Interview with Ashlee McNicol
Stein: Tell us about yourself.
McNicol: Hi, Sylvia. I would love to. Well, first of all, I am about to graduate from college with my Bachelor’s in business and marketing. I grew up in eastern Washington, spent a short period of time living in the south west on the border of Texas and New Mexico, and I am now living in Portland, Oregon. I am a huge fan of anything and everything cold—a winter girl to the T. I love reading young adult books, especially anything paranormal or supernatural in nature. Reading can keep me on my toes for days.
Stein: Tell us about your book. What was the inspiration?
McNicol: My book is about a girl named Mrsorri, who is kidnapped and brought to a new world. She is struggling to overcome a problem with her abilities, slowly feeling at ease in this new place. However, things change when the secrets of her dark past begin to unfold. She discovers that she must take over a mission that she alone can do, and it is nothing but dangerous. I was inspired to write this after having a dream of a girl falling off a cliff. A beautiful woman helped her up so she wouldn’t fall. When pulling her up, the young girl glimpses a dazzling charm bracelet around the woman’s wrist. The woman says, “A debt is a debt that must be repaid.” That is a huge lesson in the story.
Stein: What is your writing process?
McNicol: I write between 3k – 10k words a day. Now that I am working a full time job again as a market manager in training, my time is a little more crunched so we will see where that takes me. I do light outlining when I am about halfway through the story, but mainly write and write and write based on the inspiration that comes to me. Outlining is a lot of fun, though, so I try to do that as much as I can to save time.
Stein: What are your favorite books and authors?
McNicol: I am a huge fan of young adult books, especially anything paranormal, fantasy, supernatural, or sci-fi. I love twisting reality and seeing what the imagination can do. I really enjoy the book, The Host by Stephanie Meyer. I would say my favorite book is usually the book I am reading at the time, though. I just finished a great book called The Towers by a new author/ friend of mine named Natalie Berger. That was a fantastic dystopian book. Currently, I am reading Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh. I am really liking the book so far.
Stein: What are your favorite hobbies?
McNicol: My favorite hobbies are exercising, making homemade facial remedies, cooking, reading, writing, and marketing. I also enjoy any and every opportunity to learn. I am extremely student-minded.
Stein: What advice do you have for other authors?
McNicol: Keep an idea book. Take a notebook or some kind of notepad so that every time you get inspired or have an idea for something, you can write it down. I keep one, and it is highly stimulating to me. It also helps me remember things a lot better.
Stein: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
McNicol: In the next five years, I hope to have over 30 published novels released. By the time, I would hope to be working fulltime from home as an author. If not, I hope to continue doing it as a second job and becoming a regional marketing director for the business that I work at. I intend to remain in Portland, Oregon. I love it here.
Stein: What genre do you categorize your latest book?
McNicol: The Unforgiving Truths would be classified as young adult fantasy. It does have some major dystopian themes, but it fantasy for sure—nowhere near sci-fi.
Stein: Can you give us some insight into what makes this book different from your other ones?
McNicol: This one takes place between four different worlds. It really digs in to the main character’s past and gives you insight into the other characters. A few chapters in the book are from the point of view of the antagonist, which is nice because you can see it from different angles. As the series continues, the storyline will go much deeper. The first book sets the stage for the future books in the series.
Stein: What is something we would be surprised to know about you?
McNicol: At the young age of 19, I have been able to graduate college with my Bachelor’s, graduate high school a year early, study Spanish for three years, publish one book at age 16 which I am gearing away from being known for, publishing five books by the close of 2015, accepted into an acting at modeling school at age 9, and I am the oldest of five kids. I have done a lot of things in my life that have led me to become who I am today.
A debt is a debt that must be repaid.
She thought she was safe in the shadows. The dark was always home to her when the light was banished. After the Transformation, she thought the secrets were over. She thought running away would solve all of her troubles, but her problems were only getting started.
In a world where magic rules all, eighteen-year-old Mrsorri Hall finds a place where she can put her unique abilities to the test. When she is brought to the strange new world, she feels human again, recognizing fear like she never has before. As time goes on, she struggles to admit to the secrets of her dark past, but they unravel before her faster than she can blink.
Coming from a land immersed in fire, Mrsorri learns to live in a world of deception. Secrets and lies are only the beginning. The fall of the Safe Havens is close, and there is only one person who can bring them all together. The one who is brave enough to seek the Keepers who started it all. On this quest, failure is not an option, for once she starts, she can’t go back. There is nowhere to go. They are coming for her.
About the Author
Ashlee spent her childhood bringing imagination to life by writing short stories that she converted to books with the help of some glue, paper, and staples. By the time she was nine, she completed hundreds of short stories that soon lined the shelves in the local Washington state elementary library.
Those short stories shaped her writing career, which has now launched to include over fifty full-length young adult novels, waiting to be read. Ashlee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Eastern New Mexico University and serves as her own publicist. Currently, she is crafting the Secrets of Ghastillanda Series and hopes to have all five books released by the end of 2015. You can expect this to happen because if you know her personally, you know she never backs down from a challenge.