Allen Ashley has worked as a performance poet, a singer/songwriter, music critic, football journalist and book editor. In addition to this, he is the author of two non-fiction books: The Golden Void: Hawkwind 1970-1975 (Hawkfrendz, 1991), a chapbook of music criticism, and The Days of the Dodo (Dodo London Press, 2006), a collection of cultural commentary articles that first appeared in The Third Alternative between 1999 and 2005.
His short stories have been published in over 40 literary magazines, among them Interzone, The Third Alternative, Postscripts and Prism. They have also been featured in around 10 anthologies that include Triquorum One (Pendragon Press, 2006); Poe’s Progeny (Gray Friar Press, 2005) and New Wave of Speculative Fiction (Crowswing Books, 2005). His debut novel, The Planet Suite (TTA Press, 1997) was followed by two collections of short stories, Somnambulists (Elastic Press, 2004) and Urban Fantastic (Crowswing Books, 2006).
In a recent interview, Allen Ashley spoke about his writing.
What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
I would have to say receiving the 2006 British Fantasy Society “Best Anthology” Award for The Elastic Book Of Numbers (Elastic Press, 2005) is the best moment of my writing career so far. After 24 years as a published author, I felt I fully deserved this recognition … and I celebrated accordingly.
What is The Elastic Book of Numbers?
It’s an anthology of brand new stories all based around the theme of numbers. This concept, I believe, had never been done before.
Sitting in the editorial chair for The Elastic Book Of Numbers was obviously a somewhat different experience to writing one’s own collection. Editing can be very frustrating - for quite a long time I was worried that the book wasn’t going to work because I wasn’t receiving enough material that fit the book’s parameters and was of the required quality. There’s so much more to editing than simply compiling and arranging.
I’m as proud of The Elastic Book Of Numbers as any of my other books because of the huge amount of work I put into its success.
What are your latest books about?
My two other recent books are both collections of short stories. Somnambulists collects 16 of my best stories which have been described as “borderline science fiction”, “Slipstream”, “urban fantasy”, “psychological horror”, “Twilight Zone”.
My very latest book is a second collection of my short stories - Urban Fantastic. Twenty-one stories this time, including my very first-ever publication plus seven pieces brand new to the collection.
How long did it take you to write them?