Thursday, January 26, 2012

Welcome to the Alley Ashley Clark!

When we knew the time had come to make a few changes here on the Writer's Alley and welcome a new author into our ranks, we did so with a great deal of chatting through our email loop.

Oh the emails that flew!

And when Ashley Clark was as if gold was struck. Angie's critique partner, Pepper's friend and known by several other Alley Cats, we were delighted when she accepted our invitation.

We think you'll love her as much as we already to. It is with great excitement that we share Ashley's debut post on the Alley and hope you give her a rousing welcome! She's going to be a great addition. :-))

Do you have any non-writing interests? If so, how do you balance them with writing and working?

Let’s see. I love exploring new places, everything from charming Southern towns to Hawaiian islands. I’ve recently taught myself to knit and crochet, which always seems most fun whenever you’re first beginning or ending a project. And I love my puppies. I’m passionate about animal rescue and am always picking up stray dogs and finding them homes. As for balancing my interests with writing and working, that’s one of the things I love best about writing—you can get inspiration in the most unlikely places! I find that if I just sit at home to write, I’m usually less productive than if I get out and find something I feel excited to write about.

When do you write, where do you write, and what writing attire do you write best in? 

I’m in a very fortunate position in my life right now in that I’m a part-time university instructor, so I have a fairly flexible schedule. I usually write in the afternoon because I am not a morning person, although I find my best writing is usually done about an hour or two after I should be asleep. Something about late-night writing, once everything else is quiet and the world is fast asleep, wakes up my imagination. I write in places I can force myself to focus and where I can find a creative environment, so sometimes that’s my sofa, sometimes it’s my office, and other times it’s a coffee shop like Starbucks. And I like to write wearing a cardigan, jeans, and a pair of Snoozies. Snoozies are of uptmost importance. You can find your very own pair here:

You get my brainstorming question…. I give you four random items and genre, you come up with a short pitch for a book that includes each of those items. MUHAHA!
Here goes: Genre = Amish Romance
Items: Blu-ray player, Starbucks Cake Pops, Confederate Money, and Furniture polish. GO! :-)

A teenage girl invents a time machine when she hooks her Blu-ray player into her Delorean. And no, she’s not just sniffing furniture polish. But will an Amish boy convince her that true love knows no time barrier as he offers to buy her a ring with his father’s Confederate money, or will Starbucks Cake Pops call her home?

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Pepper and Ashley at ACFW 2011
Tough question! My very first appointment at a writing conference was with one of my writing heroes, Ami McConnell. I was so nervous, I was lucky I retained the ability to remember my name. I remember her telling me that my writing voice was strong, but that I needed to incorporate more impactful plot elements into my voice to make it effective. I went back to that advice every day in my mind as I composed my most recent novel, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Those thirty seconds changed the course of my writing.

What is the best writing advice you feel you should give at this point of your writing journey?

God is truly faithful to do exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ask or even imagine. Think about that. Do we really believe it? God promises more than you can even imagine to ask him. If God has equipped you to write—whether you are unpublished, unagented, or your sales have hit a slump after fourteen books—you can trust that even if it doesn’t look the way you think it will, God will fulfill your dreams. He is far more faithful than we are.

If you could rewrite any classic novel as a rom com, which would it be? Why?

Oh goodness! What a hard question. How about Lord of the Flies to make it bearable for high school students? Just kidding! I’d have to say I would pick a Jane Austen novel, even though her stories already have a lot of comedic elements, because I think they’d translate well to my interests and writing style. Plus, who doesn’t love Mr. Darcy? 

If you couldn't write for a career and had to pick something else, what would you want to do for the rest of your life? 

Well, I love being a literature instructor, so I’d definitely continue to pursue that. In fact, I knew I wanted to be a teacher before I ever fell in love with fiction writing.  

Then of course, there’s always the option of being a tour guide in Waikiki. Or maybe I could be a hula dancer. Do you have to be Hawaiian to do that? Definitely something to look into.

Since you write romantic comedy, I'm curious...What's the funniest scene you've written in a book that happened to you in real life? 

Oh goodness—I get so much of my material from embarrassing things that actually happen to me, or that happen to people who are mean to me. Just kidding about that last part! Well, mostly. Anyway, if I had to choose, I would have to say when my character Grace passes out in an airport bathroom. You have to understand that Grace, like me, is terrified of germs, so this is pretty much her worst nightmare. Now, I haven’t actually passed out in an airport bathroom, but I do have this terrible tendency to faint after stressful doctor’s visits. Usually it goes something like this: the black spots all begin to converge in my sight right as I’m writing the check to pay. “Are you okay?” The lady at the desk asks. “You look a little pale.” Ripping out the check quicker, I reply, “Oh yeah, I’m good. Thanks.” Then I rush out to the parking lot where I put my head between my legs until my hearing returns to normal. One time my mom even had to buy me a Coke and blast the air conditioner until I felt better—thank goodness she was with me, or I might’ve hit the pavement!

Welcome to the Writer's Alley, Ashley, we are so thrilled to have you join us and share with us what you have learned on this writing journey!

If you would like to know more about Ashley visit the "Shopkeepers" page at the top of the Alley blog page or check out her blog at And you might also know Ashley is listed under the link in the sidebar of Alley agents, because...Karen Solem is her agent. Congratulations! :-)

If you watch the short video below, you'll also see Ashley (and our dear Pepper).

It'll be exciting to see what God does in the coming months and years here on the Alley!!


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Alley Cat Ashley!!!!!! We are thrilled to have you here! faint at doctor's visits? Whatever will you do when you start a family????

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Yeah Ashley!

What an excellent fit to a loving crew!

I know you'll continue to get such a warm welcome here as I did!
~ Wendy

Jeanne T said...

Ashley, it's so nice to "meet" you. I love your sense of humor. :) Maybe you can teach me to write with more humor. :) Loved reading your interview today. :)

Joanne Sher said...

Welcome, Ashley! Looking forward to getting to know you better - loved the interview!

Lindsay Harrel said...

Hi Ashley! I'm new to reading posts here so we can be new together. :) And I. Love. Mr. Darcy. End of story! :P

Angie Dicken said...

Yay!! All my favorite writer people are finding their way to the Alley! Love ya!

Unknown said...

Welcome, Ashley! I just recently found the Alley and I'm super-excited about all that I'm learning.

Btw, at my first writer's conference last fall, my first appointment was with the lovely Anne Mateer and I was so nervouse, I was stuttering. She was incredibly patient with me as I bumbled all through my "my book is about" speech. I was so in way over my head and I'll never forget her beautiful smile as she sat there, listening and not seeming like "what is she talking about" at all! :)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Welcome Ashley! What a great interview! I would totally read your Amish romance, sounds like my kind of story :) I look forward to getting to know you better and learning a lot from you!

Keli Gwyn said...

How exciting to meet the newest Alley Cat. I look forward to reading your posts, Ashley.

Pepper said...

YAY!!! So glad to have you here, Ash!
Can't wait to see how you add some spice to The Alley!

Ashley Clark said...

I'm so overwhelmed by the welcome! Thanks, everyone! And Sherrinda, luckily the fainting seems to be relegated to the dentist and gynecologist, so hopefully I'll be okay. Either that, or I'll just have to carry orange juice with me at all times. Ha!

Casey said...

Excited to have you here, Ashley and woo-hoo a great debut post!

I agree with Jeanne, hope you do a bit of teaching on comedy in writing. ;-)

Mary Vee Writer said...

You're here!
What a great first post. I'm so glad you joined the Alley Cats. Looking forward to you being here with us.

Krista Phillips said...

YEAH Ashley!!! Welcome welcome welcome!!!!!!! We are so excited to have you join us!

Sarah Forgrave said...

Yay Ashley!!! Sooo glad to welcome you here! And from a fellow germophobe, I'll bring the Germex to next year's conference. ;)

Naomi Rawlings said...

Hi Ashley, nice to meet you, and good luck on your publishing journey!