I am a mother of two very active girls. I also work part time for Labs ‘n Life and writing is my hobby. It’s my escape and it is also something I do with my girls. They love to write stories with me and to read all my stories.
DWED: Have you always aspired publish a novel?
Sort of – it was always something I thought was out of reach. My mum tried a few times and never got anywhere. I just decided I was going to get a book published no matter what and kept trying. Now I am having my third published, so it is possible.
DWED: Would you say the journey to publishing was easy or hard? Why?
I wouldn’t say hard, but at time it is frustrating. Mainly because if you are a no body who is going to give you a chance. Still it is worth it in the end and sometimes you just have to take a risk. It might not come off, but with each attempt you learn a little bit more. I am still learning, but thie third book has been much smoother and more enjoyable than the first two, simply because I have more idea of what to expect at each stage and what questions to ask.
DWED: Who or what would you say inspired ‘Ghostnapped?
I was on a camping trip and had to write a chapter book for the writing course I was doing. The location just set up the story. It was a great place to explore and lots of fun. Then each night I sat down and wrote. When we got home I did some research about the area and that developed my monster into the character. Which made the book unique and more than an average ghost story. I also took lots of photos – some of which are now on my pinterest page: http://pinterest.com/ashleyhowland42/ghostnapped-photos-behind-the-story/ These were great to go back and edit my story. Ghostnapped was a lot of fun, but it was also an adventure in getting it published. The first time I held the book with my name on it I was in a complete world of disbelief.
DWED: Are you a part of a book club or organization?
I am part of a few groups on Face book. Most of these I have found while doing blog challenges, chapter book challenges and things like that. It’s great to have a social media community of writers. You can learn so much from other people and their experiences. I also now have people who will read my drafts, be guest bloggers and also do interviews. I am getting more involved on Goodreads as well. It is really about finding a balance between social media and actually writing. Which is why I love the writing challenges because you get the best of both worlds.
I think Ghostnapped has one of the most unique monsters ever. It was developed from the local area and has an environmental theme. I don’t want to give it away because in the story it’s fun to try and work out what has actually happened. I also think the relationship between my main character Alex and her brother is a lot of fun. I love writing about sibling relationships and watching them grow throughout the story. It’s a scary story, but with enough laughs to keep it light hearted.
DWED: How was the concept of ‘Ghostnapped born?
It just seemed to fit the area. When exploring the cave and the old mine I kept thinking about ghosts. I’m not really sure how these things seem to happen, they just pop into my head and I run with it.
DWED: At length how would you describe the feedback for ‘Ghostnapped?
The feedback has mainly been positive. The kids who have read it (particularly the boys) have told me it’s scary, but cool scary. A few of them actually got told off for reading past their bedtimes, but they needed to find out what was going to happen. That’s great feedback for me. There are a few reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Once again mainly positive which is great. There are a few comments that are justified. Ghostnapped is my first published book and it has its raw moments. I think I got better at a few things with the second book and once again with my third. I am still really proud of Ghostnapped and glad the kids love reading it. After all they are who is important, it was written for younger readers.
DWED: Would you say you have a unique style of writing?
I don’t know about unique. I think a lot of my personality comes out in my writing. Some of my friends say reading my books is just like listening to me, which I think is a good thing. It is my style, but I also think with every draft I write I am improving as an author and developing my style more. So I guess I would say my style is uniquely developing.
DWED: what kind of messages do you try to instill in your writing?
I just write – there is no real deeper meaning to my writing, it’s just for fun. Although themes of family, environment, love and persistence will come through my story lines they are just part of the story. I don’t try to instill messages, they exist because my writing is a reflection of experiences and observations I have made during my life.
I love writing about Obi and Stitch. They are my two Labradors, who come to work with me everyday. I get to see them change the lives of students and make kids smile. Which is a lot of fun, I also know their personalities back to front, so I have plenty of writing material. While sometimes it can be difficult to do them justice it is also just fun to imagine what they are thinking. Although they are pretty good at letting me know. I just love thinking why they do such crazy things, it helps that they are both clowns in their own right.
DWED: What can we look forward to seeing from you throughout 2013?
The Homework Goblin is almost out. I have just approved the front cover and will be launching that on my blog soon. http://ghostnapped.wordpress.com/ After that I am hoping to have the sequel to Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist in the process of publishing. It is called Obi the Super Puppy and the Quest for the Last Laugh. I have written the draft and am now editing it. I also need to find some more photos. I am also editing a manuscript for older readers called It’s What you do Next That Counts. This is a longer story and will take quite a bit of editing, but I am hoping to have both ready to submit by the end of the year.
DWED: What would you say to all aspiring authors like yourself?
Connect with other authors – you can join me on face book https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshleyHowland or my blog. I also do twitter, these connections will help you improve as a writer. Other authors are also fantastic sources of information and once the connection is made they are more than happy to share and help. Be honest and prepared to give a bit of yourself to these groups, it will help everyone. I would also say don’t give up, it may take time to get where you want, but it is possible.
DWED: Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like your readers and potential readers to know about both your work and yourself?
I would like to say thank you for the opportunity to share my work and my ideas. It’s always fun to talk about my books and my writing. I hope to make connections with more authors through my social media. I am also really looking forward to getting the next lot of books out too so thank you for the opportunity to share.
The links to purchase my books can be found at: http://ahowland.org/
The Homework Goblin Ashley Howland’s third book can be pre ordered at: http://sbpra.com/PresaleAshleyHowland/
Ashley Howland lives in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband Ross, two daughters, Maddy and Aijay, and her two spoilt Labradors, Obi and Stitch. Her girls inspire her every day to write children’s books and the dogs often provide the material. Ashley also works as the curriculum manager for Labs ‘n Life. This requires random extra Labradors to appear in their lives and of course in Ashley’s stories. You can find more information about Ashley and her books here: http://ahowland.org/
Web page: http://ahowland.org/
Purchase Ghostnapped: http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/Ghostnapped.html
Purchase Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist: http://sbpra.com/AshleyHowland/
Spook-tacular Adventure is Thrilling and Chilling!
Get ready for a ghastly, ghost-hunting mystery that will chill the
very marrow in your bones! Ashley Howland makes her debut
with a sensational spectral adventure that will ‘fright and delight’
kids and teens everywhere.
Ten-year-old Alex loves to explore, but when her younger brother
is mysteriously ghostnapped on their camping trip at the beach, it
is up to Alex and her trusty Labrador, Thuds, to investigate her
brother’s sudden disappearance.
Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist:
Woof! This Dog
Is a Kid’s Best Friend!
Everyone thinks their dog is the smartest one around. But Obi really is! Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist tells the story of one amazing dog.
Obi, a beautiful yellow Labrador, loves adventure, helping people and solving mysteries. He also loves reliving his past adventures with author Ashley Howland’s kids, Maddy and Aijay. Obi the Super Puppy is the exciting story of Obi’s first adventure, where he encounters a mysterious, evil red mist. Whenever the mist appears, it is able to control animals and toys.