Feeling Bookish: A Q&A with Rising Shadows’ Author Ashley Townsend

A few months ago, I happened across an author profile on Goodreads. A sucker for time travel fiction, I was immediately intrigued and looked up the author’s list of works (and how quickly I could get them from Amazon), and eventually reached out to see if she’d answer some questions about her writing. See what she has to say about Rising Shadows, her writing, Robin Hood, and what she’s working on next! -TC

What was your inspiration behind the Rising Shadows series?

My childhood obsession with Robin Hood! I loved reading about fairytales as a kid and latched onto the idea of the hooded vigilante, and it just slowly developed into a full-blown story. Eventually my fascination with time travel found its way into the trilogy, and voila! My book babies were born . . . after about a million and a half hours of late nights and caffeine abuse, that is.

Do you view writing as a spiritual practice?

There is something incredibly calming and quieting to me when I write. You aren’t just penning the lives of made-up characters, but rather people that you give a bit of yourself to every time you sit down at the keyboard, imparting some of your past, hopes, and follies into each character to make them as real to readers as they are to you.

Since Rising Shadows and its sequels revolve around time travel, what kind of research did you find necessary for these books? How long do you research before beginning a book?

I had already done quite a bit of research for fun over the years on the subject of time travel and knew what aspects of the science I wanted to use to direct the series. The thing I had to work on for accuracy was getting the era right; the Middle Ages has always fascinated me, but about every three pages I had to stop and research random items or phrases to get them just right. The nice part about mainly being in the head of a girl from the 21st century is that I was still able to use more relaxed, modern lingo in the thoughts of the protagonist. *wipes sweat from brow*

How long (on average) does it take you to complete a book? What have been your
favorite/least favorite part of the writing process?

Uhhhh. A decade? Just kidding! Although I think most writers will admit that it feels that way sometimes because our characters develop over time and are constant companions. It typically takes me about 6 months to get the first draft out (editing along the way), and then the tragic process of line editing begins. *cries softly* Constant editing can sometimes temporarily kill your love of the story, but after taking a brain break after intensive edits, I always end up missing my characters desperately and wanting to dive back into the story!

Do you hide “easter eggs” in your novels for readers to find? (I once read about easter eggs in the Series of Unfortunate Events books, so now I’m always curious if an author includes one in theirs!)

I love that darn Lemony Snicket and his cleverness! I feel like there are some definite Easter eggs in the Rising Shadows trilogy. There are subtle references to the legend of Robin Hood that reveal the end of the series (if you look hard enough), and plenty of hints at my favorite superheroes and poets. Defying Shadows, the last book in the trilogy, has my favorite quotes at the head of each chapter, an ode to the great Cassandra Clare and her Infernal Devices series.

Are you working on anything right now?

But of course! If you follow my Instagram (@townsendtales) and http://www.ashley-townsend.com for updates, I’ve been posting about my work in progress, currently titled Jungle Princess. It’s basically Tarzan meets Dr. Mareau’s Island with a twist. I love turning classic legends and fairytales on their head! Not that you could tell by my last series. ^_~

What do you like to read/are currently reading?

Honestly, all fantasy and fairytale retellings are my favorite right now. I’m currently reading Austen’s Persuasion, although I just finished Hunted by Megan Spooner and seriously enjoyed the spin on Beauty and the Beast. If you haven’t had a chance to read this book yet, DO IT NOW!

Where can we find you on the interwebs?

I love keeping in contact with fellow writers and fangirls, so feel free to reach out to me on social media or follow my blog for my writing ramblings and fandom obsessions.
Blog: https://ashley-townsend.com/
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