Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Rising Shadows by Ashley Townsend

Welcome to Author Ashley Townsend
Ashley Townsend is a twenty-year-old college student and author whose greatest passion lies in creating stories that captivate and entertain her audience. Born in Southern California and raised in Colorado Springs, Ashley dedicated her free time between homeschool classes with her mom to devouring adventure novels and defending ice castles in her backyard. Her thirst for books expanded until she began to run out of options at her local library, and the lack of reading choices ultimately drove her to write her own stories and adventures for entertainment.
Rising Shadows is her first book, and she hopes that God will use her wild imagination and love of storytelling to further entertain and encourage readers in their walk with God. She currently lives in Southern California with her parents and three sisters.

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If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?

However cliché it sounds, Jesus. I don’t care if people think I’m just saying it because it’s expected, like a Miss America contestant saying, “World Peace.” But I think it would be incredible to have dinner with the Son of God, ask Him questions, listen to parables like the disciples did, and just say thank you for everything.

And since you said any 5 people, dead or alive (even fictional), I would also love to have Ronald Reagan attend. It’d be amazing to meet my favorite president, and we could discuss politics and God over a monstrous bowl of jellybeans! I’m pretty sure he and Jesus would hit it off, too.

Number three would be my favorite author, Francine Rivers. I would love to pick apart her brain and ask her so many questions—how she manages to get so much emotion and depth into a story and suck the life from her readers until they finish said story. I wouldn’t even know where to begin!

Tim Tebow. Yes, I wouldlove to set him up with one of my sisters—hopefully they won’t read this, and neither will he—but I also really respect him for his outspokenness about his relationship with God. The impact that he’s had on people’s lives and the things he has done for the community is honestly incredible, and I would just like to talk with him about that and encourage him to keep fighting for what he believes. Plus, he played for my family’s favorite football team, the Broncos, and he actually made us believe in them again, so I would probably get something signed too. Hey, I’m only human.

Last but not least, William Taylor (as always when I mention his name: *swoon*). It’s not just because he’s my favorite character that I’ve written; you’re just going to have to trust me when I say having him for dinner would be amazing. Not only would he cook the meal for our little group of dinner guests, but he would do the dishes, eventually get up the chutzpah to talk to Jesus and be glad he did—hallelujah!—volunteer to walk Francine home—such a gentleman—and then Will and I would go for a moonlit walk and have cheesecake by a lake, and he would give me his coat while we discussed our deepest secrets and hopes for the future. Phew! I managed to do all that in one breath.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

“Rising Shadows” has everything that I love as a reader—adventure, mystery, romance, enigmatic blacksmiths *wiggles eyebrows*, excitement, a little sarcasm, and characters who pull your heart in every direction and who are totally realistic as they try to find their way out of the darkness and into the light.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?

When I was thirteen, I actually ran out of books at the library and was simply dying to read something new. My oldest sister was kind enough to lend me her “Christy Miller” series, which I proceeded to devour in four days. I have always loved to write, but when I ran out of options, it suddenly clicked then that I could write larger stories and series for entertainment, and the first thing I ever seriously wrote was a mystery series that I hope to share with you all someday.  

Who are your favorite authors of all time?

Francine Rivers is, quite possibly, my favorite author ever! I only hope that someday I can weave such incredibly intricate and gripping stories that cut straight to my heart, or create so many fantastic and memorable characters that break and mend that same heart, no matter how many times I read their stories. Jane Austen is my favorite author of classic literature; it’s absolutely incredible that her books have stood the test of time and been such iconic pieces of literature from which nearly every author tries to glean a little guidance and inspiration. 

Who or what inspired you to become an author?

Ever since I was eight years old, I knew I had to be an author. I don’t remember the exact moment or what I was doing when I decided on my career, but being an author was “it” for me when I realized that I could make people happy with my writing. My grandma loved to write, as well, and she always encouraged me to pursue my dream of being an author. I loved having that in common with my favorite lady, and her excitement over my writing has inspired me over the years to keep moving toward my goal. I know she would be proud to see me living our dream. 

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I have some seriously spastic dancing moves? Most people know I’m a spaz, though I only feel comfortable dancing like a complete idiot with certain people and usually rein it in at public dances. Only my family knows that I honestly cannot sit still during Justin Bieber and Ludacris singing “Baby.” Yes, I hang my head in shame. But in my defense, I must move!    

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

Which to choose?! Well, there were plenty of those in the earlier stages of my “career,” like when I was nine and killed everyone in a freak castle explosion caused by some sort of fluffy bunny—I blocked most of it out. Recently, though, I’ve been reading and watching a ton of sci-fi and really want to write a series about a school of “special” kids, kind of like something Profession Xavier would have created. But the next novel I am dyingto write after I finish “The Shadow” trilogy is set in a dystopian future about genetically engineered soldiers who seem to be the best thing for the fallen world—saving families from loss—but they turn out to be something entirely different.  

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

How to choose?! Well, probably “Emma” because I absolutely love the witty banter, balls, dresses, and I’m a sucker for a gentleman. I don’t think my seizure-like moves would be welcome at the choreographed dances, though, so that could pose a problem…

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

“Don’t give up, Kiddo. If you believe in it, then it’s worth fighting for.” These words have stuck with me over the years and have given me constant encouragement when the odds seem stacked against me.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

It’s a tie between Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Graham Bell. Abe was a fellow book-lover and did so many incredible things during his presidency—and his life—but my sister wrote this amazing paper on Bell that I got to proof-read; I was crying by the end of it and just wanted to give Alexander a pat on the back for all that he had done. I know my dad would have liked me to say Steve McQueen, so maybe I can throw him in there too?

What is one book everyone should read?

Nonfiction—the Bible; fiction—“Redeeming Love ” by Francine Rivers. This book is pretty heavy, but absolutely incredible when you look at the representation of God in the story. Powerful stuff. 

What is your dream cast for your book?

For Will Taylor, probably a younger version of Tom Welling—tall, broad-shouldered, dark hair, killer grin. There’s this picture I found of him in a tan hoodie and black coat, and that is very Will. For Sarah, though? Hmm. Off-hand, maybe Jennifer Lawrence or Leighton Meester? They can pull off the sarcasm and hair, and I could really go with either face for Sarah. Emma Watson has the kind of soft voice, sweet face, and fairy-like look that I imagined for Karen. And Max Irons (gosh, I just love him!) could really go for either Seth with Eddie Redmayne’s hair, or Will with dark hair. I would be perfectly satisfied to just cast him. Period! Freddie Stroma could also play Seth, just in case we get Max for Will (crossing fingers!). Oh, and Chris Pine for the cocky and ever-present Allan Miller. 

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?

Darn, that’s really hard. As much as I would love to find myself a Texas Ranger from the late nineteenth century or meet Robin of Locksley in the twelfth or find myself an Irish lumberjack from any era, my dream is to live in the time of suit coats and pocket watches on some rolling hillside in Bath sometime in the nineteenth century.    
Rising Shadows

Sarah Matthews is nearing the end of another eventless summer in the small town of Bethany, Oklahoma, bringing her closer to the start of her freshman year of college. Disheartened over the reality that yet another unexciting season is coming to an end, Sarah wishes for an unforgettable adventure. When mysterious circumstances transport Sarah and her younger sister back in time, she gets more of an adventure than she could have ever imagined. The two sisters find themselves trapped in the twelfth century in a place shrouded with mystery and deception. Assassination plots, kidnappings, and tumultuous adventures force Sarah to rely on the Shadow, a masked hero who comes to her aid numerous times. In order to uncover a conspiracy and save those closest to her, Sarah requests help from the Shadow and also from Will, the handsome and equally intriguing blacksmith she befriends. Sarah is strangely drawn to the excitement that seems to follow the town hero and begins to look forward to their secret encounters. She also finds herself caught in a romance with Will, despite the fact that their equally fiery personalities have a tendency to clash as they attempt to work together. But Will’s past is filled with secrets and pains, and Sarah finds it difficult to break through the walls he has built around him. Can the faith and love of God that Sarah exhibits in her own life cause his hardened facade to fall away as he discovers that forgiveness and mercy are never too far from reach?

Use the coupon code SHADOWS to receive 20% off Rising Shadows at the Vyrso Bookstore . Use this link:

Giveaway Details:
1 Ebook of Rising Shadows
Open Internationally
Ends 10/7/12

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