Recently I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ashley Howland from Adelaide, Australia.  Our virtual friendship has unfolded in a natural series of steps.  We both have two children’s books that have been published recently.  In an effort to get to know her better and learn more about her books, I asked her a few questions.

Author Ashley Howland

1. When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?

I have always loved to write, but I took a long time to let anyone actually read my work. When I was working as a teacher I would write stories with my class and it was always a lot of fun. Eventually I decided to do a writing course, which was fantastic. It gave me the confidence to let others read my stories.

Another big factor was my dog – Obi. He is the star of my second book (Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist). He has had such an amazing impact on my life and the lives of others. I simply wanted to share him with the word

and now I have.

2. Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:

I just completed the NaNoWriMo challenge – 50 000 words in a month. I’m very excited that I actually completed it. My story was a re write of one I had done earlier. I was in the process of editing and realised there was too much to do. So I put the manuscript away and sorted out some notes. From there I completely re wrote the story. Now I can put the two together and come up with a complete version. It is called ‘It’s What You do Next That Counts’

This is a year in the life of a teenage girl. It starts badly; she makes the move from Canada to Australia following the unfortunate death of her parents. It is a journey of discovery as Callie strives to find a place to call home.

3. What are your future aspirations as an author?

World Domination!!!! No not really, writing is and will always be a hobby for me. I love doing it and love sharing my stories with everyone. I do have some goals though. Next year I am aiming to have three books finished and in the publishing process. I have one ready to go (The Home Work Goblin) and two that need editing (It’s What You Do Next That Counts and Obi the Super Puppy and the Quest for the Last Laugh). So I have lots of work to do. I have also started compiling the stories I write with each of my daughters. I would love to publish these all together for each of them. I also have lots of new ideas buzzing at the moment. So I am hopefully of a few more drafts completed in the next twelve months.

I also love doing blog challenges and am looking into a few more writing challenges. I found during the NaNoWriMo that even though I don’t have much free time I can actually find time to write! This is actually very exciting!

4. Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?

My family and my work provide me with plenty of material. My two girls inspire me every day and they write stories with me. They are fantastic and have such wonderful imaginations.

I work for Labs ‘n Life which is a not for profit organization, we work with at risk youth to train Labrador Retrievers as companion dogs for children with autism. This means I get to take my two boys – Obi and Stitch and a whole host of other Labradors to work with young people. As you can imagine there is never a dull moment. In fact I’m pretty sure Obi thinks Labs ‘n Life is his very own super hero training camp!!!!

5. What do you do to improve yourself and a writer?

I originally did a writing course and then I completed an editing course. These were the two major things I have done to improve myself as a writer. My editing still needs work, but that also comes with practice. I also read a lot. I am a firm believer that you can always get better at anything you do. I am very proud of my first two books and hope that with each book my writing style improves.


Jan Watford
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Jan Watford

Manager at JCW Prism LLC
artist, author, illustrator
Jan Watford
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