I am super excited to welcome Rob Ashman author of The Mechanic trilogy to join me today for a Q&A interview
Good morning welcome to Chelle’s Book Reviews. Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
The first thing to say Shell is a massive thank you for inviting me along onto your blog. I’m thrilled to be sitting in the interview chair.
You’re very welcome Rob
My name is Rob Ashman I’m 56 years of age, married to Karen with two grownup daughters. I am originally from South Wales and after moving around with work we settled in North Lincolnshire where we’ve spent the last twenty-two years.
Like all good welsh valley boys I worked for the National Coal Board when I left school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then I’ve worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles, that was until I had the bonkers idea of publishing a book.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I’ve always had this book stuck in my head. Those That Remain took me twenty-four years to write – and yes, I know after all that time you’d expect it to be better! I played around with it for years and only got serious about writing when my dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and I gave up work for three months to look after him and my mum. Writing Those That Remain was my coping mechanism.
After I wrote the book my family read it and said ‘You have to do something with this, and besides its not finished.’ So not being one for half measures I got myself made redundant, went self-employed so I could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result. I never set out to write a trilogy it just happened that way – my wife says it is down to a catastrophic lack of planning on my part. She is of course correct.
I decided that going down the traditional publishing route was not for me so self-published my first book in October last year. Then a chance meeting with Alexina Golding in Leeds, which in turn led to a conversation with Betsy Freeman the following week, resulted in me signing a three-book deal with Bloodhound Books in March. I still pinch myself that it happened.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
My books are fictional crime thrillers. I have a fascination with serial killers and whenever I put pen to paper, more often than not, it results in someone dying. I can only judge my audience by the social media responses I receive. The majority of people who get in touch are women who are avid crime fans. Their messages of support and feedback has been nothing short of amazing.
What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
It’s probably not the best thing to admit in public but the first sparks of inspiration for my writing always come from the voices in my head. I can just picture my friends exchanging knowing glances at this point. My characters talk to me incessantly. They compete for my attention – they row, they laugh, they fight, and of course try to murder each other. Their conversations are always the start of the writing process. I then visualise the scenes that play out in each chapter like a movie running in my head and write about what I see.
On the question of how long does it take, thankfully my writing is getting quicker. After my leisurely twenty-four years for the first book, it took around eighteen months to write the second, a year to write the third and I completed my fourth book in around nine months. So, it’s getting better.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
The main characters are all fictional. However, some of the incidental characters in my books do have personality traits that are based upon real people who I have met or worked with in the past. It’s strange but I always seem to focus on their annoying habits or eccentricities, never their good points. Strange that.
Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
No. The storylines are violent on times and quite dark, so perhaps it is just as well.
I seem to do one of two things – I either research a topic or a location to death before writing about it using every resource I can lay my hands on or I write the story with no research and fill in the gaps later. I get told off about the latter by my wife and my BetaReaders. It does lead to some interesting conversations along the lines of ‘You do know they don’t play American Football in the summer, don’t you?’ and ‘That building was not there in 1983.’
When I research I tend to use the internet – if my laptop ever fell into the hands of the police I would be in serious trouble.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
I have never considered co-writing and I’m not sure what it would involve. There is a part of me that says it would not suit – I have enough problems controlling the voices in my own head without trying to accommodate someone else’s. But on the other hand, I have met some incredibly talented authors and have learned so much. Co-writing with them would be a brilliant learning curve. I’m torn now.
What’s your favorite book?
I dread it when people ask me a book related question. This is the point where I make my terrible admission – I don’t read! The last book I read was I Am Pilgrim over a year ago, I’ve read nothing since. I’ve still not got used to the look of absolute horror on people’s faces when I tell them.
What’s your favorite food?
That’s an easy one, it has to be curry. I am a bit of a chilli head and like hot food. I cook a lot at home and have an entire cupboard crammed full of spices – when cooking for my daughters I am banned from even opening the door.
What’s your favorite film?
I love Forrest Gump, it is a genius film with so many layers of humour woven into it.
What’s your favorite song?
This is a difficult choice to nail down, I play the guitar and love music. I think it would have to be something like Boys of Summer by Don Henley or Party Like You by The Cadillac Three … or Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones. See I said it was difficult.
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
I have an author page on Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook: Rob Ashman Author
Twitter : @RobAshmanAuthor
I also have a website RobAshman.com which is live but currently under construction. Also readers can go the Bloodhound Books page and click on my picture in the Authors section.
Thank you so much for taking part Rob….BTW I can not believe that you don’t read either Haha