Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour: Amanda Ashby

Don't forget to go to The Crossroads Main Page 
for the question of the day and 
links to all the other blogs (EACH of us has swag to give away!! 
Go HERE to enter to win one of my two piles of lovely treasures!)
OH--and don't forget to comment on one (or more!) of The Crossroads Tour posts for a chance to win a SIGNED copy of ghostgirl:LOVESICK by Tonya Hurley (sooooo awesome!!)!

For this beautiful Saturday, we have Amanda Ashby joining us! Let's give this awesome writer a huge round of applause (and some lovely comments!). Her blog HERE is filled with great info. She tells a little bit about herself, besides the fact that she thinks Josh Whedon is a genius and David Boreanaz is a god (we completely agree):
      Amanda Ashby was born in Australia, has spent eight years in England and currently lives in New Zealand. When she's not moving country, she also likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let's just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)
      She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. As well as writing, she works part-time at the children/teen desk of her local library, which basically means that someone pays her to talk about books. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her current book Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library's Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 as well as being nominated for the YALSA popular paperback 2011.

Someone accidentally did a spell that turned a bunch of people into zombies. What can we do to survive a zombie attack?

Well obviously the first thing we need to do is make sure the person who did the spell is severely punished because seriously, who would turn people into zombies???? And while we’re at it, any authors who think it is cool to encourage such irresponsible behaviour should also be punished!!!!! (I know, right? Terrible.) But apart from that we would obviously need lots of water, since, little known fact, zombies hate water. Of course digging a moat around our house isn’t going to stop them, since they love flesh more than they hate water, but it would definitely slow them down and allow us time to throw sharp objects at their head! (I'll be sure to stock up on water and sharp objects)

What are you working on these days?
I’ve almost finished the third book in a mid-grade trilogy about an eleven year old girl who gets turned into a djinn(genie) the day before she starts sixth grade. She then has to master her new powers with the help of her dead djinn guide (who looks like Zac Efron’s older brother and is addicted to Cheetos). We don’t have a title yet but it should be out in 2012. I also have a YA book out in Jun 2011 called Fairy Bad Day, which is full of invisible killer fairies! (ooh, sounds awesome!)

Tell us about your journey to publication.
Like all writers, I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a writer. Okay, not really. In fact, despite being good at English and actually doing a degree in English and Journalism, I had no idea I wanted to be a writer until I was in my late twenties. Then, on a complete whim, I decided to write a book. It was aimed at Harlequin Mills and Boon and I wrote it in a month. It was also completely awful, but of course by that time the damage had been done and I set about learning everything I could. I tried loads of different lines and wrote loads of books until I found my voice. I had a few near misses but then when my dad died five years ago, I spent his entire funeral having an imaginary conversation with him. Okay, I know it sounds weird, but it was the only thing that got me through a pretty awful day. Then about three weeks after the funeral I had an idea about a dead girl who wouldn’t stop talking and I quite literally couldn’t write the book fast enough. Even better, after years of rejection, I suddenly landed an amazing agent who went on to sell the book within two weeks. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself that it actually happened! (Wow--I love stories like that! Congratulations!)

Since you’ve been published, what’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you?
The very first review that I ever got was for Romantic Times and it was for You Had Me at Halo (you know, the book about the dead girl who wouldn’t stop talking). They gave me 4 ½ stars and made it a top pick and I can’t begin to tell you how thrilling that was. It also made the entire review thing a lot easier, since it’s always nice to get the good reviews in before the bad ones!!!!!

Where do you do the majority of your writing?
I can’t possibly show you a picture because trust me when I tell you that no one wants to see a grown woman sitting in bed with a laptop! Unfortunately, I share my house with two kids and a husband who has far too many musical instruments, which means that I literally have no writing space at all, so, like a cat, I follow the sun around the house, and most of the time, that means sitting on the bed!!!!! (Hey, nothing wrong with that.)

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
So much advice that I long to give aspiring authors and almost none of it is useful. What I will say is that you MUST hold onto that thing deep in your belly that made you want to do it in the first place. For some people it’s an easy road, but for most of us it’s long and torturous and a lot of the time, the only thing that will keep you going is that tiny spark that will not be extinguished. (Amen!) 

What do you listen to when writing? 
Right now I’m obsessed with Florence and the Machine. Like seriously, I might have to turn into a crazy stalker person (okay, not really because I’m far too lazy to be a good stalker), but I really do love Florence and the Machine and I urge everyone to listen to her!!!!

This book trailer totally made me laugh (and reminded me of a zombified Gumby)!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Amanda! Looking forward to reading about those killer fairies!


  1. Yes, the zombies reminded me of Gumby only a little. But it was a cute trailer. Very different from any I've seen. I think anything that got you through your father's funeral is fine, whether it was a conversation with him or a dead girl or a kangaroo. Tough day, strange emotional state, whatever helps.

    Thanks for the tips on fighting zombies should I ever come across one.

    I'm hoping to go to bookstore tomorrow and pick up a copy of the Prom Queen.

    Really Good Questions! Great interview.


  2. Mary - thanks for the great questions! I had so much fun answering them!!!

    Buried in Books - yes, it was definitely a day of extremes. It actually wasn't until the first anniversary of his death that it even sunk in that he was gone (and actually, my dad lived on ten acres and there were quite a few kangaroos that would come down to his dam, so perhaps they could've helped as well!!!)