Today we welcome, Ashlinn Craven to the blog. Ashlinn is another of the contenders for this year’s Joan Hessayon Award.
Congratulations on graduating the RNA New Writers’ Scheme. Can you tell us when you first decided that you wished to become a romantic novelist?
Later than most, I suspect. Bedtime reading for much of my adult life meant computer manuals and other people’s theses … not much romance going on there. But one day, my “softer” side rebelled and I took up a course in creative writing which resulted in my first novel—a romance. My tutor suggested I join the wonderful NWS. Until I joined, I didn’t know that this was what I wanted to do. Now it seems obvious in hindsight. And, believe it or not, writing romance has crucial elements in common with programming complex algorithms.
How many years were you a member of the NWS scheme and did you submit a different book each year? Which year’s book did you graduate with?
Four years. The first submission (the aforementioned novel) was … interesting, shall we say, and my NWS reader, unfailingly polite. In year two there were glimpses of hope. My third year’s Half-Life got strongly positive feedback, and a rewritten version was published recently as Core Attraction. I graduated with Maybe Baby, in year four. So, to say the NWS scheme was useful is an understatement. More like life-changing!
How did you find your publisher?
I submitted Maybe Baby to US-based Crimson Romance who handle a wide breadth of topics in their romances. As my books contain offbeat subjects like egg-donation and nuclear power, I needed a publisher who might embrace that. Just before Christmas, I got the happy news that Maybe Baby had been accepted.
Promotion is a big part of an author’s working life. How did you promote your novel?
I self-organised a blog tour on friends’ sites and reached out via Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads to reviewers and bloggers. It worked reasonably well. But I was so engrossed in writing the next one I didn’t follow up as much as I should have. I’m savvier now and use professionals for blog tours at the least and send out timely newsletters to my followers.
What has happened to you as an author since that first sale?
I co-authored the Formula One romance, High Octane: Ignited, along with fellow Crimson writer, Rachel Cross, which was heaps of fun, and then we completed that trilogy by each writing a solo book, mine being High Octane: Unleashed. Just last week, I published Core Attraction. Now I’m onto my fifth. With all this madness, it’s comforting to have an organisation like the RNA behind me to assure me I’m not the only one.
How did you celebrate your first book sale?
Husband cracked open a bottle of bubbly left over from Valentine’s day, and, together with our young son, we devoured cake from Sprüngli (deluxe Swiss cake shop), and I probably succumbed to watching the Amazon sales rank until I was dragged off to play Lego or something.
Irish author Ashlinn Craven writes about people who find love, themselves, and each other exactly when it’s least convenient for them to do so. She writes for busy women in the hope of putting big, silly smiles on their faces as they read. When she’s not writing, she’s working her hi-tech job or doing the lo-tech mom routine, or, if she’s really lucky, gazing at the Alps from a safe distance and letting the story ideas flow. Based in Zurich, she adores hearing from her readers from around the world. Unlike everyone else in Switzerland, she’s hopeless at skiing, so don’t even ask.
Thank you, Ashlinn and Good luck with your future writing career.