We would like to extend a warm welcome to Ashley Mackler-Paternostro, author of “The Milestone Tapes,” and “In the After”. I, Monica, CMO, fell in love with her book “The Milestone Tapes” about a year ago and couldn’t wait to share it with M.L. Gardner’s readers. Her emotionally charged books cover contemporary topics and take the reader on soul searching journeys. You definitely need a box of tissues with this one!
She and her husband reside in Naperville, IL, her hometown, with their three dogs. You can purchase her book, “The Milestone Tapes,” here.
Describe your books/genre to our readers.
I write Women’s Fiction which is a fairly nebulous genre since threads of this sort of book also appear in nearly all other genres. I would describe my book as up-market fiction, they tend to be contemporary novels dealing with contemporary themes.
How and why did you become an author? Do you write full time?
For my 28th birthday my husband, Mark, took my to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. We had the most spectacular time — it’s an absolutely beautiful place. If you’ve never been…go! On the second to last day of our trip we visited Rialto Beach, which can best be described as a driftwood graveyard. It’s isolated and violent and breathtaking — they don’t call it the “wild coast” for no good reason. We hiked for hours to this little creek that cuts the beach in two, it was there that I like to say I lost myself and found myself in the same moment. When I stepped out of my own way, the story sort of revealed itself to me — strange, I know, but it did. I knew I had to tell this story. My characters came through so vibrantly, it was there story, I just got to type it. I returned home changed and three months later, I had written my first novel, The Milestone Tapes. In the past two years and a half a lot has changed for me. I’ve become a full-time novelist, I’ve written another novel which became (for the blink of an eye) a best seller in the US and in the UK. I have the opportunity to contribute a short story to an amazing collection of holiday-themed stories that benefited a children’s charity. The coming year promises to bring even more changes for me and this career of mine. It’s been a whirlwind … but the best sort of whirlwind ever.
What inspires you?
I believe in muses, so for each book I try to find something that will kindle my creativity. I write to music and have my little “home-grown” playlists on my computer. And travel … I like to go back to beginning when I start a new novel. Each spring, for my birthday, we go to the Olympic Peninsula and I put on my “writer hat” to research what comes next. This past spring I was infused with Native American culture — and my next novel will bring some of their mythology to life for my readers which I’m very excited about because it’s a beautiful way of seeing the world and the human condition.
Describe a typical day.
A typical day now is a circus act. I juggle my projects. Right now I’m working with my literary agent on edits which eats most of the day-light hours. Late at night I’m writing something fresh and exciting, and I usually slip in an hour or two (when I should be doing other things) to work on a project that comes to life at the start of the new year. I try my best to balance all of that with keeping my husband fed and in clean clothes, my dogs walked, my house picked up. Like I said, a typical day feels very much like a three-ring circus, but I haven’t quite figured out how to be the ringmaster…yet.
What are 3 fun things we should know about you?
1. I’m a gypsy at heart. I love to travel. On the drop of dime I could pack up and go somewhere, anywhere.
2. I collect Japanese glass floats. My house is overflowing with them, but I can’t seem to share the love and let one go.
3. I don’t read my own books. I’m too close to the source and I cannot read them objectively. Even after a novel of mine is long published, I can flip through I can find a hundred things I would change given the chance.
What advice would you give to new authors?
Oh, that’s a hard one. There is so much advice I could give, so I’ll share my top three: 1. Take yourself seriously and other’s will too. Don’t talk about how “new” you are … talk, instead, about how “eager” you are. One is more endearing than the other. 2. Prepare yourself now for the first five-star review and the first one-star review. They’re both valid. Teach yourself to take both in stride. 3. Read…and read, a lot. Read everything you can get your hot little hands on. Read the genre you’re pursuing and other genres, too. Figure out what works in the market and what doesn’t. Last year New Adult wasn’t but a blip on the literary-radar, this year it’s the BIG THING … so pay attention to trends and figure out how they impact you and your own novels.
How can our readers contact you? email, Facebook, Twitter, blog
Thank you so much for the interview, it was really fun! I appreciate the opportunity.