Ash Krafton was stalking me. Well, that's an exaggeration but at BaltiCon this past May, I received notice that Ash had suddenly become a fan of mine on Goodreads. I recognized the name and checked the BaltiCon guest list. Sure enough, I was scheduled to share an autograph session with her and Dr. Yoji Kondo (who writes fiction under the pen name, Eric Kotani) later that day.
When I arrived, what I encountered was a beautiful, bubbly blonde bursting with more energy than your average supernova...and a basket full of heart shaped cookies to help promote her new book, Bleeding Hearts: Book One of the Demimonde. Ash Krafton was the hurricane at the table. No, more like a maelstrom. There may still be a vortex at the Hunt Valley Marriott's foyer in her wake. I'll check when I go back for Shore Leave next month.
That hour was in fact, the most entertaining of the entire convention and I was disappointed to see it end so quickly. It was almost as if Ash and I had known one another forever, so comfortable were we with ribbing each other. I'm glad that Ash was able to join us on this 4th of July to talk about her writing.
First, tell us where we can find you online.
I'm splattered all over the
Spec Fic Chick: http://ashkrafton.com
Plus Tumblr and Pintrest and probably a bunch of other places I forget to visit.
You’re quite the prolific poet! What themes are most prevalent in your poetry and why?
I like the word prolific--thank you for that. I began writing poetry to help sort out my writer's thought: what's good for my novels, what's not so good. Poetry fulfilled a lot of needs for me. It's my solution for writer's block, it's my happy place when I need to get something untangled from my brain, it's my version of verbal photography, a way to capture a brief image and what that image imprinted on me.
I have a speculative fiction heart and a desperate soul. These kinds of qualities often lead to darker themes in my poetry. I also have a macabre sense of humor so I like the twisted stuff. Darkness is a thing of beauty to me: like a wide-screen TV, it's the black that colors the rest of the world in high definition.
And you’re no slacker on the short fiction side either. Do you write flash fiction or primarily short story length pieces? What are some of your most memorable stories?
I honestly try to make everything flash length but I talk too much. (Don't know if you've noticed that about me.)
As a result, my work falls more in short story length. Memorable stories? I'm fond of "So Long, Warren" (Red Penny Papers ) because I'm very influenced by music…I like "Anamnesis" (Silver Blade) because I REALLY want to develop a novel around it but I'm trying to restrain myself. I also really enjoyed working with the editorial teams of both these publications—Katie and Sue are marvelously talented and they made my work better.
Your debut novel, Bleeding Hearts: Book One of the Demimonde, was just released from Pink Narcissus Press (March 11, 2012). What inspired this urban fantasy?
As cliché as it sounds, I dreamed the premise. I awoke with the tagline "Saving the world…one damned person at a time" and an idea of who the hero, Marek, was. However, what I originally intended to write was superceded by the story, which had a mind of its own. It turned out well despite my intentions.
I love the paranormal so I view today's abundance of vampire stories as both a blessing and a curse. The curse part, I suppose, is the fact that, although I am first and foremost a reader, I am also a writer—which means I subscribe to the Writer's Mantra: I believe I can do it better than anyone else.
I don't mean I can write Anita Blake better than Laurell K. Hamilton. I don't mean I can write Sookie Stackhouse better than Charlaine Harris. What I do mean is I can best write the story I want to read most of all—and that's what I set out to do every time I open a Word Document.
It's tough to write in a crowded genre but I'm happy exploring the world in my head and talking with the voices that hang out in there. I hope readers find something fresh in my stories and I'm glad to know there are so many people out there who are anxiously waiting for more.
What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?
You started writing because you have a drive to get things down on paper. You must remember to write because you want to write and don't stop because someone tells you to stop—or crits you in the slightest way.
Join a writers community: I highly recommend the forum at Query Tracker. if you are an aspiring novelist who is aiming at publication. Query Tracker is dedicated to writers seeking an agent but the forum has all levels of writers, some agented, some indie published.
And did I say persevere? Because you won't get anywhere if you don't keep going.
What does Ash Krafton do when she isn’t writing?
Laundry. My family changes clothes more often than
I cook, too. I'm a tremendous sucker for ethnic food. Polish, Indian, Spanish, German…not so much French because a) I can't speak French and b) I imagine if I did there would be a lot of spit in the pot. French seems like a highly-salivating language. Even using an over-done French accent at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire one year left me spitted to the point of dehydration.
Oh yeah, I'm a Ren Faire fan, too. *waves to Ima and Marquis*
What can readers expect next from you?
Some short work coming out over the summer—Bete Noire #7 contains my poem "The House Darlingtonia" while editors of the Mad Scientist Journal are preparing "Application of the Scientific Method to Family Management". My story "Tempered" is in Nine #2 and there's a bunch of poetry coming out in various journals soon. I also made short-list at Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine—fingers crossed!
Also, Book Two of the Demimonde is under way…BLOOD RUSH will be published in early 2013 (so hopefully we can share another table at Balticon 47. Muhahaha…you've been warned, Phil).
Phil wonders: Can I handle that again?
I'm proud to say my editors will show Bleeding Hearts at
While I plan to spend the summer working on Book Three of the Demimonde, I am confident I will be distracted, as always, by writing the short stuff. With luck, I can convince someone to print some of it.
Readers can find out more by stopping by my blog for updates and events. I've recently been introduced to the joys on conning (conferencing and coventioning) so hopefully I'll be getting more face-time with new readers soon. At any rate, it keeps me out of the laundry room so it's bound to be a fun time.
Phil knows only too well how much fun I have at conventions so he can vouch for me. J
Phil says: OOOOH, YES I DO!
Thanks for the chat, Phil. I appreciate the chance to talk about my work and I hope to see you sometime soon!
- Current Mood: cheerful