Me: What inspired you to start writing?
Ashley: I have always loved telling stories, so writing was just something I enjoyed. It took me a while to let other people read my work. Now I love hearing what people (especially kids) think of my books. Writing is my release, it’s my passion outside of my family and work. Although my kids love my stories and they certainly inspire a lot of them. They even help! Of course their idea of help can be to fill me with more ideas than I have time for. Still I will never run out of material with them around!
Me: Tell me a little bit about yourself, in brief.
Ashley: I am a mum, who works as the Curriculum Manager for Labs ‘n Life. We work with at risk youth to train Labrador Retrievers as companion dogs for children on the Autism spectrum So basically I work with kids and dogs. Yes, I am crazy. It’s a fun job and certainly helps with my writing. My two dogs, Obi and Stitch work with me and they have given these young people such a sense of self worth. It is amazing.
Me: Tell me a bit about your latest book:
Ashley: My latest book is The Homework Goblin. It’s a short chapter book for young readers. Before I worked for Labs ‘n Life I was a primary school teacher. I used to love hearing the excuses for not doing homework. Sometimes I would even help my students make up a few. So I wrote The Homework Goblin!
Me: What inspired you to name a book about your one dog and a blog after another?
Ashley: I guess I had to share it around. Obi was my first Lab and the book (Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist) came from all the crazy things he did as a pup. This was written before I had Stitch (published after, which is why Stitch is in my author photo). When I decided to start a blog for interviews and reviews Stitch Says just came to mind. Both dogs will appear in other stories. It might sound funny, but I love sharing them with other people and now they can live on in my books and on my blogs!
Me: Tell me more about Labs and Life.
Ashley: Labs ‘n Life is a not for profit organization. We basically want to give young people a chance to do something for someone else. So they train our dogs (Labradors) as companion dogs for children on the autism spectrum. The young people learn a lot about dogs, dog training and of course themselves during the course. Its lots of fun and every day we see young people and their dogs do amazing things.
Me: How did you get involved with them?
Ashley: Funnily enough I got involved by playing volleyball. My senior manager was a coach and I used to play and referee. She also bred Labradors. So we started talking. Sue organized me getting Obi (I can never thank her enough for that one!), later she bred Stitch! We were both teaching and really wanted to do something for the young people that really don’t engage in schools. Sue came up with the concept and it has grown from there. I have been lucky enough to be a part of Labs ‘n Life since the start!
Me: What is your favorite animal?
Ashley: Well the Labrador of course. Still there are others I like. My girls always take me to see the otters at the zoo, they are lots of fun. We also enjoy watching the giraffes, monkeys and big cats. Actually we just love going to the zoo! I love animals, they are always fun to watch and interact with!
Me: Is there anything else that you would like me to mention:
Ashley: Thank you for this opportunity. As I have become more involved with social media to promote my writing and books I have found some fantastic authors. It’s great to be able to help each other out and it’s also a lot of fun!
Thank you Ashley for talking with me! I wish you the best of success with your new book! For those of you reading this, be sure to check out her other books on Amazon as well as her website. Ashley's site has links to her review blog, "Stitch Says," her books and other social media. Be sure to check out my review of Ashley's new book, on my other page!
About this Blog
Author Vickianne Caswell interviews other children's authors.