I’m very excited to welcome Ashleigh Galvin to the blog today for an interview.
Ashleigh Galvin was born in Toowoomba, Australia in 1990 and grew up in Wyreema, located in Queensland, Australia. She attempted to write her first novel in primary school and hasn’t stopped since. She enjoyed reading Fantasy series as a young girl, which fuelled her to start writing as a hobby. Her first published novel, Birth By Fire’s Embrace, was released in May 2013 from Spectacle Publishing Media Group. Many people ask Ashleigh where she gets her ideas from and her answer is simple: daydreaming. She likes to call them epic daydreams because some can last for a week or longer. Interestingly enough, she gets most of her story ideas this way. Now she has combined her great imagination and her love of fantasy to create exciting and fresh novels featuring strong characters and lots of action to keep even the most imaginative mind fully enticed.
Can you tell us a bit about your book? Why did you pick this idea to go with?
Birth By Fire’s Embrace is a YA Fantasy centered around Sharrlette Moore. She starts the book as an everyday average girl but is soon to learn there are forces at play that she’s only ever dreamed of. When a stranger comes to town, Shar’s simple life is torn apart as she fights to stay alive. She must accept help from an enemy and learn to fight back if they are to escape.
This novel started as a daydream for me. This was years ago and the original story was very different from what it is now. Fantasy and magic is one of my favorite genres. I always wondered how people would react if suddenly they found out there was magic in this world. I just couldn’t get this concept out of my head and knew I had to write about it. Shar is one of the dreamers who earnestly accepts it but then finds out the hard way that not all magic is good.
I’m a huge fantasy fan, too, especially YA fantasy. What draws you to the genres you write? What do you love about them?
I mostly write in YA Fantasy/Urban Fantasy. I love the freedom within the genre. Magic allows me a whole other dimension to write in. I have people walking on the ground, but I can also have them fighting in the sky, riding mythical beasts in the oceans and generally being pretty awesome. But not everything is possible. I’ve spent an immense amount of time creating the Amethyst universe and its rules. I use this to decide what characters can and can’t do based on their skills and what’s realistic in this world.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about writing and publishing that you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Probably one of the most important lessons is to take your time when planning out your book. I’m a planner. I like to have a synopsis of my book plus a chapter by chapter break down before I even start writing it. I find this an invaluable tool to have when writing. The chapter by chapter breakdown lets me know where my book is going. It allows me to control suspense and tension through the chapters as well as counteracting writer’s block. I rarely get writer’s block anymore because I know exactly where my characters are going. It’s just the case of figuring out how they get there. I’ve tried to write books without planning them like this in the past and it hasn’t turned out nearly as well. My writing is slower and messier because my brain is trying to figure out too much at once. Of course once I plan my novel, that doesn’t mean I don’t change it. Birth By Fire’s Embrace changed a lot from its original planning. The plan is more a suggestion. If a inspiration burst hits me, I go with it. Even if it means throwing the plan for that chapter in the bin.
That sounds like a great balance. Tell us a bit about your publishing experience. How did you get where you are now?
The Amethyst Series is currently being published by Spectacle Publishing Media Group. It was picked up by SPMG after their CEO saw some of my work online and liked it. He approached me to submit my manuscript and well, the rest is history. I don’t have an agent although I am actively seeking one. I’d like an agent I can build a relationship up with and someone I can trust to give me good and honest advice.
Since this is a series, are you working on anything new?
Standing In The Wind’s Shadow, Book two of the Amethyst Series is currently in editing with publication for later this year. My current project is the third installment of this series. I’ve many other book ideas as well that are dying to be written so after book three is finished I may try something new before continuing with book four.
You sound like you’re quite busy with writing. What do you like to do besides writing?
Writing takes up a lot of my spare time. I’m also trying to organize a wedding as well. So those two tasks are dominating my time at the moment.