We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Dotson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am from Kingsville- South Texas, actually. I always felt like a big fish in a small pond, and left as soon as I could manage. I come from a long line of teachers, and am a teacher myself. I was always told I could do anything, be anything. But some where along the trip to independence, adulthood, and motherhood, I lost that idea of making my own dreams come true and just focused on getting by. When I began writing my first manuscript, I was hesitant to tell my family. I was worried what they would think of this endeavor, I had, like so many other adults, lost the child-like idea that anything is possible. I didn’t have to be one thing or another- I could be anything I set my mind to.
So at the age of 30, I set my mind to completing my first novel, The Beacon. My mother, father, and husband were with me for every key stroke and completed chapter. I am who I am today because I have their unwavering support and optimism.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a young adult paranormal author. I have finished 2 different series, The Finding Justus and Black Bayou Road Series. I have published both with Braverie Press and and an indie author. I love everything paranormal. To believe the unbelievable. To live a life that is impossible. Stories of ordinary folks juxtaposed by ghosts, demons, banshees, local lore. None of us have escaped the myths and legends of our culture. I love reading and writing stories that incorporate our legends, landscapes and faith, layered by the angst and drama of the later teenage years. It is so easy for all of us to go back to being seventeen- it is a life-changing age that most can easily recall with a smile and a shudder. It is why, like me, so many others are drawn to this genre as well. I love people watching and listening to half-finished conversations. I try to fill in the blanks and create background stories for these corporeal characters. And I love reading. I find I am most inspired by other authors’ craft. As fun and explosive as it is to write, it requires discipline as well to not just slap a project together, but to outline beforehand, then edit and revise when the first draft is completed. No project is ever really done. I think if I went back to my original manuscripts, I would cringe to see the shallow writing and simple errors that I used- sometimes out of haste and others are just laziness.
And it is very easy to let the lazy in! Like all art, it takes more than just the initial creative burst- it takes passion and diligence to see a complete project to fruition. Currently, I am spending some time away from writing. My four children and my husband, Vince, will forever come first in my life. I don’t want to split my time, giving only half of myself to motherhood or my manuscripts, and in the end neither is enough.
And that has got to be one of the most important life lessons of my thirties: You can do anything with your life, you just can’t do it all right now. Whatever you’re doing in this moment, give it your all. It may not be what you want to be doing, but it just might be what you should be doing. There is a lesson to be learned and another important step to be made.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have lived in Blanco, TX for about a year. The Texas hill country is beautiful and is most breath-taking in late spring when the bluebonnets give way to the verbena and lavender. Most people in the area would want to go float the river. I have discovered that kayaking is just as much fun. Blanco has just as much beauty to offer as the hotter tourist towns around it, but this town has a quieter way about it. It’s a little calmer. It retains much of what people are actually looking for when they come to visit the hill country- a lot of countryside and tranquility. I would definitely take my best friend to Josie’s Kitchen and then over to the Texas Cannon, the newest restaurant and brewery. We would end the evening at the high school stadium for whatever game my kids are fixing to play.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The past year has been difficult to find time for creativity and my own endeavors. I met another authentic, amazing author daring to bring his own series to life- Cody Wagner. When I met him, he had just completed his first novel of his series, The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren. He is an enigmatic speaker who retells his journey as an author and gay man. I inhaled his first book, laughing most of the way through it, wishing that this indie book could gain some much needed exposure. If only this book could reach more teens.
Cody is now finished this series. I haven’t the final book yet, but I am looking forward to it. I don’t know how much recognition Cody would get in my personal story, he is an author who inspires my creativity and can enliven that same boldness within his readers.
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