INTERVIEW: CEO, Editor, and Author, Stephanie Ayers

Originally published 2016-03-05: Juggling Lone Abandoned Shoes with Stephanie Ayers | Spotlight Saturday


For those of you who regularly follow my blog, you’ve probably notice me mention Our Write Side, a great new writing community that posts prompts, writing tips, fiction, and more. I’ve written a number of stories from their prompts since I found them, and I interviewed OWS’s A.L. Mabry back in January.

For today’s Spotlight Saturday, I have Stephanie Ayers. Her first book, Til Death Do Us Part, has a bunch of great reviews; I even reviewed it here in January. You can also find her work in Endless Darkness, 1 x 50 x 100, and Precipice, Volume 2.

I grabbed Stephanie when she had a few spare minutes to learn a little more about her stories and all the other amazing things she does.

pic of Our Write Side's Stephanie Ayers

Show us your public face.

Stephanie Ayers is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Our Write Side and graphic designer, editor for Mother Spider Designs and Publishing. She is also a full-time world-building ninja, six-time published author, and part-time freelancer from central Virginia, crafting her own story and avoiding growing up at all costs. She mothers her children, loves her husband, attends church, and avoids all things zombies.

Stephanie has been a regular contributor and leader for Bloggy Moms and Just Be Enough, and writes content for Blogmutt in her spare time.

You can find a full listing of her works on her Amazon author page.  She shares her writings and life musings on Written. Additionally, she hosts the exclusive Master Class and Fractured Friday writing prompts and offers writing wisdom every Wednesday.

Tell me about The Soul Reapers. What inspired it? And what can readers expect when they pick it up?

Actually, I started writing the stories [for The Soul Reapers] separately, having found my voice tended to the supernatural. I wanted to put a collection of short stories together, but had trouble coming up with a theme. My writing partner, A.L. Mabry, commented that I write a lot of soul collecting, and that would make a great theme for the collection, and I agree.

As for inspiration, I can never really pin it down. The ideas just blossom in my head, and if I am lucky enough to have time to write them out, they develop into stuff people like to read.

I fully expect readers to look over their shoulders and be afraid to read the stories in the dark at night, alone.

pic of the moon in the dark with clouds

What about A Most Unlikely Hero? When can we expect that to hit the virtual shelves?

A Most Unlikely Hero began as a response to a Master Class prompt before I took it over from its creator. Everyone enjoyed it so much, and that Tribba is just so LOUD, I had to keep going. It’s been 2 years in the making, and the ending keeps getting further and further away. I plan to devote most of January working on it if I can get Edgar out of hibernation. I honestly don’t know when it will hit the shelves, but I know it is highly anticipated, and it will get there someday.

A large part of Til Death Do Us Part is set inside a hospital. What kind of research did you do to make that believable?

I went off my memory, watching a lot of hospital/rescue themed shows (ER is one, House is another) growing up. I just followed what I saw in my head in each scene, though I have to admit that much of it comes completely from TV dramas.

[Adan’s Note: I reviewed Til Death Do Us Part in January.]

How do you juggle being CEO, editor, writer, and parent? Do you have any tips for those of us also struggling to stretch 24 hours to their breaking point?

With extreme caution!

Seriously, if I took on juggling as a hobby, everyone would tell me to stick my day job! Ha. I have to admit I haven’t really written as much of late as I used to. Running a site like Our Write Side with the devotion I have to it really takes up a lot of my day. All of my children are in school, so as long as I manage to stay off Facebook, I can get things accomplished, one at a time.

When they get home, I interact with them, do mommy things, and after they go to bed, I usually “plan” to write or work on something, but get sidetracked by Facebook and chat. Editing isn’t a huge thing with me yet, as I am just starting out with my editing services. I help friends when they need it at any given time, and I’ve started planning bedtime a little earlier so I have time to read.

The best I can offer as far as management goes is that you just have to work out your own system. Avoid social networking as much as you can to get your work done, and give yourself a few minutes’ reward after each task accomplished if you need to. I have found ways to stay active in communicating with those who need me while not getting sucked in to the Facebook timeline and distractions.

pic of an orange kitten staring at a computer screen

I use Chrome as my browser and apply many of the extensions to help maintain my focus. I have added a Facebook extension that brings my chat up in a little window, allowing me to keep an eye out for important messages without breaking my stride, and I also added extensions like Instapaper, for saving articles I need for research, an extension that times out tabs after so long when I’m not looking at them (very helpful for Facebook and etc.).

I do my best to stay ahead on blog posts. I take one week of each month to put my posts together (the ones I can preplan anyway) so I don’t have to do as much work throughout the month, and use that time for other projects, like designing book covers and blogs, proofing for our publisher, Jenn FitzGerald, and working on my own projects.

What fuels your writing?

I have ADHD. There’s always something in my head. I’ll even get all ragey if I have loudness in my brain that I desperately need to put down on paper and no one lets me do it undisturbed. My characters fuel my writing, the things I see on the road while driving—like that lone abandoned shoe.

Another huge factor that fuels my writing is being read. I write for my readers. I want to be read, to have my words enjoyed, to bring people into the worlds in my head. My readers absolutely fuel my writing.

Tell us about your writing hideout.

I don’t have a real one, so I’ll tell you all about my dream hideaway. The gentle branches of the willow tree surround me as I sit on the soft mossy carpet Nature provides me. A small stump awaits my notebook, perfect in height so that I can lean over and write with ease. Twinkles of light float around me, and tiny fingers caress my hair. Dainty, feathery kisses tickle my ears as words fly onto the paper. Lilacs and honeysuckles scent the gentle breeze, never harsh enough to disturb my writing, as a small stream rushes by just beyond my hideaway. The stream ends at a waterfall, the rushing water soothing and lulling my muse.

[Adan’s Note: What a fantasy hideout! I love it.]

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