Interview: Zachary Ashford, Horror Writer

Zachary Ashford was born in England but now makes Australia his home. He grew up in the Brisbane area and still lives there.

“I’m a teacher,” he says, “but in the past I’ve been a copywriter, sub-editor, and radio creative, so I’ve always had a background in writing.”

Ashford started to take writing seriously in 2018 and had a couple of stories published. “Most of what I’ve had published so far has been of the creature-feature variety. I’ve seen it called ‘splatter,’ but that’s not really a genre I’m super familiar with—I just like a good monster story that goes for the throat and splashes on the gore.” Indeed.

Zachary Ashford

When did you first start writing? How did that develop to where you are now?

I guess like everyone, it started while I was in school. I always knew I wanted to write fiction but didn’t really do too much of it. I was a real procrastinator in that respect.

I studied a minor in creative writing at university and wrote a few small things, but it was more just something I always wanted to do. I had some ideas but never put them to paper until I decided I should actually apply myself and make it happen back in 2018.

The first story I wrote was “Blood Memory,” and that found its way into Dark Moon Digest. My first solo release was the Demain Publishing book The Encampment by the Gorge and Blood Memory.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Yeah, for sure. I think everyone experiences emotions differently, and the best stories are the ones that are full of empathy, but absolutely.

How important is research to you when writing a book or story?

It depends. Like everyone, I’ll flick for small bits of research, but I really just want most of what I do to be fun, and if a few truths get bent for the sake of moving the plot along, I’m not too fussed. Obviously, some things require research, but I certainly don’t invest hours—I just do a bit of reading, watch some YouTube videos, and move on.

Tell me about your writing style. How does it differ from other writers’?

I hope that it flies off the page. I’m a big fan of metal music, and I love trying to capture that same energy in my stories.

I think my two novellas (one coming out soon) and my upcoming Demain story are humorous, but I also like to think I have range. Some of what I’ve written has been quite serious in nature (even if it’s over the top).

What books have influenced your life the most?

Tough question. I’m a huge fan of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. It’s probably my all-time favorite, but then I love The Old Man and the Sea, Frankenstein, Lord of the Flies.

Is your family or significant other supportive of your writing? If so, who’s the most supportive?

My wife is amazing. She’s very patient when I’m trying to pump out some work, and she’s always the first to tell me whether a story is any good or not. I think my kids think it’s pretty cool, but sometimes when I show them the books, they’re just like, “Oh, yeah.”

How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion or a job?

I’d love it to be a job, but I have a pretty good career as a teacher—and that takes up a LOT of time. At the moment it’s a passion. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some books released, and they seem to have reviewed well. It’s got me on a couple of podcasts and things, but it certainly hasn’t made me any money! One day, I hope.

What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about your specific genre?

Oh, man, that’s hard. Horror fans are a pretty knowledgeable bunch. They’re like metalheads. They’re really passionate about their genre, and they know the history. I think most readers know all there is to know, especially if they read wider than Stephen King.

Is there any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Just keep writing. Don’t self-reject. You have to back yourself and promote yourself. Others won’t do it for you.

Tell us about your current project.

At the moment I’m making some changes to a novella for a publisher who’s asked me to tweak some things for them. They’re a bit of a dream publisher, and they’re holding a slot for it, so hopefully I don’t screw it up.

After that, I’ve got a really cool idea for an alien sci-fi/horror that I’m gonna play with. I’m also 50,000 words into another novel that’s been kicking my arse for a while now. I’ll need to finish that up sooner rather than later as well.

As for releases, I have two coming up in the early months of this year—one for Demain and another novella for a rad publisher I’ve worked with before—that are yet to be announced.

You can learn more about Zachary Ashford at http://zacharyashford.com. Follow him on Twitter  @Ashford_Zachary. Peruse his Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com.au/Zachary-Ashford/e/B087LV2SQP/.

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I’m Going Back to School to Get “F”ed

Welp (that’s a “well” plus a gulp), I just slapped down the fifty-dollar admission fee, sealing my decision: I’ll be heading back to Seton Hill University to get “F”ed.

Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PAI completed SHU’s Writing Popular Fiction master’s program to earn a Master of Arts in genre fiction writing in 2006. DEATH PERCEPTION was my thesis. They’ve since upgraded the program to an MFA, so I applied again and was accepted. I’m going back for the F in January.

The extra 27 credits will center on the teaching of creative writing and writing about popular fiction—something that I want to do more of in the coming years. I also would like to teach at the university level someday.

The program consists of two week-long residencies, one in January and the other in June. If all goes well, I’ll finish the program around this time next year. Since SHU is only forty minutes away, I’ll commute and save some dough.

Wish me luck!

More information:


Winners of the Goodreads Giveaway for DEATH PERCEPTION

From May 4-14, 2013, I hosted a Goodreads giveaway for 5 trade paperback copies of my supernatural thriller DEATH PERCEPTION. The giveaway is now closed.
DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen Howard

The winners are:
Michael S., UK
Tamara A., Canada
Mary E., US
Toni H., US
Zack W., Canada

Congratulations, folks! I’ll be shipping your books this week.

You can still mark DEATH PERCEPTION as “Want to Read.” And please recommend it to some friends who like supernatural crime!

DEATH PERCEPTION is announced on the site for award-winning genre writing text MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT, to which I’m a contributor. Read all about it here:

http://manygenres.blogspot.com/2013/05/mgoc-contributor-news-death-perception.html

P.S.: Don’t forget to join the Facebook release party now. From May 15-31 I’ll be posting
trivia questions for a chance to win some cool prizes, including a Kindle Paperwhite. Order options are listed here. Order your copy today and start reading to win!


Enter the Goodreads Giveaway for DEATH PERCEPTION

Enter to Win a Paperback of Supernatural Crime Novel DEATH PERCEPTION at Goodreads

NOTE: The Goodreads giveaway is officially over.
Winners are announced here.

From May 4-14, 2013, you can enter to win a trade paperback of DEATH PERCEPTION.DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen Howard

Enter here:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17847827-death-perception

While you’re there, please mark DEATH PERCEPTION as “Want to Read.” And recommend it to some friends!

Thanks. I appreciate your support!

P.S.: Don’t forget to join the Facebook release party now. From May 15-31 I’ll be posting
trivia questions for a chance to win some cool prizes, including a Kindle Paperwhite. Preorder options are listed in the event. Order your copy today and start reading to win!


Hazard Yet Forward for Donna Munro

Ginormous Multi-author Genre Anthology to Benefit Seton Hill University Alum

Hazard Yet ForwardSeventy-six writers connected to the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program contributed to a multi-genre anthology, HAZARD YET FORWARD. All proceeds from this project benefit Donna Munro, a 2004 graduate of the program. Munro, a teacher living in St. Louis, Missouri, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. An active member of the SHU WPF alumni committee, Munro helps organize the school’s annual writing conference, In Your Write Mind.

To aid Munro and her family, faculty members, alumni, students and friends of the Writing Popular Fiction program immediately responded to compile this massive anthology. The book features flash fiction, short stories and a full-length novella. There are 75 works total from various genres—literally, something for everyone—ranging from horror to romance to mystery, and everything in between.

Notable writers in the anthology are World Fantasy Award winner Nalo Hopkinson, Bram Stoker winners Michael A. Arnzen and Michael Knost, Bram Stoker nominee Lawrence C. Connolly, ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults winner Jessica Warman, Rita finalist Dana Marton, Spur winner Meg Mims, Asimov’s Readers’ Award winner Timons Esaias and WV Arts and Humanities literary fellowships winner Geoffrey Cameron Fuller.

HAZARD YET FORWARD co-compiler Matt Duvall says, “It’s an unprecedented collection of stories from every genre imaginable.” This large volume is an electronic book for the popular Kindle platform and is available for purchase through Amazon, reasonably priced at $9.99.

When I heard about the project, I quickly responded by contributing my story “Mixed Breed, Loves Kids.” Donna was my sponsor when I entered the program in 2004, and she does so much for the WPF program. She’s an all-around fantastic person; I want to support her while she conquers breast cancer.

You can order HAZARD YET FORWARD here.

You can find more information about the anthology at http://hazardyetforward.wordpress.com. To learn about the unique and exciting Writing Popular Fiction program, visit http://www.setonhill.edu/academics/fiction/.


The Sixth Seed and Severed Relations Featured at Many Genres, One Craft

As a contributor to Many Genres, One Craft, an anthology of how-to articles for fiction writers seeking advice on how to improve their writing and better navigate the mass market for genre novels, my work is featured on the MGOC site. Check it out!

Scott Nicholson Shares Secrets to a Kindle Bestseller

Horror and thriller writer Scott Nicholson shares his practical and spiritual process in making his Liquid Fear a Kindle a bestseller. This is a great read, and I hope you’ll check out Scott’s books, both digital and print:

    Seven Secrets to a Kindle Bestseller (But Really Only One)