Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Interrogating Carl Ashmore

My next interrogation is an author that was on my "definitely want" list.  Carl Ashmore is the writer of the great childrens book series "The Time Hunters"

How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I don’t think I’ve ever consciously compromised in terms of readership in any of the books I’ve written. I find the task of writing far too demanding to be constantly thinking about what other people want me to write. Personally, I think it’s essential to stay true to my characters, my story and myself, and not worry too much about how they will be perceived by other people.

What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

I’m a writer for children and proud to be so, and over the years I’ve given this question a great deal of thought. Bottom line is that I think children’s literature is amongst the most exciting and intelligent work out there at the moment. In an adult book market saturated with celebrity books, Dan Brown rip-offs, formulaic crime books, clichéd rom-coms etc., I think many children’s books are imaginative, challenging and intellectually stimulating.

Within ‘The Time Hunters’ series I explore such more complex themes as death, grief, loss, loyalty, identity and faith, but cloak it in a rip-roaring adventure that includes a vegetarian Minotaur named Edgar, a vicious nine-headed Hydra and a time travelling Volkswagen campervan.

Although I will never shy away from dark themes, I will always endeavor to make the TH books as fun as possible. In these difficult times, escapism is a necessity not a luxury.

Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

I have folder on my laptop and on numerous memory sticks. I also have a few notebooks filled with ideas.

How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the one you that you’d most like to be? Or be with?

I have a soft spot for each of my four main characters, and in many ways think that if you combined their discrete traits you would create the perfect individual – Uncle Percy’s intellect and decency; Becky’s integrity and courage; Joe’s loyalty and compassion; and Will’s grace and physicality.

What I have never mentioned before in an interview (so Joo, this is an exclusive) is that Becky and Joe are based on my late sister (Diane) and brother (David) - they died before I was born. I grew up as an only child and often wondered what they would have been like. Becky and Joe are the result of these ponderings.

What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I like reading a range of genres. However, many so-called adult books seem to disappoint me. That’s when I return to children’s fiction (Dahl, Morpugo, Rowling, CS Lewis are all favs of mine).

What lengths do you go to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

I promote, but nowhere near as much as some other indie writers do. I just don’t have the time. I’m the father of a two-year old girl, a full-time lecturer and am writing the third TH book. Besides, I’d rather the readers decide whether my books have the X-factor.

How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

I’m enormously grateful that anyone would take the time to do it. Actually, a wonderful lady reader on Goodreads, Kath Middleton, has been invaluable in casting a critical eye over my work. I won’t mention her pseudonym in case she’d prefer to remain anonymous, but I’ve never met such a proud, self-confessed pedant in my life. She’s great.

What do you like most about visiting KUF?

KUF was the first Kindle site I joined. I think it’s well designed, accessible and much more friendly/supportive than a few others I’ve seen. Bravo Lou and the gang. I’m proud to be a member.

What is on your near horizon?

I have recently rewritten ‘The Time Hunters’ based on suggestions made at a meeting in London with The Blair Partnership, JK Rowling’s literary agency. Hopefully, they’ll like the changes enough to add me as their client. If not, then that’s okay, as the re-write has really improved the book. I have now resumed writing the third TH book - ‘The Time Hunters and the Spear of Fate.’

Where can we find you for more information?

On my blog http://carlashmoreauthor.blogspot.co.uk/
On my Facebook/Twitter page 
Or via email:
Or just say hello on my threads on KUF. I’m a regular.

Thanks for inviting me to answer your questions, Joo. Keep up the great work.


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