Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Guest Blog from Sarah Ashwood, author of Aerisia series

If You Want to Be a Writer, Be a Reader

They’re a rare breed, but they are out there—writers who aren’t readers. I know a few who aren’t, but the majority are. Why is this noteworthy? Because I believe most writers are like me: their desire to write is born from a deep love of reading. The stories you read translate into other characters and stories in your head. I’m not saying you steal the stories you read; rather, you let them inspire you. Reading is my most faithful muse: always has been. I read a story set in Medieval Scotland, perhaps, and I begin to wonder what it would be like to live in Medieval Scotland. How would I handle this or that? How would I do this or that? Oftentimes, the wondering becomes my next story, and that’s the beauty of inspiration.
Now, for me, even though I love historical fiction (it’s my other favorite genre to read and write), as a fantasy author, my interest in Medieval Scotland may very well transform itself into a fantasy character or world based off Medieval Scotland. Which is what I love about fantasy. You can take a setting, a theme, an occupation, or historical time period that’s been done a lot in historical fiction, tweak it with your “magic touch,” and rework it into something new, exciting, and fresh in the fantasy world. You aren’t required to stick to facts—fantasy is great like that.
 Reading is a never ending source of creative stimulation, and, to that end, I’d advise reading multiple genres. Read history, read science, read fantasy, read science fiction, read romance, read Young Adult, read biographies. I guarantee you, if you’re a serious writer, you will probably learn something (even if it’s what to avoid) from every single book you read. As someone who enjoys romance and the occasional romance novel, I’ve learned what I like and don’t like to read (and, thus, write) when it comes to romance. What I don’t like is the super-hot-gorgeous man and woman who take one look at each other and instantly fall madly in love. Way overdone, in my humble opinion. What I do like is two people who may or may not be terribly attractive, but who have to deal with realistic misunderstandings and resolve authentic conflicts. I like a bit of reality in my romance, whether it’s in a fantasy novel or not. You may not agree with me; you don’t have to. Nevertheless, extensive reading will definitely help shape your perceptions of what you think works and doesn’t work in a novel.
Another thing reading does for the writer is actually help teach you to write. If you pay attention to the work of published writers, it will aid you in comprehending and defining the basics of sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, etc., as well as world building, plot, storyline, and character development. Isn’t a demonstration usually a great way to learn? Then, if you want to be a writer, read—because you’re going to have all of these important facets of writing and storytelling demonstrated before your eyes.

In short, if you want to be a writer, don’t skip this first, important step. If you want to be a writer, be a reader.

The mystery of other worlds is not one Hannah Winters ever thought she’d solve. However, the day she spots a brown-robed stranger with a magical staff in a neighbor’s field is the day she also discovers Aerisia, a magical land beyond Earth’s sunset. 

Here in Aerisia, Hannah is believed to be the Artan, a legendary heroine prophesied to deliver Aerisia from the Dark Powers. Plenty of people, including the Simathe, a race of immortal warriors, and the Moonkind, people of the Moon, are willing to help her discover her true identity, but Hannah’s just an ordinary girl from Earth. She doesn't have any latent magical abilities and she’s not the Artan. However, her allies aren't seeing it that way. Neither are her enemies. In fact, Hannah’s life is in jeopardy nearly from the moment she arrives in Aerisia. And becoming the Artan may be the only way to survive…

You can find links to buy her books here:

BIO: A genuine "Okie from Muskogee," Sarah Ashwood grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma. Former co-editor of the webzines "Moon Drenched Fables" and "Moon Washed Kisses," Sarah is author of the Sunset Lands Beyond Trilogy. She is also author of the poetry volume "A Minstrel's Musings" and the fantasy novella "Amana," along with numerous other published works. In her imagination, she soars effortlessly through historical and fantastical worlds. In real life, she lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and sons. Find Sarah on her Sarah Ashwood Facebook author page, on her Sarah Ashwood Goodreads page, on Instagram where she goes by @runnerwritermom, or on Twitter under the handle @1sarahashwood.


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