Columbus, Ohio is a hotbed of artistic energy. It may surprise some to hear that, but it’s true. We have artists, writers, musicians; we even have a nationally recognized art school.
I love it here. There’s always interesting festivals going on and plenty of inspiration to fuel my writing soul. It’s also always nice to be able to meet so many great writers.
One of those writers is Ash K. Alexander. Ash is a talented writer of fantasy, paranormal, and horror. She has published a multitude of books under the pen name of Missouri Dalton, and shows no sign of letting up.
Now she is taking a brave step into the world of independent publishing to help get her newest Steampunk trilogy, Rules of Engagement, out into the world and hopefully into your library!
The first book of the trilogy is called Rule of Sword. Ash K. Alexander describes it as a “story about a girl who doesn’t really know who she is or what she wants out of life. It’s set in an alternate world where Ireland rose to power instead of England, the common tongue is Gaelic and shows the rise of technology in a steam-punk fashion.”
M.P. McVey: You have written a lot of young adult and fantasy, some may even considered to be a blend of fantasy and erotica … basically meaning hobbit porn. Your next endeavor is a Steampunk series. What was it that compelled you to make this leap?
Ash K. Alexander: My first love has always been YA, and it seemed like the right time to start branching out. I’m starting a new phase in my Night Shift series, I have a high fantasy novel scheduled for December release and I just wanted to get back to the roots of what I love.
M.P. McVey: In the past you have been published by Torquere Press and Prizm Books, yet with your new venture, you have decided to publish yourself with the aid of Kickstarter. What was it that made you jump ship and swim with all the indie authors/sharks?
Ash K. Alexander: I love my publishers, but I’ve never had an agent. I’ve built my name without one but to break into YA mainstream it seems you have to have one. Two years and two dozen rejections later I decided it was time to publish Charlie–and if I had to do it myself I would.
M.P.: How is your experience with Kickstarter thus far? What would you change about the site if you were given the chance? Do you recommend this route to other, less experienced authors?
Ash: The kickstarter platform is great actually. I’ve been having a heck of a time with the app, though. I think if you want to go this route you better know exactly what you are doing.
Publishing is hard work. It requires specific skill sets. Not all writers are equipped for it. And not all realize they can do it with help.
M.P.: Rules of Engagement, your upcoming Steampunk trilogy, centers around a 14-year old girl named Charlotte Ridley. She seems like a pretty tough teenager. What can you tell readers about your heroine?
Ash: Charlie is pretty tough. She survives a shipwreck and venomous eels–and then decides to be a soldier. Charlie wants to make her father proud–and prove him wrong. She loves fencing, and is determined to be the best fencer she can be. She’s also gifted with magic. Shadow magic, the ability to manipulate shadows, light small fires and manipulate small gusts of wind. It’s this power that lends her to a different line of work entirely–spy.
M.P.: Do you think there is a lack of strong female characters in the world of books? And who was your favorite heroine as a young reader?
Ash: I think there are some amazing heroines out there, but they aren’t Charlie. I wanted a girl who really questioned stereotypes. Someone smart, with strong principles but uncertain morals.
My favorite heroine growing up was Harry, from The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.
M.P.: Looking at your Amazon page, you seem to have written a ton of books. Are you a machine? When do you find time to sleep and eat?
Ash: I plug myself in to recharge.
M.P.: You have the first two books of your trilogy(Rule of Sword and Rule of Shadow) almost ready to roll out. Do you already know how it will all end in the third installment? How do you work out the whole trilogy plotting?
Ash: I sort of know. Of course, I’m more of pantser than a plotter. I’ve got general ideas about what is going to happen but the in between stuff is all up in the air.
And then there’s the planned books after the trilogy, which I have two plots for, from different characters.
M.P.: Where do you find inspiration for the characters and worlds that you build through your writing? Does Columbus, Ohio ever play the role of muse for you, whether it be the citizens or city itself?
Ash: I tend to take inspiration from traveling, history, books, movies and music. But every day is an opportunity for the muse. You never really know what offhandedly remark or minor event will effect you until it does.
M.P.: Do you ever picture your books being made into movies? Who would you like to see play the character of Charlotte Ridley?
Ash: I think we all do that. As far as casting goes… Perhaps Saoirse Ronan. It’s hard to say really.
M.P.: You are also known for doing your own cover art–which is beautiful work by the way–do you ever rent out your talents to other authors?
Ash: Ah sometimes. I do commissions on occasion and I’m always up to do cover art.
M.P.: Do you ever feel strained by your dual role as an author and artist? Which takes precedence?
Ash: I tend to flip between the two on a weekly basis. Some days I need to paint some days I need to write.
M.P.: When can we expect to see the first book of the Rules of Engagement trilogy in print? Will the second book be released simultaneously, or will your readers have to wait with baited breaths?
Ash: March is the expected release for book one. May for book two.
M.P.: And finally, what book are you currently reading, and what book is in your “on deck” circle?
Ash: Blow of Olympus is on deck, I don’t have a ‘currently reading’. I’ve been a bit busy.
Rule of Sword –
An orphaned girl takes her supposedly dead brother’s place to become an officer in the Queen’s army, only to end up a spy instead.
Fourteen-year-old Charlotte Ridley is shipwrecked, and while she loses her last surviving relative, elder brother Edmund, she gains the chance of a lifetime.
Washed ashore on the island of Lochlan, home to the Crown’s Lochlan Officer Academy, Charlotte takes on a new identity as the last male heir of the Ridley line.
As Charles, she trains hard to become the officer she always wanted to be–and the spy she never dreamed she could be. With war on the horizon pressure mounts, Charlotte is going to have to decide if she will take to the field of battle or step into a world filled with shadows.
If you would like to help fund the Rules of Engagement trilogy, you can visit Ash K. Alexander’s Kickstarter page at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1823106879/rules-of-engagement-books-one-and-two — She has a lot of great and creative rewards for all those who pledge.
You can also stop by her blog at http://missouridalton.blogspot.com to see reviews of and to purchase her previously published works. And follow her on twitter @MissouriDalton .