Ashley J. Barnard's Link
Jared Bruin doesn’t know who he is. He remembers nothing of his early childhood before the age of seven when he was abandoned in a park in St. Louis, left in an unfamiliar world that terrified him. He knows only that he is driven to learn everything he can about swordplay and sixteenth-century combat.
Almost twenty years later, as he is battling a heroin addiction, suicidal tendencies and a violent affliction he doesn't understand, he is hired to teach swordplay to an enigmatic woman with secrets of her own, who somehow provides a link to his past.
Then a missing journal arrives that provides many answers to Jared’s past, and in it another world is revealed, one of a Goddess, prophecies, elves, a devastating love triangle, and a war in desperate need of a hero.
How did you end up becoming a writer?
As a child I created a fantasy world with foxes that could talk. It was like an ongoing soap opera in my head, and when I got older it started to evolve into a more adult story, and the foxes turned into people. Then in sixth grade our teacher assigned a "novel" -- I was so excited that I wrote the whole thing that afternoon. When I got an A+ on it, it cemented the deal for me, and I knew I wanted to be a writer. Shadow Fox is reminiscent of that fantasy world I created, only with much more adult themes.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Listening to music is the best way for me to get ideas. Sometimes something in another book or a movie will really spark my interest -- a certain sort of character or situation. I'll tweak it and turn into a completely different story. Also I get ideas from people I talk to. For instance, someone told me recently that her mother-in-law is bulimic, and every night after dinner she vomits while everyone at the table pretends like it's not happening. I found this fascinating, and I'm starting a new novel off with this peculiar set-up.
Who (or what) do you feel inspired your writing style the most?
I try to read a lot of "literary" writers as I am very susceptible to imitating the style of whomever I'm reading at the time. John Updike, John Irving and Jonathan Franzen have all improved my writing.
What do you feel makes your stories stand apart from others in your genre(s)?
For Shadow Fox, my first published novel, it stands out in the fantasy genre because so much of the material is contemporary. There is magic and suspense sprinkled throughout, but it contains a lot of mainstream elements that I think will make it more accessible to readers who don't necessarily like fantasy.
Do you like to read? If so, what are your favorite genres and authors?
I LOVE to read. In fact, I prefer reading to just about any other activity. As I stated before, I'm trying to be a better writer by reading more literary faire, but I also love gothic horror, some historical fiction and occasionally some fantasy. My other favorite authors are Phil Rickman, Ian McEwan, Guy Gavriel Kay and George R.R. Martin.
6. Are there any projects that you are currently working on?
I'm working on a mainstream fiction novel, and about to start ghostwriting a memoir.
7. Do you have any new releases coming out soon?
Shadow Fox releases on October 4, 2010, and its two sequels, Fox Rising and Night of the Fox, will be releasing in 2011, all with Champagne Books.