The day is finally here! It is time to reveal the cover for Miss Bogner’s debut novel, Reintegration. I am thrilled to be able to present not only the cover reveal, but also an exclusive interview. Read on below for all the fun stuff…
Ashley Bogner is my Goodreads-virtual-friend-turned-real-life-best-friend. At a writing conference a few years ago, I happened to recognize her name from Goodreads. When I mentioned this to her, it turned out that she was indeed one of my Goodreads friends, and often followed my book reviews! We exchanged contact info, and the rest, as they say, is history. We’ve kept in close contact ever since. So it was with great excitement that I heard she was venturing out into the publishing realm with her book, Reintegration. As her self-appointed #1 Fan, I can’t wait to share all the fun details!
So tell me, Ashley, how excited are you to be publishing your first book?
I’m so thrilled that it’s happening! It almost doesn’t seem real…
It’s pretty incredible! What led you to self-publish instead of going the traditional route? How has the process been so far?
Actually, I originally tried the traditional route. I had a great agent, but unfortunately, after a couple years I didn’t get a publishing contract. Either my platform was too small or publishers weren’t looking for a dystopian trilogy. I did a lot of research and prayed about it, then decided it was time to self-publish. There’s a lot of great self-publishing options these days and I’m pleased with how it’s all turning out so far.
The process has been a learning curve but a rewarding one. My book is finally going to be published! And other self-published authors are really helpful and supportive. The Goodreads community has encouraged me a lot through this process.
It’s good to hear that there’s support for authors who are making the leap into self-publishing. And now that you’ve gone through the process yourself, perhaps you can join that community to help support and mentor new authors.
My next question is about genre. What made you decide to write a dystopian book? Has there been any special challenges that go along with that genre?
Dystopian fiction is such a deep, thought-provoking genre. Many of the dystopian novels I’ve read dive really deep into the theme, creating a story that starts a discussion. I’d been wanting to write a book that could start a dialogue about how our culture has taken “tolerance” way too far, and dystopian was a perfect genre for that. I also wanted to write a dystopian story from a Biblical worldview with a sense of hope. Too many of them are depressing!
One of the biggest challenges (for me) with writing dystopian fiction is that world building is so crucial, and world building has always been an area that I’ve struggled with. Dystopian is different from fantasy (the other genre I write) in that it’s speculative fiction, but the setting has to stay very true to the “real world”. It’s an interesting balance between “futuristic” and “realistic”, and a struggle for someone like me who already has to invest a lot of time into world building. I think working on Reintegration has helped me improve that, though!
World-building is one of my favorite parts of the fantasy/speculative genre. I can’t wait to see how you developed the world in Reintegration!
Is any part of Reintegration inspired by music? What do you like to listen to as you write? How about snacks? Any favorite munchies that get you in the writing mood?
I don’t actually listen to music while I’m in the process of writing. I’m one of those people who focuses way too much on lyrics (even if it’s a song I’ve heard fifty million times) so it distracts me. I do love, however, finding songs that I think go along with whatever book I’m currently writing. For Reintegration, songs by Thousand Foot Krutch, Red, Third Day, For King and Country, and Jonathan Thulin made it to the list.
Anything with chocolate is a good writing snack. 😉
Perhaps your readers can look forward to a Reintegration playlist, then? 😉 And I must agree–chocolate is always a good snack.
Let’s move into some personal questions. What do you think is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
To write a story you love, not just what you think everyone else will love. If you’re passionate about a story, it’ll show in your writing. It’s better to stay true to who you are as a writer than to copy what’s popular.
It’s very tempting to try to write the next bestseller. But I think your advice hits the nail on the head. After all, if you aren’t inspired and in love with your own story, your readers won’t be either.
Speaking of bestsellers, what is your favorite Bible verse, chapter, and/or book?
I’ve always loved 1 John. There’s a lot packed in that short letter that has been so encouraging to me. I recently did a study of 2 Timothy, and that’s now one of my favorite Bible books, too.
I enjoy 2 Timothy as well–one of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 4:18.
What are your top 5 favorite books/series?
Top 5? I love so many books, but if I had to narrow it down….
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (This will forever be my all-time favorite)
- The Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie (Matched is the first dystopian book I read that I actually enjoyed. I loved that it wasn’t dark and the protagonist was very likable)
- The Out of Time Trilogy by Nadine Brandes (I read this series pretty recently and it totally blew me away. Spectacular writing, relatable characters, deep themes…)
- Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson (Batson’s books were some of my favorites growing up, and this one has always stuck with me as his best. A good mix of action, mystery, creepiness, and cheesy humor)
- The Host by Stephenie Meyer (Super character-driven sci-fi! My biggest complaint is that I don’t have a sequel)
Some of my favorites are on this list as well! Great minds think alike. 😉
What 2017 book releases are you most excited about? (Besides Reintegration, of course! 😉 )
I’m currently reading Unraveling by Sara Ella, which has been at the top of my list! Also on the list is The Knowing by Sharon Cameron (we will totally fangirl together when this comes out) and Silver Rose by Shantelle Hannu. These are earlier releases in the year, but I also want to read The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson, Toss by Darcie Gudger, and Alison Henry and the Creatures of Torone by C.J. Darlington.
I can’t wait for The Knowing! And Unraveling actually inspired my next question: Any book crushes? What makes a character swoon-worthy, in your opinion?
It’s rare that I crush on a book character, usually because I’m too busy waiting for them to end up with the main girl. Two guys that I particularly liked though are Solomon from the Out of Time books (he’s so sweet) and Ian from The Host (he had to grow on me, but now I love him).
A swoon-worthy guy is a guy who’s super sweet and loyal and does little things that make me go “awww!” while reading a book. If he has a good sense of humor, that’s also a plus. 🙂
I agree–Solomon is definitely a swoon-worthy character. (Though I will have to say that Jude will always be my favorite. 😉 )
If you were acting in a movie spin-off of a book, what movie would it be, and what character would you play?
Hmmm…I think I would play Thalli from the Anomaly series by Krista McGee. I remember when reading that series I could really relate to how she responded to the events taking place.
But Anomaly is a good book that deserves a good movie, and my acting skills aren’t good. They better hire someone else if a movie ever happens.
God gives us all different talents. I’m looking forward to seeing the fruition of yours when Reintegration releases!
As fun as it’s been, I’m afraid it’s time to bring our interview to a close. Any last advice, jokes, or comments?
Thanks for interviewing me! I loved these questions! I’m so happy we’re Goodreads-friends-turned-real-life friends. 🙂
Me too! Thank you for allowing me to interview you!
Now it’s time to reveal the (gorgeous!) cover of Reintegration, along with a brief synopsis and author bio…
A perfect citizen. A captured rebel. One decision could destroy them both.
As a Regulator, seventeen-year-old Katherine Holliday’s duty is to protect the people of the Federation from a group of violent rebels who have exiled themselves to the mysterious wilderness. When one of these rebels is captured within the Federation, the government leaders propose an alternative to execution, a procedure they call Reintegration. The procedure involves erasing the rebel’s memory and attempting to make him a member of society. The rebel, a young man named Matthew, is not the violent criminal Katherine expects, and she can’t help but befriend him. A few weeks after Matthew’s Reintegration, Katherine realizes the procedure failed and she is now presented with a choice no one else can help her make. Can she warn her superiors that Reintegration failed, which could mean death for Matthew? Or will she defy everything she knows to help him escape—and risk her own execution?
Author Bio: When Ashley Bogner was in third grade, she decided she would be a published author when she grew up. Ashley is a homeschool graduate and has lived in seven different states. She completed a year of Bible college and in the fall will begin pursuing a degree in Communication Studies. After college, her plan is to work in the Christian publishing industry. When not writing, she can be found baking, posting book reviews on her blog, and watching her favorite movies over and over to the point of memorization.
Don’t you just love that cover? (I know I do!) I can’t wait to read Reintegration, and find out what Katherine decides! Stay tuned in, because release day is coming soon…
As always, thank you all for reading! Follow my posts to keep in touch for more book reviews, news, and related posts!