Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Interview: Ashlee McNicol

This isn’t a game anymore.
The fall of the Safe Havens is close. A series of keys have been lost throughout the Four Worlds, causing our wildest dreams to come to life. As deceptions fuse with the truth, one girl is chosen to follow her people’s legacy and unlock the secrets that keep the worlds bound. These secrets are just the beginning, for she unravels a puzzle that she never could have imagined.
Led by a mysterious entity and a series of magical objects, she journeys to the unknown to meet the ones who started it all. However, defying magic comes with some consequences, as she risks exposing her secret. On this quest, failure is not an option, for once she starts, she can’t go back. There is nowhere to go. They are coming for her.
Interview with Ashlee McNicol
Gladden: What inspired you to begin writing?
McNicol: I started writing when I was second grade by a mere glance at a window suggesting that I should “write a book.” The thought was delightful to me, and I have been writing ever since. My fantasy worlds have only just began.

Gladden: Would you classify your writing more as plot driven or character driven?

McNicol: I would have to say more character driven because the characters lead my stories. Half of the time, they don’t listen to me anyway! I have to force them to stick with the same plot. Yet, when I do that, the story deteriorates. I just have to let them be and let them do what they were made to do. 

Gladden: Can you tell us a little about your main character?

 McNicol: The main character in the Secrets of Ghastillanda Series is an eighteen-year-old girl named Mrsorri Hall. She is a resilient girl of many shades. She is often referred to as a survivor and as the homage goes, she will do anything to survive.

Gladden: Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book.

McNicol: The Four Worlds are breaking apart, and only one person can bring them together. Yet, she can’t do it without the help of some very strange pieces in the game of Ghastillanda.

Gladden: What do you hope readers take away from your book?

McNicol: I want to inspire young kids to dig into imagination. From the book in specific, I want them to learn more about the societies present between the Four Worlds. I hope to get them to think critically and investigate how these worlds were created. I want them to envision things with their mind and picture the fantasy setting.

Gladden: Now for a few fun questions! What song best describes your writing style?

 McNicol: I am going to have to say Sail by Awolnation. It gets me pumped and exerts action into the pages. The same themes are present in my book.

Gladden: Night Owl or Early Bird?

McNicol: I love sleep, but I know I am much more inclined to stay up into the wee hours of the night versus waking up at ungodly hours during the weekend. I vote Night Owl! Good question.

Gladden: Skittle or M&Ms?

McNicol: Peanut M&Ms! Love chocolate and peanut butter together. YUM.

Gladden: Who are your favorite authors?

McNicol: I am most influenced by young adult fantasy writers because I feel they really help kids expand their imaginations and live in different worlds. My particular favorites include Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins, and J.K. Rowling, of course. I love their writing, and am constantly inspired by the voices they use when portraying characters. Their premises are unique. That intrigues me, and makes me want to keep reading more. 

Gladden: Can you tell us about your future projects?

McNicol: I have several in the works at the moment, but the series itself is expecting some giant twists and turns in the next couple of books. The main character, Mrsorri, will be unlocking a series of secrets as the books go along, and you will slowly figure out where she came from and why she has her secret in the first place.  

About the Author
Ashlee spent her childhood bringing imagination to life by writing short stories that she converted to books with the help of some glue, paper, and staples. By the time she was nine, she completed hundreds of short stories that soon lined the shelves in the local Washington state elementary library.
Those short stories shaped her writing career, which has now launched to include over fifty full-length young adult novels, waiting to be read. Ashlee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Eastern New Mexico University and serves as her own publicist. Currently, she is crafting the Secrets of Ghastillanda Series and hopes to have all five books released by the end of 2015. You can expect this to happen because if you know her personally, you know she never backs down from a challenge.