Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Tale Of Success: Meet Ashlyn Macnamara!!!

Happy Friday, TLN'ers!!!

For those of you with designs on entering this year's Golden Heart contest, we've got another success story to share!!

Ashlyn Macnamara finaled in the 2011 GH then went on to sell her MS titled A TALE OF TWO SISTERS!

I first learned of Ashlyn last year through the contest circuit. We both tried our hand at snagging attention on a first five lines challenge at Jennifer Haymore's blog. One glance and I knew immediately Ashlyn was headed for publication. (I should seriously make my own book of wagers, because I've been on the money every time!)

I can't wait to catch a copy of her debut when it hits the shelves. Pull up a chair and let Ashlyn shore up any flagging ambition! Inspiration is at hand and all you have to do is read!!

1)If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

This is the world's most boring book. You probably want to pick up the one next to it.


Ok, I'll try again. I'm terrible at these kinds of questions, though. They're like the ones people ask at job interviews about your strengths and weaknesses. I never know how to respond to those, either.

When a forty-something supermarket employee realizes a long-held dream, she quits her day job to become a full-time writer.Will she be able to handle success as a romance author or will the first negative review send her back to her cash register?

2)Using three words, describe your voice.

Shrill, off-key, grating… Oh, you mean my writing voice. (Please tell me a hundred other writers haven't used this joke before me.)

Ok: irreverent, emotional, strong (or so I gather based on the widely varying contest scores I always got).

3) Tell us a little about your writer's journey. How did it feel to finally get "The Call"?

A lot of writers will say they've been writing stories since they could hold a crayon in their fingers and not eat it. That's not me. When I was in high school, I ran screaming from anything that even vaguely resembled creative writing. Especially poetry. (Ironically, a workshop instructor once told me I had a poetic voice.)

So for years I didn't write—I didn't know I could write—but I had these ideas for stories in my head. And then I discovered fanfiction. Playing in another author's world with ready-made characters showed me people were willing to read my stories and ask for more. It gave me the courage to try my hand at writing my own original characters. It gave me permission to start committing to paper (I write my drafts long hand) all those stories that had been accumulating in my head.

Part of me still doesn't believe this is happening,even though it got a little more concrete last week when I signed my contract.I don't know when it will become completely real. Perhaps when I get my cover art or when I hold my book in my hands.

4) What was it like to be a Golden Heart Finalist? Any advice for this year's Golden Heart hopefuls?

It was a surreal experience. After I got the call on March 25, 2011, I spent a few days walking in a haze. It had happened. My phone had actually rung and a lady from the RWA (sorry, I have no idea who called me —I blanked a lot out as soon as I realized what the call was--although the poor woman is probably suffering permanent hearing loss from the scream) told me I'd finaled. That part was a shock, really, because my contest experience with A TALE OF TWO SISTERS hadn't been stellar.

So that's my advice. If your gut tells you your MS is strong, even if a few contest judges have told you otherwise, take the chance and enter. I almost didn't enter mine. The previous August, I was in a bad place with my writing, and decided I wasn't ready for something like the GH. Thankfully some friends kicked me in the pants. Cheers, Carla!

May you all have a Carla to kick you in the pants and convince you it's worth the chance.

5) From novice writer to soon-to-be published author: What's life like on the other side of the curtain?

Most days, it's not much different. I can say that,because I haven't got my revisions letter yet. But then my agent will ping me about this or that, and I remember. Oh yeah, I have this contract. I have deadlines. Hell, I have an agent.

And then I get twitchy.

All that's about to change, though, because I've given notice at my day job—not a huge deal, since I was a retail grunt. But because I have a contract and deadlines and a revisions letter looming in the not-so-distant future, I'm going to need time to work on my MS, work on the second book in the series to, you know, actually meet those deadlines. Guess I'm going to have to find some discipline somewhere along the way, too.


6)What's up next for you? Any news you'd like to dish up?

My debut, titled A TALE OF TWO SISTERS for now (but I expect my publisher will want to change that—I never claimed titles were my forte), is coming in early 2013. The second book in the series is supposed to appear shortly after. Right now, I'm working on the draft of that second book, while I wait for the edits on the first installment.


At the age of two and twenty, Julia St. Claire is headed firmly and happily for the shelf. For years, she has watched her older sister pine for a man who barely acknowledges her. Determined to guard her heart against that sort of pain, Julia seeks nothing more than a civilized, sensible union. Then just such an arrangement is offered–by the man of her sister’s dreams– Julia must choose:betray her sister or turn to her childhood friend, Benedict, and take the risk of opening her heart.

Benedict Revelstoke has resigned his commission and returned to the social whirl of the ton, expecting to pick up his life where he left it:attending his club, gambling, and privately loving Julia St. Claire. When he learns a rake has made her betrothal and reputation the object of a wager, he seeks to warn her. But when he betrays his feelings before the reticent Julia,he fears he has lost their longtime friendship — until she turns up at his townhouse with a scandalous proposal.

Can't wait! Can't wait! Can't wait! 2013 is shaping up to be a year full of promise!! I'd like to thank Ashlyn for letting me interview her. Here's wishing her a long and successful career! If you'd like to know more about Ashlyn Macnamara, please click on over to her website:  

THANK YOU, TLN'ers!! Hope your weekend is a smashing success! I'll be nose to the computer screen. The GH deadline is nigh!! Good luck and much productivity to all the hopefuls out there!


Pamala Knight said...

Thanks for the excellent interview. Along with many others I'm sure, I'm anxiously awaiting Ashlyn's debut. Who could resist the story described in that blurb? Not me.

Sheri Humphreys said...

Ashlyn, I was one of your GH judges! Last year was the first time I'd judged. In my packet of manuscripts, yours was the last one I read. I loved it. It stood head and shoulders above the other entries I judged.

Then when you were announced as a finalist, I was so excited! Your final (and subsequent win) made me feel such a part of the GH--and that was great fun. I can't wait to read the complete A TALE OF TWO SISTERS and see what happens. Congratulations on selling. Sheri

Carla said...

Cheers back atcha, Sis! You deserve every ounce of the success that's surely coming your way! (And for the record, your voice is NOT grating or shrill and, uh, what was the other one?) :-)

Ashlyn Macnamara said...

*waves to Pamala and Carla* Off-key, that was the other one. And you haven't heard me sing...

Sheri! Wow, you're the only one of my GH judges who has outted herself. Nice to meet you. BTW, I didn't win, but finaling was as good as winning, as far as I'm concerned. Come say hi if we're ever at the same conference together.

Abigail Sharpe said...

I'm so late on the Ashlyn Train! Sorry!! I'm so excited for your success and I loved your interview. Especially this: May you all have a Carla to kick you in the pants and convince you it's worth the chance.

Amen, sister! Lalala!