Ashley Amber shares some valuable lessons she has been taught about writing

Ashley Amber is an emerging author and poet from Boston, Massachusetts. Ashley wrote her first picture book at the age of 9 years old that she entered in a Reading Rainbow contest, earning a certificate from LeVar Burton. She’s most recently known for her debut novelette The Flip Side of Sad, as well as her personal poems on asexuality. When Ashley’s not writing, she’s making videos on Youtube as an “Authortuber” while she seeks a home in publishing for her LGBTQ+ book series.

In The Flip Side of Sad James Letta is the world’s newest singing sensation. But for someone who always sings such happy music, he sure is sad. While on a promo tour for his new album, James has what he thinks is the hardest day of his career… until he has to relive it. A ghostly spirit decides to trap James inside his own album in order to make him learn the lessons of its lyrics, hoping she can help him get on the flip side of sad.

Young Entertainment Mag: What has been your greatest accomplishment so far as a writer?

Ashley Amber: My greatest accomplishment so far was having a flash fiction I wrote accepted into Q Anthology (out later this year). It’s a little LGBTQ+ themed story with characters I hold so dear and I can’t wait for people to read it!

YEM: What is one thing that you think all good books have in common?

Ashley: Heart. When you can clearly feel the writer’s personality, you know it’s a good book.

YEM: What was the first book you remember falling in love with?

Ashley: I don’t know if this counts but I absolutely loved the I Spy books when I was younger. I vividly remember sitting by the window in my kindergarten classroom staring at the pages trying to find every item before the bell rang. 

YEM: Do you have any advice for any younger authors?

Ashley: Just. Keep. Writing. It’s like a mantra now. The biggest mistake I ever made was stopping writing altogether for a couple of years. It was so hard getting back into the groove once I started again.

YEM: What does your writing process look like?

Ashley: It usually starts with the smallest, simplest idea. I’ll write notes on literally anything I can find, then type it up later. Then I’ll just write; whether it’s the first page or somewhere smack in the middle of the story, I’ll write wherever the idea takes me.

YEM: What is your favorite part about writing? What is the hardest part?

Ashley: My favorite part is when I’m able to come up with prose I believe has never been done before; it’s what makes the story unique. The hardest part can be putting all the pieces of a story together in the end, since I’m not someone who writes in order.

YEM: Who are some writers that inspire you?

Ashley: Casey McQuiston, I like to say we’re writing twins because we seem to write so similarly haha Also Chris Colfer is someone I’ve always admired as a person and a writer. 

YEM: What do you hope that your readers can learn from reading your books?

Ashley: I hope my writing sparks something in people they had never thought about before or never heard before.

YEM: What is the most valuable lesson someone has taught you in terms of writing?

Ashley: Author Carrie Hope Fletcher once said, and I’m paraphrasing, that if you don’t force yourself to write the book, it’ll never get written. Sometimes you have to push yourself even when the juices aren’t flowing.

YEM: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Ashley: No, actually! haha Writing has always been something I enjoyed and something I learned long ago I had a talent for, but there’s many other things I wanted to pursue instead. When I was very young I wanted to be a doctor, then an actress, then a singer. I eventually did pursue a career in ballroom dance, then later pursued a career with the Walt Disney Company. And I loved all of those things, but I never stopped writing. 

YEM: What are your favorite books?

Ashley: Despite the fact I write fiction, I love reading memoirs, so some favorites have been Chords of Strength by David Archuleta and Nothing General About It by Maurice Benard.

YEM: What do you think your greatest strength as a writer is?

Ashley: One of my strengths can also be a weakness: dialogue. I absolutely love writing dialogue and have gotten criticism from agents over the excessive use of it in my manuscript. I’ve done a lot of editing since then, but I believe dialogue is just as important as narrative. For me, I like to envision the characters speaking and having a real conversation. Fortunately, I’ve been able to find a  better balance of dialogue and narrative in my manuscript since haha

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