Ashlyn Forge on Self-publishing: “You’ve gotta stubbornly push on through and not let the bad days drag you too far under”

As you know, In Liam’s Wake and its author, Ashlyn Forge, have been on tour! To wrap up this amazing week of interviews, reviews, book promos, and an exclusive excerpt, I bring you yet another interview to help you get to know Ashlyn better! Read on, but not before checking out the review I’ve posted here!

How does it feel to have your debut novel out into the world?

Ashlyn Forge: It feels good. Pretty surreal. But then I look around me and nobody else is on cloud nine and I get grumpy, asking myself, ‘wtf people, don’t you see a published author walking here?’ No…they never do 🙁

When did you start writing?

A.F.: Off and on, I’ve been writing for about 13 years. I did try my hand at it in grade school but most teachers told me to let it be, and I did.

Why an MM sci fi? Any particular reason to have chosen this genre?

A.F.: I write what I like to read. I’m a big fan of sci-fi and a bigger fan of m/m. There are a lot of great m/m writers out there, I doubt the world needs one more, but I’m giving it a shot.

What inspired the Toys & Soldiers series?

A.F.: In the Colony, there isn’t much difference between Toys and Soldiers. Both are controlled, and both are subject to the ideals and sometimes the whims of others. It reminds me of the world we live in, so I wrote it with that in mind.

Is there any real life inspiration for your characters?

A.F.: Yes. My main characters are inspired by someone, personality-wise. They are written with a set personality trait that I’ve seen in all its evil glory. The rest of them aren’t based off any particular person, but their character flaw, i.e. Liam’s gambling, and Johann’s poor self-image are based on something I’ve seen in action. The hardest part is putting those flaws out there and then trying to build the characters back up again.

Do you ever feel like punching your characters?

A.F.: All the time. And I usually do in the form of some calamity. But honestly, I’ve seen a lot of good flawed characters and sometimes perfect characters and I wondered if it’s possible to love damaged goods. Because we all come out of our packaging a bit busted, don’t we?

What would you do if you got transported into the Colony? Famous first words?

A.F.: First words? “F*ck it.” And what would I do? I think I would look at it from Riley’s prospective. To be perfectly honest, I’ve already been transported to the Colony, and I’m getting by.

Some (including you) say choosing to self-publish is madness. Why choose it then? And what skills should you have to go through with it?

A.F.: Self-publishing to writers is what culling opium is to crackheads. We have to have self-control in every single area and let’s be honest, writers are not necessarily the most down-to-earth souls out there. And you’re in for a penny, in for a pound once you start. Why do it? I think you have to do it for your characters, to get them read, without that they can’t live and that’s what every parent wants, no? What sort of skill do you need to make it work? I don’t know, ask me in another few years, for now, I’ll just say one word: stubbornness. You’ve gotta stubbornly push on through and not let the bad days drag you too far under.

You are part of the NaNoWriMo community. What’s the best thing about it?

A.F.: The people are the sweetest, most kind hearted you’ll find in the world. Even when they rag on each other, they are still doing what they think is right. God bless ‘em.

Who’s your favorite writer and what’s your favorite book?

A.F.: This is a hard one. And it sounds awful because I’m not gonna say Shakespeare. My favorite book is Sneetches on Beaches by the good Dr. Seuss. The story of how prejudice can fuel any economy is a great thing and how an enterprise can capitalize off poor self-images. Favorite author, I don’t have one. I am a Terry Pratchett fan, even though I don’t always agree with his views.

Would you describe your writing process for us?

A.F.: I don’t always understand this question. But here goes. I just dump everything out in the worst possible way in the first draft. No real clear plot, just throw them out and keep writing. This can end up being a huge mess. But that’s fine. The second part and the worst one of all, is the second draft where I have to go back and take all the scenes that I like and get to the end of the story (the same ending I came to in the rough draft) by making a through-line. Once that is done then the novel is ready…for brutal feedback. There will be missing spots but I don’t mind those because with the face-pounding feedback in store, that just leaves room to flesh areas out. Get it beta read, rewrite again, beta read, rewrite, then finally a manuscript assessment, then rewrites and beta. Then content edit, beta and reviews, line edit, proof and then another beta read to catch any stragglers. But initially, I write with the understanding that I’m not in control, I let the characters and the story take me, then I go back and beat them into submission.

What do you do for fun? Do you have a hobby?

A.F.: Fun? Hobby? Huh? I write, what more do I need? Wait? Is there more out there past my cave?

Loved it? I’m sure! Don’t forget to enter the tour giveaway, there’s not much time left!

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A pleasure to meet you! I’m Alina Popescu, an author, traveler, and hopeless coffee addict. I write urban fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and sometimes even contemporary stories. A significant number of my books are LGBTQ fiction and romance.

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