Today we welcome author DJ Ashton. D.J. Ashton was born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 3, 1964, at Union Memorial Hospital.
She holds an Associate in Science degree in the field of Criminal Justice and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida Metropolitan University.
Ms. Ashton has one son, who has followed in her footsteps and serves his country proudly in the United States Army. She has one daughter currently enrolled in college as a Psychology major and another daughter who recently graduated beauty school. She also has one granddaughter who she proudly calls "Nana's girl".
Infatuated by and intrigued with vampires, Ms. Ashton began researching and writing about them approximately twenty years ago. In the last seven years, she has been actively writing for publication and is currently in search of a literary agent to represent her work. While she dabbles in other genres, her main focus is always Paranormal Romance.
She has been an active member of the Romance Writers of America organization since April 2005.
To her writing credit, she has written several short stories (in various genres), begun an autobiography, and has also begun writing a whimsical memoir, of sorts, based on little things she observes as she haunts coffee shops, family diners, and the local Barnes & Noble. She is an avid "people-watcher" and gets some of her best story ideas and characters from those unsuspecting people she "accidentally" and "non-chalantly" eavesdrops on.
When not engaged in writing, edits, and people-watching, she likes to unwind on the Internet where she meets with friends to chat. She plays World of Warcraft having left EverQuest after years of play. She also enjoys such "offline" PC games as Doom 3, Half Life, and Quake (4).
Other hobbies include cooking, crocheting, and holding the couch in place while she flips through the cable channels, occasionally coming to rest on programs such as Forensic Files, Law & Order (CI and SVU), Ghost Hunters, and True Blood.
Q. How do your friends and family feel about your writing venture in general? (how have you handled the situation?)
Q. What do you do to unwind and relax?
Sometimes I will just take a nap and other times I will curl up with a good book, or I’ll take a candlelight bubble bath with soft music on in the background.
Q. What is your favorite book?
Hard to say because I like so many but I guess one of my favorites of all time is “Rage of Angels” by Sidney Sheldon. Oh, and “Acheron” by Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Q. What do you want to accomplish with your books?
I want to secure myself in the world of writing. I just want my books on the shelves of the major bookstores so I can leave a sort of legacy for my children and grandchildren.
How long does it take you to write a completed book manuscript?
It depends on what I’m writing and how intense it gets. The first book I ever wrote took 3 years. The one I just had published took almost 2 years. I finished another book in just two months’ time. And the one I’m working on now, I hope to have done in the next 2-3 weeks. I figure if I do a chapter a day, I’ll accomplish that goal.
Q. What successes has your current book done for you?
My book got me published. I wanted to be a successfully published author and I have achieved that. Now I want to go further and be recognized when people see my name on the cover of one of my works.
My Interview with DJ Ashton
Tell us about your latest book?
My first Christian Children’s book’s official release date was September 12, 2010. It is titled, “Why Did This Happen to Me, Aunt Lou?” is written in a very broad manner in order to aid children experiencing any form of crisis in their life. My goal with this book was to help children who have experienced hardships or trauma in their lives to understand that God is by their side. I credit my earliest foundations in Christianity to a wonderful woman named Louise Ritchie. Aunt Lou, as everyone knew her, was a caring, Godly woman who devoted her life to service and the Lord. Louise passed away in September of 2009; she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
“Why Did This Happen to Me, Aunt Lou?” is the first in a series of stories all to be narrated by this warm and loving character, Aunt Lou. Future titles will include but are not limited to, “Tell Me About Easter, Aunt Lou”, “Why Do Our Loved Ones Die, Aunt Lou?”, and “Tell Me About Christmas, Aunt Lou”.
One of my most recent reviews:
When young children experience trauma, it is very important to acknowledge that trauma and help a child come to a place where they feel safe again. “Why did This Happen to me, Aunt Lou?” is written in a way that opens the door for dialogue and healing to begin, from a Christian faith perspective. Beautifully illustrated, it offers hope and encouragement for children who need a message of unconditional love. This is crucial in helping a child understand that they did not do something “wrong,” but rather, are cherished by God. It is the message that so many children never hear and as a result, grow to be adults with a wide variety of mental health challenges. One thing known today is that we must help children because they cannot help themselves. This book may be one thing that offers a “life ring” to a wounded child.
Nan Holmes, Waco, Texas
Talitha Koum Institute
2. What is it like being the author of children’s books?
Being a children’s book author is a humbling experience. I wake up each day worrying that it was all just a really pleasant dream. The process did not seem completely real until I received my first shipment of hardcover books. I literally ripped the box open, grabbed a book, and cuddled with it! My husband thought the whole situation was so comical that he actually worried that I might sleep cuddling with my book that night.
I have had 5 of my books to be released in the series written for about three years. But with the passing of my Beloved Louise Ritchie last summer I revisited getting published with a renewed fervor. I am so very blessed that my path crossed with that of Publish America. While many authors grimace at the mention of a print on demand publisher, Publish America was a perfect fit for both me and my books. I give God the glory for my ability to write them, illustrate them, and share these stories that he has lain on my heart.
3. What inspires you to write?
My life experiences and my faith inspire me to write. I born and raised in a little town called Jefferson, in North East Texas. As soon as I was born, God never left my side. He guided me through economic hardships, sexual abuse by a distant family member, an attempted kidnapping turned carjacking, and years of spiritual warfare.
While I choose to keep the details of my childhood sexual abuse private, I do very openly share my experience with the attempted kidnapping turned carjacking back in 2001.
It was October of the same year of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. I was still dealing emotionally with seeing the images of the attacks, and I was not aware of my PTSD at this time so I didn’t limit my exposure to the trauma.
I was walking to my car through an apartment complex parking lot, headed to school I remember I was going to wear navy blue addidas shorts that day, but I melted the athletic material with the clothes iron (should been a sign). So I changed. I remember that outfit in detail as well--Tommy Hilfiger flare jeans, a grey Baylor tee with a red and blue University logo and tennis shoes. Something told me to ride with my husband that morning, but I ignored the instinct.
As soon as I was outside, I saw him. He was far enough away that I felt safe, but close enough that I wasted no time getting to my car.
I remotely unlocked my driver side door, sat down, put my drink in the cup holder, threw my backpack across to the passenger side, and tried to close the door.
The weirdest sensation...my door wouldn't close. There was resistance. I turned and there he was. A black male about 200lbs and a bit over six foot. He had something sharp in his hand--I assumed it was a pocket knife. He threw open my door, put the object to my neck and said, "Get over". He wanted me to scoot to the passenger side and let him drive away with me.
My first instinct was to obey this large, angry man wielding a sharp object dangerously close to my throat, but then...RAGE!
I WAS NOT going to be victimized AGAIN! This attack took place no less than nine years after my sexual abuse stopped--that meant NOTHING! It was like it had happened yesterday, and I was TICKED!
I put my left hand on the horn of my car--it was early morning, everyone was home asleep and would come out ticked at the noise. I knew help wasn't far away. I leaned through the opening of the door and him and yelled with all my strength for JASON! He started jabbing and slashing at me with what turned out to be a broken glass bottle in a paper bag. I knew he would probably cut me, but not bad enough to kill me.
I looked up the stairs of the complex and there was Jason. Tee-shirt, boxers and a very angry look.
I can only imagine what the attack looked like from his vantage point, but from mine I saw hope.
Jason has always brought light, truth and security to my life. The image of him-- and God's protection, gave me the strength and courage to somehow miraculously fight through my attacker and exit the same door he was blocking.
I distinctly remember having one hand gripped tightly to his shirt once. I realized I was now outside the car and he was inside all my anger and pent-up rage overwhelmed me for an instant and I wanted nothing more than to drag him out of the car, take a few shots at him and then let Jason finish him off. But yet again, God intervened and I let him go.
I watched him slam my car door, fumble for the keys and take off. Jason got to the car door about the time he closed and locked it. He beat on the window screaming words that I dare not repeat.
It was at this point that I realized blood was coming from somewhere. I didn’t know where or how bad. I just ran to a wall collapsed to my knees and screamed, "I AM BLEEDING".
Jason instantly left the car to drive away, and came to my rescue.
To this day I am certain that I had an angel in the car with me that day. All that shuffling and fighting and flailing and I walked away with only a scratch on 3 fingertips, a slash through my shirt and my bra (but not to the skin).
PRAISE GOD FOR HIS PROTECTION!
Today I am a 29 year old Baylor University graduate, teacher, poetic monthly staff writer, cake decorator, and stay-at-home mom in Waco, Texas. As I look back at my childhood with great appreciation and respect for the unending love of her Heavenly Father, my relationship with God grows even stronger.
4. If someone wants to purchase your book, where would they find it?
My books are currently available thought my personal website at
Direct from my publisher
$24.95 hardcover link to purchase: http://www.publishamerica.net/product94578.html
$9.95 Paperback link to purchase: http://www.publishamerica.net/product95017.html
My books are also listed at
Books a Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Did-This-Happen-Aunt-Lou/Rachel-Stol...
Barnes and Nobel: http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?WRD=rac...
5. Where do you get some of your best ideas for a book?
All of my book ideas are inspired from raising my two young daughters. I am a stay-at-home mom with a 4 year old and a two year old. Their pure and inquisitive spirits manage to ask some very difficult and trying questions that a Christian child should be contemplating. My daughter likes to ask me about death, and why things die, and if she will die. She likes to know why it is raining, why it is windy, and why God gives the plants water and feeds the birds. The sheer innocence of it all has moved me to take all the little one-on-one stories that I tell her and her sister and put them down on paper. I truly hope that one day my books will help Christian parents integrate God and scripture into every aspect of their life and every explanation they give their children on a daily basis. I would love to have my books be just that resource for them.