Kelly Hashway fully admits to being one of the most accident-prone people on the planet, but luckily she gets to write about female sleuths who are much more coordinated than she is. Maybe it was growing up watching Murder, She Wrote that instilled a love of mystery, but she spends her days writing cozy mysteries. Kelly’s also a sucker for first love, which is why she writes romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she’s not writing, Kelly works as an editor and also as Mom, which she believes is a job title that deserves to be capitalized.
1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
I started writing in elementary school. It began with poems or short stories I’d write for my family members or for school assignments. Then, I even attempted a novel, although I admit I never finished it. I think I’ve always had the need to craft stories. I just love bringing characters to life.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I write cozy mysteries, which are really mysteries that tend to leave out the more gruesome side of murder and focus on the fun of solving crimes by piecing together clues. Right now, I have two series out, my Madison Kramer mysteries (about a thriller writer who winds up helping the police solve crimes) and my Piper Ashwell Psychic P.I. series (about a gifted psychometrist who works with the local police to solve crimes). Both series are available in print and ebook formats wherever books are sold. You can also find out more about my books and me by visiting my website: https://www.kellyhashway.com
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a brand-new series that will release at the end of February. I’ve been very secretive about it, but I will say it combines mystery and something else I can’t live without. The prequel will be free as well.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Some might say hitting the USA Today Bestseller List is my most significant achievement, but I think it’s finding my audience. I have such great readers, and interacting with them is what makes me the happiest. In the next five years, I see myself doing exactly what I’m doing now, writing the kind of books I love to read.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
Rejection is inevitable. I’ve been rejected by agents, publishers, and readers, but I’ve also been accepted by all three. The key is to remember that reading is subjective. What one person doesn’t connect with, another person will love.
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
I always say I have three jobs. I’m an editor, author, and Mom. And yes, I feel Mom is a job title that deserves to be capitalized. I write around my editing schedule, which happens to revolve around my daughter’s school and sport schedules. I don’t completely outline my novels. My format is to write my back cover blurb and list all the important elements I need in my books before I start writing. From there, I have a good sense of my story, and I can begin writing. Since I fast draft and can write about 15,000 to 20,000 words a day, I’ll finish drafting a book in five days or fewer. I’ll take much longer to revise and go through multiple rounds of edits after that.
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Absolutely not. So many great authors got late starts in the business and went on to be extremely successful. It doesn’t matter what age you are.
8) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
I’ve always been enamored with books. I still remember the first time I read a book completely on my own as a child. That excitement at all the possibilities reading could offer me in life has never gone away. So I can’t really pinpoint one book or one author that’s my favorite or that’s touched me the most. I connect with words and the feelings they evoke. Right now, I’m working my way through two series, the Psychic Eye Mystery series by Victoria Laurie and the Fixer-Upper Mystery series by Kate Carlisle.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
I fast draft and then put my drafts away for a while, so reading them for the first time is always exciting to me because I’ll forget what I wrote. I actually love the revision process for that reason. I also connect with my characters, so I enjoy being in their worlds. However, I have a rule never to read one of my books after it’s published. I’m afraid I’ll fall into that trap of wanting to make changes. At some point, a book has to be finished, and not reading the published book allows me to move on to the next.
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing?
We can’t stop the industry from changing, so whether it’s a change I like or not, I have to accept it and do my best to adapt.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I think writing allows me to question and process things in the world that I don’t necessary understand. It’s therapeutic in that way. It also allows me to step out of my comfort zone and experience things through my characters that I wouldn’t do in my own life.