Thursday, 15 January 2015

Featured Author - Alison Jean-Ash

Today, I had the opportunity to chat with Alison Jean-Ash, a soccer hooligan and an avid writer of poems, articles, essays, reviews and what do you know... books! I have one thing in common with Alison - we both love Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer! Alison shared some of her thoughts with me. Hope you enjoy. 

Why do you write?
I don’t know, really.  I just always have, since I was little.  I solve most of my attitude problems by journaling, and I write fiction as much to entertain myself as to please anyone else.

Which writers inspire you?
Jane Austen, of course, and Georgette Heyer for her humor, and earlier generations of romantic suspense writers: Mary Stewart, Joan Aiken and her sister Jane Aiken Hodge.  I read their books over and over.  I also reread Elizabeth Goudge, an English writer of the 1940s and 1950s: terribly sentimental by today’s standards, but a lot of psychological insight and a lot of magic, old legends influencing the present, which is a wild combination.  I also read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, Ursula LeGuin, Robin McKinley, Octavia Butler.  In between my Oakville stories, I’m working on a few magical romance stories myself, one about modern Selkies in Ireland, and another called Summerwitch, about nature worship.  It’s a sunlit kind of story; I don’t do Dark very well.  Joe Coomer writes about women as well as if he were one, and he has some great titles, like Apologizing to Dogs.

What is your favorite book and why?
 Jane Austen’s last novel, Persuasion, because it is about hope and renewal, about how it can take a very long time to get to the happy ending, but when you do, it’s even better.

What do you think is the easiest thing about writing? What is the most difficult?
 For me the easiest thing is to edit.  I love to revise and rearrange and tinker with word choices, and so, naturally, the hardest thing is to do fresh work so I’ll have something new to edit!  That’s usually how I have to start each session, warming up by revising what I wrote the last time.  Endings are hard.

From books that have already been published by other authors, which book do you wish you had written? 
Wow, that’s a hard one.  The best new book I’ve read in a while was Marilynne Robinson’s Home.  The end took my breath away for a moment, as if I’d been punched in the belly—not because it was shocking in any way, but because it was so intensely beautiful.  I’ll never be that good; that’s why I write pop fiction instead of literary novels.

How do you market your books? 
Badly.  I recently got a blog—third time.  I have trouble remembering to keep up with it.  The other day I discovered December posts still sitting there as drafts.  Ouch!  I have a facebook author page too, but same story:  keeping up with it.  I still haven’t learned to do blog hops, and I don’t tweet.  But I always take part in the Books To Go Now holiday cookbooks, for the exposure. 

Any new release? If yes, what is it about?
 My latest release is still my Christmas story, Comfort and Joy, but I like to think it’s entertaining any time of year.  Sid Meade is 40, teaches yoga, has had girlfriends but never been married, and has a very stark lifestyle.  When he falls in love with Melody, his world turns upside down.  It’s my second story about Oakville (a contemporary small town where people still know their neighbors, friendships last a lifetime, and gossip is a force of nature. 

My third Oakville story, Heart of Stone¸will be coming out soon for Valentine’s Day, on Books To Go Now.  It’s about a librarian, a sexy policeman, a little group of homeless people who hang out at the library, and a young man who’s obsessed with the librarian, and so deep into fantasy that he wants a library card in his Night Elf name.

Book blurb for Heart of Stone  

Sharon Hall’s biological clock is ticking.  Policeman Jack Kennett appeals to the cuddly librarian, very much—but his attitude toward the library’s less-fortunate patrons makes her wonder if he’s too cold-hearted for marriage and fatherhood.  Meanwhile, a very odd young man is becoming dangerously obsessed with Sharon.

Book excerpt  for Heart of Stone 

Faerveren Yadaril.  Ydri, what does this mean?”
“That’s your Elf name.”
“I didn’t know I had an Elf name,” said Sharon.  
“I figured it out for you.”  Kyle blushed with pride. 
Sharon couldn’t help but feel touched.  “That’s very kind of you, Ydri.”
“Go on, open it.”
Sharon slit the envelope and pulled out a thick wad of pages, hand-written in the same thick ink and elaborate script.  It appeared to be a very long poem. She could see it would be hard to decipher, but some phrases stood out:  “queen,” “destined,” “silken cords of magic,” “fate,” and “forever.”
Her heart sank.  She struggled to say something, anything, to break up the eager intensity of his stare.   “Ydri, I’ll have to read this when I’m alone.”

Thanks Alison. You can also connect with Alison: 

Amazon Author Page:



  1. Alison - The blurb for Heart of Stone is enticing. Can't wait to read it!

  2. Great interview Alison. I envy you! I don't like editing, either I want to over-edit or under-edit...LOL

  3. Another Jane Austen fan! Yes!
    Great interview Alison & Samna :)