BP: So Ashley, I've read the blurb, but in your own words please tell readers what SHOCK ME is about?
AH: SHOCK ME is a book about a teenage girl who is viewed, and views herself, as someone not special or important. When she discovers she has an extraordinary power, it turns out she just may be the key to unlocking a hidden mystery about her town, and the young man she loves.
BP: Is there a message in SHOCK ME that you want readers to grasp?
AH: Just that as a teenager, no matter what you're going through and how awkward and impossible things feel, you are special and were put on earth with the ability to do great things. Anyone can make a difference.
BP: Please describe the setting in SHOCK ME?
AH: SHOCK ME is set in a very small cliquey town called West Applegate. A town that used to be filled with horses and farms as far as the eye could see; but now it appears to be a slow moving and somewhat abandoned place for love and adventure... or so the main character thinks.
In this town the school bullies rule, and if you’re not cool, you better stay quiet. It gives our character and her love interest a nail biting type of environment to grow up in as we watch them transform.
BP: What was your inspiration for SHOCK ME?
AH: SHOCK ME was actually inspired by a dream I had as a teenage girl that I could never quite shake. In the dream, I saw a beautiful young women who was running through an open field while being chased by an enemy. She hit a giant fence in the dream right as her rival got closer, and just when you thought she was done for, I watched as her body transformed into something super alive and electric! She actually was able to run through the fence like an electric ghost unharmed.
I awoke from the dream and immediately wrote the whole thing down. Years later the book SHOCK ME came about from it.
BP: What features distinguish SHOCK ME from others on the subject?
AH: The heroine of the novel Donna Young is a big factor that distinguishes this novel from others. She’s not your typical hero. Her bullying town for one, has convinced her she is not important. When Donna discovers she’s transforming into something impossible, she has to try to keep it under wraps and that is extremely hard to do.
This book is also different because as the series goes on whose bad and whose good constantly changes. Are the lead characters the heroes or are they in fact the villains and don’t know it yet?
BP: How has your background as a film director influenced your writing career?
AH: Writing novels has always been a love and passion of mine since I was a young girl, but what makes me a little different is my background in film production. I’m able to cross and bring together both platforms and that is always thrilling and fun. A goal of mine is to use film and video to empower authors and bring their stories new fans.
BP: Why did you decide to self publish?
AH: As someone who works in the entertainment industry , I always try to keep up with the currents trends in what people are reading and watching. I felt my novel fit into a trend that is re-surfacing now and knew in my gut that it was time to move and release it. Ebooks and self publishing, more than ever, are trends that are rapidly growing, even among giant best-selling authors. It allows you to determine your book's target market, publicity track, book cover, book trailer, and so on. Things traditionally published authors can't do. That's something I thought I'd have great fun with.
BP: I've recently compared your writing style to P.C. Cast. Do you have a specific writing style?
AH: It is such a compliment to be compared to P.C. Cast, she is a leading author in the vampire market. Like her, my novel SHOCK ME is written in third person, with multiple POV'S. The world behind SHOCK ME however does not center around vampires, it centers around teenagers with shocking abilities and powers; it's a world of mystery and breath taking romances that are forbidden.
BP: Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?
AH: I love Shakespeare, and I’m constantly inspired by his writing. Call me old fashioned but I also love reading tales from the Bible and find there is more adventure and romance than meets the eye.
As for authors from our era, Nicole Luiken and Danielle Steel are always good to turn to if you want to get engrossed in a great book. A new favorite author of mine is Jennifer L. Armentrout.
BP: Share a bit about your hero with us, and what makes him "hero" material:
AH: Ryan Applegate is the guy, at first glance, that every girl wants to be their hero. He’s tall, over the top handsome, born to a wealthy family, and mysterious. Fortunately, and unfortunately for some other characters in the book, there is so much more to Ryan and his true character that makes the reader question everything.
BP: Tell us what makes your heroine the "leading lady" in your book:
AH: I believe there’s a little bit of Donna in everybody. You want her to succeed and discover her strengths as she’s put in one impossible, heart pounding situation after another. She’s the kind of character that as she grows and matures, the reader grows with her.
BP: Are there any plot twists you can talk about without giving too much away?
AH: There are constant twists in SHOCK ME. Donna’s friends may not really be who you think they are, and discovering the true enemy takes your breath away.
The odds will constantly change.
BP: Is SHOCK ME part of a series? If so tell us about what's next and/or what else you're working on:
AH: SHOCK ME is the first of a five part series. News of book two in the series will be released soon. I’m especially excited about book two because it takes off after a major plot twist in book one! Book two has definitely been fun to write, and the heat level rises.
BP: Your cover is stunning! Who's the designer?
AH: Graphic designer Amber Harris, her work is so amazing. http://www.amberhdesigns.com/
BP: I've learned that you designed the book trailer for SHOCK ME. That takes incredible talent. Where did you learn video production?
AH: I started editing videos in college for extra money. I was a business major but as my editing jobs got bigger and bigger I realized video production was a passion, so I changed my major. I think the book trailer market is one that is under estimated, in the past all book trailers contained were slow moving pictures from the book's cover. Now with the rapid sharing of Ebooks we can make our trailers exciting, and more closely related to TV and movie trailers to grab new markets. You can catch the official book trailer for SHOCK ME on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGVFI-jKUXI
BP: What local community or charitable organizations, or writers groups do you belong too?
AH: After becoming a Christian I joined a local church called Christ Fellowship. Their people are constantly encouraged to get in the game, and do what you can to help the community.
Puresa Humanitarian is also a local organization I’m a fan of in my area. It helps to stop human trafficking all over the world, and helps empower the victims of human trafficking by giving them stability and income. It’s an organization I think is so important. http://puresa.org/
BP: Have you won any Honors, Citations or Prizes?
AH: In 2008, while attending college, I won second place in ABC Family’s Greek Virtual Rush contest; for a series of short films I wrote and produced.
About Ashley C. Harris
Author and film director Ashley C. Harris resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. When she is not hard at work writing or dreaming up new indie films she spends her time working out, reading the bible, and going on breath taking adventures with her sister.
The seed for becoming an author started budding for Ashley in the third grade, when she wrote her first hundred page book during her class's quite time, her teacher couldn't believe it and voiced over her that surly she'd become an author someday. Those words never left Ashley and she has been writing ever since.
Ashley loves to create young adult, science fiction, fantasy novels, and is currently working on her first steamy romance... with more to come.
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About SHOCK ME
A promising gymnast, Donna Young is a shy, quiet nobody from the wrong side of town. The only exciting thing in life is her secret friendship with Ryan, her childhood crush. But after the accident—one that should have killed her—she discovers she has impossible powers! Why now, at sixteen, can she transform into something shocking and inhuman? Donna doesn’t know how to use her new abilities or who she can trust, but unveiling this mystery might lead to conclusions about Ryan that are deadly.
Rich kid, Ryan Applegate is the most popular guy in town. He has a face that should be on a poster in every girl’s bedroom and dates the hottest chick in school. But ever since the big explosion at the town’s power plant, Ryan has been keeping secrets of his own that if revealed could force him to choose between his family and the girl he's forbidden to love.
As their electrifying puzzle unfolds, so unfolds a town where friends become enemies, and enemies become unrecognizable and intertwined. Tortured heroes just might be the bad guys, and Donna discovers that her and Ryan’s secrets are powerful enough to destroy everyone... including themselves.
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