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Author Interview,  Giveaway,  Hope-filled Fiction

Ashley Clark: Charleston, Heirloom Secrets, a Giveaway & More

I’m happy to host Historical Dual-Timeline Fiction author Ashley Clark on the blog this week. She’s sharing about her recently released Christmas novella, Christmas on King Street, and is giving away an ebook copy. To enter, comment below by December 20. This would make a great Christmas gift for yourself or a friend!

Welcome Ashley! I’m so glad to have you here. I’d love to know if any of your stories are inspired by true events or personal history.

Yes! Actually, my first series of books is called The Heirloom Secrets Series because they are all inspired by some sort of secret or heirloom that’s true to life. Diving into history in this way really made it come alive for me as I was writing the stories, and I hope readers find the same thing to be true as they read them!

I love stories based on real life events! What is the setting of your current novel? Is it a real location or fictional? Tell us about it.

My current novella, Christmas on King Street, is set in Charleston, South Carolina. I LOVE Charleston. This novella is a companion story for my Heirloom Secrets series, which takes place in that city, so it only seemed natural to set the new story there too.

Charleston is awesome. My son and his wife lived there in 2016 when they first married. They lived in a two-bedroom upstairs apartment with their huge pit bull/lab mix. LOL. Do you have any pets? Do they find their way into any of your stories?

I am a huge dog lover! I currently have a 13(ish) year old Cocker Spaniel, and recently lost my other Cocker Spaniel who was the happiest soul you’d ever meet. I do occasionally write them into my stories, and I write about them frequently in the devotions I do for Guideposts’ All God’s Creatures compilation.

I’m sorry about your beloved pet. I know that was hard. Speaking of hard, what was the hardest scene you’ve written?

The hardest for me were the depression scenes in Where the Last Rose Blooms. Having struggled with depression and high-functioning anxiety, I tried to plumb my own experiences so the character struggles would be authentic and relatable. I’m really happy with the result and pray God uses it to touch many hearts with a message of His nearness, but the actual writing was emotionally exhausting.

Let’s shift to something easy. Which character in Christmas on King Street was easiest for you to write and why? 

My new novella, Christmas on King Street, introduces readers to two new characters and also welcomes back two old friends. Writing Alice’s point of view was easiest for me with this one because I felt I already knew her so well… her chapters just zipped along, and I found myself wanting to write more!

How do you tackle research for your novels?

Research really can take on a life of its own! I like to try to confine my research to the information I truly need to make my heroine’s world come alive. Beyond that, I try to avoid info-dumping just for the sake of proving I researched the topic – ha!

That can be difficult, even when researching for contemporary books! How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?

Novellas only take a month or two, but novels take a full year or more.

What does a typical day in your writing life look like?

I homeschool my son and also teach college English classes, so I typically write at night – sometimes while everyone else is snoozing!

Wow, I’m impressed that you lead such a busy life and still find time to write and publish books. Great job! What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Don’t give up! Publishing often takes years and years to accomplish, but publishing is not the end goal of writing. You have to enjoy the journey.

I’m learning that lesson now. If you wrote in a different genre than your current one, which would you choose and why? 

Probably contemporary romance or romantic comedy. I actually started out writing these genres before I tried my hand at historical fiction!

Fun! If you could only publish one book in your lifetime, which of your novels would you choose?

This is a very hard one, but I’d probably say The Dress Shop on King Street (my debut) since the message of holding on to dreams is so dear to my heart. I wrote for ten years prior to publication, and God faithfully sustained me through what was sometimes a discouraging journey. When I look back on it, I see the many ways my writing and my life were shaped beautifully during that time. I wouldn’t trade it or have it any other way! I’ve heard from many readers who are in their own waiting season that God spoke to them through The Dress Shop on King Street, and I consider that such a privilege. As I wrote that book and the others in The Heirloom Secrets Series, I really felt as though I was stewarding them rather than creating them.

The Dress Shop on King Street was fantastic! What a blessing it has touched so many people. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I love that opportunity allows me a chance to process the world in meaningful ways, and I pray God uses what He’s teaching me through writing to bless others who may face similar doubts, hopes, and struggles.

Awesome. Do you enjoy marketing and social media? Which platform are you most active on?

I do enjoy both! I have a wonderful group of newsletter subscribers and would love to connect with more readers there. They can find the sign-up (with bonus freebies!) on my website, and I also am active on Instagram at the_handwritten_story.

Thank you so much for having me here today! I had such fun chatting with you all. It’s always a privilege to connect with readers! Hope you enjoy Christmas on King Street.

It’s been fun learning more about you and your books, Ashley. Thanks so much for sharing with us! Merry Christmas!

I also wanted to mention that Ashley’s entire Heirloom Secrets series is on sale this month in ebook format for under $10! Click the image below to head over to Amazon and snag them all!

Heirloom Secrets Series

Join the conversation. Have you read any of Ashley’s books? Which is your favorite? Do you enjoy dual timeline stories? What do you love about them?

Be sure to comment below by December 20 for a chance to win an ebook of Christmas on King Street!

Christmas on King Street book cover

Christmas on King Street by Ashley Clark

Click the book cover for purchase link

This Christmas, her music box holds the key to a wartime secret.

Alice’s flower shop is in trouble and her boyfriend has yet to propose. She’s weary and disillusioned, so when her boyfriend suggests a trip to visit family and friends in Charleston, South Carolina, she’s eager to go. But a discovery at her friend’s vintage store reveals a decades-old music box with a secret that may just help Alice find what she needs this Christmas.

In 1942, witty Kit and a handsome soldier start a whirlwind romance at a USO dance. But when war takes him away and tests their love, all Kit wants for Christmas is to see him again. Her story becomes more complicated with the mysterious appearance of a music box on her doorstep, and their romance takes a turn she never expected…

A must-read for fans of historical fiction! The perfect novella to enjoy with a cup of cocoa and get you into the Christmas spirit. Grab a copy for yourself, and gift a couple to friends this holiday season.

If you enjoyed Clark’s acclaimed Heirloom Secrets series, you don’t want to miss this final companion novella

Ashley Clark writes romantic women’s fiction set in the South. With a master’s degree in creative writing, Ashley teaches literature and writing courses at the University of West Florida. Ashley has been an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers for over a decade. She lives with her husband, son, and rescued Cocker Spaniel off Florida’s Gulf Coast. When she’s not writing, she’s rescuing stray animals, dreaming of Charleston, and drinking all the English breakfast tea she can get her hands on.

Connect with Ashley: Website / Instagram / Facebook

Ashley Clark head shot

Please share Ashley’s interview on social media to help spread the word about her Christmas novella!

If you missed last week’s interview with Maryann Landers, find it here.

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.