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Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Writing the Story is Only the Starting Point: Author Interview with Ashly Curren

You’ve now published two picture books, but what made you decide to start writing the first one?

My mom always told me if I ever had a good idea I should write it down, so in 2019 I had an idea for the butt chin book. My entire family, myself included all have “butt” (or cleft) chins. It was something I was so self-conscious of growing up. This idea to write a book to help kids find confidence in their flaws, specifically their chins, 
popped into my head several times before I finally wrote it down. I remember shrugging it off at first – thinking not every random thought that pops into my head is brilliant, but at one point I remember googling “butt chin books for kids” and found nothing – so I finally wrote the idea down. A few weeks later I sat down and wrote the first manuscript for “A What Chin?”

You publish as an indie author, but you’re not an illustrator. How did you go about finding an illustrator? What advice can you give in going through that process.
I generally have an idea of what I want my illustrations to look like in my head. I am a big picture book advocate, with elementary age kids – so we read a lot of children’s books. Then I started the hunt – I searched illustrators on Facebook, Instagram, and google illustrators from my favorite kid’s books. Ultimately though, I found my illustrator on Instagram and connected with her via email and zoom before finalizing a contract.

What do you know now about publishing you wished you had known sooner?
When I published my first book I thought – I have a completely original, million-dollar idea. I really thought once I got it out in the world it would just take off and I would be the author of a very popular kid’s book. I think a lot of us writers ,who believe in our stories, think that – but I wasn’t prepared for the marketing. That is the real key to success.

I also wish I had known that a lot of “expert advice givers” are just marketer’s themselves – not all of them can guarantee results, I myself am the only one that can guarantee my own success. I spent a lot of money with my first book that I did not need to “consulting” “experts” that had no pay off in the end.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?

Write something every day – It’s so true that if you write every day your stories get better, and your imagination is more vibrant. The second story I published was put on hold several times prior to publication. When I paused the timeline, I stopped writing because I wasn’t sure when I would be able to publish another book. It’s hard to get those creative juices rolling once they're gone.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
I think writing and storytelling are different .  Sometimes I think the best books are not written by the best writers, but they’re from the best story tellers who know who they're writing to. So don’t compare you’re writing abilities to others.

What is the next book coming out? 
I have a few manuscripts that I would love to push forward but nothing currently is in the works to release just yet.

That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to learn more about Ashly's books, here are some links to get you started.
Amazon Author Page:
If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can get both those stories as eBooks for free!

Want to get a free eBook, but not subscribed to KU? Here's a link to a free eBook on Amazon.

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