Wednesday, June 24, 2015

**Giveaway** Interview Ashley Farley - Her Sister's Shoes

Please welcome new to me author Ashley Farley, she's here today to chat about her just released last month novel, Her Sister's Shoes, and her very personal journey to becoming an author. I know you'll enjoy our interview and your opportunity to get yourself a signed copy of Ashely's new book. Contest details below!
If you're looking for a review you can count on check out The Caffeinated Book Reviewer's.
Ashley, the floor is yours!

  • ISBN-13: 9780986167218
  • Publisher: AHF Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/26/2015
  • Pages: 380


Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, Her Sister's Shoes is the story of three sisters-Samantha, Jackie, and Faith-who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.

Giveaway is sponsored by Ashley
for one signed print copy of Her Sister's Shoes
please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter
Good Luck!

Read an Excerpt courtesy Ashley's Website:

Chapter One
Lovie and Oscar Sweeney had been providing vacationers to the South Carolina coast with fresh-from-the-ocean seafood since opening their doors in May of 1959—and little had changed since then. Not the quality of the service or the layout of the store. The same brass ship’s clock still hung on the wall above the door, ticking away the decades. The customers didn’t mind the outdated decor as long as the knowledgeable staff served superior product with a friendly smile. The creaking floorboards and dusty shelves welcomed them back year after year, just as the pungent odor of the marsh at low tide greeted them upon arrival in the small inlet town of Prospect.
When it came time to do something about the termites eating away at the floor joists—and to replace the electrical system that was one spark away from a catastrophic fire and the refrigerated display cases that were held together with hope, prayer, and a wad of electrical tape—Samantha Sweeney, the middle daughter of Lovie and Oscar, decided their market was way overdue for an upgrade. Their local customers encouraged Sam to remodel in the same vintage that had brought them success for more than fifty years, but she ignored their advice. Following her gut instincts, Sam had opted for a radically different approach.
After years of planning and saving, the renovations were nearing completion. With exposed ceiling pipes and pendant lighting, subway tile wainscoting and concrete floors, Sam had envisioned a minimalist style, the seafood being their main event. But as she surveyed the gleaming new showroom, she worried the results were more operating-room sterile than upscale industrial.
Sam suspected her sisters shared her concerns.
Faith turned in circles, contemplating the empty space. “Once the shelves are stocked and the refrigerated cases filled, the place will come to life.”
“Why don’t we paint the walls?” Jackie whipped her color wheel out of her oversized black patent bag. Sam had hired her older sister, an interior decorator, to offer guidance on trim selections. Jackie thumbed through the color strips, eventually holding out the wheel for Sam to see. “Here we go. I’ve used this linen color many times before. It’s neutral, but at the same time soft and warm.”
Sam barely glanced at the color. “But the painters have already finished. They’re out back cleaning up.”
“I’ve never known a painter to turn down more work.” Jackie tucked the paint wheel under her arm, and, like a cheetah in search of her prey, she glided toward the kitchen in the back. With mahogany hair styled in a sleek bob, dressed in a tailored black sleeveless top and white pique cropped pants, Jackie embodied the picture of elegance.
“Don’t tell her I said so,” Faith whispered to Sam, “but I think she might be right this time.”
Sam smiled at her younger sister, who was every bit as pretty as Jackie but in a less sophisticated way.
“She better be. We can’t afford another mistake with only two days left before the grand reopening.”
Sam took a step back and closed her eyes, trying to imagine the showroom walls washed in linen. She pictured the wooden wine racks stocked with bottles and specialty dry goods arranged neatly on the metal shelves. She envisioned fresh produce overflowing from baskets on the carts in the front of the store, raw seafood on display in the refrigerated cases in the center of the room, and prepared meals filling the merchandisers along the sidewalls. She imagined customers moseying about, sipping wine from little plastic cups while the staff offered advice on the best practices for grilling tuna.
Sam drew in a deep breath of confidence and exhaled any leftover feelings of doubt. She respected her sister’s tastes. If Jackie thought linen-colored walls were the finishing touch the room needed, then who was she to argue?
Jackie returned with a self-satisfied smirk on her face. “The painters promised to have everything wrapped up by noon tomorrow. There’s hardly any wall space to paint, considering the pass-through to the kitchen in the back and all the windows out here.”
Sam ran through her mental checklist. “Noon tomorrow means we’ll lose half a day of cleaning and stocking. We’ll have to work around the clock in order to open on time on Saturday.”
“Why don’t you hire someone?” Jackie said with a flippant wave of her hand, as though a strong-bodied person might materialize from thin air.
“What about the twins?” Sam asked. “They’re always looking for a way to earn extra spending money.”
Jackie’s sixteen-year-old sons, Cooper and Sean, often showed up at the market, late in the afternoon, peddling their day’s catch—fish and shrimp and crabs, anything they could catch with a net, a trap, or a fishing rod. Sam paid them the same amount she would a wholesaler, even more when their product was fresher, which it usually was.
“You’ll have to find someone else.” Jackie busied herself with gathering up tile and concrete samples that were scattered across the wine-tasting table. “The boys are busy getting ready to leave for camp on Saturday.”
“Today is only Wednesday,” Sam said. “Since when does it take a teenager two days to pack?”
“They’re not just packing, Samantha. They’ve made plans with friends.”
“Ask them anyway. I’m sure they’ll want to help. They already talked to me about working at the market when they get home from camp.”
“They’ll be busy with football practice when they get home from camp.” Jackie flung her bag over her shoulder. “This may come as a surprise to you, but I have higher aspirations for my boys than running a seafood market.”
Even if that smelly seafood market provided you all the luxuries you felt entitled to when we were growing up, Sam thought. “I’m not talking about a full-time career, Jackie. The boys just want to earn some money while they have a little fun.”
“They will have plenty of fun at camp, and they’ll get paid this year, as junior counselors.”
“Why do you send them off to camp, anyway, when we live ten minutes from the beach?” Sam asked.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but having them tucked away in the mountains keeps them out of trouble.”
“And out of your hair,” Sam mumbled.
Jackie’s face turned red. “Don’t you have enough to worry about with your own son without worrying about mine?”
Sam’s eyes narrowed and her back stiffened. She was preparing for battle with her older sister when Faith intervened. “Curtis can help. With stocking the showroom. He’s looking for work.”
“I take that to mean the job at the brick plant didn’t work out,” Jackie said.
Faith picked at a hangnail. “Turns out they hired too many people. Since Curtis was the last one hired, he was the first one they fired.”
“He’ll find something else soon, I’m sure. In the meantime, I can definitely put him to work around here. At least for the next couple of days,” Sam said, thinking how Curtis’s physical strength made up for his lack of brainpower. “I’ll work out the details with him when I see him at the party tonight.”
“Speaking of the party, I’ve gotta run.” Jackie positioned her oversized sunglasses on her face, the dark frames in contrast to her pale unblemished skin. “Can one of you pick up Mom?”
“Since when does Mom need a driver?” Sam asked.
“Since she’s been acting so forgetful lately,” Jackie said. “Surely you’ve noticed.”
“Of course she’s forgetful,” Sam said. “She’s eighty-two years old.”
Jackie slid her sunglasses down and peered at Sam over the top of her bug-eyed lenses. “She’s not just forgetful. She’s downright demented. I can hardly have a conversation with her anymore. She asks the same questions over and over again.” Jackie turned toward Faith. “You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?”
Faith shook her head, her eyes wide with concern. “I haven’t seen much of Mama since we started the renovations.”
“Well . . .” Jackie repositioned her sunglasses on her nose. “I’ve invited some important people to my party. I don’t want Mom embarrassing herself.”
Sam glanced at the ship’s clock above the door. “Okay, look. It’s already five o’clock. Clearly this is something we need to talk about later.”
“I agree,” Jackie said. “Let’s just get through tonight first.”
Sam turned to Faith. “I might be running a few minutes late by the time I pick Jamie up from physical therapy and help him get changed. If you can bring Mom to the party, I’ll take her home.”
“I can do that,” Faith said.
“Perfect.” Jackie leaned over and kissed Faith’s cheek, then Sam’s. “In case I forget to tell you both later, Happy Birthday.”

Hi Ashley welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
I’m an absolute sucker for a good Lowcountry read.
Thanks, Debbie. I’m excited to visit with your readers on release day for Her Sister’s Shoes.
Tell my readers a little about your new novel, Her Sister’s Shoes.
Her Sister’s Shoes is a women’s novel with a lot of suspense, a little romance, and a whole lot of familial drama and love. Each of the three Sweeney sisters is dealing with a crisis, including an unfaithful husband, an abusive husband, and a teenage son recovering from a crippling ATV accident. Throw in an aging mother exhibiting signs of dementia and the Sweeney family spirals out of control. I hesitate to tell your readers too much for fear of spoiling the plot, but Her Sister’s Shoes is a fast-paced #mustread for every woman’s beach bag, young and old.

Your three Sister protagonists are a bit long in the tooth in today’s very youthful oriented character era. And I as a woman of a “certain age” congratulate your choice because there’s not a lot out there with older star characters.
Was there a particular catalyst or event that brought this story idea to you?
Funny you should mention that. I turned fifty, celebrated my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and became an empty nester all in one year. I love variety in the novels I read, but mostly I like reading about characters I can relate to—modern-day women with very real problems. I wanted to write such a novel, to share my midlife-crisis experiences with other women. The Lowcountry setting seemed an obvious choice as I’m originally from South Carolina. I’m reminded every year when I visit my family how much I love the Lowcounty. I can’t get enough of the laid-back atmosphere, salty breezes, moss-draped trees, and kind folks with genuine smiles.

Ashley for some authors becoming a novelist is a natural progression from other writing careers, some are accidental authors, while some know they wanted to be an author from a very young age. Your becoming an author was very personal and stemmed from a personal tragedy.
Could you tell us about your personal journey and about your tribute novel, Saving Ben?
My brother’s tragic death from an accidental overdose in 1999 affected me profoundly. Neal was a wonderful person with a beautiful soul and a great big hole in his heart. More than anything, I wanted to reach out to others suffering from drug and alcohol addictions, to tell them Neal’s story and to let them know they’re not alone. But every time I tried to talk about his death, my voice shook and my eyes filled with tears. So I turned to writing, which offered great solace for me. Because Neal and I were the closest when we were in college, I decided to write Saving Ben about a college-aged brother and sister whose special bond is threatened by drug addiction. And a psycho roommate who I used to intensify the plot. ;-)

What kind of response have you received from readers about Saving Ben?
It’s funny. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing a novel. Not my friends or my family, except my husband and children of course. I was hesitant to share my aspirations for fear of rejection. At the same time, I felt the need to justify the time I spent writing. What started as a hobby had become an obsession. The outpouring of kindness and support in Richmond, where I live, was enormous, which gave me the confidence I needed to reach out to the broader community. It’s surprising how many people have loved ones suffering from addiction. If I offer peace of mind to just one person, I feel like I’ve done my job.

You’re also an avid blogger and you call your book review blog, Chronicles.  How many books do you read in an average month and when do you do your writing?
I’m a slow reader. In good months, I average a book a week. In addition to audiobooks, I’m able to work through about 7-8 books a month, which is nothing compared to what most bloggers read. I love sharing reviews and news on upcoming releases with others. And I love creating fun graphics and networking with other bloggers. Sadly, however, I don’t feel like I’m working either of my jobs to my full potential. Something’s gotta give or my husband’s gonna throw me out. Because writing is the most fulfilling for me, I plan to scale back on blogging in the coming months.

So Ashley now I want to talk about self publishing.
Was this always your intent to self publish?
Hmm. No. I don’t think anyone starts writing with the intent to self-publish. At least not writers who are serious about their work. I’m impatient, and because the market is flooded with great authors, finding a literary agent is borderline impossible. I mean, seriously. Lit agents get thousands of queries every month and take on one or two new clients a year. Who can beat those odds? I didn’t want to spend years trying to sell my book to an agent when I could be selling books online. Today’s ever-evolving world of publishing is an exciting place for anyone interested in writing. My hope is the self and traditional publishing worlds will continue to merge into a great big playground for all authors.

What’s the best part about self-publishing?
Having total control. And yes, I am a control freak. I love being able to choose my cover and editor, and work on my own timetable. And I appreciate the way a novel can transition from final draft to bookshelf in a matter of weeks. On the flipside, the biggest challenge I face is the lack of support for print distribution. There is no such thing as a perfect world in publishing.

What is the last book you read that you couldn’t wait to recommend to your friends?
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Have you read it? It is a beautiful old-fashioned story about two sisters struggling to survive the atrocities of WWII. It’s different from other WWII stories in that it’s written from the perspective of French citizens. One of the sisters is a young mother forced to accommodate a Nazi officer in her home, while the other sister works for The Resistance, sneaking downed American and British pilots out of France to safety. My 21-year-old daughter is currently reading The Nightingale and loving it. In my opinion, The Nightingale is Hannah’s crowning glory.

Ashley, thanks so much for answering my questions. Good luck with this new novel and all the ones in your future too!
Thank you so much for having me and for your thoughtful questions. I’d love for your readers to visit my website,, to learn more about Her Sister’s Shoes and participate in my launch-week giveaways.

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MEET ASHLEY:I'm a wife and mother and self-published author. I grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but I have lived in Richmond, Virginia, a city I love for its history and traditions, for most of my adult life.

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  1. Fantastic interview Debbie, Ashley is such sweetie and I really enjoyed getting to know Faith, Samantha, Jackie and of course Lovie. Thanks for letting us get to know Ashley.

  2. Thanks for this great feature and giveaway. I have not been affected by a drug related death. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Thanks traveler :)
      You're lucky and I hope you never experience it. My daughter lost a good friend to a heroine overdose, he was in his 30s.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this great interview and giveaway Debbie!

  4. That's why I applaud self-published writers. It takes a lot of work to get your book in the hands of readers. congrats Ms. farley!