Ashley Howland - Interview (September 2017)
Why do you want to be a published author?
I love the whole process of writing a story. It gives me a chance to escape into my imagination and I really love being able to share that with people. Especially children. They are so honest and have such amazing creative minds. Being able to share a story as a published author with children anywhere is an incredible experience. I love chatting with people who have read my books, it’s so much fun to hear their ideas from my stories. I have been lucky enough to work with young people to develop their writing skills. This is so much fun. Being a published author allows you to share with more people than you can reach face to face. It’s really an opportunity to make people smile.
How long have you been writing?
All my life. As a child I would always jot down ideas into notebooks. I never really did anything with them, but it was fun to write. As a teacher I began to tell stories in class as a way of getting concepts across. Then I wrote stories with my classes and my students enjoyed these lessons. I would never let anyone read my actual stories, but this changed when I did a writing course. I had to let my tutor read my work and she loved my ideas. It gave me the confidence to mover further. I had my first book published by and American publishing company in 2011. They published my next two books, then I decided to give self-publishing a go. Now I have all my books self-published. I love the control over the whole process. It takes me a while to get a book out there, but it’s a really great feeling to hold that book in your hand when it is complete.
How will/did you celebrate your first publication?
I think I was in shock. I stared at the contract for a while and that was incredible in the first instance. Then when I finally got to hold my first book with my name on it…well I was amazed. There was this incredible feeling, it’s hard to describe. My girls thought it was fantastic, they love to have copies of my books. As for celebration, I think I began to write my next book. That may sound strange, but it was such an incredible feeling that I just wanted more. I think with each book I just want to keep going and get the next one out there. I have to be patient though, as a full time teacher and mother I don’t have a huge amount of time. I never want to rush my work, so it’s definitely a case of slow and steady.
How would you describe your writing style?
Relaxed… that’s the one word answer. I write as it comes to me, so it tends to be exactly the way I think. My style is still developing, but I do notice a difference from my earlier work. I can definitely see improvement in the way my writing is evolving. That’s all part of the challenge. The difficulty is finding consistent time to write. I do make sure I spend time each week on my stories, but sometimes it is editing, formatting or just note taking. This is all part of the process. I do like just writing the bet though, that’s when I can sit back and just let the words flow.