Ainsley Brooks's first book The Star Prophecy release this week. I've known the virtual Ainsley for a couple of years and wanted to know more about her writing. I figured you would, too.
Q: Your novel is fantasy romance, but not urban fantasy. What’s the difference as you see it?
A: I think fantasy has been around forever. When the earliest bards passed on stories of epic battles, magic, monsters, and heroes-- those tales are what we would today call “fantasy.”. I’m not sure about the origins of urban fantasy, but I think of author Jim Butcher’s character, Harry Dresden, as being its ambassador. I think urban fantasy has the same epic stakes, but the setting is modern day. My setting, both time and place, is completely fictional, but the feel is Medieval. If you’re thinking I’m probably not a fan of research, you are correct.
Q: What made you want to write fantasy romance?
A: I love the tales of King Arthur’s court, but the primary romance there didn’t exactly end with a happy ever after. I adored The Lord of the Rings, but the romantic elements in that tale were minimal and, to my mind, unsatisfying. I couldn’t help wondering what that story would be like, particularly the character of Eowyn, in the hands of a romance author. As much as I enjoy those stories, I felt like something was missing. It’s that gap, I think, that drew me to write fantasy romance. But I also wanted the heroines to save the day. You won’t find any damsels in distress in my books. Aerdrin, my heroine in The Star Prophecy, may not fight with a sword, but she can throw fire and make the very earth shake, so she’s got plenty of street cred in the badass warrior department.
Q: Why did you choose self publishing over traditional publishing?
A: Fate made the choice for me. In September, my husband got corporate downsized. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for five years, during that time I tinkered with and polished my novel. Since there’s not a lot of demand for master laundry coordinators or temper tantrum negotiators, writing is my only marketable skill. My family didn’t have time for me to query agents and editors, wait for acceptances, and then wait another year (best case scenario) for my book to make it into the marketplace. I had a completed manuscript in hand, so my husband and I made the decision to self publish. The need to eat is an awfully effective motivator.
Q: What’s your writing process like?
A: Total chaos. With a five year old and a two year old in the house, organization and planning are necessary survival skills, but I can let all that go in my writing. I’m not a plotter. The idea of sitting down to write a book and opening up a spreadsheet program to plan out scenes and character details makes my head hurt. I sit down to write, and I write. It’s incredibly inefficient and requires revision and rewriting on a massive scale, but that’s my process. I tried a more methodical approach to my writing, and I got nowhere, so I’ve learned to accept that this is how I write, and I go with it. No matter how you write, there is a magic to story telling, and whatever form that magic takes, it must be respected.
Q: How did you celebrate the release of your debut novel?
A: I went Christmas shopping. No, I don’t consider that a treat. During the two months before the Star Prophecy was released, I spent twelve to eighteen hours a day, usually seven days a week, doing rewrites and edits, marketing, and learning about self publishing. That left no time for shopping. I did have to fight the urge, more than once, to say to store check out clerks, “Guess what! I’m a published author.”
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’ve asked Santa for a nap, and when I wake up, I want to read all the books that I haven’t been able to read while I was finishing up on my own book. Then I want to spend a week just playing with my kids. After that, I know I’ll be itching to get back to writing. I hope to release the second book in The Daughters of Prophecy series in mid 2014.
Ainsley Brooks is the author of The Star Prophecy: Book One of The Daughters of Prophecy. In addition to writing, she is Mommy to two little redheads. In her free time ... Actually, she doesn’t have free time. Visit her at http://ainsleybrooks.com, because she has been known to give up sleep in favor of chatting about books with online friends.
Available from iBooks and other retailers soon.