18 Apr 2015

Meet the lovely Ashley Townsend

Hi Ashley! Can you tell us a little about your latest book.
Love to! Chasing Shadows picks up where Rising Shadows left off, focusing on Sarah’s story as she travels back in time to risk her life in an effort to help her friends and uncover the murder of an ancient king…. And also to piece together the star-crossed romance with Will that she left behind. The story is fun, fast-paced, and filled with plenty of court intrigue. Oh, and a few of my favorite things: enigmatic blacksmiths, handsome Spanish lords, time travel, masquerades at the castle, dungeons, false identities, deceit, romance, friendship, inspiration, and twists and turns at every corner. Just hang on for the ride!

What inspired you to write it?

My obsession with the legend of Robin Hood and my interest in the notion of time travel inspired me to craft a story that was fun, engaging, and incorporated cultural aspects of the middle ages. But then I had an idea for this female heroine, a modern girl who would risk everything for her friends and what is right, and I couldn’t get Sarah Matthews out of my head. My desire to give this inspirational character a voice—and also see how she would react to being thrust into a different era—spurred me on to write this series. I’m so glad that I did, because I’ve learned from and grown with these characters, and I can’t help but cry and laugh with them as they make discoveries and form unlikely bonds along the way.

Is it part of a series?
This is book II in the Rising Shadows trilogy, and the final installment will release later this year. It's been both exciting to finally pen my favorite scenes that have been trapped inside my head for so long, but that joy is also laced with a little sadness at the thought of not spending every waking moment with these people who have come alive on the page. I hope that you all fall as in love with Sarah, her friends, and the land of Serimone as I have, and we can all cry and laugh together as the series comes to a close.

If your latest book was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
If anyone reading this is a movie producer, feel free to contact me to make this happen! ^_~ That’s kind of an interesting question; most authors would offer up their left leg (we need our arms for writing!) to have their books realized in the film world, but it’s a bit difficult to imagine any actor being a perfect fit for your characters. Bur I’ll do my best to give my fantasy cast. Liana Liberato’s spunk and humor in The Best of Me completely struck me as Sarah’s personality, and she definitely has the emotional range to play her. Emma Watson could absolutely pull Karen Ashmore together, because she has that petite, fairy-like yet passionate quality. Will Taylor … Well, to be honest, no one has made me go “Wow. He IS Will!” but Scott Eastwood is in the running, though he’d need darker hair (also, Ryan Bowden, who I think might be a model?). I would certainly love if Theo James would like to be my Damien Lisandro, even though he isn’t a Spaniard (Bernardo Velasco, then, if we must get technical). I have yet to cast Seth Jones, but Liam Hemsworth or Miles Teller could play Robert, Will’s endearing assistant. Finally, I would love, love for Dylan O’brien to play Prince Adrian in Chasing Shadows—the role was written with him in mind, with his emotional range and puppy dog eyes.
Have a recommendation for my cast of characters? Shoot me an email or tag @TownsendTales and #DreamCast on Twitter. ashleytownsend.author@yahoo.com

What made you want to become an author?

I’ve known I wanted to write since I turned eight, but my life changed when my baby sister went through a bout of leukemia. I would spend hours with her in the hospital as the doctors poked and prodded and tested her, and I distracted her by telling stories. Each story was about a hero or heroine who conquered great odds by determination and inner strength. When I saw how these “silly” stories gave Katie hope to press on, I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life immersed in words, entertaining and encouraging others through inspirational characters who overcome daunting situations.

Name one of your all-time favourite book covers?

Ooh, The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (also the European version with the red dress). It’s to die for! And also the cover of Chasing Shadows. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be allowed to choose my own book. But I was able to design the cover with the incredibly talented R.L. Carter and have simply fallen in love with all of the little details he put into the final work. Drool worthy!

Name one book that made you think 'wow'? Why did it have such an effect on you?
Plenty of books impact me in that way, but All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terill stands out because it left me completely drained of emotion, and each time I read it, I cry at the end and spend an hour after I finish just staring at the ceiling. I was drawn to the time travel aspect of it, since my own series centers on this concept, but I also love it because of the way Terill can pack so much emotional depth into every page and make readers feel the torment Em experiences over the decision she must make to save the future.

Who, or what, inspires you?
Everything, and I really mean that. Movies, television, other books. I love people watching, and their expressions or emotions can trigger a character idea, an entire scene, anything. Music and nature also act as my inspiration—I listen to music of certain intensities while I write to get me into the moment of a scene, and the outdoors completely gives me a backdrop for how I want to frame certain chapters.

Where is your favourite place to write?
My bedroom, usually. I’ll just close the door and put some headphones on to crack down and write. I love writing outside too, but I get easily distracted by nature and I always end up taking my hands off the keyboard and writing an entire chapter in my head. It will seem amazing as it plays out behind my closed lids, but then I can’t think of how to reframe it on paper after 30 minutes of daydreaming. -_- Its very frustrating.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Probably a tie between The Maze Runner and Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. I know, total opposites. But I’ve seen The Maze Runner four or five times since it came out not too long ago, and each time it’s still exciting and nerve-wracking. It takes serious skill to put viewers into the movie, causing them to sit on the edge of their seats when they know what’s coming, and it’s also entirely unique in the bowl of mass-produced dystopians lately. And although I’m not really a huge Sparks fan, Safe Haven is actually a really great romantic movie with some mystery thrown in, and I’m actually not embarrassed to recommend this one! ;-)

Who is your favourite author (s) and why?
Marissa Meyer because of the way she imagined the incredible world and plot structure for the Lunar Chronicles; Brodi Ashton for making me cry so hard over a villain in Evertrue; Marie Rutkoski for her world development in The Winner’s Curse and the blessed donation of Arin to fangirls everywhere; finally, Megan Shepherd for recreating Victorian Age madness, Frankenstein, and for scaring the pant’s off me at times. Bravo-Shepherd!

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Ooh, ooh. I love this question (begin long list)! I just finished writing a paper on Elizabeth Gaskell for my literature course, and I would want to pick her brain because she was an independent female author and seemed completely unafraid to express her opinion and be unique. I’d also like to tell her I’m in love with John Thornton (North and South). Who doesn’t love cravats and top hats?! Jane Austen would be amazing to meet, and I’d like to tell her, “Buck up! Forget the criticism—you’ll be incredibly popular someday.” I’d like to chat with Charles Dickens, an ancestor of mine, and tell him to lighten up, and also meeting the Brontë sisters would be stupendous; their writing is absolutely incredible and a bit revolutionary for its time. Lastly, Megan Shepherd, author of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy and the only living person on this list. She has a wonderfully dark mind but is also absolutely hilarious, and I would love to bounce ideas off her.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I believe clowns are terrifying and used only for evil, I love peanut butter and lemons (not necessarily together), I’m a total sci-fi/fantasy nerd, and Captain America is my PB&J. I’ll also be one of the authors with a “Professional” badge at San Diego Comic Con this year in July, so keep an eye out for me or give me a shout out if you’ll be there!
Hint: I might be dressed as a mashup of characters from Chasing Shadows.

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live.
Well, the San Diego area has plenty to do, but my favorite things would probably be exploring Torrey Pines, wandering Fashion Valley, and eating truffles from Spreckles on Coronado Island, where Some Like it Hot was actually filmed. Also, I hadn’t realized until this past year how many authors are in this area, so it has been fun and exciting to get the chance to connect with some incredible writers. 

Ashley is a young twenty-something who has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination and love of storytelling could make a career. Reading and writing are her way of experiencing grand adventures from home, and she hopes that others will join in her fantastical escapades! She is a native to bookstores, coffee shops, the kitchen, and Southern California. She also has an unexplainable aversion to clowns and describes outlines as a “proverbial noose.” Her first book Rising Shadows is available on ebook formats, and Chasing Shadows is out in paperback. Follow her quirkiness on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and ashley-townsend.com.

Be sure to check out the tabs for Chasing Shadows, with all the fun extras, playlists, and character interviews on my website.



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