NeoLeaf: Tell us about yourself.
Ashley: I just published my first novel The Wish. I live with my two cats Spook and Batman. I started by writing lyrics and poems. In 2010 I joined the Marion County Writers Workshop. After that I placed top 10 in The Write Place book contest. When I’m not writing, I like to read, watch TV, and spend time with my cats.
NeoLeaf: Very interesting. So what inspired you to start writing?
Ashley: I get inspired to write from the world around me. The things I hear, the things I see, feel and taste. The movies I see, books I read. I get inspired by my own stuff that I write. I could be walking down the sidewalk and feeling the nice cool breeze and smelling the dirt and pine and all of a sudden, an idea will pop up in my head. It comes all natural to me. Doesn't matter where I'm at. I get inspired all the time.
NeoLeaf: That sounds beautiful. What did your friends and family think when you first wanted to be a writer?
Ashley: I didn't really tell them at first because it was all new to me and I was still learning about the writing process. In time I would tell them I wrote a short story, or I wrote a poem. And they were like that's awesome. Keep up the good work. And then as I got older they all realized it was something I wanted to do because I wouldn't shut up about it and they supported me and didn't let me down.
NeoLeaf: How hard was it for you to write your first novel?
Ashley: The first novel that I ever wrote was a 17-year-old girl that got bitten by a vampire and she changes into one every night. It was really hard for me to write because I knew nothing about vampires and how they lived. And my main characters name was Bella and that's when I found out about Twilight and the name character in that book was Bella. And I was like I can't publish this. So, I stopped working on it and haven't worked on it ever since. I hope to someday and get back to it. I'm not sure when.
NeoLeaf: What was your biggest struggle in writing your new book, The Wish?
Ashley: Understanding who Inga was. She is a witch from 1692. And she was from the Salem Massachusetts and she was going to get hung. I didn't know Inga full story and I struggled with her character more than any other character in the book. And the other thing that I struggled with was trying to get it published a couple years ago. Any writer out there that wants to see their book on the shelf will do whatever they can to get it out there. I sent out query letters to agents, editors and book publishers and they all rejected me and I was sad and upset. It took me so long to write this book and they don't like it. Then years later I found out about Direct Amazon and I found an amazing editor Leanore Elliott, who took her time and poured her heart and soul into my book and made it the best she could. And I was very thankful for her work and time.
NeoLeaf: Were you ever discouraged and thought about not being a writer during this?
Ashley: During the time when I was writing the novel there would be times where I wanted to hurry up and get it done. And other times I felt like it wasn't good enough. All writers feel that way when they are writing something. It took me 9 full long years to write the wish and I am so thankful that it's finally done and out there for people to read and enjoy.
NeoLeaf: What advice would you give other authors trying to get their first book published?
Ashley: First of all, make sure your book is complete. Do not send it out not finished. Editors and agents don't want to see that. They want to read the first chapter and be wowed and amazed. And you have to do a lot of research on the genre you are writing. Read books that you love. Go to your library and check out books that inspire you to write. It will help you write.
Ashley: I also get inspired by black cats. A lot of people think black cats are bad luck and I don't believe that for a second. I have two black cats at home and they don't give me bad luck. I mean I published a book for heaven sacks. How awesome is that? I love black cats from the bottom of my heart. Each day when I come home to my cats I'm thankful that I have them.
Everyone at NeoLeaf wishes Ashley the best luck on her journey. We all know it’s a long hard road, but nothing is more rewarding than holding your first book. If you’d like to know more about Ashley Lovell or read her book you can find her on her Facebook fan page Ashley Lovell Author or on twitter @ashleyovell5. You can see updates and new on her new projects on her blog https://ashleylovell5.wordpress.com