Exclusive Interview with author "Ashly E. Smith"

Ashly E. Smith is a writer and poet from Baltimore, Maryland. As a graduate of the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland, Ashford University, and Stevenson University, Ashly is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the Academy of American Poets. A regular contributor to various publications, Ashly thoroughly enjoys sharing her craft with the masses.

Exclusive Interview

Tell us about your writing background and how it led you to write your book.

I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications/Journalism from Ashford University, my Master of Science degree in Communication Studies from Stevenson University and a Broadcasting diploma from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. I have always had a natural interest in poetry, which my educational background didn't inspire. It actually started in elementary school. I have always relished creating whimsical stories and fantasizing. Having a vivid imagination kept me sane as a child.

For my 11th birthday, my mother gifted me with my first diary. My journal entries eventually, became poems. Once I saw how therapeutic journaling was, I kept doing it. I found it to be more comforting than confiding in people. Unlike humans, pages never judge, they just listen.

Heartstrings, was born once I realized that although I possess divine strength. I'm also extremely emotional. I wanted to tap deep into these emotions, learn how to properly cope with them, and teach others who share the same emotions how to cope as well.

Share with us a bit of your journey through the writing process.

Not only with this particular book, but also with poetry in general, I always find inspiration in any place, at any given time. This behavior is in a writer’s nature. Once discovering my muse, I’m usually able to memorize certain things. To be safe, I usually write things down, or text certain notes to myself. After getting into my creative space, which is generally a quiet area in my home, I then tap completely into my emotions and the words flow like water.

What’s the most surprising thing you learned about yourself as an individual while you were writing your book?

I learned that no matter how strong I have become, certain things still make me feel vulnerable. Despite my achievements, there are times that I still struggle with self-doubt. Although being my own cheerleader is a necessity, it has proven to be strenuous at times. Nevertheless, it must and will be done.

What is the main message you want your readers to take from this book?

That showing emotion doesn’t allude weakness

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who may be reading this interview?

Never be afraid to speak your truth or tell your story

On a more personal note: Tell us a little about your “real” (non-writing) life — family, job, hobbies.

I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland in a very low-income neighborhood. There weren't many "traditional" families, meaning married couples. Instead, it mostly consisted of broken homes or blended families. My early education took place in Catholic schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and I was raised primarily by my mother and stepfather. My biological father passed away in 2007. My family life was far from perfect, but I learned many valuable lessons from them.

I’m a journalist and freelance writer who enjoys sharing my craft with the masses. When I’m not writing, I love cooking, drawing, listening to music, reading, traveling, and occasional quiet moments.

Who is a creative person (not a writer) who has influenced you and your work?

This is a tricky question on the account that all of my main influences are indeed writers. Even many of my favorite entertainers are writers of some sort (laughs). With that being said, I will choose Prince. He was a writer, but mostly a self-taught musician who had an amazing stage presence and work ethic. Although many chose to focus on his eccentricities more so than his talent, he was a true master of his craft.

If you had to persuade someone to buy your book in a tweet (280 characters) what would you say?

Feeling lost? Find inspiration within Ashly E. Smith’s Heartstrings: A poetry collection that nourishes the soul. Gone are the days when you felt disillusioned and alone. Gone are the days when you sought hope and all motivation was lost. Tap into Heartstrings and meet the friend that you have been searching for your entire life.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, etc.) and link(s)?

Thank you immensely for taking the time to converse with me today! My social media links where I can be reached are as follows:

Facebook: Author/Poet Ashly E. Smith

Twitter: @itssimplyashly

Instagram: @a357train

Website: www.awakeningsbyashly.com

Blog: www.smiley58.wordpress.com