UNDER THE TREES WITH ASHLEY MAKER
Bachman: A little birdy told me that you debuted with the novel Under the Trees, what can you tell us about this novel, for those who don’t know?
Maker: Under the Trees is a love story between a runaway princess and an impulsive prince. A lot of the conflict comes from Princess Araya’s abusive past and Prince Thoredmund’s controversial decision to shelter the princess, at the risk of endangering his kingdom. Her father and betrothed aren’t too thrilled with her disappearance, and they cause a lot of trouble for the young couple along the way. There’s also a bit of a twist at the end, but I won’t spoil it for any potential readers.
Bachman: You tackle, within Under the Trees, the very real occurrence of abusive within relationships. Happily, your main character escapes to another kingdom. I’d love if you shared with readers what inspired you to include such a heated topic in your storyline.
Maker: Including the abusive in Araya’s backstory wasn’t something I thought through and made a conscious decision to write about. It fell into place organically as I wrote the opening scene of the book. As I started writing, I very quickly knew she was running from something horrible, and that if she had stayed, things would have gotten much worse for her. After I realized she was running from abusive, the extent of which the reader can decide since I don’t one hundred percent reveal it, I debated whether or not to keep going with the story, since I knew it was a bit of a heated topic. In the end, I decided to write it—while leaving some interpretation to the reader and being extremely careful how descriptive the writing got—because abuse is something that happens every day. I know many women who have been affected by abuse, and they’re wonderful people who deserve good things in life. Araya deserved those good things, too, and I wanted to show her journey of overcoming.
Bachman: Do you plan on writing any other stories with hot button topics in them?
Maker: I don’t have any definite plans, but I certainly wouldn’t shy away from hot button topics if they were needed for the characters or the story. For example, my next release SEER doesn’t have a hot button topic at the forefront of the story, but there are elements—an alcoholic father with PTSD, and an unhealthy romantic relationship—that come into play for the main character.
Bachman: A lot of writers have gotten their start on Wattpad, has it benefited you? If so, in what ways?
Maker: To be honest, I’m not currently very active on Wattpad. I made an account shortly before another writing community website, Inkpop, was sold and shut down. I got a big start in networking on Inkpop though, and I miss connecting with readers and writers, so I do hope to explore Wattpad more in 2015. I’m even thinking of posting some chapter excerpts of SEER around the time of its release in February.
Bachman: I’m curious, how do you find time to balance your growing writing career and family life?
Maker: This one is tough! Right now I’m seven months pregnant with my second child, so my writing career has slowed down a little over the past few months for things like morning sickness and exhaustion. I think the trick though is to schedule time for writing. After Baby gets here, I plan to get a lot of work done during naptimes. My husband is also a huge help to my writing. He’ll watch our five-year-old daughter in the evenings if I have deadlines so that I can get my work done.
Bachman: Now, something for fun, if you had to describe your writing style in three words what would those words be?
Maker: I’m going to be hopefully optimistic that these three words describe my writing style: direct, engaging, clean.
Bachman: Finally, do you have any words of advice for other young writers coming up in the industry?
Maker: Absolutely! This isn’t the most original advice, but it’s something I strongly believe in. Write what you want. Don’t write for the market or for what you think people want to read. Write what you want to read. Write what you’re passionate about. Peer pressure is alive and well in the writing industry, but it’s crushing to give into it—I’ve made that mistake and it nearly made me stop writing altogether until I realized what was happening. Plus, there are so many things people tell you NOT to write about—whether it’s an oversaturated market trend or a topic you’re interested in. If I followed every single piece of advice on what to write or what not to write, I would never be able to write anything. So write what you love and don’t worry about what others are doing or what they say you should be doing.
Bachman: It’s been a pleasure Mrs. Maker, thank you!
Under the Trees – Amazon