This week, we caught up with Ashley Dukart, indie author of Nothing More, Nothing Less. This is Dukart’s first novel, but with many more in the works, we’re likely to see a lot more from her in the future. We met Dukart, who was nineteen at the time, about a year ago and were inspired by her intense passion for writing. She was resolute in her goal to bring her novels to readers and that indie publishing was the best route for her. At the time she had four manuscripts completed, with several more in the pipeline. Now with her first novel finished (her e-book was released this week) we were anxious to hear about her experience and also her future plans.
WI: Tell us about your book.
AD: Nothing More, Nothing Less is a young adult fiction novel about three brothers, the youngest of whom is struggling with a past he feels that he cannot forgive nor forget. The past incidents he suffers from control his life and he falls into the hands of addiction, drinking, and trouble to try and alleviate the grief and pain he feels. His brother’s attempt to help but cannot always understand his actions/behavior and often the confrontations lead to more disaster. All in all, he is lost in a past that he blames himself for and cannot forget.
WI: What inspired you to write it?
AD: Nothing More, Nothing Less was just an idea that came to me one day. I never thought that it would become a published novel, but as I continued to write on it and expose the plot and the ideas that came to my mind I felt as if it needed to be written. In my years as a teenager growing up I witnessed multiple incidences with family and friends dealing with addiction, some more devastating than others. So as I looked back on what I had seen and heard I began to realize that addiction is a problem in today’s youth and is growing in severity. It has become important to educate today’s teens/youth in the consequences of substance abuse and to make sure that they understand that their choices and actions do not only affect them but their friends and family as well. Today’s youth are increasingly tempted to use drugs and if they don’t begin to realize what it’s doing to them then it may be too late. By publishing Nothing More, Nothing Less I hope to give today’s youth some avenue to look upon and realize it’s not just themselves they are affecting by their own choices but their family and friends as well and that those same family and friends are there to help if one is willing enough to accept it. No one is truly alone.
WI: Your protagonist, Brandon, struggles with intense guilt and embarks on this destructive journey that drives the plot of the story. What was it like as a writer creating a complex individual with such an intense and often very dark temperament?
AD:To be honest, it was somewhat difficult to write from Brandon’s perspective, since I have never actually gone through a situation such as the one I wrote about. Generally, everyone has ups and downs in their life, so in order to create Brandon and write in a way that would give him the personality we know today, I had to take from my own downs in my lifetime. I had to look back on times of grief and agony from the death of loved ones. I had to look on past incidents where I felt misunderstood and lost. I had to put myself into his perspective before I could write in his own voice. It wasn’t easy at times, but the one thing that did help was music. To write particular scenes, I would listen to music that fit the mood and that in itself would drive my writing. If Brandon was mad, the music had an air of anger about it; if Brandon was suffering from a particularly sad incident or the scene was tragic then the music was soft with an air of depression to it.
WI: You chose to self-publish Nothing More, Nothing Less. Tell us a bit about your experience? What were some of the challenges you encountered?
AD: Well… self-publishing was a riot that was for sure. I wasn’t exactly sure what I had gotten myself into when I decided to go the indie route, but now that I look back on it I don’t think I would have done it any other way for my first novel. I didn’t want the hassle of dealing with the corporate book publishing companies for my first novel since everything was new to me and I had no clue what I was doing, but with some guidance from a mentoring press, I pushed through and was able to get where I am today.
Now, during the self-publishing process the book wasn’t just sitting on the sidelines. I was busy figuring up the synopsis, the acknowledgments, and my author bio; of course with a little help. So, all in all, it was fun, it was work, I had ups and downs. I remember days I sat and stared at the computer, literally stared thinking to myself I don’t want to do this anymore. I can’t do this today. But then I’d sigh, get up and walk around before sitting back down and getting straight to work.
WI: Now that Nothing More, Nothing Less is available as an e-book, what are your plans for your other books? What’s next?
AD: I’m not really sure now. I am still writing I can guarantee that, but it may be a little bit before my next novel is out. For some of my novels, I know I will stick with indie publishing because that to me is the best route for them, as for others I may give the corporate companies a look. It really just depends on the guts of the story. There are some of my works that I am fonder of then others and the ones that I feel that the plot and story itself would get changed will be indie published so I have control. For the others that I’m not too picky on whether the plot gets manipulated a little or not then maybe I’ll send it off and see if I get lucky. All in all, I am still writing, no worries there, and will publish another book in the future.
Now I know that’s not what you wanted to hear so here’s an insight on what I’m writing now. At the present moment I have two other novels I am focusing on, but the third that has become my priority is the sequel, yes the sequel, to Nothing More, Nothing Less.
WI: As a younger writer, what’s your advice to other young writers about writing and self-publishing?
AD: For all of you young authors out there, keep going, keep writing, and don’t give up. You never know where you may end up. Whether it’s your first book or you’re eighth. Whether you just started writing or are a seasoned pro. Whether you’re like me and have several manuscripts sitting in the wings or have just began your first. Whether you’re starting your first idea or your fiftieth, just keep pushing through. Yes, I know what writer’s block is, believe me I’ve had it, and if you are struggling at it then maybe take a break and a step back from your book. Let your mind rest, and then when you have an idea or feel like writing again jump right back in. But, all in all, just keep working at it. You will get there, I did.
As for self-publishing its tricky, I’m not going to lie, but it is worth it. You will be so pleased when you’re done and when the book is finally released that the sensation of accomplishment is overwhelming and indescribable. Yes, it takes time; yes, it takes money; yes, it takes effort; but most of all, it takes dedication. If you’re really dedicated about your book and you like it the way it is, choose self-publishing. You get to keep your rights and no change can be made to your manuscript without your say so first. Sure, it may take longer to get to your final goal, but it is well worth it in the end. To know the feeling that you, yourself, published a book is inexpressible and I wouldn’t have it any other way right no
Wise, Ink is thrilled for Ashley’s book, be sure to check out her trailer:
Ashley Dukart began writing at an early age, since then it has become a passion. Nothing More, Nothing Less is her first novel. She currently lives in South Dakota and is currently working on her next book. You can visit her at www.ashleydukart.com.