Today I’m going to feature Ash Gray an author that has written The Thieves of Nottica, Time’s Arrow (A Time of Darkness #1), Tales of Talithia and more!! In this post there will be a bio about the author and about one of his books, and an interview!
Ash Gray is a dragon with minuscule spectacles perched on her nose, living in a wonderfully dank, musty cave far away in an alternate universe. She types her stories with gigantic claws on a ridiculously small typewriter before sending them through a membrane and into your dimension for your enjoyment.
I am the scariest thing you’ll find in the dark, forsaken places, with breath of fire and claws that shred. “Dragon!” they scream as I rip them red.
About the book Qorth:
It is the year 3017 A. F., and Cameron is a neo-cowgirl living contently on her farm beside the sea in the dangerous, post-apocalyptic deserts of Arizona, a world where Earth has for the most part been swallowed by the rising sea levels after what became known as The Great Flood. Cameron survives the harsh life in the Outer Zone by casually shooting those scavengers who threaten and bully her. With biker gangs roaming the desert sands, the world has made her rough and ruthless, and it is her rough nature that nearly kills the gentle and compassionate alien who washes up near her farm. Through Qorth’s love, Cameron learns to soften her frayed edges. But will Qorth learn to engage in the casual cruelty that is his only key to surviving her world? Can beautiful things survive a cruel world?
Ash: I’m a dragon. A sick and injured dragon. If I said more, an angry mob complete with torches and pitchforks would find my cave and end me. So let’s not discus me too much.
A: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Ash: People always ask this question and I find it difficult to answer because I didn’t realize. Painters don’t realize anything, they just paint. They paint and paint and paint, and whether it’s good painting or bad painting, whether they make it to a gallery or not, there aren’t long and intense debates about whether or not they are painters. I didn’t become a writer, I simply wrote.
A: Is there a message in your story that you want readers to grasp?
Ash: I’ve ranted at length about this in the past, and I think all my energy went into that one rant, so I can’t repeat my answer without possibly keeling over. Thus, instead of ranting about what I was trying to say with The Thieves of Nottica, I will talk about my novella Qorth.
Qorth is one of my most recently written novels. It was written in honor of E.T. Day in March. I realized it was coming up, and because I love aliens and scifi, I thought, “What the hell? I’m totally writing a scifi novel.”
Of course, it turned out to be a standard RomCom, but beneath the romantic picnics and alien sex, there’s an underlining message.
When Qorth comes to Earth in an attempt to save the humans there (who are vulnerable to the rising sea levels) he is arrogant and condescending, and even though he comes to Earth from a place of good intention, he still has a racist notion that humans are inferior and must be shepherded and coddled like dumb sheep. He studies them like Jane studying the gorillas, and while he is a compassionate and kind individual, he is still very racist.
Qorth is racist because racism is a learned behavior. Qorth has been taught by the last generation on planet Argonnon that humans are inferior and that tourlon (his people) know what’s best for them. It’s revealed in the novel that tourlon actually invaded Earth at one point, seeking to “better” the human race. They completely disrespected the people they thought they were helping, which culminated in a violent first contact war.
The lesson here is that good intentions don’t matter. What matters are the people who are hurt as a result of your actions. To their credit, Qorth’s people realized they were racist and wrong and many of them withdrew from Earth. But many others didn’t withdraw and the abductions went on. And either way, the humans were still viewed by the tourlons through the filter of prejudice: as savage, wild, primitive, and inferior.
Ironically, the humans are “wild and violent” in the first place because of alien interference. The aliens made them savages, then pointed a finger and called them inferior savages as they fought in desperation for resources that were dwindling.
The tourlon continued to watch over Earth, stealing their technology, abducting them, and even raping them to create super hybrids – and all laboring under the delusion that their people were “better” and thus had a “right” to steal, kill, and invade.
Qorth, though he recognizes that a lot of the racism is wrong, still hasn’t realized that he is racist himself, that he sees humans as inferior and in need of saving by his “godlike” and “superior” people – who are only “superior” and endowed with powers in the first place because of tissue samples they stole from humans.
Qorth barges into Cameron’s life over and over, laboring under the belief that he knows what’s best for her. And we see Cameron put him in his place every time he crosses a line. When he tells her what to do, she reminds him that he’s in her house. When he crosses her boundaries and invades her personal space, she throws him off, slams doors in his face, or else just cusses him out.
Qorth learns through Cameron’s tough love to eventually respect her as a person and stop treating her like a helpless inferior. Because this theme is not the main focus, we see him grow and change in the background of Cameron’s story, and by the end of the novel, his last words to Cameron are “Who are we to decide that, Cameron? Are we gods?” showing that he’s finally learned a very valuable lesson.
A: What are you working on at the moment?
Ash: Right now I’m scrabbling to reformat some of my books, which had some paragraph indents off thanks to my incessant tabbing in MS Word. I’ve been revising all my books while fixing the tabs, and until that’s done, that’s the focus.
I am also writing a series called A Time of Darkness, which chronicles the life and development of a woman who grows up to become a legendary dragon slayer. In the first book, we see her as a child, and a villain who has seen the future presents the idea that Cricket (the nickname of Nineveh, the protagonist) wasn’t a hero but a villain who slew sentient people. The dragons were actually sentient, intelligent people living in a vast empire in the sky. The question then is, was Nineveh Atvaris right in what she did? And how did she finally end the dominion of dragons?
The first book explores this question while presenting more clues about the child’s future, such as the sinking of an entire kingdom (called “realms” in the books) and the loss of a medicinal flower that can cure any ailment. Only two of the books are published and the third needs to be torn apart and rewritten before it’s finished. I currently have seven books planned, though.
Thanks for having me.
A: You’re welcome and thank you for letting me interview you!