Thursday, April 11, 2013

Birthday Bash Day 11 - Andrew Ashling

Now I first met/discovered Andrew on Aarinfantasy. I started reading his series Randamor the Recluse when it was just another fic I happened to stumble upon. The series now spans 5 books, with more on the way, and Andrew is not only a published author, with several other books to his name, but he is also one of my favorite authors. His stories are not for everyone and while there are romantic aspects, his books aren’t “romance novels”. They are about adventures, they are about losses, they are about pride and its consequences, they are brutal, but they are also moving and riveting. Again, they’re not for everyone, but if you can put aside your inhibitions and open yourself to new experiences, I think you will greatly enjoy Andrew’s books. That being said, here’s Andrew!

1.) Andrew, thanks so much for stopping by. So how did you get started writing?

Hi Emily. By reading a lot. I've always loved reading. From a very young age I was interested in people and what made them tick — what made them different from me. It made me understand and appreciate a lot of different opinions, different from my own. I was also fascinated by history. Why are some civilizations successful for so long and then suddenly start to crumble? Why can some individuals almost single-handedly change the course of history and why are others crushed by it? Combine the two, a love of people and a need of understanding their destinies, and I think you've got at least part of the answer.

2.) Currently, you have 5 books out that all revolve around the same group of characters and that are all basically future chapters of one giant story. First, how did you come up with such an extensive and complicated story?

Actually I'm trying to write a world rather than a series of books. As in real life, you meet people, travel part of the road with them, lose sight of each other, meet again and so on and so forth.

Most of the story lines and situations in my books originated in the deceptively simple-seeming question, "What if?" From then on an internal logic drives the story onward.

3.) Now, you’ve got all these complicated and intricate plots, some that play out over the course of several books, you’ve got multiple romances, dozens of different POVs, how do you do it? Is it hard to keep everything straight? Does it get harder to write more books in the storyline as time goes on?

I have no firm grasp on the actual process, but characters seem to emerge with their own personalities and agendas. There is a symbiotic reaction between them and the already existing circumstances. Let's say I tell you about 30% of what I know.

I keep notes about characters, dates, places, events and the history before the books, but I only need those for exact dates or spelling of obscure places and such.

It doesn't get harder, but I feel that two trilogies will have told — for a while — the epic parts. I have (as yet) vague plans to write some novellas about events, parallel to the main action and about characters that left the main story line. I wrote a blog post about it here.

4.) What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?

I have plans for an historical novel, i.e. not historical fantasy but based on actual events. It will take a lot of research though, and I'm a bit awed by the prospect. The main lines are well known, but as always the devil is in the details and readers of historical novels are known to look up the minutest of them. I know because I am one. So it will be a challenge.

5.) Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?

Not really, though one of my least favorite genres would be the Western. I don't know why, but I guess the general setting doesn't appeal to me.

6.) So, what are you working on right now? Got any releases planned, or still writing?

Still writing on the final book of the second trilogy, "The Invisible Hands - Part 3: Mate." There will be a rather emotional and also epic finale with a calm-after-the-storm-ending which, IMHO, will nicely tie together several storylines… in a provisional ending.

7.) Alright, one last question. Do you have a favorite memory from your 21st birthday?

I remember feeling as if this should be a milestone, but actually my 18th birthday felt more special. Still, there was a definite impression that a period of my life was closing and new one beginning.

The books of this series are set in a medievalish world, but they are not our Middle Ages. Don’t expect everybody to bandy around forsooths and thous and similar parlance. In fact, these stories take place in the far future, after mankind has crawled its way back to a medieval society, after an as yet unnamed apocalyptic disaster. The main place of action, the kingdom of Ximerion, and its Northern Marches, will probably remind you of the Middle Ages in Western Europe. Other places might vaguely bring Ancient Greece to mind.

Although some would classify these books as Historical Fantasy, you won’t meet any magical creatures or dragons, talking or not. The closest we come is to a heraldic one on the coat of armor of the main character.

You need a strong stomach for this story. This is a raw, harsh world and it can’t be judged by the moral standards of our present day society. There is a lot of cruelty, though, I’m sorry to say, nothing takes place in these books that hasn’t taken place at some time, somewhere, in the long and sad history of our kind. What violence there is, isn’t gratuitous. It always serves a purpose. The same goes for the explicit gay sex scenes. There is a rape. There is a very unusual relationship between half brothers to which some might object. In that case these books are not for you. There is also romance, and friendship and loyalty, amidst political intrigue and warfare.

I’ve tried not so much to write a series of books, as to create a world you can live in. A world, I hope, you might want to revisit once in awhile. Whether I succeeded is for you to decide.

Andrew is giving away three (3) free copies of the first book of the series (full version) in either epub or mobi: "The Invisible Chains - Part 1: Bonds of Hate" Leave a comment with your email to enter. Giveaway ends April 30.

Also, don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!


Author Bio (as far as it goes):
I started writing in January 2009, mainly gay, m/m, slash, yaoi stories. I suppose, with a few exceptions, I should call them novels really.
I have no great literary ambitions. I just tell stories, and I try to do it as good as I can, hoping other people will enjoy reading them.

Most of them have explicit scenes in them, often of a rather kinky nature. But they're only the raisins in the pudding, because — as I already said — I actually enjoy telling stories. That means there always is a plot, or, more often, several plots.

I love exploring what makes people tick, what makes them do the often quirky things they do. Also, I enjoy playing with expectations, boundaries, taboos even.

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  1. Great interview. I find them ore you read the more you have your own off shoots for your stories.
    Great interview.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. It's nice to hear about something different in m/m!

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

    1. I know, it's one of the reasons I love his books, they're so unique.

  3. Loved the blurb! Please count me in. Thanks!!!


  4. Great interview, sounds like a very interesting series, can't wait to read it!


  5. Great blubs,can't wait to read these books.Thanks for the chance to win.


  6. Great interview. I will def. have to check out these books!

  7. As a fiction author, the work I enjoy reading is work that is unique, doesn't follow convention, and has an engrossing story. Andrew fills the bill. I have all of his books, so please don't enter me in the drawing. I just wanted to jump on and tell others that they need to give these books a try. He is now my favorite author, in a genre I would never read before. If you're uptight, then probably not a good fit, but if not, you are missing out if you don't read his work.

    1. I'm with you there Caddy, he's an awesome writer, and I highly recommend this series.

  8. what a wonderful interview..thank you Mr. Ashling....just stared Bonds of Hate..loving it...i have also read Don't Mess with could you not fall in love with such an amazing family of four....looking forward to reading more that you have written..:)

  9. This Birthday Bash is introducing new to me authors. Thanks for the chance to win one of your books.

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

  10. Wonderful interview. I wish you luck with the history novel you plan to write whenever you get to it. Thank you for the giveaway =)

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com