Join me in welcoming Ash to my blog today with his newest novella, Heartifact! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Ash.
Thanks for having me, John! It’s always great to be on your blog!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I have a unique writing background in a number of ways, not the least of which is that I was raised by a prolific author. I have also written in multiple mainstream venues for years, and spent way too much time on sets watching films come to life for the silver screen. Though I have spent the past four years concentrating on young adult works for Dreamspinner’s Harmony Ink Press label (under C. Kennedy), I write primarily for adults—surprise! All of the information in the below short biography is true. My name may be new to readers, but my writing may not be.
What inspires your writing?
It is ingrained in me. I began writing at the age of seven and haven’t stopped since then. I write every day of the year, even if only to carve out an hour of writing on a particular day.
When did you start writing m/m romance? And why this genre?
I advocate for abused gay youth, and they begged me forever to write for them. Because I wanted to ensure that I could write a story of hope for them, it took me four long years before I penned my first M/M novel.
Are you a full time author?
I am. It’s the best profession anyone could have.
Who is your favorite author?
This is an impossible question for me to answer, but I can name a few: Homer, Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, John Le Carré, Dean Koontz, and Edgar Allan Poe.
How many books have you written?
In my lifetime? Too many to count. In the M/M genre—*begins counting on fingers*—eight.
How long did it take you to complete Heartifact? And did you write it freely or outline it in advance?
Because I knew nothing about marine archaeology, I spent more than forty hours researching the subject before I spent two weeks writing it. I don’t outline. I jot a few notes, but am otherwise a “panster.”
What inspired you to write Heartifact?
I wanted to write a story that combined an undersea adventure with the mythical and mysterious.
Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?
Harper Kidd. He spent years in college to become a marine archaeologist and had high hopes of becoming the Indiana Jones of the high seas. Thanks to the poor economy, he takes a job that forces him to stifle his creativity and deal with the pressures of a heartless profession and the destruction of the undersea world he loves. His heart and soul exhausted, he struggles to cope with the disappointments life has thrown at him. When his best friend asks him to assist on a marine salvage operation, and more than one of his dreams comes true, he finally has a chance at the happiness he deserves.
How much of yourself did you manifest into your favorite character?
That’s a loaded question if I ever heard one. I think Harper is made up of a good portion of all of us. We’re all fighting for happiness.
What do you hope readers gain from Heartifact?
Follow your dreams! You never know whom you might fall in love with!
Will you share four things you’ve learned about the business of writing?
- Above all, it is our job as writers to make readers “see.”
- As writers, we throw parts of ourselves into everything we write and we go through moments of self-doubt. Never give up. You may falter, but you will succeed.
- We are nothing without readers and reviewers. Be kind to people.
- There is nothing more rewarding than mentoring a burgeoning author.
Bonus answer: Entertaining me is a prerequisite to any book I write. If the story doesn’t entertain me? Poof! It’s gone.
What is the most frequently asked question by your fans?
Of the books you have written, which is your favorite?—another impossible question to answer.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on two books now, Grotesque, and Mud Angels (a young adult novel to commemorate the youth who restored books and artwork after the 1966 Arno River flood in Florence, Italy). After that, I’ll write Corbeau for Dreamspinner’s Order of the Black Knights series.
How do you keep your creative “spark” alive?
Ha! I have an overactive imagination. The better question might be ‘how do I slow my imagination down?’ This is like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. On the rare occasion that I’m in need of entertainment, I simply add a real life friend into the book as a character. Psssst. To all of you readers out there: John is memorialized in Thárros as a television talk show host who interviews Michael and Christy.
What is your suggestion or piece of advice to new and upcoming writers?
Don’t get it right, get it written. It is far more important to put your story to pen than it is to make it perfect.
Where can we find you on the Internet?
Will you share your favorite excerpt from Heartifact with us?
Impossible! But I’ll give you one that I like.
Harper sat on the forecastle and watched the sun set. It was a fiery blaze on the horizon, and he was thankful for the cool May breeze that wafted his hair. He realized he was happy for the first time in as long as he could remember and smiled to himself. The strange man in his dreams who gave him an eerie peace surely had something to do with it. He found it comical that he was on an expedition of a lifetime yet anxious to sleep again only to meet his imaginary lover.
Stick tapped his shoulder with something cold before sitting down next to him.
He took the FIX beer from her hand and welcomed the taste as they watched the sun set.
“What’s on your mind?” she asked softly.
“Do you dream?”
“No. I was born without an imagination.”
Harper smiled again as he continued to watch the sun set. “I’ve started having vivid dreams.”
“Not sure,” he lied.
“Vivid but you don’t know what they’re about. Makes sense.”
Harper grinned wide without turning to her. “He’s sexy as hell.”
“La la la. I can’t hear you.”
Thank you for joining me today, Ash! Hope to see you back again soon!
Thanks for having me, John! It’s always great to be here!
Harper Kidd is a highly respected marine archaeologist. Yet, with the economy in a slump, he’s trapped working in an oil company’s exploration division. Now, at the ripe age of thirty, Harp is disgusted with his employer’s damage to the undersea world he loves, tired of his ATM-card-filching ex, and tormented by beautiful dreams of an undersea lover. It’s time for a change and when his best friend, Stick, pleads with him to assist on a deep-sea dig in the Mediterranean, he jumps at the chance.
Harper’s spirits are high when they discover the ruins of an ancient civilization, and soar to the heavens when they discover a statue of an ancient pelora, a mysterious hybrid creature said to mediate between the worlds of reality and fantasy—and the very lover who holds the starring role in his dreams.
When the crew discovers the site is teeming with unexploded ordnance from the conflicts in the Middle East, and the excavation turns deadly, Harper must choose between saving his best friend and saving the pelora he’s fallen in love with.
Net proceeds from Heartifact benefit the The Trevor Project in the US,
Heartifact is available from Men Over the Rainbow
About Aisling Mancy
Ash is an author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Ash writes mystery thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, romance, and fiction for gay young adults as C. Kennedy.
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Ash doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Ash contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Ash can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary. Ash does respond to emails because, after all, it is all about you, the reader.
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