Saturday, June 2, 2012

Author Spotlight featuring Ashley McCook

Ashley McCook

'Demon's Daughter'
 'Demon's Revenge'
 'Demon's Blood' 


Book Review (coming soon)


Goodreads: Ashley McCook
Facebook: Ashley McCook
Twitter: @aly3008


1.       Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
Hello there! My name is Ashley McCook and I live with my husband and 2 children in Northern Ireland, right along the North Coast in the gorgeous seaside town of Portrush. I currently own more books than shelves to put them on and, although I love my Kindle, I still have a weakness for printed books!

2.       What types of books do you write?
Most of what I write is YA paranormal fantasy with a lot of humour but I also write thrillers for slightly older readers – still with a paranormal twist. 

3.      Who's your main audience?
Anyone aged 12 up – I hope! - although I’ve heard from slightly younger readers who are reading my book too. I was kind of expecting that girls would be more into ‘Demon’s Daughter’ since it’s written from a female point of view but it seems to appeal to both genders which has really delighted me.

4.      When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
Strong points?  Hmmm, well I can tell a good story! Weaknesses? I can’t plot for love nor money – the story gets told the way it comes to me and if plotlines come together then they do so unconsciously. (Although I actually love the fact that I only know the basic story when I start to write and the characters take me where they want to go.)  I also know next to nothing about marketing and I’m not very good about pushing myself forward; when I do, it generally means I’ve spent hours agonising over whether or not to go ahead!

5.      What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?
I’m not sure if I’ve ever suffered from ‘Writer’s Block’ but I’ve certainly suffered from ‘Distractions’ – there’s always a million and one things that NEED to be done before I can forget about reality for a while and write; clothes need washed, dogs, cats etc. need fed, phone calls need to be made/answered, the house needs cleaned, kids need driven here, there and everywhere…the list goes on. It’s really hard to write when your brain is already buzzing with the demands of real life but then that’s part of the joy of losing yourself in the flow of the words for a while, isn’t it? The real world disappears and you become absorbed into this other life; discovering Werewolves, running from Vampires, dealing with Demons and slipping your arms around the neck of a gorgeous Fallen Angel! 

6.      How many books have you written?
I’ve written four; the Emily trilogy of ‘Demon’s Daughter’, ‘Demon’s Revenge’ and ‘Demon’s Blood’ plus a slightly more grown-up thriller called ‘Shudder’. I’m working on book 5 at the moment which seems to want to be called ‘World’s End’!

7.       How many are published?
Just one is published – ‘Demon’s Daughter’ – ‘Demon’s Revenge’ is with the graphic designer at the moment and will be published in August 2012, the other 2 will be out during 2013.

8.      Are you self published or traditionally published?
I’m self-published. I spent quite a while sending out lots of query letters and getting encouraging rejections and in the end I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was incredibly naive and I’ve made a lot of mistakes but that’s how you gain experience isn’t it? You need to fail at something before you can push yourself to do better. 

9.      What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Realising that it’s actually finished! I could pick and poke and change and edit from now till Doomsday and I’d still not be 100% satisfied that what I’ve done is good enough to be read by someone who’s spent their hard-earned money on it! I’m a reader first so I want anyone who picks up my books to know that a) they’re going to get an enjoyable read and b) I spent a lot of time and energy making the book as good as possible. I was upset, embarrassed and disappointed in myself that ‘Demon’s Daughter’ has a few mistakes in it but, like I said, I’ve learned from that!

10.   What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I’ll read pretty much any type of fiction that catches my eye and engages my imagination. Anything paranormal is going to grab my attention first mind you!
11.    Who's your favorite Author?

Oh, Stephen King without a doubt, closely followed by Dean Koontz. Their characters are ALIVE on each and every page and even when the subject matter is scary or gory, or just plain weird, it never takes away from the feeling that those are real people in the middle of that mess.

12.   What's your all time favorite book?
 I LOVE Stephen King’s ‘Insomnia’ – no matter how many times I read it, I just fall right back into that world that he created. I also have a soft spot for ‘Seaward’ by Susan Cooper since it was the first fantasy book that I ever read and the first book I ever truly fell in love with.

13.   How long does it take you to write a book?
Anything from 6-8 months for a first draft.  I put it away for a couple of weeks, edit and refine and then pass it out to my fabulous Beta Readers who feedback their criticisms as well as their favorite bits. I re-write, correct and now that I’ve started using editors, I send my third draft to them, they feedback and then it gets another round of edits and corrections. And then I obsess about it for a while before admitting that I can’t do any more to improve it!

14.   Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
Ooh, tough question. I suppose it would have to be Emily because she’s pretty much everything I’m not – tough, smart, capable, exciting, athletic. Plus she gets to hang around with Sariel who I’m secretly in love with (shhhh, don’t tell anyone!)!

15.   What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
That I love doing readings in schools! I’m quite a shy person and the idea of talking/reading in front of loads of people generally makes me break out in hives and dive under the bed but I truly, truly, truly enjoy going into schools and doing readings or talks about creative writing. I’m not sure whether being amongst some of my target audience & getting their feedback is what makes it so enjoyable (kids don’t censor their thoughts so you get what they truthfully think which is fabulous!) or maybe I just never really grew up!  

16.   What does your family think of your writing?
I’m really lucky because my family is really supportive – they understand when I disappear into my cave for an hour and burn dinner (again!) or that if I don’t get to write at least one sentence during the day then I’ll be frustrated, grumpy and a real horror to be around. I am really blessed to have them.

17.    What does your writing schedule look like? 
I try to write for 3 hours a day but no 2 days are the same!

18.   Do you manage to write every day?
It’s not pretty if I don’t! If it’s a really busy day and I can only squeeze in a quick five minutes then I make those five minutes count and type like a speed demon!  My head gets so full of stuff that I need to write down that it sometimes feels as though I’m in danger of exploding letters and words all over the place – it’s a bit like walking around in a daydream because I’m so deep into the world inside my head that reality slips a little. Hmmm. That really makes me sound unhinged! Oops! 

19.   What's the latest news you'd like to share?
Apart from the fact that ‘Demon’s Revenge’ is coming out in August, I’ve been asked to do some more readings – one at a local school and one at a bookshop. I’ve also been asked to do another signing in Waterstones, Coleraine at Halloween with another author, Philip Henry (I’ll probably go all star-struck and tongue tied ‘cause I LOVE his books!) and there’s a chance that ‘Demon’s Revenge’ will be launched with a proper evening event which is really exciting!

20.  Do you have any advice for new writers?
Read, read, read and then write, write, write. Enjoy every second of it because writing is …well, it’s pretty wonderful – but don’t expect to please everyone with what you write because that’s impossible (but don’t quit trying either!). Oh, and be prepared to make mistakes, admit to them and then learn from them. Good luck!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. Very best wishes J

I want to thank Ashley for stopping by. This time we have a surprise for you. There are 5 copies of Ashley's book up for grabs. All you have to do is fully fill out the rafflecopter below.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TJ said...

Love your blog! <3

Anonymous said...

Lovely blog and giveaway. Thank you for the chance at one of the books. Also, great interview.

~Rachel Y~

Ash Krafton | @ashkrafton said...

This was a really great interview...I love reading about other writers' processes and it sounds like we fell out of the same tree!

Books sound fantastic and I'll have to send my daughter on over to have a look if I can pry her nose off the Kindle long enough to do it...!

Cheers, Ash


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