Interview: fantasy debut author Ashley Steffenson

Hello book dragons! How was your September? Did you read many books? I’ll be honest, I didn’t finish a single book in September because I was focusing on my revisions for The Solitary King. It’s coming along nicely and will be off to beta readers in October and my editor in November, and I’ve really enjoyed being immersed in the Fair Realm again!

Today, I’ve got a really exciting interview to share with you. Ashley Steffenson is one of the incredible authors that I’m collaborating with on Enchanted Forests, the follow up to Enchanted Waters, as well as Once Upon a Name! I’m so excited to have my name on two beautiful covers with Ashley, and I can’t wait to introduce you to her.

So, without further ado…

Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Ashley and I currently write under my married name – Ashley Steffenson. I’m a born and raised California girl turned Southern. My husband (a 50% Irish hottie – swoon!) and I moved to South Louisiana about a year ago and we are LOVING it. I received my BA in Intercultural Studies from William Jessup University, and am now working as a Librarian Page at our local library. I also have a small candle-making business on the side called Estellian Treasures, originally inspired by my debut novel. We have three wily cats – Ember, Milo, and Piper – and we are expecting a third tiny human heart in the family in April 2022.

Oh, congratulations Ashley! What an exciting adventure you’re about to begin, I’m so happy for you! Can you tell us when you started writing and what inspired you?

Funnily enough I haven’t always been a writer. My passion for writing began 3 years ago when I started a new job at a jewelry shop as a saleswoman. I hated that job, but I loved learning about gemstones. That led me to the birth of ‘Estellia’, my debut novel. Furthermore, Adrienne Young (an ah-may-zing YA writer) also indirectly inspired me. Now I’m beyond blessed to be a part of Enchanted Forests with all these incredible award-winning, and up-and-coming authors!

That’s so interesting, I can totally see how learning about gemstones could be the inspiration for a fantasy novel. I love world building, personally, and one of the things I did when I was creating the world for The Fair Queen was to choose gemstones that symbolised each of the five different types of Fair. OK, I’ll pick your brain about gemstones later! What are your favourite books or your favourite genre?

Favorite genre would definitely have to be Fantasy/High Fantasy/Sci-Fi. And I have too many favorite books! A few of my favorite authors include J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, and George MacDonald (originally known as the ‘master of the fairytale’). Joseph Campbell is pretty awesome too. I listened to The Hero with a Thousand Faces on audio three times and still didn’t understand all of it lol. He’s a philosophical mastermind!

Those are some of the greats right there! I love high fantasy and portal fantasy, and I’m so excited to read your upcoming debut novel, can you tell us a little about it?

Estellia is now officially ready for preorder on Amazon! Click here to read the blurb and get your copy.

My short story ‘A Lesson in Refinement’ will also be coming out in another anthology titled Once Upon A Name in 2022.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Once Upon a Name! It’s such a cool project and I’m really glad we’re working together on it, along with eighteen other awesome authors! Where do you find inspiration for your stories? 

Oh I 100% go to Pinterest and type in all sorts of fantasy creatures/places and if a picture speaks to me then I base my characters/story on that!

Also, I’m blessed to have an amazingly talented artist for a cousin who can help bring my characters to life based on my descriptions. You will be able to see some of her artwork in my debut novel!

Oh you’re so lucky, I love character art and illustrations in books, that’s one of my favourite things about the Enchanted Anthologies. Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser? 

I use the ‘Save the Cat’ Blake Snyder Beat Sheet, but sometimes my characters take the reins and the story goes in a different direction lol. So I’d say I’m a plantser. Guess that’s what happens when you have such headstrong characters! 

I’m exactly the same, I love a strong, detailed outline to keep me writing and on the right track, but I also like a little wiggle room for those pesky characters to have their say! What are you working on right now?

Final edits for Estellia, beta reads/editing for Once Upon a Name, and I need to start plotting out my story for Enchanted Forests. Also working on a book review for the library on Enchanted Waters which will eventually be posted on our Staff Picks webpage at lafourche.org

You’ve got some really exciting projects on the go, I can’t wait to read them all! Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Ashley, it’s been lovely. Before I let you go, what one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Don’t give up. Be patient with yourself, and with what life throws at you along the way. Enjoy the journey of creating a masterpiece and be proud of your work. You wrote a freaking NOVEL for heaven’s sake! That’s something to be proud of.

Don’t rush yourself. George R.R. Martin has been writing for over 20 years. And J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t finish his books overnight. You got this. And KEEP WRITING. No matter what it is, always try to write something each day. Even if it’s a simple journal entry. And never stop reading.

Yes to all of this! We should all be so incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved by persevering and finishing an entire story, whether it’s a short story, novella or full-length novel. Not many people do it and it’s a hugely impressive achievement.

How can we find out more about you and your books? 

Instagram: @authorashleyanne

Facebook page/group:  Writerly Adventures in Estellia and Beyond

Other: @estellian.treasures

Amazon: Buy Estellia now!


How incredible is Ashley? If you’re a writer I really hope you found her advice helpful, because she’s absolutely right! And if you like the sound of Ashley’s debut novel, Estellia, or our upcoming anthologies Enchanted Forests and Once Upon a Name, then you can preorder them on Amazon right now!

Happy reading,

Lyndsey

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Meet Tullia Artfulbeau, Baroness of the Northern Wolves

Last week, we revealed the (frankly, gorgeous) cover of Once Upon a Name, the upcoming collection of fantasy short stories that I’ll be publishing alongside nineteen fellow authors in April 2022.

Today, I want to introduce the main character of my story, Baroness of Blood and Bone.

Meet Tullia Artfulbeau, Baroness of the Northern Wolves.

Tullia Artfulbeau is the alpha of the Northern Wolves, a pack of shifters who rule the Ancient City with an iron fist. Despite being the smallest pack in the city.

On the night of the Blood Moon, Tullia performs a ritual to find out the truth about her mother’s murder. With the help of the local vamp club owner, she’s able to uncover the mystery and reveal her mother’s true killer.

But will she be able to take her final revenge?

Find out on 20 April 2022 when Once Upon a Name comes out!

Preorder the ebook here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09C2TDGJV/

Preorder the paperback here: https://bronzewoodbooks.com/product/once-upon-a-name-paperback/

Add it to your TBR here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58804078-once-upon-a-name

What do you think of Tullia? Are you excited to read the full story next year? I’ll be revealing more snippets and introducing some other characters over the next few months, so slip on your leather jacket and hop on your motorbike and get ready to ride into the Ancient City.

Lyndsey

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Cover reveal: Once Upon a Name anthology

I’m so excited to share the gorgeous cover of one of my 2022 projects with you today!

Once Upon a Name is a collection of fantasy short stories by twenty authors who decided to get together and take on the challenge of an online fairy tale name generator.

All profits from the sale of Once Upon a Name will go to Book Aid International, the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity.

Are you ready to see the cover?

Blurb

What’s in a name? Names have power, names have magic, names can set the course for a great destiny.
Once upon a time, twenty author friends accepted a challenge by a fairy tale name generator. Now, twenty new characters have adventurous tales to tell.
In this clean YA anthology, meet goddesses, empresses, countesses, wannabe sorceress apprentices, female leaders of wolf packs, and guardian frog sidekicks. Search for missing persons with a hunter turned detective. Swoon over the gypsy sultana who must prove she is fit to rule. Cavort with our demons, wraiths, and demigods and lose your soul to the Bone Marsh. Root for a genie’s freedom or bite your nails as you pray for the witch to get the spell right. And yes, feel your heart palpitate at unexpected romance.
Escape into our strange and unusual collection of short stories written by award-winning and up-and-coming authors. Join us in far-off lands and learn. . .what is in a name.

All proceeds donated to charity in support of reading and literacy.

Add it to your Goodreads TBR.

Preorder for just 99c/77p for a limited time!

My story is called Baroness of Blood and Bone and features Tullia Artfulbeau, Baroness of the Northern Wolves. It’s a short urban fantasy focusing on a pack of wolf shifters with a female alpha.

I can’t wait to tell you more about my story soon, and the other nineteen incredible tales by my fellow bestselling and debut authors.

Lyndsey

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