AH: I am a teacher, who loves to write for children. I also love encouraging children to write. My own girls (8 and 7) have had stories published too, sharing this experience with them has been amazing. Which is why I love working with all children on developing their writing skills.
I also love sport, music and my two Labradors – Stitch and Chewie. It was actually my first Labrador – Obi that inspired me to begin this whole writing journey.
AH: This book was inspired by my girls. Each year I have made them a writing scrap book and called it The Not So Boring Book. The idea was to take it where ever we go, that way if we end up in a place they find boring they have something fun to do. It has also helped them to develop their writing skills.
I decided that I need to do this for more children and encourage them to write. So I came up with The Not So Boring Book #1 Write Your Own Story. It is full of writing activities and with each chapter you get the opportunity to work on one story. By the end of the book you will have a story that could be published in some format. You actually write in the book, it’s a great thing to take with you and then whenever the writing bug catches you… well its Not So Boing!
BBB: Does the book help writers with character creation?
AH: Chapter Two in this book is entirely devoted to developing characters. There are activities to help you create fantastic and unique characters. I have special sections devoted to villains (my favorite to create, so much fun!) and super heroes. Of course there is then room to develop the characters in your story and to work out how they fit. It’s a lot of fun and often I start whole stories because a character has popped into my head!
BBB: What other books have you written?
AH: I have written four children’s novels for various ages: Ghostnapped (9-12 year olds) – Alex is on a family camping trip when her younger brother disappears. She has to solve a mystery of the past and the present to save him.
Obi the Super Puppy and the Mystery of the Red Mist (7-12 year olds) – this is the first book in the Obi series. Obi is a yellow Labrador who is determined to be a super hero. He tells his kids (Maddy and Aijay) all about his first encounter with an evil red mist.
The Homework Goblin (5-10 year olds) – Jason has finished his homework on time for once. Then it is stolen by the homework goblin. He goes on a magical adventure in an attempt to get it back!
It’s What You Do Next That Counts (12-15) – Callie’s life has been thrown upside down. She has had to move countries and live with her Aunt and Uncle in Perth, Western Australia. She struggles with the change and of course all the challenges of being a teenager. Callie discovers that when bad things happen it’s what you do next that counts!
I also have a number of stories published in various anthologies. This is something I love to do because it’s great to work with other authors.
BBB: What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
AH: I think readers will enjoy The Not So Boring Book #1 Write Your Own Story because they can write their own story. It is more than that of course. There are so many activities in the book if you completed them all you would have more than one fantastic story idea. It is a lot of fun and will get the creative juices flowing.
BBB: Tell us about your illustrations.
AH: I do my own illustrations when I have to, it’s not something I find particularly easy. My daughters helped me illustrate The Homework Goblin and are helping with a new series that I will hopefully release later in the year.
Most of the time I try to use photos, this was easy for my Obi books, but is harder for others. Like anything you only get better through practice. I need a lot more practice but get there in the end.
BBB: How did you come up with the idea for your book cover?
AH: This book cover needed to be exciting, well certainly not boring. I took the photo of my girls at the zoo one day and loved it. It just fit the book so well. The rest of the cover was designed by my husband who does all my covers. They take a while to get perfect, but we have learnt so much. We get better with each cover that we do!
BBB: What are you currently working on?
AH: I am currently close to releasing the second Obi book. This one is called Obi the Super Puppy and the Quest for the Last Laugh. Once again Obi is telling the girls about an adventure. This time he has some more friends. A new puppy Stitch, who needs to be trained. One of the things I loves about writing this story was that it introduced a new sidekick – Rigger. He’s a big old boy and I enjoyed writing about him. This book is full of action and will be out soon!
You can find out more about Ashley Howland and her books by visiting