Let's get to know Ash Oldfield! Ash has contributed a short story called "The Conduit" to the upcoming Up & Up Media book: MIXTAPE ONE.
What is your favourite comfort food? Bibimbap. Add a little bit of kimchi and that stuff's addictive.
What's your all time favourite short story, and why? Have you ever read any of Australian author Adam Browne's short stories? He has a compilation called Other Stories & Other Stories. Reading them is like drinking a fine wine. Best enjoyed in small sips. Each sentence is a flavour explosion. His stories are bizarre and beautiful and I cannot choose just one.
Do you brush your teeth in the shower? NO
Who are the three authors who have inspired you the most? Cecelia Dart-Thornton, Maggie Furey and Anne Bishop. Those ladies can write!
Have you released any writing before? Tell us about it, and where can we read it. My first full-length novel, Fyrebyrne Island, is getting ready for release as we speak. It's book 1 of a YA Fantasy series about dragons. You can find more about it, including the release date at: www.asholdfield.com. Years ago, when I was testing out whether or not I had what it takes to do this whole writing thing, I self-published a couple of children's stories on Smashwords under a pseudonym. I think they're even still available because I forgot about them until now. There's a couple of short stories floating around here and there, too. What does your writing space look like?
I have to move around a lot when I write, so it's lucky that I write both the first and second draft by hand. If it's a sunny day my writing space looks like a camp chair beneath my apple tree with my massive dog trying to climb onto my lap. In winter I tend to write in bed with the electric blanket or curled up on the couch with a pen and paper. When I feel the need to get out of the house I walk down to my local library and set up shop there. On rare occasions I might even make it to my rubbish-tip of a desk, which is mostly the site where all my scribbled notes are dumped.
You're about to sit and write for the day - but first, you need to get a drink. What's your beverage of choice? I'm really ashamed of this one. I can't start the day without a really strong coffee. I quit all caffeine last year, but over the cold winter I somehow managed to fall back into it. Just answering this makes me want to go make myself one.
Tell us about your home city. I grew up in the foothills of the Yarra Valley in Victoria, and it will always have a special place in my heart - any time I smell leaf litter I am transported back home. I currently live in the most multi-cultural suburb in Australia (according to an SBS report). It took a fair bit of getting used to, but now I love it for its diversity and amazing food.
What do you love about writing? As a writer it's socially acceptable for me to lose myself in other worlds. I also love that I get to spend days on end researching topics and learning new things. My job never gets stale or boring, which is really important to me.
Usually a brand has a kind of personality about it, and you know what you're messing with when you associate with that brand. Up & Up is interesting, because it is brand new and doesn't really have an established personality yet. How do you feel about it? What do you make of all this?
I'm curious and optimistic about it. I feel like there's a huge gap in the publishing industry in Australia at the moment and it's great to see someone sticking their neck out in an effort to address this. There's so much talent in this country that never gets the opportunity to see the light of day. I'm really excited to be able to be a part of the launch of this new company and I look forward to see what else Up&Up has planned for the future.
Our motto at Up & Up is "The indie punk label of publishing for the garage bands of writing." What do you make of that? I like it - it's a different take on publishing to what I've seen in the past. My husband is in a prog rock band, so it also reminds me of dark, dingy bars and lots of loud noises.
What are your hobbies?
I hate this question because I never know how to answer it. I tend to flit from interest to interest. I love hobbies because you don't have to take them too seriously and you can quit them the second you get bored. My most recent hobby is playing Futsal soccer. Before that it was origami. I even did rock climbing for a while there.
What are your long-term writing plans?
This is my forever job and I have huge plans, both for the short term and the long term. I aim to finish and publish my YA Fantasy series over the next few years (book 2 is finished but needs an edit and I'm halfway through writing book 3). I have also started research on something a bit more epic, a bit more intense, which I plan to start writing as soon as I've finished with the Rachaya series.
What question do you wish I'd asked you?
How do you know if a story idea is worth pursuing? The story I wrote for MIXTAPE ONE was an idea I had years ago, before I actually had the writing skills to pull it off. I just knew it had something special to it so I never gave up on it completely. Other story ideas seem like they're genius until I actually try to flesh them out a bit more. For longer stories I allow myself up to 10,000 words. If I am bored with the concept by then I walk away. If not I forge ahead and force myself to finish the whole thing, even when I feel like I want to throw it into a bonfire.