January 30, 2014

Author Interview with John Ashley

Hi John, first of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself.
I am currently a student at Booneville High School, and plan to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at Harding University starting the fall of 2013. I've always enjoyed storytelling, be it ghost stories around a campfire, writing science-fiction, or coming up with creative excuses to get out of trouble. Along with that, I'm an avid sports fan, an outdoor enthusiast, and an amateur astronomer.

What do you think makes your genre special?
Science fiction has always fascinated me. It's a wide open world, a clean slate for creative minds, but the best part is it has ties to reality. You get to read about incredible worlds, creatures, and technology, all the while thinking, "This may be true one day." As both a writer and a reader, I find that aspect of the genre incredible.

What do you think makes a great story?
A great story has to cover a lot of themes, and have a good variety of elements. Suspense isn't just for horror, love isn't just for romance. If you can find (or write) a story that includes a little bit of everything that appeals to us humans, make it all flow with tons of action, and tie it together with a plot that's easy to understand, but complicated enough to make you think, I believe you've got a formula for a successsful story, certainly one that I would want to read.

What is your latest book called and could you explain to us in 20 words what it is about?
My latest book is called The Scrolls of Xavier. It's about a Captain who must travel across the treacherous planet of Xavier to recover five shrouded and heavily defended objects known as the Scrolls. 

Which kind of reader do you think will enjoy your book?
Anyone who is fan of science-fiction, enjoys a lot of action, or likes plots with a variety of elements and unseen twists will enjoy The Scrolls of Xavier.

Is it a Standalone, or part of the series? If it the latter, how long do you think will it go on?
The Scrolls of Xavier is the first book in a series that I expect will continue for at least three more novels. I am currently working on the second book in the series, called Before the Storm, and plan to have it finished by the summer of 2013.

What influenced or inspired you writing it?
I was lucky to have a wonderfully helpful support group that was with me all the way, including a close friend whose crazy imagination is scarily similiar to my own. Often times, when I was pressed against the wall of writer's block and going nowhere fast, it was there help and ideas that got me writing again. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am today, and The Scrolls of Xavier would still be an unfinished file on my computer.

Why did you choose especially this title? Was it your first choice?
I feel as if the title of the book should at least convey an idea of what the book's about, even if it's in a shrouded sort of way. In a sense, the Scrolls are the most important aspect of the story. Without them, the planet of Xavier is lost. Without Xavier, mankind is lost. Their key role, along with all the twists they cause, made choosing a title that revolved around them an easy choice.

What was the hardest part for you working on your book?
Often, the hardest part was figuring out how I was going to make it all work. I have a terrible habit of writing my main characters into impossible situations before having any idea how I was going to get them back out. Many times, I would spend days trying to think up a reasonable solution to the latest predicament I'd put them in. For me, that was the most dificult aspect, but looking back, it was also one of the most rewarding. I've always enjoyed solving problems, and as I've learned, so do readers. I've had several comments from people saying how much they enjoyed trying to figure out the how the book was even going to continue, since there was no way the characters could make it for more than a few more pages. Overall, it was a challenge that I've enjoyed.

Was there a scene that you didn’t want to add or remove in your finished work?
Anytime you're looking over a rough draft, it doesn't take very long to find scenes that need removed; the story is simply better without them. That doesn't make getting rid of them any easier though. You've spent countless time, hours of daydreaming and sleepless nights coming up with every word, and getting rid of them is hard. I encountered this with several scenes in The Scrolls of Xavier, but I knew that the book was better without them. Like with many processess, trimming away the unnecessary is a must.

Do you already know what to do next?
I suppose write more. This has been an incredible journey and hearing from people I've never met who love my writing has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. I have comitment to them to finish the series and right now, that's my number one focus.

Where can we find more about you and your books?
You can learn more/contact me at http://www.scrollsofxavier.com/. Also, you can get updates on everything related to the series at www.facebook.com/TheScrollsOfXavier.
Any last words? 
I'd like to thank anyone who's reading this for your time. Without people like you, none of this would have been a possibility. Also, a special thank you to Mr. Satters for publishing this interview on his blog. You're support is truly appreciated.

In the year 2067, a new world is discovered amidst the dark expanses of the universe. Harvesting the resources of this vast new planet, known as Xavier997, may be the only hope a post-apocalyptic Earth has for survival. Upon arriving, however, the explorers of this promising new world soon discover they are not the only ones interested in Xavier's rich resources, forcing mankind to fight for the new home they need so desperately, as well as defend the one they already have. In order to shed light upon the dangerous secrets of Xavier997, Captain Michael Dawn must go across the planet to recover five ancient artifacts whose purpose and creators are unknown. The path to these items is wrought with every danger Xavier can throw at him, including the primitive, yet cunning tribes of aliens that defend them. Perhaps, however, the most dangerous thing Captain Dawn faces is a woman. His forbidden relationship with the stunning CIA agent, Ashley Collins, threatens to both end his career, and spell doom to his crucial mission. If he cannot overcome these challenges then the Scrolls will never be found.
Without the Scrolls, Xavier will be lost. With them, it might be even worse. Amazon | B&N

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