Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Interview with John A. Ashley

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
The Scrolls of Xavier is a science-fiction/adventure novel. Set in the year 2067, it follows the courageous Captain Michael Dawn as he leads a team of earth’s most skilled soldiers across the globe of the breathtaking, yet deadly planet of Xavier997 in search of five mysterious items known as the Scrolls. What seems like a routine mission, however, goes terribly wrong as Dawn and his team quickly realize that Xavier does not give up her treasures without a fight. To find the Scrolls, Captain Dawn must risk everything, including his love, his career, and his life. The Scrolls of Xavier is the first in a series, followed by the sequel, Before the Storm.

Do you have a favorite character?
It's hard to narrow it down, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the happy-go-lucky RAF paratrooper, Benjamin Roberts. His quick humor juxtaposes well with his skill on the battlefield, and combining that with a past full of dangerous secrets certainly made him a fun character to write about.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I usually write late at night will listening to music. I think if it's too quiet, my mind tends to wander, so some soft background noise has always been a part of my writing routine.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I daydream...a lot. So before I ever even begin a book, I've got a fairly detailed outline on my head. On starting a new chapter, however, I do sit down and jot down a few notes, but other than that I just write it as I go. I've often wondered what different routes certain scenes, (or the entire story for that matter) might have taken if I'd simply sat down to write them at a different place or time.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
No, and it took a lot of work to make up for this. I didn't want to publish a story with even a single error in it, and I (along with my wonderful family and friends) spent many long hours going over it with a virtual microscope to make sure this didn't happen. I'm sure a there's a mistake or two buried somewhere in there still, but if there is, I don't want to know about it.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
To be honest, in many ways it was a decision that was made for me. I was completely on the fence about whether to self-publish or go the traditional route, when I happened upon a contest whose top prize was a publishing package through a POD publisher. I entered The Scrolls of Xavier right away, and wound up winning first place. With the prize in hand, I decided to go ahead and self-publish, and I must say that I have no regrets.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
To create my covers, I hired an amazing designer named Richard Green. From start to finish it was great, and very hands on--something that I came to love. He took my concept and expanded on it wonderfully, sending proofs of every small change to make sure I was still pleased. This involvement is something that list very high on reasons to self-publish, and is certainly something that I look forward to doing again.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I don't know if I'm as passionate about anything as I am writing and publishing, but I do enjoy many other things. I am avid sports fan, an outdoor enthusiast, an amateur astronomer, and a reader, just to name a few.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Along with Amazon, my books are for sell on my website, www.scrollsofxavier.com, as well as just about anywhere ebooks are sold, (including Apple iBooks, Kobo, and Smahwords). 

What’s next for you?
I suppose keep writing. When it come down to it, that's simply the best thing to do. Nothing promotes you better than a new book, and obviously, nothing makes your readers happier either. This has been an incredible journey thus far, and most excitingly, I have a feeling that it's merely begun. The idea of the books I still have in my head one day making into publication thrills me. Now just to go write them.