I recently had the pleasure of virtually meeting this charming author when I did a review of her thriller, Zero Balance, earlier this month. This woman is an award winning, muti-genre, best selling author with over twenty books on the bestseller lists. Her genres include: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Coming of Age, Addiction, Romantic Suspense, and Short Stories. She’s an independent author, who founded her own independent press, BSMW, and one of her books has been turned into an independent film. Please help me welcome Ashley Fontainne to Writing to be Read.
Kaye: You brand yourself “The Dark Southern Belle” on your website. Where does this title come from?
Ashley: A fan coined the phrase in a review of one of my books. It made me smile. I knew as soon as I read it that it was the perfect catch phrase.
Kaye: Would you share a little about your own author’s journey with us?
Ashley: It has been a crazy ride! Seven years ago, I had no clue how my life would change when I hit “publish” on Amazon Kindle with my first title. I had no idea what I was doing or getting myself in to, and though the road has been rough at times, wouldn’t change a thing!
Kaye: What’s something most readers would never guess about you?
Ashley: I am a huge crybaby. In fact, I refuse to watch certain movies or read particular genres of books because, despite the subject matter of most of my books, I have a very sensitive side. I still tear up at the end scene of Homeward Bound when Shadow appears on the hill.
Kaye: What is the strangest inspiration for a story you’ve ever had?
Ashley: There have been a lot, but the one that stands out the most is for my zombie series. I am a huge fan of the genre and of course, The Walking Dead. I wanted to add a different take on how the zombie apocalypse starts. The rampant abuse of drugs in our society was the perfect fit and the second the two ideas connected, I started writing.
Kaye: You have some really interesting titles. One of my favorites is Fine as Frog Hair. The title makes me want to read it and I haven’t even read the description for the book. How do you decide the titles for your books? Where does the title come in the process for you?
Ashley: Fine as Frog Hair is a saying my grandfather was fond of using when asked, “How are you?” He liked to say, “Why honey, I’m fine as frog hair.” It’s a cute southern expression and since the short story is loosely based off his life, I thought the title fit perfectly. Like the stories, the titles appear out of thin air.
Kaye: You write in multiple genres. What are the differences for you as you write each one?
Ashley: Nothing really. I refuse to pigeonhole my creativity into just one genre. A story is a story no matter the backdrop. A character and/or idea pops into my head and I just let the words flow.
Kaye: You’re an award winning author. Which awards have you been the recipient of?
Ashley: Number Seventy-Five won the Bronze in Fiction/Suspense from Readers’ Favorite. The Lie won Gold from the Illumination Book Awards.
Kaye: Would you tell us about One of a Kind Covers?
Ashley: As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t know a thing about epub, mobi, formatting or cover design when I first jumped into this crazy world. Over the years, I taught myself how to do all of those things out of financial necessity, and in the course of doing so, other authors came to me, asking if I would design a cover for them, which is how One of a Kind Covers came about.
Kaye: You’re the founder of your own independent press, RSMW. Tell us about RSMW. ; What does RSMW stand for? What’s the story behind it?
Ashley: RMSW Press stands for Rambling Mad Southern Woman, which is also the name of my blog. While learning how to design a website and blog, I was so frustrated I almost gave up. I was complaining about it to my husband and said, “I feel like a rambling mad southern woman,” and poof! There was the title.
Kaye: Your latest release is Fatal Agreements, which came out April 23rd. Would you tell us a little about that book?
Ashley: Whispered rumors tickled the ears of the residents of an entire town for decades about the disturbing secrets of the old Halstead House, dating all the way back to the early 1920s. Most people didn’t believe them. Several people will soon discover they should have listened.
Three years after struggling to cope with the death of her beloved father and escaping an abusive relationship, Samantha Chapman decides it’s time to return to her hometown of Hot Springs. She buys the ramshackle Halstead House, eager to transform the dilapidated, abandoned piece of history into her new law office and residence, hoping it will be the start of a brighter chapter and a safe haven to escape her personal demons.
Instead of newfound freedom, things take a dark turn when the resurrection of the old home reveals the disturbing secrets hidden within its walls. When youthful transgressions of numerous people come to light, including ones some members of the Chapman family are desperate to contain, it reveals the sins of the past. They collide with the grave mistakes of the present, creating a perfect storm of chaos and death for not only the Chapman family but others as well.
Some will survive.
Others will get burned.
Sam and her loved ones realize some family secrets should have remained buried.
Kaye: Your book Ruined Wings was turned into an independent film. Can you tell us how that came about? Who wrote the screenplay?
Ashley: I wrote the screenplay along with the Executive Producer, Sabrina Stewart. We have been a tight duo since the first day we connected years ago when she auditioned to narrate Number Seventy-Five. I sent her the book and she loved it. Opioid addiction is a major crisis in our world and we hope through this movie to help stop the plague.
Kaye: What was it like to see your characters come alive on the screen?
Ashley: Life-changing. Humbling. Terrifying!
Kaye: You also have a GoFundMe campaign going to fund the film. Would you like to tell us about it and how readers can contribute?
Ashley: The film will be shared at no cost to educators and organizations to be played at schools, churches, civic meetings and youth organizations where it can target those most vulnerable to fall into the pit of abuse and addiction. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/independent-film-ruined-wings
Kaye: What is the working title of your next book?
Ashley: Blood Stain
Kaye: Which author, dead or alive, would you love to have lunch with?
Ashley: Edgar Allan Poe.
Kaye: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Ashley: Grow a thick skin. Never give up. Hone your craft. Write from the heart.
I want to thank Ashley Fontainne for joining us here on Writing to be Read. You can learn more about Ashley at the following places:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.fontainne/
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