Interview: Ashley Dawn
Author and blogger, Ashley Wintters (writing under the pseudonym Ashley Dawn) was born and raised in rural Arkansas where she developed her love for writing while helping in her parents’ office.
She graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Central Arkansas, but she and her family now make their home in Texas. Ashley has been writing professionally for the past seven years. She loves to read. Mainly, you will find her with her nose in a Christian fiction book, but she does enjoy pretty much any type of book except horror. She doesn’t get paid to read and review books but does it simply because she finds enjoyment in doing so.
Ashley has joined the ranks of other self-published authors with two books in the Christian mystery/suspense category. We are proud to showcase Ashley and let you get to know her a little better, so when you read ‘Reviewed by Ashley Wintters’ at the bottom of a review, you can say you know who she is.
Suspense Magazine (S. MAG.): What book changed your life?
Ashley Wintters (AW): There have been several actually that have had big impacts on my life. I’ll just share two, a non-fiction and a fiction. The non-fiction has to be the Bible. It has so many amazing stories and truths. The deeper you dig into what it has to say, the more you learn and see exactly how thrilling it is!
The fiction book is “Captured Heart” by Barbara A. Masci. I read this book as a teenager and it showed me the many different levels there can be to writing. I thought Christian fiction had to be dry and one-dimensional. This book, however, showed me there were several different ways to write this type of fiction. It has romance, mystery and a clear message of God’s love. I had not read one like this before and, as limited as some of these elements are in the book, it made me look for more books like it and made me realize how much I enjoyed the books.
S. MAG.: When did you know that writing chose you?
AW: At nineteen. Even then, it wasn’t a total surprise. I had been writing poems and songs and telling stories for years, but when I was nineteen, there were a series of events that caused me to put pen to paper on some of my ‘crazier’ ideas. The result was my first book, “Shadows From the Past”. I had so much fun writing that book and inventing the characters, they became a part of me. I use my family for inspiration for the characters. If one of my characters is stubborn, that definitely comes from one of my family members and probably from an event that happened recently. If one of my characters is having a bad day, it is likely someone in my family, or even I, was having a bad day. Writing for me is very personal and I have to feel what I am writing; otherwise, it just doesn’t flow for me. I chose to use the pen name ‘Ashley Dawn’ because that is my name. I knew my last name would change at some point, but I would always be ‘Ashley Dawn’.
S. MAG.: What do you think are your three best qualities? Worst?
AW: I think my three best qualities are: loyalty, curiosity, and independence. I am fiercely loyal to my family and friends. If you are my friend or family, you have my complete support no matter what. I will drop everything I am doing to come to help you if you need it. Curiosity—I used to think this was a wonderful trait, but it can occasionally be a bad thing. If I get something in my head, I won’t let go of it until I figure it all out or determine I’ve learned all I can about it. My independence is somewhat of a double-edged knife as well. I want to do everything myself and have that feeling of accomplishment. The problem is, sometimes I need help and it is difficult to ask for it, but I’m working on that.
My worst qualities would have to be stubbornness, extreme self-consciousness and my argumentative nature. While being stubborn can occasionally be a good thing, more often than not it has caused me headaches and problems. If I would occasionally let go of my stubborn ideas and listen to people, things would be a lot easier! As for the self-consciousness, I have this mental image of myself, how I looked in high school and then I look in the mirror and what I see does not match. After two children and ten years, I look nothing like that mental image and I know I will never look exactly like that again, but I would like to look better than I do. Last, I have this bad habit of arguing even if I know the other person is right. It isn’t something I am proud of, but I do get a sadistic joy from it from time to time, even though it has gotten me into so much trouble with family and friends. I have tried for years to control the impulse and have gotten better at it, but I still occasionally enjoy a good argument!
S. MAG.: What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted but still don’t have?
AW: I have always wanted a new house—to draw-up plans, have it built from the ground up and to be the first one to live in it. I want to pick out all the appliances, furniture, flooring, and every strange little thing…like even where the electrical outlets go! I am hoping my family and I get that opportunity soon, but even if we don’t, I can still dream!
Suspense Magazine is proud to have Ashley as part of our team. We couldn’t do what we do without her help. She is always ready to review books, which we place a great deal of importance on and is as loyal as she says she is. To keep up to date on what she has going on, follow her blog (Ashley’s Bookshelf) at http://ashleysbookshelf.blogspot.com.