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Hello there. I’m Ashley Abbiss.
I live and write in beautiful New Zealand, where I live with one large dog, who looks nothing like Friend from my Daughters of Destiny books. She is, however, almost as intelligent and definitely as opinionated, and if she can’t quite speak in the way Friend does to Niari, that doesn’t really hold her back much!
I write fantasy, mostly of the epic variety. Let me say right up front that if you’re looking for a quick read, you’re in the wrong place. But if you like a substantial, satisfying story that you can really get your teeth into, stick with me. I may have something you’ll enjoy. There’s no graphic sex in my books. If that’s what you want, you’ll have to look elsewhere. There is violence, and there is swearing, though mostly of the ‘s/he swore’ variety, nothing overly graphic or offensive. I also write about strong, independent female characters, so if your taste runs to something more macho, or something more frilly and helpless, this may not be the place for you.
I’ve always loved wandering in different worlds, be they fantasy or science fiction, although lately I tend to prefer fantasy. The only proviso is that they have to be believable worlds, worlds that feel real, that have depth and scope – and they must, absolutely must be fun to visit. I read for escape and entertainment, and I don’t really want to escape from this world into one even grimmer. Trouble, tension, and danger I can deal with, what sort of story would there be without them? Where would Pern be without Thread, Frodo without Sauron, Harry Potter without Voldemort? But there has to be hope, and there has to be a light touch. Happy ever after does have a lot going for it, even if initially it’s only a very small light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. My personal favourites include Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series, and the fantasies of David Eddings, and lately, they’ve been joined by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and a few others. Of those, David Eddings was probably my greatest inspiration.
I began to wonder if I could create my own world, one just as believable and multi-layered as theirs. Could I create a world with its own history, geography, social structure, deities, and all the rest? One that hung together? That a reader could believe in? It became a challenge, one I really wanted to see if I could meet. So I dusted off my writing skills, learned a few more, cranked up the imagination, and got busy. I’d always been good at creative writing, but though I’d made a few attempts to write after I left school, none of them came to anything. That was until I started writing fantasy. Suddenly, I knew I’d come home.
I quickly discovered that I’m not the sort of writer who can plan a book (or a world!) before I start. I just can’t do it. But I can create characters, and suddenly the characters took on a reality of their own and took over the stories, often to the extent that they actually surprised me. And the stories worked. Their world worked. Sometimes I had to go back and fix the odd contradiction, but mostly it worked and was very natural and organic. Even though my first attempts were pitiful, I knew I’d found where I belong. I persevered, I learned, I wrote. I discovered that the characters are key for me. Once I get them right, they tell their own story. I was away. There were dark days during which my stories became my refuge, my characters my friends. And I kept writing. There were happy times when I didn’t need a refuge, but my characters were still my friends, and they drew me inexorably back. I kept writing.
And now, I hope my characters may become your friends too, my worlds ones where you also like to walk; perhaps even your refuge from dark days. Come join me in a world where magic is real and the gods are near, where beasts talk and men and women achieve things they never dreamed they could. But most of all, come and have fun!