Friday, April 8, 2016

Interview with Ashley Drew, NEVER STOP FALLING

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
My debut novel, Never Stop Falling, is a standalone New Adult Contemporary Romance. It’s the story of two lifelong friends—Corinne Bennett and Nicholas Kelley, who eventually realize their feelings for one another run much deeper than friendship. While Corinne has always been the impulsive risk-taker, Nicholas is much more levelheaded and mature. Their personalities balance each other out, making their friendship so easy and effortless, which is why an unexpected revelation makes Corinne question her decision to cross that line with her best friend. She could easily lose the one person that keeps her grounded, and she doesn’t know if love is really worth that risk.

Do you have a favorite character?
Hands down, one of my favorite characters in my story is Braiden Sanders, Nick’s other best friend! This guy is completely nuts! I think when I wrote his character, I was thinking “Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) in Fast Times at Ridgemont High” mixed with a little bit of “Joey Tribbiani in Friends.” He gives the story a little comedic substance!

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I absolutely love abstract covers, so of course when I was thinking about my book cover, I knew I wanted something artsy and abstract. Although Never Stop Falling is categorized as New Adult Fiction, it also has a Contemporary appeal, so I wanted a cover that could appeal to readers who are interested in both sub-genres. My cousin, Raeanne Villongco, is a graphic designer, so I let her take the reins in coming up with an idea for the cover! Her thought process behind the design was to have the main image on the cover represent Corinne’s heart, and if you look closely, the veins form the outline of the maps of California and New York with the silhouette of a girl falling in between. Without giving too much of the plot away, the image represents how Corinne’s heart is in two places. The triangle overlay was added to represent the various love triangles in the story. There were multiple designs that Raeanne came up with, but the moment I saw this one, I knew I had to go with it!

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
Music is my muse. I’ll listen to my writing playlist on repeat when I’m not writing, so whether it’s in the car, or when I’m out for a walk, or when I’m cooking or cleaning, it’s always on. My best ideas come to me when I’m listening to my playlist, so when I’m ready to sit down and write, no time is wasted trying to come up with ideas. I usually like to have my music playing while I write, but if I find that it’s too distracting, I’ll turn it off.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Of course! I don’t think any writer should publish anything without having an editor look at it. All writers need a fresh pair of eyes to look at their manuscripts because more than likely, there are going to be things that are missed. I combed through my manuscript a billion times (okay not that many, but it seemed like it!), and I couldn’t believe the things I hadn’t caught or noticed before!

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes! My book is available on Barnes and Noble online, Kobo, and Apple iBooks.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Oh my gosh, yes! Because this is my first book, I’ve been working endlessly to make sure I market it as much as I possibly can. But because my time is so limited (I also have a full-time day job and I’m a full-time mom/wife), I can hardly find time to work on my second book. Even when I do find time to sit down and work on my second book, my mind wanders to my first book, making it difficult to concentrate or get any work done!

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Work hard, work hard, work hard! There is nothing about this process that is easy. The writing part is one hurdle. The publishing and marketing aspect of it is another. You have to be determined, and you have to set realistic goals. You can’t go into this thinking you’re going to become the next New York Times bestseller (though wouldn’t that be nice?!). And don’t set your expectations too high. Going into this, my goal was to see my words in print, to be able to hold my book in my hands and say that I wrote a novel. And I told myself that I would take whatever comes after that.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I don’t really have any other passions besides reading and writing. I do love the outdoors and exploring new places. My family means the world to me, so when I’m not writing, my time is spent with my husband and daughter. I’m also a foodie, so I love checking out new restaurants!

What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on my second book that I hope to have a blurb and title for in the next few months. I can’t wait to put this story out as it is definitely a different type of love story than Never Stop Falling. I don’t have an exact release date for this one, but I’m aiming for early 2017.

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