A part of my soul got buried with my brother’s body when he died of a drug overdose in 1999. I was a hot mess for many years after my brother’s death, stuck in a life that felt foreign to me. Unable to talk about my feelings, I turned to writing as a way of expressing my grief. I wrote Saving Ben in honor of Neal, the brother I worshipped, the man I could not save.
Not only was the writing therapeutic, enabling me to release the emotions I’d locked away for years, but the process of becoming an author, the classes I took online and the workshops I attended, helped me establish a new identity.
I have a life again, one that belongs only to me, that I don’t have to share with my husband or my children, although I love it when my daughter reads my novels. While Saving Ben is the coming-of-age story about a sister’s close relationship with her brother, Her Sister’s Shoes is a testament to my own midlife crisis. I turned fifty, became an empty nester, and celebrated my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary all in one year.
I portrayed some aspect of my life, some characteristic of my personality, in each of the Sweeney sisters. I shared my experiences dealing with aging parents through Lovie’s story. I’m so fortunate to have found a new career, to be able to accomplish my goals, even if those achievements are meaningful only to me.
Now, when I think about how I will live the rest of my life, I imagine the plots I will create and the characters I will bring to life. And, if I do my job well, the smiles on the faces of the readers I please.
Ashley Farley’s Blog
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Characterization is paramount to writing a bestseller. Strong characters can carry weak plots. But unlikeable characters won’t compensate for weak plots. As with everything else in writing, developing strong characters your readers will relate to is a process. Develop...read more
Panster or Plotter? Writers often speak about their process. Some are pansters, writing by the seat of their pants as the story unfolds in their minds, while others spend untold hours drafting elaborate outlines. My process has evolved over time as my skills have...read more
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Consistently at the top of Kindle and Audible bestseller lists for four years, Ashley Farley has built an impressive following in women's fiction for someone who was a “closet writer” until the moment she clicked publish on Amazon. Her self-published books are written about women and for women, with many of her fans being just like her—mothers with grown children who rarely find heroines of the same age depicted in women's fiction. Readers will discover something of themselves through her characters. Her novels promise a dash of romance and a heaping of Southern-style family drama.