Happy Thursday Critters! Today, I’m thrilled to feature debut author Ashley Franklin! Her new picture book, NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE, illustrated by Ebony Glenn, released this past July with HarperCollins. I love the story, message, and charming illustrations in this book, which I think Kirkus Reviews sums up perfectly:
“A feel-good picture book and a great reminder that classic princess roles can be reimagined to embrace inclusion, diversity, and body positivity.”
So without further ado…please welcome Ashley Franklin!
Where do you live?
I currently live in northwest Arkansas.
When did you know you wanted to write/illustrate picture books?
I didn’t know I wanted to seriously write children’s books until I had kids of my own. I wanted to write books that had characters that looked like them and their family members. I also wanted to write books that I felt I needed as a kid.
Can you share a bit about your process?
I’m a work from home mom, so my process is probably a bit unorthodox for most. For example, I don’t write every day. I spend a lot of time thinking things over in my head and taking notes on my phone.
I’m still trying to get the hang of waking up early to write, but I do find that I am most productive once the kids are in bed and I’ve chugged some coffee.
I’m a quick writer and a slow reviser when it comes to picture books because those early drafts are really me compiling those mental and phone notes and seeing what comes of them.
What do you do to shake the rust off or get new ideas?
Honestly, I do two things: watch cartoons and consult with my kids. I watch cartoons to check out popular themes and see how they’re tackled and why they worked. My kids are in elementary school, so their perception of things is still pretty spectacular.
Anything you can’t live without while you write?
A good pen! I prefer to draft using pen and paper, but I cannot stand a pen that doesn’t write smoothly!
Any authors and/or illustrators who inspire you?
Tara Lazar—I admire people who can be funny on purpose. That’s not my gift at all!
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow—I love her way with imagery. She’s very detail oriented and can really paint a picture. Reading her work challenges me to slow down and really be more deliberate with imagery in my own work.
Vashti Harrison—Everything she does is ridiculously gorgeous. She’s just amazing. That’s not much more you can say.
Dream project to work on?
That’s a tough call. I don’t really have an answer for that because right now I feel like any project I’m working on passionately is a dream project.
Tell us about your debut book.
NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE features a talented young girl named Tameika who is great at singing, dancing, and acting. Tameika auditions for the lead role of Princess Snow White in her school’s musical because it’s one of the few roles she hasn’t played and Snow White is her favorite princess. Unfortunately, Tameika’s confidence is shaken when her peers question if she is right for the part because of her appearance. Tameika has to decide if she will let what others say keep her from pursuing her dream role.
What’s up next for you?
I’m continuing to write picture books, but I’m expanding into middle grade. The middle grade bug bit me thanks to a middle grade short story I wrote as a contributor to an upcoming middle grade anthology. It’s called Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices and is scheduled to be released May 5, 2020.
And last, but not least, favorite 80s movie?
Umm...I was born in the 80s, so I’d have to go with a movie I remember most vividly, and that’s Oliver & Company.
Huge thank you to Ashley for stopping by Critter Lit today! Congrats on your debut book— we can’t wait to see what comes next for you!
ASHLEY FRANKLIN is a writer, mother, and adjunct college professor. Ashley received her M.A. from the University of Delaware in English Literature, where she reaffirmed her love of writing but realized she had NO IDEA what she wanted to do about it. Ashley currently resides in Arkansas with her family. Her debut picture book, NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE, was released July 9, 2019 by Harper Collins.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about Ashley visit her online: www.ashleyfranklinwrites.com or follow her on social media:
Facebook: Ashley Franklin
TO ORDER Ashley’s book, ring up your local bookstore or click here.
Want a chance to win a copy of NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE?! Comment on this post or share it on Twitter. One lucky winner will be selected Thursday, August 29th! US addresses only please.