Name: Ashley Hodges Bazer
Age: 29. No, not really. I’m 40.
Where are you from? I was born in Oklahoma, but got to Colorado as soon as I could. I’ve spent most of my life at the foot of Pike’s Peak.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I grew up in Colorado, but went to college at Arizona State with my best friend from high school. I received my B.A. in Theatre with an emphasis in stage management. A spring break road trip led to a three year stint as a stage manager at Disneyland. I worked on and off at various bookstores and ended up at a ministry bookstore in my hometown. After a year there, I was promoted into the Broadcasting division as a producer for an international daily radio program. While working there, I met my soon-to-be husband online, married him in person, and moved across country. Nine months later, we had our son. Two years later, we had our first daughter, and two years after that, we had our second daughter. I went back to work just last year, returning to my position as a radio producer.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just released my latest novel, Heralds of the Crown: Poison, and during the launch weekend, it reached #7,702 on Amazon’s Best Seller Rank, which I found to be rather thrilling. The sequel Heralds of the Crown: Fusion will be out in November, and to round out the trilogy Heralds of the Crown: Reconciliation will be out in May 2015. I have another, totally unrelated manuscript in the hands of about 10 publishers right now, and I’m quite excited about it because it’s a new adult fairytale mash-up titled Once Upon a Heist. Think Ocean’s Eleven meets the Disney Princesses. I’ll also be releasing a self-published new adult fantasy sometime this summer titled Checkmate which captures a human (and not-so-human) chess match.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As I look back at my life, I guess I’ve always been a writer. I’ve written poems and stories for friends just to make them laugh. I never really set out to be a writer until I was pregnant with my son. After leaving the career path, marrying, becoming a pastor’s wife, moving away from my family, and learning I was about to become a mom, I needed to ground my identity. I found that in writing. I’ve been writing seriously for close to ten years now.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I completed my first novel. It was quite an accomplishment to commit 90,000+ words to paper. (Well, computer, but the phrasing didn’t match.) I allowed myself that indulgence. I had trouble calling myself an author until I was published.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was pure therapy. It allowed me to escape into a world where I could be in control. I built the story around a few characters I had created in online role playing chat rooms. The plot actually came from a series of daydreams as I imagined what the characters would do as they interacted.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t write chronologically, which is why many of the later books in my series are already written. I write as inspiration strikes, which oftentimes leads to me starting a book in the middle and fleshing it out to the beginning and the ending.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Heralds of the Crown: Poison is not my first book, nor is it my first book published. But since it’s the one that just came out, I’ll go with it. The title of the series is a reference to a main figure within the saga: The Crown—a benevolent triune deity. The story centers on His followers and His enemies as they become wrapped in an epic conflict that leads to war and a religious holocaust. Heralds of the Crown refer to those who proclaim His name, while Poison has a deeper meaning. Not only is the story introducing a villain who will play a part in each of the books, but it also speaks of a more personal struggle of one of the characters. Poison seemed to fit.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think the main message I’d like to convey is that we all face struggles of one sort or another. We can choose to let those struggles get the best of us and harden our hearts, or we can allow those struggles to shape and mold our character.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Given that it’s sci-fi, not much. However, I did place a lot of my own heart into the characters. I feel what they feel. I work out some of my personal issues through them. Referring back to the previous question, I often face internal struggle, but I choose to follow the best path I can find.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Again, it’s sci-fi, so the experiences and events are purely made up.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
The Bible, first and foremost. I also loved the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, the Firebird trilogy by Kathy Tyers, and the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
C.S. Lewis. I admire him so much, and I feel a connection with him.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Oh, so many! My Kindle is packed! I’ve started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with my son, and I’m looking for the next page-turner as I type this. My job requires a lot of reading, so much of my reading energy is spent there.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’ve enjoyed Jerel Law’s books (read with my son) and Evan Angler.
Fiona: What are your current projects? I am editing Heralds of the Crown: Fusion, writing Heralds of the Crown: Reconciliation, and dabbling in a couple of other new adult stories. Another mash-up, but this time I’m using characters from classic, beloved stories. And a sci-fi about a young man in a coma who comes alive in virtual reality.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I belong to a wonderful writers’ group called Pikes Peak Writers. Through them, I have found so much support in all my writing efforts. I’ve also made some awesome friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do. I couldn’t quit if I tried. And I have many more stories in me that are aching to come out.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Story-wise, no. The only change I would make is to correct some issues we had with spacing when we input the ebook.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
The first time I remember writing stories outside of school is with my friends when I was in sixth grade. We wrote Star Trek fan fiction, writing ourselves into the stories. I suppose that’s what started it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Certainly.
“What did you do with him?” Hanileh asked, a sense of horror in her words.
“He is the Divinum Bellator,” Almus said. “No doubt the Strages are doing all they can to dispose of him.”
Hanileh collapsed against Gaultier. The stress was getting to be too much for her. “Lucian has him,” she whispered in tears. “I knew he would find a way.”
“The child is safe,” Velius repeated. “You have my assurances that no harm will befall him.”
“Your assurances amount to nothing,” Gaultier spat. “How could you do this, Velius? The Logia trusted you. I…trusted you.”
Velius finally met Gaultier’s eyes. “This is far beyond you, Gaultier.”
Almus moved closer to Velius. “The Council demands you come with us immediately. You stand before us under intense scrutiny. And understand that your position as athaer is at great risk.”
Bowing his head again, Velius clasped his hands before him. “Gloriam et potestatem Carnifex. The Crown shall be defeated.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
In this season, finding the time to actually do it. Between my home life, my work, and my writing, I have three full-time jobs. Add in marketing and publicity, and I’m spread pretty thin.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
It’s a toss-up between Kathy Tyers and C.S. Lewis. The Firebird trilogy was my first venture into speculative fiction, and I was completely taken in. On the other hand, I love Lewis’s use of allegory and the heart in his books.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t. I would love to, but I’m not at a tour-level quite yet.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I worked with a stellar graphic designer on the Poison cover—Bryan Hodges.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The ending. I knew where I wanted it to go, but it was really hard to write. I cried!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that it’s okay to break the “rules” of writing, as long as it’s done with purpose and the knowledge that you are doing so. I can’t expound on that without giving away too much, but once you read the end of Poison, you’ll understand.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing, regardless of what anyone says. The world needs your stories. Your words matter. You matter. Remember, it’s a subjective business. You’re going to face rejection and some pretty tough battles in this industry, but it’s so worth it. Keep trying.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
To my readers, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your support and love. Thank you for the time and emotions you invest in reading my stories. Thank you for making this possible.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I ever read was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I was four.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I have a couple. I enjoy crochet, but I can’t read a pattern. I create my own projects—from scarves and blankets to sweaters and silly hats for my kids. I also sing, and I have quite a collection of karaoke/vocal tracks.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The one I hate to miss is Castle. I also enjoy Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Star Trek…most sci-fi programs that are no longer aired. Thank goodness for Netflix! As for movies, I like the sci-fi genre there, too, but my favorites include Star Wars (episodes 4-6), Hook, Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, Music and Lyrics, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music?
I love cheesecake. And pizza. As far as colors go, I’d choose burgundy. My music tastes are a bit eclectic. I’m a Broadway show tunes fan, but I also love disco, particularly the BeeGees. Barry Manilow is also a favorite. When I write, however, I prefer to listen to movie scores.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’ve done a lot. I do a lot. If I didn’t write, I’d probably find my way back to the theatre. I love creating magic for others.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I do! http://www.AshleyBazer.com is my main site. You’ll find tons of information there, along with my blog. The specific link to that is http://www.AshleyBazer.com/blog