Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Indie Author Spotlight: Ashley Capes

When wildlife ranger, Lisa Thomas, begins finding a string of dead animals and then a pile of entrails appears on her porch she can sense something isn’t right. On top of her strange experiences with the local wildlife, her father’s health is rapidly deteriorating and her abusive ex-boyfriend has returned to town to terrorize her again. In the middle of the night, a massive stark white kangaroo pays her a visit to deliver a dire warning that will turn Lisa’s life on its head. When the trail of dead bodies becomes human, and the police suspect Lisa’s involvement, she has no choice but to find the white kangaroo again and stop the killings before she ends up in prison or six feet under.

One of my favorite things about Crossings was that it was set in Australia. I love Australia and this book reminded me of the short time I got to spend there. That was also one of the things I had trouble with. I just had trouble with some of the slang and different verbiage for things, but really I can’t hold it against the book too much. It’s just the difference of reading an American author versus an author from another country. Overall, this was a really interesting story and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It started off a little bit slow, but once things really got underway, I wanted to keep reading and see what was going to happen. It definitely drew me in, and that’s more than I can say about a lot of things I’ve read over the past year or two.

This was a good little supernatural thriller from down under. Definitely recommend.

Want to read it? Buy it here!

Now let’s meet the author!

Ashley is a poet, novelist and teacher living in Australia.

He's the author of six poetry collections and five novels and was poetry editor for Page Seventeen from issues 8-10. He teaches English, Media and Music Production, has played in a metal band, worked in an art gallery and slaved away at music retail. Aside from reading and writing, Ashley loves volleyball and Studio Ghibli – and Magnum PI, easily one of the greatest television shows ever made.

See poetry at and fiction at

First up, give us a Twitter synopsis of the book (140 characters or less):

When a giant albino kangaroo brings death and magic to a small Australian town it’s up to wildlife ranger Lisa to solve the mystery.

Where did you get the idea for Crossings?

I saw a report online somewhere about albino kangaroos and was struck by them – they’re very rare and are often killed by predators very quickly, since they cannot hide against the landscape. That sort of lead me down the path of a supernatural thriller and I wanted to combine it with a female character who struggled with her own personal problems on top of the external crisis that her town faces – one of which was domestic violence.

Here in Australia there’s been a lot of people and organisations trying to both raise awareness of the problem and find solutions so it was much on my mind during the writing of the first draft.

I was able to grasp most of the typical Australian verbiage and slang, but do you foresee any issues with American readers and a distinctly Australian book?

Ace question! And I’m glad you still got most of it – I did worry a little but I also hoped it would be a point of interest for some readers too.

I’ve been finding it fascinating to see which words don’t travel so well – it helps me with future books too. For instance, something like ‘pram’ (stroller) I wasn’t sure how it would go, but something more slang like ‘shonky’ (poor quality) I was definitely worried about whether it would translate well.

Do you have any personal experience working with wildlife that helped you when writing Crossings?

Definitely nothing formal :) I had to do a lot of research and had to keep the wildlife knowledge linked strongly to plot. I had a lot of help from my state wildlife centre; they were awesome about it too.

Who are you biggest writing influences?

Possibly Haruki Murakami in terms of some of my themes but I probably write closer, at a language level, to someone like Jennifer Fallon or Brandon Sanderson in other ways.

It’s also very probable that haiku masters like Basho and Issa or even the Beat Poets influenced me a lot, since I started out in poetry before moving more toward fiction.

What’s your favorite native Australian animal?

Despite using the amazing kangaroo for ‘Crossings’ – it’s probably the echidna. They seem to amble a bit and they strike me as calm, relaxed fellows.

What can we expect next from Ashley Capes?

I’m hoping my publisher and I can release Book 3 in my Bone Mask series this year (I’ve sent them the MS at least) and that I can continue to self-publish other work. I’m actually launching a novella series in March too; it follows ‘Never’ a man who is trying to lift a curse on his blood and learn his true name. I’d love to write a third short novel set here in Australia too – I have an idea that uses wasps, but it’s still at outline stage :)

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