Sunday, September 2, 2012

Author Interview with Ashley McCook, Fantasy/Paranormal/Supernatural

We're meeting Ashley McCook in the imaginary forest near Dean's Lynn where some parts of Emily's story takes place (read on to find out who Emily is). Ashley weaves a tale where vamps, werewolves, demons, and angels collide. Sound good? LOL We think so!

Close you eyes. Are they closed? Listen.... You can hear the babbling brook trickling over the rocks and the tree limbs swaying in the soft breeze. We might even see some faeries and elves while we walk around and explore. It's great to open a book, to be drawn into a story, feel like you are right there and allow your imagination to soar. 

Here's a nice patch of ground moss. We can sit in circle while we chat with Ashley. Oh, we almost forget! There's a giveaway; details below.

Reader’s Haven: Hi Ashley! We're thrilled you invited us to chat in this mystical forest. Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know.

Ashley: Hello Avid Readers! My name is Ashley McCook, I live in the seaside town of Portrush right on the north coast of Northern Ireland with my husband, 2 children, 3 cats, 2 dogs and a fish called Bob. I LOVE reading and I’ll pretty much try anything within the ‘Fiction’ umbrella although my favorite genre is probably paranormal fantasy. I used to play the concert flute but gave it up when it finally hit me that I really wasn’t very good but that experience didn’t put me off music and I enjoy listening to any kind of music that moves me – from classical to heavy metal. My second favorite way to spend an evening (the first is with a good book!) is watching a movie with my family.

Reader’s Haven: What made you want to become a writer?

Ashley: I always loved creative writing and making up stories, my first written stories in Primary School are about going off in rockets or meeting angels (although, due to my poor spelling back then, I seem to have been in maths-heaven meeting ‘angles’! Oops!) and I kept writing little bits and pieces for my friends to read – most of which were appalling! When I was around 11 or 12 I borrowed a book from the library – it was called ‘Seaward’ by Susan Cooper – and it was just so amazing that I kept getting it re-issued over and over so that I could keep reading it. The story and the writing just drew me right in and I felt that I was THERE, living that adventure with Cally and West(the two main characters), from the first word until the last. I remember being filled with absolute astonishment that a book could do that – could take you away from reality so completely for the length of time it took to read it, and I wanted to be able to write stories to make other people feel like that.

Reader’s Haven: Please share a bit about your new release Demon’s Revenge without giving away any spoilers.

Ashley: Demon’s Revenge is my second book, and the middle part of a trilogy about a young girl called Emily who discovers that she and her twin brother have a demon for a dad. There’s a little bit of action, some romance, some adventure, a lot of humor and maybe even a little heart-ache before the end. Emily’s the complete opposite of me – she’s a bit of a math genius for a start & she’s a strong girl who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself, and say what she thinks. She also has a great sense of fun & is a kind of steadying force for those around her, although she doesn’t realize it.

Reader’s Haven: Do you write under a pen name?

Ashley: No, I’m just me!

Reader’s Haven: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Ashley: I like heroes and heroines who ‘feel’ real, if you know what I mean. People who seem familiar, like I could be walking past them on the street every day or bump into them in the check-out. I don’t like them to be too perfect, either – no-body’s perfect and the more mistakes a character makes, the more I like them! The likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz are really good at creating strong, believable characters – they seem ready to climb out of the book and move in down your road!

Reader’s Haven: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Ashley: No 2 days are ever the same! I like to try and fit in 3 hours of writing every day but some days it just doesn’t work out – especially if I’m visiting a local school to chat about creative writing or ‘normal’ life gets in the way. I try not to get annoyed if I get disturbed but sometimes, if I’m in the middle of a scene and it’s going well, I can be really grumpy if I don’t get it finished!

Reader’s Haven: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Ashley: The first three are all about Emily and her adventure, the fourth is different (it’s more of a thriller) but I suppose if I had to pick a common theme, then they all have a fantasy/paranormal/supernatural element in there somewhere. 

Reader’s Haven: How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Ashley: I would say it takes anywhere from 6-8 months to produce a first draft and then I put it aside for a few weeks before I go back and start editing. I read over the first draft, marking anything that jumps out at me as ‘not quite right’ and then I re-write. Once the second draft is done, I put it away for another couple of weeks and go through the same process. The third draft is what my lovely beta readers get and they come back to me with issues, mistakes etc.

Reader’s Haven: Do you have to be alone to write?

Ashley: It’s easier – I’m easily distracted! – but it’s not completely necessary. If I have to wait for the children outside their drama class or an after-school activity then I take a notebook and pen with me, especially if as certain part of the story is very clear in my head and I want to get it onto paper. My biggest distraction is my computer – there’s just too many interesting blogs to read and games to play! I usually end up in my writing cave with the dogs and cats at my feet (or on my lap) which is just lovely.

Reader’s Haven: How do you go about naming characters?

Ashley: They come to me with their own names; I really don’t have much say in it! At least the main characters do, the supporting cast is sometimes harder to name because I just don’t know them as well – that’s when my kids become really useful! If I explain who it is that I’m having trouble with and what kind of person they are, my kids can usually come up with much better name ideas than I’m capable of.

Reader’s Haven: Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Ashley: I usually have an idea of how they look/sound before I begin to write but I also like surrounding my desk with pictures that bring the story to life and get my mind right back into things quickly so it tends to be an on-going thing. If I’m finding a chapter especially difficult to write then I’ll take a break and search for character pictures or location pictures that get my mind back into the ‘zone’.

Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?

Ashley: Ummm, honestly? No idea! I originally wanted Emily and Co. to live in the area that I live in but, well, it just didn’t ‘feel’ right when I headed in that direction and I just woke up one day thinking that they should live in Suffolk. I’ve never been to Suffolk so I had to do a morning of research but from the moment I set everything in my fictional town of Dean’s Lynn and plonked it down in Suffolk, it all started to flow. I think Emily chose where to live!

Reader’s Haven: What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

Ashley: I’m working on my fifth book now which has a strong fantasy/paranormal edge to it but is less about demons, angels, vampires and the like, and more about magic and plain, old-fashioned greed. The main character is also a bit of a departure – I’ve gone from nerd, mousy Emily to Queen-of-the-school type, Aria.

Reader’s Haven: Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Ashley: My website is, my blog is Ashley McCook’s Space, my email address is I’m also on Facebook and Twitter. My books are available as eBooks or paperbacks from Amazon, Smashwords, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository & Sony eBook store and iTunes.

Reader's Haven: Ashley, thank you again for chatting with us this week. 

Reader's, Ashley has a very generous Giveaway!

The first 10 people to comment with the title/author of the first book they remember falling in love with will receive an eBook copy of Ashley's first book Demon's Daughter via coupon on Smashwords.

Emily Carson is an average, sixteen year-old nerd living in a small town with no real ambitions beyond acing her exams, dealing with her brother Seth's questionable taste in girls and curing school hottie, Adam Farlow's questionable eyesight (the only explanation for his lack of interest).

And then her dad shows up.

Discovering that your dad is a Demon certainly makes life much more interesting, but even Demon Lords have enemies and Emily and Seth soon find themselves the new targets for every Vampire, Demon, Were and Angel in town.

Having Fallen Angel Sariel as a body guard should help, but discovering that they share a special gift brings Emily and her temping Angel more life-threatening problems than a math loving teenager should ever have to deal with.

My name is Emily Carson.

Last year my twin brother, Seth, and I discovered that we have Demon DNA and things got a bit...messy. Surprisingly, Asmodeus (our Daddy Dearest) doesn't seem to have forgiven me for my actions the last time we met and the word is that he's out for revenge.

It's okay though 'cause there's a plan - escape to Italy with gorgeous Fallen Angel, Sariel; meet his buddies, catch a few rays, convince him to wear Speedos and maybe even engineer another excuse to lock lips with him (that's my plan anyway). Sounds good, right?

What could possibly go wrong?

Ashley McCook lives on the beautiful north coast of Northern Ireland with her husband, two children and a menagerie of dogs, cats and fish. In between school runs, pet feeding and trawling the local bookshops for new books to read, she writes.



  1. Hello all! Thank you so much for allowing me to have a chat on your wonderful blog - thoroughly enjoyed myself. Very best wishes


  2. Hi Ashley, thank you again for visiting with us!
    Readers, let Ashley know you stopped by; by answering her question. It's your chance to win a copy of Demon's Daughter - 1st 10 commenters! ~Louise

  3. Love the way you tell us the name of the dog, but not the husband

    I can vouch for the fact that Ashley spends far too much time playing games on Facebook

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