Well of Ash by Elle Cardy
If the whispers call your name, run!
Seventeen-year-old Ashina has more in common with an untamed fire lizard than the people who are supposed to be her new family. After running away, she’s drawn to the city’s mysterious Great Well. No one knows who built them across the world or why. To linger near makes the skin crawl and the mind drift in nightmares. And yet this one calls to Ash in whispers that pull her closer.
Despite the warnings from a handsome stranger with gorgeous eyes, Ash searches for answers in dangerous places. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of peculiar events she can’t explain or escape. When both her sanity and life are threatened, she realizes she has more to lose than she thought. Ash must find the answers before she loses everything she holds dear.
If you like dragons, magic, and a fierce heroine with a wounded heart, then you’ll love Well of Ash, a YA Fantasy novella by Elle Cardy. Jump in today to unravel the secrets.
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Thanks, Tyrean for having me. I’ll dive right into the interview questions:
Interview with Elle Cardy
1. Tell us about yourself. (like what you do for a living, hobbies, etc.)
I used to create art and do 3D animation for a living, but now I write full time. Best job in the world! My hobbies include photography, anything creative, and eating chocolate—that’s a hobby, right? I’m also a full-time geek and part-time gamer. I grew up in Sydney and moved north to sub-tropical Brisbane four years ago. I’m still not used to shops opening late at 9 or 10am, but it has forced me to slow down and chill out.
2. What is your writing process? (A special place or how you outline, or do you just jump into it. Or, what you need before you sit down to write: coffee, tea, cookies)
This is a difficult question to nail down because each book has been different. Wielder’s Prize, my debut YA fantasy, was halfway written without an outline and I typed it directly onto my laptop as I sat on the couch. I got to a point where I needed to map out the story on a whiteboard and outline the rest to pull all the loose threads together. Once I started outlining, I loved it. My next few books were thoroughly outlined after that, but I handwrite all my first drafts now. Occasionally I’ll still write by the seat of my pants. It’s fun.
Drink of choice: water or genmaicha tea (a Japanese green tea with roasted brown rice)
Chocolate of choice: 70% dark.
3. From start to finish, how long does it take for you to complete a novel?
Another tricky question. It depends on what is happening in my life. If I’m able to focus, then the book gets written super fast. The problem is the editing stage. That takes longer. Much longer. During a pandemic, focus is a rare commodity. So, Well of Ash, which was meant to be a quick rewrite, turned into a three-month project.
The first book I ever wrote took nine
years. I’m currently working on rewriting it for publication. Wielder’s
Prize took six months then I shelved it, picked it up years later and fixed
it for publication, which took another year. Wielder’s Curse took three years,
but there was a lot going on in my life then. Wielder’s Fire took about a year,
probably less. I think I can write a full-length book from first word to
publication in six months, but I want to do it faster--without taking
shortcuts, of course.
4. How did you come up with the idea for the unique world you’ve created in Well of Ash?
Well of Ash started as a completely different genre. It was traditionally published in an anthology as an urban fantasy novelette for adults called Birthright. I’d written it specifically for the anthology with a picture prompt of a girl in a red cloak standing in a snowy forest, looking up at a castle.
When I got the rights back, I let it languish. Now that I’m a YA epic fantasy writer, this adult urban fantasy had no place. But I loved the basis of the story. The market just needed shifting. So I changed the main character from a twenty-nine-year-old to a sixteen-year-old. I also changed the setting from Florida to a fantasy realm. That’s when the city of Prudentia was born.
I’ve written a lot of realms based in medieval times or seventeenth/eighteenth century technology. I wanted something different. After research, I decided I liked the Romanesque architecture best. I then meshed Roman(ish) with nineteenth century tech.
The next thing I did was add dragons. I’ve
always wanted to write a story with dragons. They are my favourite fantasy
creatures. Well of Ash got a brief outline. The funny thing was, once I
started writing, I had to throw out most of the original story. The base is
still there but the rest is completely different. So much for a quick project.
But the story insisted.
5. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just write. Keep writing. Make a habit of writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s rubbish. Keep writing. It doesn’t matter if you can’t catch the eye of an agent or publisher yet. Keep writing. Remember why you love to write. Bring those stories to life and revel in your accomplishment. I’m a firm believer that no writing is wasted writing. So, keep writing.
Where to find Elle Cardy: