Okay, folks, it's ASK ME ANYTHING DAY! How do I know it's ASK ME ANYTHING DAY? Because I posed this question on Twitter:
Hey y'all, if I did a blog post where I answered your questions, would some of you actually ask questions? The potential silence is my fear.
Because I can totally see this happening. I say "Ask me anything" and then there's a silence so loud it makes my ears (and my pride) hurt.
But I had enough people on twitter say they would have questions. So, I'm putting it out here.
Have you ever wondered about my writing routine? Everbound? Everneath? I don't know, what other questions are there? What I eat?
Okay, obviously my questions are a little lackluster. So I'm depending on you for better questions.
So, ask me questions in the comments, and I'll answer in the comments.
Okay, ready? go!
Our first questions comes from twitter:
A) are you planning on touring other countries? maybe, say, New Zealand? and B) what do you do when you get writer's block? (:
A) I would LOVE to tour other countries. But I would have to save up my own money, because I'm not sure if/when my publishers overseas would be sending me anywhere.
B) Many writers will tell you to take a break, and I agree to take a break, but then sometimes you just have to push through it and get words on the paper, even if the words are really bad, and they don't even form coherent sentences, much like this sentence I'm typing right now.
Okay, bring it on!
How do you know when an idea has enough potential to turn into a real story? At what point do you go, "That's it!" and decide to spend the next several months bringing that idea to life?ReplyDelete
Good question! By the time I write a book, the idea has (hopefully) been marinating in my head for a long time. Maybe even a year or so. I've definitely tried writing some ideas before I've really thought them through, and I get to page 50 and go, "Wait, there's no story here." So I think it's also trial and error. But I like to make sure I have a good protagonist who wants something, and a good antagonist who wants to make sure she doesn't get it. then I see if there's more story there. :)Delete
who designed the dresses on the Everneath and Everbound covers? They're *so* beautiful!ReplyDelete
what are your thoughts on the Fifty Shades trilogy? if you've read them, would you recommend to read them?
The dress on the EVERNEATH cover was designed by Ellie Tahari, but I'm not sure who designed the dress on EVERBOUND. I'll have to find out!Delete
As for the Fifty Shades trilogy... um... I don't think I'll be recommending them, because they're not really the types of books I like, nor the type I recommend. In fact, I think I'd be way too embarrassed to recommend them. Generally, I like anything that gets people reading more. But I haven't read them. All. haha.
1. If you have an idea for a book, who is the first person to hear this idea?ReplyDelete
2. What's your favourite writing food/drink?
3. Do you enjoy making your readers cry? Because I totally did when I read Everneath.
4. What's your favourite Greek mythology?
1. My hubby is probably the first person to hear the idea. Then my writer's group.Delete
2. My favorite writing food right now is homegrown tomatoes. I love them! I think my skin is going to turn red because I eat them so much. Also... Diet Coke. Always. And Diet Dr. Pepper. So basically a lot of acid in my diet.
3. I NEVER thought I would write a book that makes readers cry. I thought my first book would make them laugh! But then the ending of Everneath basically wrote itself, and there was no escaping the tears, for myself too.
4. Oooh, I'm not sure. I obviously love Persephone, but I also love Ariadne, who gave the man she loves a ball of twine so he could find his way out of a labyrinth.
Do you have any compulsions? Like things you *need* to do when you're writing? Or even when you're not writing?ReplyDelete
Have you ever had a reader come up to you in the street or something and fangirl right in front of you?
How does it feel when you see Everneath in bookstores?
I NEED to have something going on in the background. It's usually tennis, but it can also be reruns of Little House on the Prairie. I just need background noise to write.Delete
Not in the street, but I've had readers come up at conferences, or other people's bookstore signings, or other places where readers are gathered. I'm ALWAYS happy when a reader approaches me. I'm also always sad when I see on twitter things like, "I saw @brodiashton. I was too scared to say anything." C'mon, people. Say something! I love it!!
I still get the chills when I see my books in stores, especially if it's face out or on someone's "favorites" shelf.
How many drafts of your first book did you do when you first started looking for representation, and what is your advice for finding a good agent?ReplyDelete
I did probably three drafts of the book and critiqued it with my writing group before I even thought about querying it. As for finding a good agent, my first piece of advice is to write the BEST book you can, and then consult websites like agentquery.com, querytracker.net, and any friends who are happy with their agents.Delete
Do you listen to music when you're writing? If so, what songs are at the top of your writing playlist? Do you find music that suits the scene you're writing?ReplyDelete
Wow, I'm on a bit of a roll today.
I listen to music especially when I really need to get in the mood for a certain scene. I definitely have playlists I listen to over and over for each book. Hey! That's a future blog post idea. I'll talk about my playlists. Thanks!Delete
Top of the playlist for EVERNEATH:
18th Floor Balcony (Blue October)
I Will Follow You into the Dark (Death Cab for Cutie)
My Immortal (Evanescence)
Falling Slowly (Glen hansard and Marketa Irglova)
Razor (Foo Fighters)
I think you might understand why I'm asking this...ReplyDelete
Who is your favorite My Little Pony? ;)
i lov your book .ReplyDelete
how was it to write your first kissing scenes in everneath and did it become easier to write down the later kissing scenes or harder?
do you have a playlist for your books?
why do think books are awesome and will you ever write about lgbt characters?
Kissing scenes are always hard for me to write, because I get butterflies in my stomach, and then I imagine my parents reading it, and then I get embarrassed. Yes, I'm twelve.Delete
Yes, I do! I'll do a future blog on it, but for now, I listed some in a comment above.
I have always loved getting lost in the world of books, especially starting with A WRINKLE IN TIME. As for lgbt characters, I would love to include some in my books! I want want to include them in a very organic way, and I'm not sure I've given myself the opportunity yet. I wouldn't write an issue book or anything. There is a character in EVERNEATH who I've always thought was gay, and he is in my head, but it just hasn't come up yet. Maybe it will in book 3.
My friend Emily Wing Smith's book THE WAY HE LIVED is about a boy who's sexuality plays a central role, and it is so good. I admire the way she wrote about it.
Do you think you'll move on to writing another book or series after Everneath?ReplyDelete
Why did you want to write for young adults?
Have you ever thought about making Everneath into a movie?
Do you see people in the street, or anywhere else, and think 'Oh! He looks like Cole, or oh! She looks like Nikki?
1. Yes! I am in the middle of writing Book 3 in the Everneath series, and then that series is done. So I am very much looking forward to writing something else!Delete
2. Because those are the books I like most to read. And when I write, it comes out like a 16-year-old girl.
3. I would love to make everneath a movie! But Hollywood is a strange beast. I do have a movie agent who shops the manuscript around. We'll see what happens.
4. Yes! I saw a boy at Lagoon (a local amusement park) who I thought looked exactly like I would picture Cole. He had a chain belt around his dark jeans, and blond shaggy hair.
What types of books do u generally read? Although u author a YA book, which tends to be all i read still at age 24, lol, i wonder if u are more attracted to supernatural novels since u authored one or that was just a coincidence?ReplyDelete
Thank u for reading my question and giving me the opportunity to speak with u!
Hi! Thank you for asking a question!Delete
As for books I generally read, I really do read mostly Young Adult. All kinds of Young Adult from the fantasy and supernatural to contemporary and realistic. I wouldn't say I don't read any adult books, but I can't really remember the last one I read. Maybe The Road by Cormac McCarthy?
My favorite books are all across the board as far as genres but usually they end up being some sort of supernatural or fantasy...but that ends up being the case because i buy my books from amazon and it always recommends other books..that is how i found out about everneath actually! Once again, thank u for ur time and i look forward to following the series as it progresses!Delete
what was the hardest thing you had to face when writing Everneath?ReplyDelete
Is there a character in Everneath you feel particulary close to?
Best food to eat while writing?
1. the hardest thing was sticking with the melancholy tone of the book. Every once in a while, I wanted to yell at the characters, "Lighten up! Please!"Delete
2. I feel close to all of them in different ways. The one I knew the least about when I started writing was Cole. Now, after countless drafts, I feel like I know him the most.
3. Tomatoes! And chocolate covered cinnamon bears.
Favourite colour? This blog looks rather red, so I thought I'd ask.ReplyDelete
I see all these amazing plots in books, and they're so detailed and perfect. How did you come up with the plot of Everneath? How did you deal with any potential plot holes?
Red! Surprise surprise, I know. But I didn't know my book cover would be such a red theme. I like red mostly because it's the school color of my alma mater the University of Utah.Delete
As for plot, I'm not really a plotter. Everneath began as a scene in my head, the first scene when Nikki returns to her school after a long mysterious absence, and then it just went from there. I plot by asking questions, like: Where has she been? Why did she leave? Where is she going next? Will she find a way to escape?
As for potential plot holes, those pop up all the time. Thank goodness I have a good editor who can let me know that "Hey, on page 86 it says THIS, when I know that's impossible from page 156!" and then I try to fix it.
I know these aren't very concrete tips.
What are some books you've read lately and enjoyed?ReplyDelete
I read GOING VINTAGE by Lindsey Leavitt (an early version. It doesn't come out until next spring) and I LOVED it!Delete
I also read ICEFALL by Matthew J. Kirby in two sittings. Loved it. A mystery in a glacier. I'm getting chills just thinking about it.
And I have to recommend ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins, because I was obsessed with that book for months.
How do you choose names? Randomly with whatever feels right, or do your characters sort've name "themselves", or based on something from a language/mythology?ReplyDelete
Um, names come pretty randomly.Delete
the main character in everneath Nikki Beckett was originally "Nicole Beckette" but then I realized I had a "Cole" and a "Nicole" and that wouldn't work.
I also noticed that one of my favorite shows Castle has a detective Kate Beckett, and her alter-ego in the books is named Nikki Heat. I wonder if I combined the two and came up with Nikki Beckett?
I don't know. A few months ago, a neighbor did me a favor, so I named a character in EVERBOUND after him. And I always pick family names and use them. So, basically pretty random.
But I did like Nikki because it's such a Greek name, and I was dealing with Greek mythology.
Last thing you broke? (not a body part, like an actual item)ReplyDelete
How do you come up with Cole's witty dialogue? Do your characters write themselves?
Do you spend more time planning the novel or writing it?
How long does it take you to write a novel? How long did it take to write Everneath and Everbound?
Cole's voice comes pretty easily to me. In fact, I want to give all his lines to someone who's not so evil, but it's part of his character!
More time writing it. Less time planning it. Which means I go through more drafts than someone who spends more time planning. I just get pretty antsy to get writing!
Everneath took a year. EVERBOUND took six months. (Add a few months of revisions on top of that).
Oh! You mention your kids a lot on Twitter, so do you ever come up with stories for them?ReplyDelete
The only story I ever came up with on the fly was a story about my younger son and my neighbor's dog Hank. Kid B loves the neighbor dog Hank, and so one night I started telling about an adventure the two of them take.Delete
But the story sort of sucked. I'm not good under pressure, and there's nothing like the pressure of two wide-brown eyes waiting for me to entertain him. :)
1. When did you realize you were fascinated with pus? Yes, I went there!ReplyDelete
2. How did you find the Six?
3. How do you suggest finding a writing group of one's own?
4. What are your plans for Labor Day?
5. How long have you been obsessed with Rafa?
1. From a very early age. I knew I wanted to drain pus before I knew I wanted to write for a living. :)Delete
2. Providence. Fate. Luck.
First I met Bree Despain, because at the time we shared the same agent and he came to town. We clicked immediately. Then I was invited to join their critique group, and it just worked.
3. Put yourself out there. Go to writing conferences, book launches, and try to find like-minded people. Don't be afraid to try out several groups before you find the one that fits best!
4. I think we might be going to Vegas so that Kid C can run a 5k there. (Actually we're just going for fun, and we'll do the 5k while we're there.)
5. The obsession started to overtake my life in July of 2008, when he won Wimbledon for the first time against Roger Federer. It has only grown since then. As long as he doesn't talk too much. (Kidding.)
Why are you so awesome?ReplyDelete
Um... I'm bad with asking questions but here goes nothing :D
*If a movie was to be made about your life which Hollywood star would you rather play you in it?
*What's the last time you cried??? :D
1. Haha! I love you.Delete
2. Ryan Gosling. I know it's difficult to see the resemblance, but I just wouldn't mind staring at him for two hours.
3. Yesterday. My mom gave my children framed pictures of each of them with my dad (who passed away a couple of months ago). Since he died, the tears are always close to the surface.
1.How did you decide you wanted to be a writer and when?ReplyDelete
2.And what kind of preparations did you go through to make it?
3.How did you come up with the idea of Everneath?
4.Who would you chose to play the main characters of Everneath,like celebrities?
5.How many years did it take you to write everneath?
1. It wasn't until later in life! I did major in journalism, but I didn't do any novel-writing until After I had my first child, and I started writing short stories based on my grandmother's life. It evolved from there.Delete
2. I majored in journalism, so I learned many of the basic rules, but I also believe the best way to learn how to write is just to write. Trial and error.
3. It came to me first as a situation: I imagined a girl returning to her old school after being mysteriously away for a long time. I wanted her to struggle to face her old life. The rest came from filling in the blanks. Where did she go? Why does she look so wasted? etc.
4. I would want Ryan Gosling to play any of the characters he wanted. :) Other than that, I haven't really thought about who would play whom. I'll have to think about it and do a blog post or something! Good idea.
5. one year
If you could give an aspiring writer one piece of advice, what would it be? What if you could give two?ReplyDelete
1. Butt in chair. Lots of people want to write a book, but never actually sit down to write. Writing first and foremost takes a lot of time, alone, in a chair, just you and your laptop.Delete
2. Find a good critique group, and don't be afraid to have your manuscript torn to shreds.
hello fun writing friend! i just wanted to say hi, but now i see you are letting us pick your brain as well. so...ReplyDelete
1. how often do you meet with your critique group and for how long at a time?
2. who reads your early drafts and when?
3. what makes a good crit partner?
4. best thing that happened to you this last week?
1. We usually meet once a week to write, and if someone has a specific problem, we help that person work through the problem. We're very laid back now, because we know each other so well that we can adjust when someone needs something.Delete
2. My crit group reads early drafts. Poor girls. So does my husband. Poor man.
3. Someone who knows when to focus on the big picture and when to focus on the little things. Someone who is open to ideas given to them.
4. The kids started school. Best day of the year!
OMG I loved Everneath! It had such an interesting originality to it and although I enjoy books that usually fall into the same genre/type/category etc, it's always great to see that originality still exists in this world. Thank you for that!ReplyDelete
Anyway, since you're answering here, sending an e-mail would probably take ages for you to answer, so I'm doing it here. I was wondering if Cole and/or Nikki would like to be interviewed for my blog. I know you're close to them and I don't have their numbers so.. Maybe you could answer for them ;)
And you could join them, too. That would be fantastic! Brilliant! All right, now my thoughts are speeding like 150 miler per hour in my head.. Eh.
I hope you have the best day in the world and since it's my birthday and I'm all bubbly right now, I hope you eat lots of sweets today and laugh 'til your stomach hurts (in the good way of course). Sending you lots of love and sunshine! xx
I love to do interviews! However, I'm very backed up right now. For a while there I was able to do each interview as it came in, but I will admit that now there is a backlog and I'm trying to get to everyone, but it's hard. Because there are only like 24 hours in a day. (Who made that rule anyway?)Delete
But send me an email at brodiashton at gmail dot com, with the questions and which character you would like interviewed, and I will add it to the queue. Thank you so much for reading it! I am thrilled you liked it.
Do you have a religion, and does it affect your writing at all?ReplyDelete
Yes, I am religious.Delete
I try to steer clear of any religion in my books. The characters do not have a religion, there is no statement about the after life... etc. But my religion does affect my writing in more subtle ways, in the sense that any life experiences affect my writing.
What is hardest part of revising your books? Cutting characters you love? Figuring out what needs to change? Worrying over words?ReplyDelete
Yes. All of the above. :)Delete
I had to cut a character I loved from Book 2. (EVERBOUND). That was hard. But not as hard as trying to revise plot holes. Which is not as hard as trying to build an entirely new world. Which is not as hard as putting my butt in my chair and actually writing.
But the rest is easy.
Can you tell us a funny dating story? (yours, someone else's, a made up one. I doesn't matter)ReplyDelete
What's your favorite seasonal candy?
I once got set up on a blind date. When the guy came to the door, I put out my hand and I was all, "Hi! I'm Brodi Ashton."Delete
He gives me a strange look, takes my hand hesitantly, and says, "Hi, my name is Bravie Ashton."
Yep, we practically had the same name. Needless to say, it didn't go anywhere.
Also, once this guy (another blind date) took me on a romantic carriage ride in downtown Salt Lake City. I got "carsick" and the carriage had to pull over so I could puke in the nearest restaurant.
I don't know why he never called back.
As for the seasonal candy, I can't even think of any! Are candies seasonal? Because I like to think of every piece of candy as being year round. Maybe caramel apples in the fall?
I have a question! Here it is: Are you going to do the Q&A day again? Because it was clearly very popular, and next time I hope to read your post in time to ask something (other than this, of course)...ReplyDelete
Yes! I will definitely do it again! Provided I don't get burnout around question 25. :) (Like I did this time)Delete
Hi. I have a few questions.ReplyDelete
1. As a non knitted why did you decide Nikki should knit. If you were a knitted the answer would be simple. You were thinking at the time that you would rather be knitting then writing but since your not.
2. With out getting too personal who was your main inspiration for Jack? He is just so good and forgiving. And unlike the rest of the characters while he is hurting he can still step back and say hey calm down there your acting crazy.
3. I think Cole is funny. I think your blog is funny. I think the stories about your kids are hilarious. No question just a request for more funny stories please.
1. Ummm, good question! I have no idea why I wanted Nikki to knit, except I have this sister-in-law who knits all the time, and it's a calming thing for her to do, and I imagined that Nikki would have a difficult time controlling the shaking in her hands, and so I thought knitting would be good.Delete
That is one long sentence above.
2. With jack, I took a few things from my hubby, a few things from friends I admire, a few things from secret crushes, rolled them up in a ball, and voila.
3. Okay! and thank you.