Author Interview & Book Giveaway: The Milestone Tapes by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro

Welcome to Author Ashley Mackler-Paternostro

Ashley Mackler-Paternostro was born in Naperville, Illinois, where she still lives with her husband Mark and their three dogs. 
A hairstylist by trade, Ashley will often say that some of the best stories she has ever heard were told to her while working behind the chair. A life long reader with an insatiable appetite for good books, she decided to merge her love of great stories — both told and written — into her own brand of story telling. 


If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
Definitely my Kindle, my laptop and a bottle of Maui Browning Lotion.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
If we’re talking ice cream in a package from the store, strawberry. If we’re talking Coldstone it gets complicated … chocolate cake batter, raspberries, brownies and sprinkles.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I am working on my sophomore effort right now, IN THE AFTER. This book is so different than THE MILESTONE TAPES, it’s much darker and in some ways much deeper.

The story revolves around Sidney Ruth in the aftermath of her best friends disappearance. It travels through that first week of hell when someone you love and know better than yourself vanishes into thin air. It begs the question: how far will you go for someone you love?

In the novel, the answer may not be what you’d think. IN THE AFTER should be ready for press in late 2012.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My first review. That was pretty amazing and what the reader said was so sweet and sentimental, it kind of blew my mind that she felt the story like she did.

Reviews can go either way, and sometimes they hang out in the middle. But when one is good … it’s validation of all the hard work you put into a story; the long hours, the isolation, the emotion. You can sit back and really feel like you’ve done your job.

What is your dream cast for your book?
Jenna- Jennifer Garner would be the perfect Jenna.
Gabe- Huge Jackman would do a great job.
Mia- Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries) would be a great Mia as a teenager, and as a child, I think Mackenzie Foy (Twilight Breaking Dawn 2) would be amazing.
Sophia- Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) would have to go blond, but she’d kill it.
Ginny- Sally Struthers would be perfect for Ginny.
Kris- Connie Britton (American Horror Story) would be a brilliant Kris.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
If there was only one song, hmmm … I think for the novel as a whole it would be Answer by Sarah McLachlan from her album Afterglow (2003).

It’s hard to bottle a book up into three minutes and a handful of seconds … but if I had too, I think Answer the one of song of the many I wrote to that speaks to the heart of THE MILESTONE TAPES.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
There is so much advice I could give … but the best piece would be to figure out who you are as a writer and live up to that genuinely.

Right now the literary world is at a crossroads. Things are changing in an industry that has pretty much gone unchallenged for nearly forever. A new writer has so many options and paths that can be explored, and success is totally in their hands.

I’d encourage anyone thinking of writing a book, no matter the genre, to figure out what works for them best and then learn as much as you can about that. Take writing seriously, take yourself seriously.

How did you know you should become an author?
I felt it. I didn’t know it … and to be honest, I still have a hard time saying “I’m an author” because in my world, authors are pretty important people … and I don’t know if I see myself that way.

Truthfully, I just had this story … and it started as just something for me, totally organic, unpretentious, I never dreamt of being published and THE MILESTONE TAPES very well could have died on my computer as nothing more than a personal exercise.

At 30,000 words I had this feeling neither me nor my characters would be happy if we didn’t try to get this story out there. And once I accepted that, it grew.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Little pieces of me hang out in all of my characters. I think that’s universally true for most writers.

THE MILESTONE TAPES was born of something very true, I twisted it for the sake of fiction, but there is a thread of fact woven in.

How do you react to a bad review?
I’ve yet to have a reader say “ugh, this book is disgusting!” … but I received around 50 rejections of agents … and that is more or less a bad review.

Bad reviews are hard … and you eventually get a lot of wear on the tread of your soul. Writing is personal, books are our babies … to hear they aren’t “good” … well, that’s painful of course … and I don’t think you can ever outgrow that.

For me a bad review, no matter where it comes from, is as important as a good review. It’s how a writer learns what they do right and ultimately, what they do wrong. This business of writing books is my job, I have to turn off the tears and just read the reaction for what it is.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I did … nothing! I’m real wild, I know. Seriously, it was the middle of the week (a Tuesday) and I had about a million things on my plate and I couldn’t get distracted by the sheer joy … but, believe me, it was a joyful.

The Milestone Tapes

Jenna Chamberland never wanted anything more than to be a wife and mother. That is, until she realized that her life was ending after a three-year battle against breast cancer. Now, all she really wants is more time.
With 4,320 hours left to live, Jenna worries for her loved ones and what she knows awaits them on the other side: Gabe will have to make the slip from husband to widower, left alone to raise their seven-year-old daughter; Mia will be forced to cope with life without her mother. In a moment of reflection, Jenna decides to record a set of audiocassettes — The Milestone Tapes – leaving her voice behind as a legacy for her daughter.
Nine years later, Mia is a precocious sixteen-year-old and her life is changing all around, all she wants is her mother. Through the tapes, Jenna’s voice returns to teach Mia the magic of life, her words showing her daughter how to spread her wings and embrace the coming challenges with humor, grace and hope.
THE MILESTONE TAPES is the journey of love between a parent and child, and of the bond that holds them when life no longer can.

Giveaway Details
1 copy of The Milestone Tapes
Open to US only
Ends 5/14/12

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