Today we are talking with Ashley Hodges Bazer, author of the Heralds of Crown: Poison, and Asylum: The Circeae Tales.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a mom of three. My husband and I met online, and we’re going on our tenth year as a married couple. Right out of college, I worked at Disneyland as a stage manager. Currently, I’m a producer for an international daily radio broadcast. My first book, Asylum, was traditionally published by a self-publisher after winning their annual writing contest. Shortly thereafter, I rebranded my series, of which Asylum is a part, and created The Crown’s Call—a 15 novel sci-fi series. Each book stands alone, centering on a different set of characters in various time frames.
2. What are you working on right now?
I’m making revisions to the second book in my series, Fusion, which is scheduled to release in November. I’m developing the third book, Reconciliation, slated for a May 2015 release. I have two unrelated stories in the works—a sci-fi about a virtual reality system and dark fantasy which has a combination of characters from classic stories. I’m trying to market a fairy tale mash-up I’ve recently completed titled Once Upon a Heist. Think Ocean’s Eleven meets the Disney princesses. And sometime this summer, I will be self-publishing a young adult fantasy titled Checkmate about a human chess match.
3. Heralds of the Crown: Poison is your most recent publication. Would you tell us about it?
Poison is the first in my series that sets the stage for a cosmic war between good (the Logia) and evil (the Strages). The war will eventually lead to a religious holocaust. We meet Gaultier Lassiter, who is enlisted to help the Logia. He encounters a woman beaten and left for dead. She has no memory and no voice. As they discover her identity, Gaultier unlocks a much bigger mystery. His relationship with his brother is strained, and as the story unfolds, it grows more complicated. It’s a story of God’s grace told in a space opera setting.
4. What was the hardest part about getting this book from the first ideas to publication?
The hardest part for me was nailing down the timeline. With this being the first of a trilogy, as well as the first of a total of fifteen books in the entire Crown’s Call saga, I had to make certain the timeline was completely accurate. In my original manuscript, I used days as the time measurement. That was too hard to follow, so I translated it into years. As it neared publication, I went through and verified everything several times.
5. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
I have two characters whose storylines are drawn from The Little Mermaid and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The inspiration for the story actually came from the first novel I wrote. I’d referenced a legendary character, Kincade the Space Sailor, which I completely made up. As I developed the Crown’s Call saga, I wanted to explore what this legend was all about. I started with the second book, Fusion, and after establishing the characters there, wrote the backstory, which became Poison.
6. What books or authors have influenced you the most and why?
I love reading Kathy Tyers, Lois McMaster Bujold, and C.S. Lewis. I found Tyers’ Firebird trilogy and Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga while working at Barnes & Noble. Firebird and its sequels spoke to my heart. I love how she captured sci-fi and romance together, and included a powerful message with it. I also loved the strong, yet flawed characters Bujold offers. I find C.S. Lewis’s use of allegory rather intriguing, and I try to model that in my books.
7. What are your favorite books that you have read simply for pleasure?
Juliette Marillier’s Sevenwaters trilogy. I loved those books! The series mentioned in the previous question are also favorites I return to time and again.
8. What does a typical writing day look like for you?
Oh, I wish I had a typical writing day! I work full-time, and after work, I spend time with my family. My writing day usually starts after the kids go to bed, giving me a few hours each day. I also write for work, though, which keeps those creative juices flowing.
9. Do you have strategies for getting past those days that are hard to write?
I don’t ever force myself to write if I’m not feeling it. I will usually move onto a different scene or a different manuscript, as I am not a chronological writer. I’ll think through or daydream about where I am stuck, which usually motivates me to get back to what I’m working on. I also like to crochet, which affords me time to think. If I simply cannot find the time to write, I don’t let the guilt get to me. I also carry a notebook with me everywhere I go, just in case inspiration strikes.
10. If you took a two-week vacation in any book or story, where would you go and who would you be?
I would dive into Anne of Green Gables, enjoying Prince Edward Island for a couple of weeks as the wonderful and memorable Anne Shirley—red hair, kindred spirits, puffed sleeves, Gilbert Blythe, and all!
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Coming on June 30th: Kristi Lloyd will be talking about her newly completed urban fantasy.