Friday, February 13, 2015

Interview with Ashley Fontainne, author of 'Growl'



Award-winning and International bestselling author Ashley Fontainne is an avid reader of mostly the classics. Ashley became a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters that lurk within us are her favorite reads.

Her muse for penning the Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley's love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go when they seek personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated upon them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. For once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answered that question: far and wide.

Her short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five, touches upon the sometimes dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the BRONZE medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards contest and is currently in production for a feature film.

Her paranormal thriller entitled The Lie, won the GOLD medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense and is also in production for a feature film.

The suspenseful mystery Empty Shell, released September 29, 2014. Ashley then delves into the paranormal with a Southern Gothic horror/suspense novel, Growl, scheduled for release in the Spring of 2015. Plus, she will be teaming up with Lillian Hansen (Ashley calls her Mom!) to pen a three-part murder mystery/suspense series entitled The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, is due out the Summer of 2015.

Ashley also hosts The WriteStuff, a popular BlogTalk Radio show, each Friday night at 10 p.m. CST
For More Information
About the Book:

Title: Growl
Author: Ashley Fontainne
Publisher: RMSW Press
Pages: 315
Genre: Gothic Horror/Suspense
Format: Paperback/Kindle
My name is Sheryl Ilene Newcomb. And yes, my initials are S.I.N. A funny little piece of whimsical humor my parents found amusing when I arrived. 

Then, it turned out to be true. Looking back with wiser eyes now, my family and I concluded that the events leading up to my transformation started the summer I turned nine. But the day we realized there was a problem, and no turning back, was a week before I started my senior year at Junction City High. The day the fangs and claws appeared and the monster inside of me emerged. 

When mutilated corpses appeared near a pile of brush down by Caney Creek, everything changed. Because evil woke up and growled, its ominous rumblings heard by every living thing in
Locasia County, Mississippi.

For More Information

  • Growl is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Growl was inspired by three things I love in this world: my mother, big cats, and Native American culture. I love animals. There has been a furry feline in my life ever since I can recall. In fact, the white housecat in Growl, Tinker, is named in honor of my first pet. All of my novels have an animal in them, either a cat or dog. This time, the main character, Sheryl Ilene Newcomb, has the previously unknown ability to shift into a large cat.

Since my youth, I have been fascinated with Native American culture. Their loyalty, strength, connection with nature, and bonds to each other I wanted to explore. I tried to do so in a way never quite done before, so I honed in on the ability to skin-walk (shape-shifting).

After combining those two elements, I added the third, which came about after a long conversation with my mother. In numerous coming of age books, there seems to be a lack of a strong family unit. We also noticed a common theme of main characters who want to embrace their newfound gifts, no matter the costs to others, i.e., they all seem a bit self-centered. So, the decision was made to bring some grace, humility and good old Southern charm to the story through secondary characters, such as Sheryl’s parents, grandmother and great-grandmother.

If I had to sum up the entire book in one sentence, I believe it would be this line, spoken by Sheryl:

A choice I didn’t want to make but a duty I was unable to ignore.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Growl originally started out as a short story entitled Death by Shadow from my poetry collection, Ramblings of a Mad Southern Woman. So, expanding it into a full novel happened naturally. Once the idea formed, the words flowed. The biggest piece of advice I have for others would be the same as numerous other authors have mentioned in the past: keep writing. Even if you feel stumped by the dreaded writer’s block, keep typing. You may end up cutting out sections later, but the more you continue to let your creativity flow, the stronger you become.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I am self-published. I have my own imprint, RMSW Press, and have published one other book for someone else. I was fortunate to cross paths with the widow of Maurice N. Nick McDonald, the Dallas police officer who arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, and published his memoirs, Oswald and I. It was an amazing experience.

As with anything in life, there are pros and cons to self-publishing. For me, it is the best fit. I have complete and total control over all my work, from cover design, formatting, hiring an editor, and distribution. Recently, I discovered a site called Pressbooks.com, a fantastic tool for authors to use to create top-notch content, both electronically and for trade paperback.

I truly enjoy the sense of accomplishment and freedom that comes from controlling all aspects of my novels as an Indie author.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Everything about the publishing industry surprised me, and still does to this day! There have been numerous ups and downs during the last three plus years, but every moment, good and bad, has been worth it for one simple reason: my fans. Knowing my words touched someone else makes all the work I put into each book worth it. Through social media, I have the opportunity to engage with my fans, which has been a wonderful experience. Several of them are staunch supporters and part of my street team, Ashley’s Angels. They keep me going on the days I wonder I decided to enter the crazy world of publishing. In fact, just the other day, one of my fans told me I was born to write, and that my books have brought her countless hours of enjoyment. Those moments make all the blood, sweat, tears a distant memory.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am collaborating with my mother, Lillian Hansen, on a three-part mystery series set in Arkansas called The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, is close to completion, and the remaining two books, Blood Loss and Blood Stain, are already sketched out. Our hope is to release the first book in mid-2015. It has been quite an experience writing with someone else. Of course, the main characters in The Magnolia Series are a mother and daughter, and some of the interactions between the two of them make us both laugh. My mother is an amazing woman, and to be able to create something together with her is proving to be quite enjoyable.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Facebook allows the best interaction with fans. As I mentioned earlier, I have a street team, and I share everything with them. From cover concepts, new chapters in each work in progress, movie news about my novels optioned for film, thoughts about character names, etc.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Family, loyalty, duty and honor are the major themes in Growl.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I would like to take this time to thank each and every person who has read any or all of my works. With so many options in the reading world to pick from, knowing they took a chance on an unknown, independent author like me, is quite humbling. Every review, share, tweet, mention, blog post, interview and interaction I appreciate beyond words. All of them have helped me achieve things in my life I never thought possible.