Ask the Author: Ashley Schumacher
What would you like readers to know about you?
Before I was an author, I wondered what authors were actually like behind the scenes. Surely, they had authorial offices of leather and mahogany, organized bookshelves, and a special key that allowed them entrance into the world of perfectly formed ideas and consistent writing schedules.
Reader, I am here to tell you that it is false. My office has perpetual Christmas decorations, shelves cluttered with a-few-too-many fairy tale anthologies, and if there is a key that leads you to the realm of perfect book writing, I haven’t received it. I’m still the same exact me I was before publication.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
AMELIA UNABRIDGED is my young adult debut novel and my love letter to readers, booksellers, librarians, and anyone who calls books home. Amelia Griffin uses her favorite stories, The Orman Chronicles, to help her through grief and ultimately, those around her. Along her journey, there’s a badly-behaved dog, a bookstore hidden among trees beside a lake, some flying sky whales, and a heavy dose of hope.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
I was inspired by so many things, not least of all the tumultuous time that was leaving college. It was the uncertainty of “what comes next” that helped me relate to Amelia and her own questions of what comes after high school and the edge of the life you had planned. What happens in the next chapter if you rewrite your current page? What happens if you throw the whole book out and start all over? These are the questions I tackled right along with Amelia, and I love that we found some answers together.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
I SO enjoyed writing snippets of the books-within-the-book, The Orman Chronicles. I hope someday to write a full fantasy novel, but for now, it was delightful to cut my teeth on excerpts and plot overviews.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
There are so, so many books that have made me into the writer I am today, but Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun led me to changing my writing course from adult to YA and I am eternally grateful.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Don’t wait for the key to the magical world of authordom, because it doesn’t exist. Instead, go dust off that plot bunny you’ve been keeping in that old notebook or the app on your phone and write. I PROMISE you will be able to edit. I PROMISE every single writer ever reaches a point in their draft when they think their words suck and they want to give up. Keep going. The only difference between someone with a finished book and someone with an unfinished book is that they reacted differently when they reached that point.
Coming February 16, 2021