Author. Teacher. Coach. Counselor. Therapist. Mother. Wife. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Pet Mother. Human. Not in any particular order. Sometimes all at the same time.
Here is where I blog about writing and mental health, which, if you are a writer, you understand the connection. I also run an interview series featuring a variety of authors who talk about their books and the realities of publishing.
Friday, June 21, 2019
9 Questions with Ashley Jean
This week's featured author is Ashley Jean Granillo from Los Angeles, CA and her book Love From the Barricade.
1. What message are you hoping
people will receive when they read your book?
Although the book is labeled as general fiction, it’s better
suited as a new adult novel. In college, most students are exposed to new ideas
surrounding feminism, sexuality, and gender studies, but along with those
subjects in school, they’re also learning about creating and nurturing
relationships. They’re delving into new interests, too. With all of this idea
of “new,” it’s very easy to get lost in uncharted waters and feel exposed. As a
new adult reader, I want them to understand that their lives and their
decisions are malleable, they have the freedom to choose, and they have the
options to make things better, especially in male-dominated industries like
music. Life is messy, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
2. Why did you write this
I was just beginning my career as a college professor,
and all of my college friends were, for lack of a better term, “breaking up”
with each other. Our friendships were being called off over boys in bands, and
boys not in bands, for a series of misunderstandings and our inability to communicate
those feelings of jealousy and insecurity.
For about seven years we’d come together as a result of
our adoration of punk rock bands and created so many memories chasing dreams,
and appropriately, at a show, while I was alone and my friends were elsewhere
acting disinterested what the band had to offer, I realized everyone in my
group came together out of circumstance and not love.
Other than Caitlin Moran’s HOW TO WRITE A GIRL, there
was no book about the toxic friendships that were birthed out of the music
industry, and similarly, how to get over them. I know there are many, many
others in my situation and I wanted to provide an optimistic take on it, and
also, heal my heart at the same time.
3. What has been the hardest
part of the publishing process?
Strangely, getting publishers and agents wasn’t that
hard. What is much harder is marketing. I understand this is a very niche sort
of book because of its dual timeline and focus on a subculture, so finding the
readership for this book has been a challenge.
4. What has been the biggest
(pleasant) surprise in your publishing journey?
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous question. When
I finally do get a reader, it warms my heart when those that have read it just
Recently, one of my readers told me that my work was
transformative. That they looked at this industry and their own band obsession
in an entirely different light. And through this, I have been able to bond with
people I otherwise would have never met before.
5. Would you write a sequel to
your book? Why or why not?
Yes! I’ve actually thought about returning to this book
to discuss the complexities of long-distance relationships, as well as how our
careers shift and shape our adulthood, and the choices we may make in our
“mid-life” crisis. While I’ve started an outline, I have yet to write a word.
6. What author or book has
influenced your writing?
For a long time, I prided myself on being a fan of
Vonnegut and Saunders. A part of me still adores their cynicism and their
post-modern form, which is probably why LOVE FROM THE BARRICADE was written in
a dual timeline, but I have shifted away from that slightly.
Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL inspired and gave me the
courage to discuss fanfiction within bandom, and similarly, Latinx women
writers like Natalia Sylvester and Erika L. Sanchez, have paved a path to
discuss my Mexican heritage in a way that I’ve never explored before––ever.
7. You are stranded on an
island with only 3 books. What are their titles?
WHEN LOVE WALKED IN
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
8. What is your philosophy
Rejection is necessary.
I’ve been rejected in many industries other than
writing, academia and the entertainment industry to name a few, and it’s forced
me to see my work from different perspectives. Not just as a creator, but as a
businesswoman as well.
No one is obligated to listen to everything they’re
told, but most critiques have large takeaways that can actually improve your
work. It also provides a creator with a moment to self-reflect and assesses their
creative process as well as their creations. By doing so, you become a much
more self-aware and critical human being.
9. Do you have a day job? What
I’m an English professor at a local community college.
Inside and out, my life is words, and I couldn’t be prouder.