May 1st, 2020
I asked Ashlyn where she would like to chat:
We find each other well as we step into the old blackened house from a past fire long put out. The scent of burned wood still permeates the air within the walls. Despite having been long put out, ash still creeps along the air around us as we find a spot in an open room long forgotten. Possibly a living room once filled with vibrant vases filled with lovely flowers and rugs adorned with old world designs. Is the house haunted, or are we the ones haunting the house?
I lay out the checkered red and white blanket upon the creaking floor. Ash and dust sweep up into the air from the flap of the blanket before it settles down. The bag is set down next before we sit. I pull out the large box filled with snicker-doodle cookies and double chocolate brownies. I offer you to enjoy as much as you like before producing a large cannister from the bag as well filled with hot chocolate and two mugs come after. There’s creaking above us, but I wave it off as the house welcoming us.
Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?
Ashlyn Johnson: Honestly, my inspiration hit when I was a small child. I wrote a long, like five pages I believe, so a lot for someone under ten, story about a haunted house trip. I’ve been in love with horror and fantasy since. At the age of nine I had a few years of schooling (was homeschooled), where I had to write poetry as well, but to truly say when my ‘inspiration to enter writing’ started I was sixteen and I have a silly little idea in my head. That book will never see the light of day, but I did it, and I fell in love with storytelling. Now I’m twenty-nine and still writing.
L: What are you currently working on?
A: I’m currently working on a fantasy mash up! I have it titled, “The Duality of Escapism” for now. I’m not the best with titles so I tend to switch them up the more I write. I am also 60K words into the sequel to my first independently published book, The Pact, however that title is still pending!
L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?
A: Setting a scene is my weakness. All of my beta notes mainly bark at me to ‘SET THE SCENE!’ Ha! So a LOT of my editing is writing more and beefing up my stories to setting scenes up and blending them well.
L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?
A: I enjoy gaming! I’m obsessed with Stardew Valley. I’m also hugely into adult coloring books and I get lost in color choosing! I am VERY picky on what colors go with what, and my husband finds me obsessive!
L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?
A: Skin by Ted Dekker. Hands down the novel closest to my heart and soul. Ted Dekker’s story truly sparked a lot of inspiration into me at a young age and the way he wove that story made me know that one day, I wanted to make someone feel the same way for my own stories as I did for this book.
L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?
A: This is a personal regret of mine with writing, but I wished in my early twenties I hadn’t goofed off so much and been more serious. I feel like I could be a lot further in my career as a writer today, had I just sat down and been serious with it. I had so many opposing views on writing that it broke me down to think I wasn’t good enough, but once I got rid of that burden and realized my worth, I’ve been a writing machine since!
L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?
Currently I am only self published! I also have a published story in a magazine as well, but as for a full length novel, self published only. I am unsure if I will only stick to the self published route, but for now I am happy with my experience with it! I enjoy the control I have and the people that have spoken to me already about my book!
L: What are you currently reading?
A: I am in between books at the moment! I have over three hundred books and I am tackling the process of adding them all to goodreads and then being more proactive with reading more steadily! I do think though that my next book will be something horror filled as I am in the mood for it, and it is nearing Halloween!
L: What genre do you read?
A: Gosh! I read pretty much anything so long as the story interests me. If the plot seems good, I will give it a whirl! However, I very much love the Horror and Fantasy genres.
L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?
A: I don’t necessarily feel like I have a ritual or must have, I just get into the mood and I start typing or scribbling away! I am not an every day writer either. Honestly, it may be weeks between writing sessions, but when I write I definitely get a good chunk down! So I feel it balances out.
L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?
A: I LOVE listening to Lo-fi type stuff, but if I need a more dark or eerie mood set, I always pick out a Peter Gundry album and enjoy. Classical is also a big go to as well! Pretty much if it doesn’t have words, I am down for it.
L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?
A: Moist. Gag. I hate it. People need to choose a different word. I can’t handle it in any context.
L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?
A: Mia Thermopolis! She holds a special place in my heart because I grew up reading The Princess Diaries series and I felt so in tune with her feelings and such. I really felt so close to her, though she is only a fictional character.
L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?
A: I believe the Muse speaks to me. I know that sounds ridiculous to some, but I really feel like I have a little Muse that whispers in my ear and helps me grow those whispers into full length stories! She has always been by my side, and I’d never take her for granted.
L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?
A: Get. It. Down. It doesn’t matter if it’s just bare bones. It doesn’t matter if you want to beef it up. You can do that later! Just get that story out of your brain! The relief you will feel when you type that last word is indescribable! You will feel such pride, even if it isn’t perfect just yet, just knowing you did that, that’s all on you, is amazing and every writer should be able to feel that feeling at least once in their life!
Ashlyn Johnson is a creative mind that comes from East Tennessee. Her debut, self-published book is The Pact. She is a multi-genre writer that leans toward fantasy and horror elements. While she keeps to herself publicly, she has an online presence that she adores using as a means of connecting with other people. Her blog, chasingxmyxtale.com, is where you can find many free shorts and poems to tide you over until another completed novel is published.
The Pact – Will a band of misfits be enough to stave off the hunger of an insatiable evil?
Evelyn Mason was given the curse of Mind Manipulation by a Demon – a Demon that will stop at nothing to bring the world to its knees. It needs Evelyn’s help, but she’s poised to stand in its way. Paths are offered by Angels and Demons, and Evelyn is watched over by creatures thought to be nothing more than old lore.
But which guide can be trusted?
Vampires clash against Vampires. An obsessive Siren has her own selfish wants. Manipulators caught in the cross fire. A Werewolf attempting to guide them all. Can Evie keep herself and her protectors safe as she tries to control her unpredictable abilities as a Manipulator?
The Demon is never far behind, and Evelyn has a choice. Will she protect what’s right, or will she stumble down the road of destruction?
Buy it here!