Ashley Hodges Bazer is the author of Asylum, a self-published novel with much recognition including: Certificate of Merit from the Deep River Books 2012 Writer’s Contest, a Top 30
Bazer’s story is one filled with God’s work and guidance. Her vision is one of expanding Christian literature to the masses and bringing Christ into an otherwise God-dismissing culture and community. Alas, in Bazer’s words, her testimony: Finalist in the 2012 Women of Faith Writing Contest and, finally, the Grand Prize Winner of the WestBow Press/Munce Group 2012 Writing Contest. The latter awarded Bazer with a full self-publishing package from WestBow Press which has published Embolden’s previous author spotlight subject, William Sirls, and even such renown writers as Ted Dekker.
Embolden: What inspired you to become an author?
Bazer: I didn’t set out to be an author. I wrote funny stories here and there to entertain friends, but I never sat down and decided to become a writer. But about 15 years ago, I started doing online role playing games set in a sci-fi universe. The characters I created inspired me to write their stories. I designed my own universe and adapted the characters to fit. Before I knew it, my first 90,000-plus word count manuscript had filled a file on my computer. Once I started writing, I realized that a lot of sci-fi books out there are laced with explicit content. There are very few sci-fi stories on the Christian market. My mission began to take shape. My writing could serve as a way to reach an audience who might not normally pick up a Christian historical romance. I could plant seeds for God without preaching a sermon.
E: What is your book about? Is it part of a series?
B: Asylum is the first book I’ve published, but not the first I’ve written. It’s part of a saga titled The Crown’s Call, which explores the onset and aftermath of a religious holocaust. The Logia are followers of a triune god known as the Crown. Throughout the saga, the Logia face evil, battling in the name of the Crown to restore peace and prosperity to a broken universe.
Asylum is the second to the last book in the saga, but it stands alone, so the reader will not be lost. It’s the story of Chase Leighton, a young newlywed Logia. His wife Trista is captured by the tyrannical government. When Chase pursues her, he is arrested and unjustly sentenced to a prison ship for the criminally insane. While onboard, he encounters his wife…and she’s not a patient.
E: How did you see God working in the plans for your book as you wrote it?
B: God’s fingerprints are all over this book. He inspired much of the wording. Through my characters, He walked me through quite a few spiritual questions I had. He also had a hand in the publication of the book. The manuscript won a contest with WestBow Press, a self-publisher, and earned a publishing package.
E: How have you seen God work since you published your book?
B: I’ve had some unique opportunities to give copies of my book to some very interesting people, including the governor of Colorado and C.S. Lewis’s stepson. The reviews I’ve received have been mostly favorable. My favorite one was from one of the winners of my GoodReads giveaway:
“I was a little apprehensive about reading this book as the cover suggested it could have quite a religious angle, which isn’t really my thing. However, in the context of the storyline and the characters it works well and doesn’t feel as though it’s being rammed down your throat.”
That’s exactly what I was hoping for.
E: When did you first come to know Christ?
B: I grew up in a home that acknowledged God on major holidays. We occasionally went to church. I was baptized at age 8, but I don’t think I really understood what it meant at the time. But in 2000, I was driving down a long stretch of I-70, close to Topeka. I had just left a bad situation in Minnesota, and I was on my way home to Colorado. Christian radio kept me company, offering comfort and peace in the midst of internal confusion. Greg Laurie had given quite a touching message, and shortly thereafter, he invited me to pray and receive Jesus into my heart. I pulled off the highway, tears in my eyes, and prayed along with his words. I’ve been with Him ever since.
E: What advice do you have for others who are seeking to be published authors?
B: Keep going! Don’t be discouraged! Writing is tough work, but getting published is even tougher. You pour your soul into your work, dedicating time and energy to create something beautiful. Friends and family call you brilliant, but all you get from agents and publishers is rejection. Keep in mind that this industry is subjective—not everyone will like what you’ve written…but once you find the one who believes in you, it will all be worth it! (These words are for me, too, as I am still searching for that agent and/or publisher!)
E: How can the church pray for you?
B: Thanks for asking this! I am a wife, mom of three, and I work in full-time ministry as a producer for an international Christian radio program. This leaves very little room for writing. With six novels under my belt, I am actively seeking an agent or a publisher. I would appreciate prayers for my wonderful family, my work in service to God, and success in getting my stories in print.
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