Author Interview - Ashleigh Rayl
Hello there! On this week's installment of the Author Interview Series, I chatted with author Ashleigh Rayl about her writing habits and her debut poetry book, Nothing Was a Waste. Check out what she had to say below!
1) Describe your most recently published book and/or your current work in progress.
My first published poetry book Nothing Was a Waste is about my heroin addiction at a very young age and the battles I went through with myself over that. It also describes my transition into becoming clean and sober--which I now have been for 7 years--into discovering my bipolar mental illness, and into the new world of motherhood and the change that all those responsibilities had on me. It is all the words I said to myself and was honest about that helped me realize my importance and that my feelings and thoughts mattered. That helped motivate me to keep fighting. Who I was mattered and these words I created proved that, so I made it into a book I could easily turn to in times that I didn’t feel significant. I am currently writing my second book called A Beautiful Difference that focuses on all the advice I give myself that I don’t seem to listen to, so I wrote it down to be able to hear and see myself clearly through my doubts or when I get depressed and don’t have access to the positive information I possess. I wrote that all down into poems. I was also very open and honest about the struggles I still face and go through.
2) Which do you prefer: self-publishing or traditional publishing? What factors made you choose one over the other?
I actually only have experience with self-publishing so I cannot fully answer this. My self-publishing journey has been very ignorant. I have had to ask a lot of people for help, and I have many people who help me.
3) Are there any books, movies, music, etc. that influenced your writing?
Becca Lee’s book Pulling Petals was an inspiration for me to actively take steps to create my own book. There have been numerous movies and songs that have influenced my writing or certain emotions I want to express. I feel like we are greatly effected by movies, TV shows, and music.
4) Which is your favorite genre(s) to write in? Which genre have you never written in but would love to try someday?
My favorite genres to write about are love and positive motivation. I write a lot about what I want to be or how I want to perceive things. I have not written much fiction, but I would love to do more. I tend to pull inspiration from my real-life experiences, and I always love to write about what could possibly happen also.
5) Do you prefer reading on an e-reader or actual books? Which do you think is better from a publishing point of view?
I prefer paperbacks. Something about having the actual book in your hand to flip through and keep is very personal.
6) How has the online writing community affected your writing career?
I can honestly say the online writing community is one of the huge reasons I decided to go public with my words. I had no idea they could have such an impact on people until I started to share, and the feedback has been overwhelming. It is a big motivation on how I am able to write so honestly, comfortably, and openly. The fact that what I am going through and feeling can positively affect another in the sense that they do not feel alone makes me in turn feel less isolated in my emotions. It makes me feel important and that my words matter.
7) Describe your typical writing routine.
When I write it is usually when I am on break at work. I sit down with my phone and just let the words pour out of me. If I really enjoy it and am proud of it I will make it into a post that I copyright and put online. Sometimes I will just keep them to fix or adjust at a later time, but when I get an idea or a good line I write it down in my phone.
8) What is your ultimate goal in terms of writing?
My goal is for my words to help and save another soul like they have saved me. I want my children to grow up and be able to read and see my experiences and wisdom. My goal is to make a difference in terms of positively affecting someone’s life.
9) What has been your biggest writing struggle? What is your greatest strength?
My greatest struggle I would say is not having enough time to clear my head and really sit down and concentrate on the poem I am trying to express. My greatest strength is that I still manage to come up with amazing pieces even though my mind is racing and it is not so clear at times. I can still portray the idea or feelings I am trying to express while still handling all my responsibilities.
10) Is there anything about the publishing world that has been very difficult? Has anything been easier than you expected? If you aren’t published yet, what do you anticipate being easy or difficult?
Because I did everything on my own it has been difficult for me to find people that do great work and also have compassion about your project. I have been very lucky to have Mitch Green in my corner and all my writing friends to help guide me to the best opportunities. I couldn't have done it without the community.
11) What is your favorite way to market your book and yourself as an author?
My favorite way to market myself is probably the Instagram platform. I want to progress more on Facebook but I find it easier on Instagram. I like to post pictures of my book that my supporters send to me and post my appreciation.
12) Have you taken any writing classes? If yes, would you recommend them? If no, do you want to?
I have not taken any writing classes but I would love to learn more about grammar and punctuation. Also, I would love to educate myself more about themes and other styles of poetry.
13) Is writing your full-time job? If yes, what was your last profession? If no, do you want it to be and what do you do now?
Writing is only a hobby and a way of expression for me. I have a full-time job cleaning and selling apartments. Having this job does give me a lot of time to be able to write down whatever I need to when it comes to my mind.
14) What do you think the future will hold for the publishing industry?
I hope it continues to grow and open up new avenues for new and inexperienced writers to grow and express themselves.
15) What advice would you give to someone who has just started writing?
My advice would be to not compare yourself to other people and their individual forms or styles of writing, but to look at them as a learning tool or for inspiration to find what style is best for you. Also, constantly research other successful writers and see what they did. The best examples come from those who have walked the same path and have succeeded. That is oddly how I found my individuality. You will know what is best and what feels right for you.
Keep up with Ashleigh's writing endeavors by following the links below!
Follow Ashleigh on Instagram.
Like Nothing Was a Waste on Facebook.