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Finding her passion: Author makes inroads with her stories
To be seen, heard and read is a difficult challenge for fledgling authors in today’s oversaturated, competitive book business.
“Especially with the way publishing is changing right now,” said Ashlyn Mathews, an emerging novelist who grew up in Auburn. “Anyone can self-publish. … In a week there could be thousands of books released … and how do you stand out from all those authors?”
Mathews has made a splash in quite a short time, attracting favorable reviews and a strong following, despite producing stories in a crowded genre of paranormal and contemporary romances.
Her self-published first book, “If Only”, reached No. 6 on Amazon’s top 100 free contemporary romance short stories in only nine days.
She has followed with a pair of full-length, paranormal dark, soulful romance novels – “Shadow Watcher” and “My Fallen” – after picking up a contract with Adams Media, a major book publisher.
“Shadow Watcher”, set in the Pacific Northwest, debuted last fall. “My Fallen”, which was released recently, is about a normally quiet and polite vampire slayer who is asked to help an arrogant and selfish demon, but trouble ensues.
Having realized her dream of becoming a published author, Mathews hopes her pursuit will inspire others to try.
“Sure, it’s a struggle, finding time to write and promote,” said Mathews, a wife, soccer mom of four boys and full-time registered nurse at Seattle’s Swedish Hospital. “I would like to write more … I want to get my name out there more.”
Mathews and her family immigrated from Laos in the 1970s, settling in Auburn.
She began writing stories in middle school. But it wasn’t until two years ago when she took her children to see “Tangled”, Disney’s animated musical fantasy-comedy film, that Mathews was inspired to write a book.
The best part of writing, Mathews explains, is building a paranormal romance around the complexity of issues. Her books tackle dark subjects – from betrayal to abuse – and how they relate to family.
Her writing style?
“It tends to be angsty but also sweet,” she said. “I am trying to basically establish what authors call a voice … the way you string your words together, the way you present a story.”
Her stories often bring a happy ending.
Mathews admits she’s been bitten by the writing bug, a “curse”, she insists. She already is working on her next project – a trilogy scheduled for a fall release.
“It’s very cathartic for me,” Mathews said of her writing. “It brings out my creative side. … I hope people take a chance on me.”
Mathews is a member of the Greater Seattle Romance Writers Association, Rose City Romance Writers and Northwest Independent Writers Association.
For more on the author, visit www.ashlynmathews.com.