Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia. She is the author of Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, and Comeuppance, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects like Tragedy of Ice. When she’s not writing, she’s drawing, and when she’s not doing either of those, she’s dreaming up new projects to work on. You can follow her on her website as well as Facebook and Twitter.
Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A: The prospect of finishing my next story. Even if it’s one that I don’t share with the world, I always look forward to writing my next piece.
Q: When you get an idea, what’s the first thing you do with it?
A: Most of the time, I try to summarize the essentials, the moments that stood out, and save them into the folders I think will fit their length (that is: short story, novella, novel, etc.). Other times, I may open OneNote and start plotting out a fully realized story (or at least, the first run of one). Then, there’s the rare moment where I’m so pulled in by the premise of an idea that I have to sit down and start writing it off the cuff.
Q: What’s the hardest thing about the writing process for you?
A: Turning off my editor. I freelance edit, so when I start to do my own writing, I sometimes have to remind myself: “Write the whole thing first, THEN go back to edit.”
Q: How long does that process tend to take you, start to finish?
A: On average? If I do nothing else, I’ve proven to myself that I can get the raw draft of a manuscript out within approximately one month. To edit, be peer-reviewed, and revised takes much longer, which can only be measured as “until it feels right”.
Q: Tell us a little something about Tragedy of Ice, and specifically about Kadiza, your main character. What is it about her you find most appealing?
A: Kadiza Pasternak is one of 900 colonists chosen for the initial mission to Europa. She’s an architect partnered with SMR-3, a repair crew that does maintenance aboard the colony ship, EURTHA, which is currently stuck in orbit, unable to land. Like her compatriots, Kadiza was raised by the Interplanetary Space Agency to be a child soldi—scientist. Unlike her compatriots, when dividing lines are drawn between those loyal to the mission and those who want to return to Earth, Kadiza’s alignment isn’t so easily black and white. It’s not her obligation to ISA nor an empathy for the dissenters that causes her to rise to action, but her friendship with Suresh. It’s personal for her, and while she planned for it to be a one-and-done act of vigilante justice, circumstances keep landing her deeper in the mix. What’s fascinating is that every time she’s presented with an either/or scenario, she’s constantly finding ways to keep from being boxed in. From her job, to her vigilantism, to her love life, Kadiza won’t settle for “one or the other”. She finds what’ll work for her, and she makes it work. She still needs her hand held every now and then, but with a little guidance from Suresh, and the eventual encouragement of her lovers, she comes out on top, if just a little worse for wear.
Featured Writers is a series dedicated to discovering the talents, motivations, and strategies of writers all the world over. I don’t care how experienced you are, whether you’ve published anything, or what you’re writing about: If you’ve got a story to tell, I want to hear about it! To share your process or project with my readers, contact me with a brief bio and a little bit of information about what you’d like to talk about.