Book Nerd Interview
Born and raised in Appalachia, AshleyRose Sullivan has a BS in Anthropology and an MFA in Creative Writing. She lives, writes and paints in Los Angeles with her husband and their many imaginary friends.
AshleyRose has moved 35 times. She’s been the oldest, the youngest, the middle and the only child. She has worked as a taxidermist’s assistant, a milkmaid, and a story time lady. She’s a power-lifter, a left-handed artist, and a right-handed knitter. Her library is organized by color.
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Not really. It was more like a slow evolution. I always wrote and made art and I just kept doing it until I was creating all the time. I started my first novel when I was an Anthropology undergrad and by the time I had my degree in hand I just decided that that’s what I wanted to do. So, instead of applying for Anthro programs, I went after my MFA in Writing instead.
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
It’s uniquely human. We thrive and survive through narrative. Whether it’s cave paintings, oral traditions, novels or tweets, we transmit our culture and our individual experiences forward, into the minds of future generations, through story.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Lesléa Newman has a short list of five things every writer should do every day and I find it incredibly motivating. It’s basically this:
1-Write something new
2- Revise something old
3- Read something enriching
4- Do something pertaining to the business
In your new book; Awesome Jones: A Superhero Fairy Tale, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
Awesome Jones is a book about two people navigating life, love, and dinner in a superhero world.
For those who are unfamiliar with Jones, how would you introduce him?
Awesome Jones is a painfully average man. He’s been saddled with a ridiculous name his whole life but never understood why as his parents died when he was very young. He was raised by his grandparents in Arc City where superheroes regularly patrol the skies and, ever since he was a little kid, he dreamed of one day becoming one. Then, he falls in love and everything changes.
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Lona?
Early on, when I gave the novel out to readers, I got the same email over and over when they were about 50-75 pages in. It invariably said, “I love Lona. You’d better not kill her.” I realized then that I’d created the kind of character you want to cheer on and protect and, really, you just want her to be happy. Lona’s an interesting character but she’s also very normal--it’s her openness, I think, that’s part of why she’s appealing.
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
The name, Awesome Jones, came out of a conversation my husband and I were having several years ago about ridiculous names. For some reason, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Awesome Jones developed into a real person and I thought about him constantly. Finally I started writing his story and that developed into the novel that exists now. He was an interesting person to write and it was through him, and the people around him, that I could explore a lot of the themes that are important to me.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Oh wow! I love this question. I think I’d introduce Julia to Luna Lovegood. They’re both smart, brave, quirky outsiders and I think they’d get along famously.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
When was the last time you cried?
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Read widely and often and give every book at least fifty pages.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
I have a strict “no phones” policy but I typically talk to my husband, or my two BFFs on Gchat.
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I was born in the 80s and that’s when most of my favorite movies were made. I think if I had to exist in any decade, I’d fit right in with Buckaroo Banzai, Inigo Montoya, and Ellen Ripley.
If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I’d go back to high school and take myself on a great American road trip. Driving across Kansas I’d tell Younger-Me that this part of her life won’t last forever and there’s a much greater, much more interesting world outside filled with all kinds people--that she will see those places and find those people and, if she can just hold out, life will get so much better.
When was the last time you cried?
The Agents of Shield season finale.
What are you most passionate about today?
Finding time to re-watch all of Sailor Moon on Hulu.
Where can readers stalk you?
You can purchase Awesome Jones: A Superhero Fairy Tale at the following Retailers:
And now, The Giveaways.
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