Friday, April 5, 2013

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: SciFi Author, John Ashley

John Ashley, Author

John Ashley isn’t sure what got him started writing, but he is sure he will never stop. His SciFi novel THE SCROLLS OF XAVIER is the first of the Xavier series and his first novel. He writes his books primarily to entertain by bringing “worlds, creatures, and technologies…believable and awe-inspiring.” But he also tries to teach something along the way, to broaden readers’ minds.

Q: What inspired you to write THE SCROLLS OF XAVIER?

John Ashley: It’s hard to say what got me started writing THE SCROLLS OF XAVIER other than a lot of daydreaming. It was a story that had been in my head for some time, and finally I got the resolve to start putting it onto paper.  It certainly wasn’t the lightning bolt of inspiration most people think happens when someone starts a book, but it worked well for me.

Q: Your reviewers claim THE SCROLLS OF XAVIER  is “A literal must-have for any SciFi fanatic.” What makes a great science fiction story?

John Ashley: Like a story in any genre, a great science fiction tale has to be captivating and exciting, with a plot that keeps you guessing until the end. Beyond that, however, there are a few aspects you’ve got to pull off that are unique to the realm of science fiction (and perhaps fantasy). The worlds, creatures, and technologies have to be both believable and awe-inspiring, stretching the reader’s imagination and sparking their own creativity. I think if you find a book that pulls this off well, you’ve got a winner on your hands.

Q: Your reviewers also point out that “The characters were enticing.” What do you do to make readers care about your characters?

John Ashley:  Good characters are more than just archetypes made to fit a role. They have to be believable, captivating individuals with traits and personalities that define their actions.  Sometimes though, the plot is just as crucial in defining the characters as anything. In THE SCROLLS OF XAVIER, the characters are placed into treacherous situations with no guarantee of survival (as many of them do not), and their thoughts, emotions, and actions are recorded along the way. I think this sense of fear and sympathy make readers feel closer to my characters than anything else.

Q: How important is credibility to your story? What do you do to make your science fiction world “credible?”

John Ashley: Credibility has got to be of the utmost importance in any story, particularly in science fiction. Without credibility, comes disbelief, and thus the reader’s delicate trance is broken. In order to ensure this credibility, all that is required is a little research. If you are able to carefully weave fact with fiction, then the worlds you create will be every bit as believable as reality itself. 

Q: Do you try to inform your readers or are you writing purely for entertainment and fun?

John Ashley: The books I write are for entertainment. That is their purpose, and that is why I write them. With that being said, I do my best to teach something along the way, to both broaden the reader’s imagination and introduce concepts and paradoxes they may have never thought of before. I feel that if a book does not both entertain and inform, then it will not be able to accomplish either.

Q: Many of your reviewers point out that as a 17-year-old you are exhibiting enormous writing talent. What would you say was the strongest motivation for making you want to write a novel in the first place? Do you plan to continue to write?

John Ashley: The strongest motivation to make me write was simply the love of storytelling. Sometimes it feels like my imagination is bursting at the seams, and the only way to relieve that is to weave tales. As to whether I plan to continue writing, I envision myself writing until the day I die.

Q: Did you find writing your first novel was a steep learning curve? If so, do you think your future books will be easier and quicker to write?

John Ashley: Absolutely. Writing is like almost anything; it takes time and practice to be able to be good and quick at the same time. This was quite evident in the time it took me to finish THE SCROLLS OF XAVIER, versus its sequel BEFORE THE STORM. The first book took me four years to complete. The second just took three months.

Q: Do you outline your stories or do your characters boss you around?

John Ashley: In the big picture, the story is well-outlined, with a clear beginning, progression, and end. When you start to look at individual scenes, however, I think the personalities and traits of the characters dictate a lot of what happens. In that way, I would have to say that both options apply.

Q: What do you do when you’re not writing? Tell us a little about yourself.

John Ashley: When I am not writing, I enjoy spending time outdoors, reading, and martial arts, along with spending time with friends and family. Besides that, there isn’t much telling what I’ll do. I am always on the lookout to try new and interesting things, and will jump at any opportunity life throws my way.

About John Ashley

John Ashley lives with his family on an apple orchard in Western Arkansas. He is currently a senior at Booneville High School and plans to attend Harding University in the fall of 2013. With a spectrum of interests as broad as the worlds he writes about, John Ashley enjoys everything from the great outdoors to amateur astronomy. He is currently hard at work on the Xavier Series, piloted by his very first novel, THE SCROLLS OF XAVIER.

In the year of 2067, a new world is discovered amidst the dark expanses of the universe. Harvesting the
resources of this vast planet, known as Xavier997, may be the only hope a post-apocalyptic Earth has for survival. Upon arriving, however, the explorers of this promising new world soon discover that the treacherous and, most shockingly, inhabited realm of Xavier may also lead to mankind’s final undoing. 

In order to shed light on the dangerous secrets of this world, Captain Michael Dawn must lead a team of earth’s most skilled soldiers across its globe in search of five mysterious items known as the Scrolls. What seems like a routine mission, however, goes terribly wrong as Dawn and his team quickly realize that Xavier does not give up her treasures without a fight. To find the Scrolls, Captain Dawn must risk everything, including his love, his career, and his life.

Without the Scrolls, mankind's final hope is lost. With them, it might be even worse.



1 comment:

  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!