Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sorts of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.

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Today, I’m chatting to the horror writer, Ashley Burns. Ashley, like myself, is one of the writers featured in the Women of Horror Anthology, Vol 3 The One that Got Away published by Kandisha Press

Welcome to the tearoom, Ashley. As always my first question to my guests is what would you like to drink?

Thanks for invite me to the tearoom. Please could I have a coffee, thank you.

Now we have our refreshments can I ask you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?

Originally I tried going several directions to find where my voice spoke the clearest, but I always found myself looping through dark forests and darker desires. Once I realized how inspiring this genre was the words came easier. Will there ever be other stories? Maybe, but right now my little black heart is content with where I am at.

Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?

So I was given a theme for my latest story, faeries, and it has become one of those love/hate projects. I keep trying to take the reins back from my lead protagonist and her stubbornness has been quite frustrating. In truth, some of absolute favorite stories and books have roots in fairytale and folklore- tempting me for years to try my hand at one of my own.  So for now let’s just say “work in progress”.

How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?

This is a tad embarrassing.  Double digits without a doubt! Maybe triple if I started at the beginning.  Some I come back to later, they just need breathing room, whereas others are just contributions to the collective consciousness. Flurries that lack the power to become storms.

Ashley Burns

Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? If you only write short stories, do you plan your story or let the characters lead you?

I love this question. On stories that are based loosely on real life places or events I try to essentially take notes and write a synopsis just so I’m not constantly have to pause, research, and write.  Stutter stops affect my ability to just let stories unfold. Generally speaking, I like to let my characters take the lead. When I try to corral them into specific molds I end up hating the results. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted a certain outcome and had to start from scratch because of my meddling!

When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing?

Absolutely! And that’s why I try to the get the bulk of my ideas down in the first sitting, otherwise each day the tone shifts with my mood and the stories get really bipolar.

Were any of your characters inspired by real people?

Most of my characters are a melding of people I know and what I think would happen to them in different situations. Sometimes its a name that sparks an idea, what I imagine that person would be like.

Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?

I’ve been a competitive kickboxer for years and teach it as well. I was the front woman for an all girl punk band. And lastly, my guilty reading pleasure is paranormal reverse harem novels.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Its a juggling act between my job and writing, which is why I try to write before work.  My mind is clearer and less muddled from the days stresses. 

Do you set yourself a daily word count?

I strive for at least 1,000 – 2,000 per writing session. On the longer days closer to 4,000.

How many hours in a day do you write?

Although I am not a “morning” person I usually get my most productive writing done right after breakfast.  My typical writing schedule is 1 1/2 hours during the week and at least 2 hours on my days off. Some days its just to keep the wheels greased, and I feel that keeps my mind in a creative mindset.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I tried to imagine if I could pull off a single name moniker like Cher or Sting but every single one made me laugh. Maybe someday..

Thank you for joining me in the tearoom, Ashley.

If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books, don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops, too.

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