This bird keeps dive-bombing my office window. Every time it does, I rush to the window and stare at it menacingly. It mocks me from its branch. I’d send Dave out to take care of it, but … He’s pretty useless. Oh, I know, I know. No more whining and writing (true) things about Dave. If you insist. Well, how about another author interview instead? You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Fine. Without further ado, I give you …
An interview with the genre crossing Ashley Goss, author of Rise of the Blood Lust.
Rise of the Blood Lust takes place in a world ridden with vampires. The Blood Takers, a particularly nasty group of vampires, aim to prove their superiority over humanity. They leave thousands slaughtered and drained in the streets throughout Kentucky. But not all vampires are bad. The Guardians plan to rescue humankind and put a stop to the Blood Takers. Unfortunately, this is a task they can’t succeed at until they find Sasha, a young woman destined to wipe out the Blood Takers, rid the world of evil, and save humanity.
RJ: What initially inspired your love of writing? Was there a particular book or person that got you hooked on it?
GOSS: I started writing around the seventh grade but only short poems. There are a couple of books that made me strive to make my readers feel all the “Feels.” Those books were pretty much anything written by Nicholas Sparks and then, most recently, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. When I was reading Me Before You, every chapter made me feel a different way, which was great. One chapter, I’d be laughing hysterically and then the next bawling my eyes out.
RJ: You don’t confine yourself to a single genre as far as writing. Are your reading habits similar? What genres do you find most compelling?
GOSS: I read across all genres, but most of my bookshelf is young adult and new adult romance. I do read mysteries, thrillers, and pretty much anything that peaks my interest, including fantasy.
RJ: Is writing a full-time job for you, or do you have to juggle it with another job?
GOSS: I do work a full-time job during the day and write every night. I have a strict writing schedule that I stick to every week. This makes my goals attainable.
RJ: I want to talk a little about your new series, the first book of which is already out: Rise of the Bloodlust. What inspired you to start the series, and how has the writing process differed from writing standalone novels?
GOSS: This whole series came about from a nightmare I had. The morning after was a Saturday, thankfully, and I spent the whole next two days outlining the series. For a couple of weeks, I would dream every night of different scenes from the book.
The writing process is much different than standalone, because you must have adequate character development, pacing, and action going throughout the entire series. This means you really need to have the entire series mapped out before writing just one book. This helped me stay on track and do a better job with foreshadowing.
RJ: The second book in the Rise series is due out later this year. Can you tell us anything at all about what we can expect or are you keeping it pretty close-to-the-chest right now?
GOSS: Right now, I haven’t even announced the release date for it. I am shooting for October, around Halloween. I have not leaked any information about the second book and with good reason. I don’t want anyone to ruin the first book with spoilers. So, right now I am keeping it close. I will be doing a big announcement in May with the official release date and book trailer.
RJ: In addition to the Rise series, you’re working on a mystery. Has this been a genre you’ve been wanting to get into for a while?
GOSS: The mystery novel, Zoe’s Family Secrets, has been a novel I have been mapping out for the last two years. I have always wanted to write in this genre, but I want to make sure it’s perfect before I release it. This is crucial, since I do not typically write in this genre. There are a lot of expectations when someone picks up a mystery novel; I need to make sure I meet those expectations before I publish. Stay tuned for a release date!
RJ: Do you have different writing processes for different genres or are you pretty consistent across the board?
GOSS: Well, with the romance genre, it’s straightforward. There is minimal research involved. I usually start by writing a short blurb about the book. From there, I outline the entire book by chapter before I start the formal writing process.
The vampire series process was completely different. I had to create a world that wasn’t familiar, per say. I needed to do research about the year it was set in, because some of the book is set in the past. I needed to make sure I used relevant information in that part of the book. I did a lot of research on vampires and words used to describe them. Aside from needing to outline the entire series before I started writing the first book, the overall writing process was the same.
The mystery genre … This one I feel has been the hardest writing process for me. The reason why, like I mentioned earlier, is that there are certain expectations when someone picks up a mystery novel. They want clues left throughout the book to lead them to the outcome. You must figure out exactly when and how to place those clues throughout the book in such a way that they are not so obvious. This makes the writing process harder, for sure.
RJ: After you release your first mystery novel, is there another genre you intend to tackle?
GOSS: I have many half-written or outlined manuscripts sitting on my desk currently. I do have a detective series, a thriller, and a fantasy novel. All of them—except the fantasy novel—will be published under my name. Fantasy and young adult novels will be published under a pen name.
RJ: In your experience, what is the hardest part of the writing and publication process and how has that process evolved since the release of your first novel?
GOSS: The hardest part of the writing is being productive. Productivity means I shut off my internet, turn off my phone, and have no distractions. For the publication process, the hardest thing is marketing. It is truly hard to come up with a marketing plan for a new release. I spend months devising a marketing plan for my new releases.
RJ: What advice do you have for other authors?
GOSS: Never force yourself to write. If you are writing only for money, but don’t enjoy writing, then the readers will be able to tell. Write because you like it, not because you have to. Just write. Many people I talk to can’t believe I have four books out. They ask me how I do it. I simply reply with, “I just write.” Don’t judge your writing, especially on the first draft. The first draft is going to be overwhelming. This is what editing, proofreading, and rewriting are for. You should never publish a first draft. I tend to have between three and four drafts before the final book is ready.