Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blog Tour: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon @AshleymNixon @XpressoReads

Cutlass banner photo 813f0a6c-3316-43a7-9881-32d59c1b4d5b_zps9870d629.png

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Cutlass by Ashley Nixon
(Cutlass Series #1)
Publication date: April 23rd 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his  strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.



Welcome Ashley!

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
I mean, when I was like five I wanted to be a nurse or doctor, but when I hit twelve I was like “I’m gonna be J.R.R. Tolkien!” and from that moment on, I didn’t look back. Once I made the decision to be an author, I could see where my subconscious had trying to lead me in that direction. I used to want to write things all the time—even if it was just practicing handwriting. I would pull out sheets of paper to just write random words. It was figuring out WHAT I wanted to write that I needed.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
Meh. Hard question. The rewrite of CUTLASS took five months (I think?), but really that book has been with me for nine years in various forms. Even after the initial rewrite, I rewrote it like three more times. Hard stuff.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I suppose I mostly steal from history. History is rich in its fights for freedom, the demonstration of morals and deception. It’s exciting, shocking and…real.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
No. I’ve been in college the last six years (I graduate with my Masters in May), so I just write when I can.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
I have no idea. LOL. But really, I just try to make sure I write. If I don’t write everyday, a part of me feels wrong…like I have betrayed myself.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
Depth. I wanted to leave my answer that simple—and for me, it really is that simple. I don’t like to skim the surface of a character or a world. Let me get to know all of it—not at once, of course. Show me through the characters actions, and let me know something deeper lingers beneath the surface.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
I think for me it is being patient enough to let my characters speak for themselves. There are certain things about my story I don’t have a say in, and when I try to force it, I quash the voice.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
HA! Ten…but they will all be rewritten. I’m a twenty-three year old who began writing when she was twelve. Everything I have written needs rewritten because I’m a different person now, and I have different things I want to say. And CUTLASS is my baby. It will always be my baby.
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
Ah. J.R.R. Tolkien was definitely the man who introduced me to what I wanted to write—Fantasy. I just LOVED LotR. Also, I have always been fascinated by Oscar Wilde’s language and themes, especially in Ballad of Reading Gaol—the line “for every man kills the thing he loves, yet each man does not die” –a whole book could be built from that.
Are you working on anything now?
The second book to CUTLASS and the first book to a separate series called Nacoma Knight—it’s darker and I suppose more supernatural.


Thanks so much for being here today, Ashley. It was great having you.

CRYSTAL'S REVIEW:
Pirates, magic, kidnapping, sword fights, love, and adventure – Cutlass is full of action.

Barren Reed is the main male character. He’s 18, good looking, the king’s nephew, a feared pirate captain with a loyal crew, and half elf. His life’s ambition is to kill his brother, William, to avenge his father’s murder. In an effort to lure him into a duel, Barren kidnaps his brother’s fiancé, Larkin, who proves to be a lot tougher than Barren expected.

Larkin is the half elven daughter of a high lord. She’s mesmerizingly beautiful, strong willed, and very witty. Barren has met his match – in more ways than one. They challenge each other throughout the story, even as they inevitably fall in love.

I enjoyed Larkin’s POV the most. I didn’t feel that I connected well with most of the other characters, but Larkin is easy to fall into step with. It does take a bit of time to get to the main plot, as there is a lot of necessary character and world building (which I actually would have liked to have had more of). I liked the combination of pirates, elves, dwarves, and magic and Nixon did a great job mixing them all together!

Over all I enjoyed the book as an easy, fun read. I'm looking forward to the story continuing!
 photo Ashley_zpsf226901f.jpgAshley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like. When she’s not writing, she’s hard at work on her Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology, working out, or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.

Author Links:
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4 comments:

  1. Lord of the Rings is AWESOME!
    I didn't know that the author was so young, and she's already published a book! That's a great achievement. Great interview :)

    Wajiha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so agree that LotR is awesome! My favorite ever! Thank you! :)

      Delete
  2. Thank you guys so much of having me! And what a wonderful review, Crystal! <3

    ReplyDelete

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