ABOUT ASHLEY MACKLER-PATERNOSTRO
Ashley Mackler-Paternostro was born in Naperville, Illinois, where she still lives with her husband Mark and their three dogs. A hairstylist by trade, Ashley will often say that some of the best stories she has ever heard were told to her while working behind the chair. A life long reader with an insatiable appetite for good books, she decided to merge her love of great stories — both told and written — into her own brand of story telling.
When she’s not being held captive in her home office by words, Ashley fancies herself a flea market hunter with a weakness for Japanese glass floats and repurposing vintage goods.
Her latest book is The Milestone Tapes.
Visit Ashley at www.ashleymacklerpaternostro.com.
ABOUT THE MILESTONE TAPES
Jenna Chamberland never wanted anything more than to be a wife and mother. That is, until she realized that her life was ending after a three-year battle against breast cancer. Now, all she really wants is more time.
With 4,320 hours left to live, Jenna worries for her loved ones and what she knows awaits them on the other side: Gabe will have to make the slip from husband to widower, left alone to raise their seven-year-old daughter; Mia will be forced to cope with life without her mother by her side. In a moment of reflection, Jenna decides to record a set of audiocassettes — The Milestone Tapes – leaving her voice behind as a legacy for her daughter.
Nine years later, Mia is a precocious sixteen-year-old and her life is changing all around, all she wants is her mother. Through the tapes, Jenna’s voice returns to teach Mia the magic of life, her words showing her daughter how to spread her wings and embrace the coming challenges with humor, grace and hope.
THE MILESTONE TAPES is the journey of love between a parent and child, and of the bonds that holds them when life no longer can.
~ ~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~ ~
Ashley Mackler Paternostro will be giving away a humungous gift basket during her tour! Stop off at all her blog stops during her tour for extra entries. Giveaway begins April 2 and ends on May 25. The winner will be announced on May 26. These are the wonderful things that are included in the gift basket ($200 value!)
-1 Kindle (non-touch) wifi w/ special offers ($80.00)
-1 signed copy of The Milestone Tapes ($14.00)
-1 copy of Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss ($17.00)
-1 vial of lavender seeds ($6.00)
-1 bar of gardenia soap ($11.00)
-1 jar of Golden Raspberry Jam ($8.00)
-1 jar of dry ingredients & recipe of Jenna’s Blackberry Cobbler w/ recipe ($15.00)
-1 Japanese Glass fishing float ($20.00)
-1 set of note cards (6) with a “cassette tape” on front ($10.00)
-1 Amazon gift card ($10.00)
Everything in the gift basket, save for the Kindle, is direct from the book.
The basket will arrive to the winner shrink wrapped with a thank you note from Ashley for participating.
Could you please tell us a little about your book?
THE MILESTONE TAPES, at it’s heart, is a love story. It circulates around a mother and her daughter and the bond that will hold them together when life and time no longer can.
From the start of the book, the very first line, you’re dropped right into the middle of Jenna’s worst day and then you’re on journey with her towards the end of her life as she’s watching it come together by pieces. It’s a novel of inches … inches towards the end, and then inches towards healing.
Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
THE MILESTONE TAPES for me is an incredibly personal experiment in the loss of a parent. In the fall of nineteen-ninety-seven, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer — infiltrating ductal carcinoma. I was thirteen at the time and I was forced to face the mortality of my mother — not an easy thing for a child. She went into remission a little more than a year and a half later … but that fear stayed with me … the darkness of “what if” lingered. I knew I needed to ask the unanswered questions at some point in my life of “what happens next” to a family where the center their world is suddenly stolen away.
This book is fictional, but it borders on reality in so much as I asked the question — what if remission wasn’t possible? What if the end was coming and all you had left was six months, what would you do with that time? I wanted to find those answers … and so from my wonderings came this novel.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my sophomore effort, IN THE AFTER. It’s such a different story than THE MILESTONE TAPES and it has been a book building inside me for so long — about the past four years.
IN THE AFTER circulates around the disappearance of a woman through the eyes and emotions of her best friend. It’s a dark novel, and it’s a essentially a wandering through that first week of hell.
Do you have any advice for writers or readers?
For a reader: Bring yourself to the story. That’s what we, as writers, want from you. We write books so that you feel a connection … it’s what holds us captive in our offices for hours, the idea that someday our words will resonate.
“Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experiences of the world. You bring your history, and you read it in your own terms” – Angela Carter
For a writer: Embrace the journey rather than being discouraged by it.
On my personal blog, which I started at the beginning of my trek towards publication, I have spent a lot of time discussing the nuances of publishing and writing and building your brand. One of the hardest parts of writing is the discouragement that comes from hearing the word “no” … it stings. But you cannot let that hold you no matter how tempting it may be. Embrace the critics and naysayers, learn from them … and then, carry on smarter and wiser for being open to all opinions.
What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?
As of this moment? My blog. I could and probably should say finishing my first novel, and yes, that was an extraordinary moment for me … but my blog has been such a gratifying experience that it probably outranks the book itself.
I remember the day La Bella Novella went live, it was my husband’s birthday so how could I ever forget. I was just toying around with the idea of “blogging” because it was touted as being a gateway but I had reservations and doubts … and then suddenly, I had a viewer … and then another … and another and the blue bar kept climbing. Now, six months later, I’ve made such wonderful connections with people and some have told me that my experiences have helped them to defined their own paths … and that’s absolutely the most amazing feeling — to know you’ve impacted another. Yeah, that is one of the greatest things about this whole journey thus far.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?
That absolutely nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough … if you’re willing to work hard enough and make the sacrifices required of you. That wild dreams are pursuable and you can rise up to meet your potential if you give yourself the chance — that’s not just about writing, that’s kind of universal.
I was a hairstylist from a little town … I wasn’t destined to become an author, I just loved to read. I could finish books in the span of two days, and I adored the way a good novel made me feel. I don’t know why I thought I could do it too, that I could write a book, but I believed I could, and then I did.
What is your favorite past-time?
I’m sort of an antique junkie. Oh, give me a good flea market with weathered treasures and dealer willing to bargain and I’ve found Heaven on Earth. I love old things with new lives and discovering the stories behind them.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I just want to thank you so much for this interview … it means so much to me and I appreciate it!