Interview with Ash Krafton

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An English teacher. My seventh grade English teacher said DON'T YOU DARE. (Yes, she really did speak in all caps. It really kept the middle-school boys in line) Although she’s actually read my books, I thinks she’s still relieved I went to pharmacy school. Parochial school teachers didn't really earn a King's wage back in the eighties.
How did you start writing?
I began writing as a form of cheap therapy. *grin* I have a high-pressure job that was becoming increasingly stressful…so I did the sane thing and retreated inwardly. I've always had a literary soul (my mom has a stack of my writing from when I was in school.) Going back to writing was a natural thing and it really helped me to focus and enjoy my time off.

I ended up writing passages and scenes from a fantasy that eventually became a novel-in-progress. But it wasn't serious. It was, like I said, cheap therapy. Then I got the idea for BLEEDING HEARTS—and the whole game changed. I was serious about this project and, with the support of my family, I worked on that project until it was a candidate for publication.

The "short stuff" as I call it, is the result of a mishmash of things—some of it I wrote to combat writer's block, other things I wrote to express ideas that didn't fit into my novel writing. I also began to explore traditional forms of poetry—sestinas, villanelles, ghazals—because the mixture of meter and cadence and line count and rhyme is a decidedly scientific thing. It helps keep my left brain happy.

That the short stuff has ever been worthy of recognition still blows my mind.
What type of stories do you like to write and why?
I’m a speculative fiction writer—meaning, I love the WHAT IF? factor. The nice thing about spec fic is that it doesn’t tie me to any one single genre—I love urban fantasy with romantic elements, I love horror with philosophical consequences, and I love mixing astronomy and Sci-Fi into anything I can. Often I’ll start out writing something contemporary and that WHAT IF? piece of my brain starts up and suddenly the story turns off onto a shadowy unmarked road.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?
I still work in retail pharmacy full-time, and I’m an over-time mom—so I write on days off, in the mornings before work, and at the dojo when the kids are in martial arts class. I’ve written on airplanes and long, agonizing bus trips, at my desk and on the couch. My writing work day is not to be admired. It flies in the face of all that is good and decent.
Please tell us about your latest novel release.
In Words That Bind, a social worker who specializes in emotional disturbances meets her most challenging case when a genie starts making appointments. This genie isn’t looking for counselling, however…he’s looking for his talisman, the same one that had bound him to King Solomon thousands of years ago. And he knows she has it.

The book was inspired by my sister-in-law, who's a social worker and the model of professionalism. No matter what kind of screaming, ranting crazy I would feel like, she always had this calm, cool rational approach to my, ahem, concerns. I, on the other hand, am a tremendous goof. So I’m like, “Yeah, but what if a GENIE walked into your office? Huh? Huuuuuh?”

And then the book just bloomed from there.

I didn’t do it to torture her. If I had wanted to do that, it would have been a clown. But genies, she loves them. And I kind of love this genie, too.
what is your biggest source of inspiration?
MUSIC! I find so many untold stories in fragments of lines and lyrics, and in the tones and inflections in a singer's voice. You can find pieces of my favorite bands in my characters: for instance, in the Books of the Demimonde series, Sophie's delicate vulnerability comes from Nanci Griffith, her emotional turmoil from Lacuna Coil, her strength from Blind Guardian, her intelligence from Rush, and her sarcasm from Type O Negative.

She's pretty much awesome.

My novella STRANGER AT THE HELL GATE’s soundtrack has a lot of heavy guitar tunes, including “Dorian” by Demons & Wizards, “Cowboys From Hell” by Pantera, and “Follow” by Breaking Ben; that’s because I imagine Jagger’s brain would sound like metal guitars when he was out shredding demons. There’s “Don’t Talk To Strangers” by Dio, which just fits—the music, the duality of Ronnie’s voice, the fantasy, the theme. “All That I’m Living For” by Evanescence has a haunting quality that reminds me of where Sonya is in the beginning of the story. Finally there’s the oldie but goodie “Demolition Lovers” by My Chemical Romance, because it’s got that desperate rage that Jagger endured when he woke up to find her gone.
Did you get inspiration from someone specific to write any of your characters?
My family and friends laugh and tell me, "When I read BLEEDING HEARTS, I don't hear my mind voice reading it. I hear you!" I guess Sophie did pick up a few cues from me, in a way. Maybe that's why my husband insists he is the model for Marek. However, I repeat: SOPHIE AND MAREK ARE MADE UP, FOLKS.

I do admit…every now and then someone says something so awesome that I tuck it somewhere inside a book. I like when my friends finish reading it and then point out a passage, saying "Heh, heh. I remember that."

THAT is the neatest thing about being a fiction author. We're all historians, even if most of the history is made up.
What is the most satisfying part of being an author?
Re-reading what I've written just to re-live it. I love going back to visit my old words to feel once more what I felt when I wrote it. I know it's a rather ego-centric response but it's true. I've written a great deal of poetry and many of the pieces were an effort to capture a fleeting moment and preserve it, like a butterfly under glass. To go back and read something I'd written and enjoy reading it—that's my satisfaction.

I do have to mention that, because of my writing, I've met a great group of fabulous people—readers and writers and editors who enjoy the same things I do. My world is bigger today because I am a writer. That is very satisfying, too.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to publish a book?
Follow the ABCs of writing: Apply your Butt to the Chair and write, write, write. Every new project helps you to improve your craft. Enter contests that offer feedback on your entry--see if it's working with readers. Learn from helpful rejections/criticism and ignore the negative vibes. Be true to yourself. Don't write because you found a hot market trend. Write the stories from your soul.

And above all things--persevere.
What is your favorite holiday? And why?
Definitely Halloween. I have a very macabre sense of humor sometimes (despite a strict Catholic upbringing) and an obsession with Edgar A. Poe. Halloween is a time for dark things, not bad things—dark, luscious shadows that hold all kind of surprises. The holiday was especially fun back when I volunteered at my children’s Catholic elementary school. Man, did I mess with those kids...good times!

In fact, I keep Halloween decorations up all year—a string of solar-powered LED ghosts that float in my yard. (Last Christmas, I gave them scarves and dubbed them the Ghosts of Christmas Whenever.)
What exciting story are you working on next?
It’s a Victorian New Adult fantasy called The Heartbeat Thief. It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allen Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever. From the London season to the back alleys of Spitalfields, across the Channel and across the Pond…I’m having fun researching and reading and imagining and wondering how far my character will go to avoid Death. It’s a lot of fun.
Published 2015-02-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Stranger at the Hell Gate: A Paranormal Romance Novella
Price: Free! Words: 21,340. Language: English. Published: May 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
(5.00 from 1 review)
An angel seeks out the only man who can prevent an impending apocalypse...but how can a man born of Hell be a vital part of Heaven's mission?
Takin' It Back
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 58,880. Language: English. Published: August 21, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Desperate to win her father's approval, a twenty-year old mage repo girl goes out on an unsanctioned job. The amulet she finds is not only magical—it contains an angry spirit that possesses her. And, if that doesn't suck enough, the spirit is her dead-beat mother who wants her father—the only family she has left—dead…because he’s the one that trapped her. Gonna be one Hell of a family reunion.
Murder the Light: The Demon Whisperer #2
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 60,850. Language: English. Published: August 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Murder the Light: The Demon Whisperer #2... When Simon Alliant's partner is abducted, he sets out to get her back, come Hell or high heels. He doesn't realize he's in for a little of both.
Wolf's Bane: Book Three of the Demimonde
Series: The Books of the Demimonde. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 104,200. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
The thrilling conclusion to Ash Krafton's Demimonde series! In Wolf's Bane, Sophie's destiny to save her beloved Demivampire is derailed when the King of Werekind comes to town, entangling her in a destiny of his own.
Blood Rush: Book Two of the Demimonde
Series: The Books of the Demimonde. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 95,030. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
The Demimonde Trilogy by Ash Krafton picks up with book two, Blood Rush: Sophie doesn't believe in happily ever after. These days, she'd settle for alive after sunrise.
Bleeding Hearts: Book One of the Demimonde
Series: The Books of the Demimonde. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 94,580. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
An advice columnist-turned-oracle must save her Demivampire lover from the fate that threatens each of his race: evolution and the destruction of his soul.
Charm City (The Demon Whisperer #1)
Series: The Demon Whisperer. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 50,160. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Meet Simon Alliant. Call him exorcist. Call him master of the dark arts. Call him dime-store magician. Most names don't matter...not when Hell already knows yours.
The Heartbeat Thief
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,350. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Historical » Victorian
Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth--she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it. The latest in historical fantasy from Ash Krafton...It's a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allan Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever.
Tales of the Demimonde
Price: Free! Words: 12,820. Language: English. Published: February 18, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Tales of the Demimonde is a collection of short works based on the urban fantasy trilogy "The Books of The Demimonde" by USA Today bestselling author Ash Krafton. Sophie Galen is saving the world, one damned person at a time. The advice columnist-turned-oracle must save her Demivampire lover from the fate that threatens each of his race: evolution and the destruction of his soul...