writing?
The only one I read was so helpful and yes I would definitely recommend it, I was a complete novice, yet got published with its help. The book is, 'The craft of novel writing,' by Dianne Doubtfire. I really must thank her!
What advice would you give an aspiring author?
I would make sure you send your work to the kind of publisher who deals with your style. Make sure it’s very presentable and reads easy. I think it might help if you have a market strategy, if you tell someone why and how it might sell.
But above all, if I had been completely obsessed with getting published, I really would try to make a friend in the business, isn’t it all about who you know?? lol
Where can readers learn more about you and your book(s)?
The first novel of my series, called 'A Human Reaction,' is being published by L-L publications, you can find out when its scheduled for release on their website which is http://www.ll-publications.com It will be available direct from the website catalogue, on amazon.com and you can order it at most bookshops. I really hope you do, I’d love to know what you guys think!
Peter, thank you for taking the time to share with us. Many blessings in your future endeavors.