Author Spotlight: ML Bash
Happy New Year everyone!!!!
I wanted to start this year off with something new, so I decided to start a series featuring some of my favorite authors. First up, this year is ML Bash!
I had the opportunity to speak with her on several occasions and she is genuinely a beautiful spirit! Very easy to talk to and it was a pleasure each time I was able to converse with her.
I've been a fan of her writing for a while and was super excited when she granted me this exclusive interview. She's a prolific writer and each book offers thoroughly developed characters and storylines, while remaining fresh and new. If you haven't read any of her work yet, I guarantee you that you'll want to by the end of this interview (links for her complete catalog are below and the books are free with Kindle Unlimited so go download them all asap)!
Here's what we talked about:
Interview with Author
How old were you when you wrote your first story? What was it called and what was it about?
I’ve been writing for literally as long as I could remember. I used to write stories on the front and back of loose-leaf papers in elementary school for recess and breaks and stuff. The oldest story I remember vividly was written in the 8thgrade. It was about a young girl who had to relocate with her father because her mom was in an abusive relationship. She ended up meeting a guy, they fell in love and then everything just kind of went downhill because his family looked down on her and she couldn’t handle it. It actually ended with her returning home to her mother despite her love interest begging her not to because she felt responsible for keeping her mom safe.
Can you remember how you felt the first time you allowed someone to read something you wrote?
I was terrified the first time I let someone read my work and I’m honestly still terrified now. I hate when someone mentions that I write in front of other people. I shut down and get extremely quiet. I stress out on every release day and will usually stay awake from the day before until my link goes live. Then, I refresh the page every hour practically for the first two/three days. It’s actually kind of ridiculous how anxious I get. I will never stand around while someone reads my work in front of me.
You are a prolific author, what inspires you to keep writing?
Knowing that someone, even if it’s only one person, actually enjoys what I’m writing motivates me to keep writing. I’m not living off of releasing books or anything like that. I do it because I really love it and I love being able to go back and read my work again. I love being able to get paperbacks and look back a month or a year later and rediscovering my characters because after you start creating new characters and new scenarios even though you wrote your old work, rereading it is like discovering them all over again. So, when I read my first series ever for example and I’m laughing at my characters and feeling something about my own words, that motivates me to want to keep creating that feeling for me and for other people.
You develop such thorough characters and plot lines yet are able to hold the reader’s attention captive throughout the entire novel. How do you do that?
I am someone that thoroughly outlines. My outlining takes about three days and I write out every single thing. “Person A wakes up, brushes his teeth, gets dressed and gets a phone call from Person B. They talk about…” I will literally sit down in front of my computer and daydream up a book and type everything out as I see it in my head which is probably why I’m sometimes accused of being far too descriptive. I do my best to give my readers the vision that I see. From there, I read through it and I move things around based on plot holes I forgot to wrap up or where I wanted a character by halfway through the book. There are times where I’ll go through and reread and decide that it’s moving far too slow and I add parts or delete a few. I outline roughly 60 point of views but only around 45 actually make it into the finished product. I usually go into outlining already knowing how the character will look and behave but honestly, it’s always subject to change based on the vision you get while writing and how the characters are talking to you at the time. I can definitely say that I write out key points that I want my characters to go through to change and that for sure helps me make sure they’re developed in some ways through the plot.
To date, what is your favorite book/ character that you've written?
My favorite book to date is probably Rhea and Kenyan or Shorty Got A Love So Pure. I have no idea what it was about Rhea and Kenyan but they’ve always been my favorite characters which is crazy considering they aren’t the funniest couple or the couple with the most ‘gangsta’ ways or the couple with the best, unproblematic relationship. I think it had something to do with Kenyan’s relationship with Rhea’s daughter though.
Then, when looking at Shorty Got A Love So Pure, it was my first time writing something slightly out of the norm. First of all, the main male character was white. That threw a lot of readers through the loop and from there, it wasn’t a urban book in the way that most people think urban books should be written. There wasn’t anyone selling drugs. There were no sidelines, infidelities or crazy, obsessed exes. They were sort of everyday people dealing with everyday struggles. They were battling with communication issues, figuring out how to be together and arguing with their families. It was the main characters attending counseling to deal with childhood traumas and trying to decide what they wanted to do with their lives. It was interesting to me to take a break from the super rude males and shoot outs.
One of my favorite books you've written is Brax & East: That Crazy Forbidden Love. East and Earie had such a complex relationship, how did you come up with that storyline? Will we ever hear from the characters in that series again?
I’d been interested in writing about twins for a while so I knew from the beginning that I would have a pair in this series. The thing is that I focused on Earie’s character before I focused on East’s. Earie was one of my more complex characters. I wanted to challenge myself and write about someone who had gotten broken and didn’t recover fully and how that affected the people around her. I’ve never written a character that way. Even when I write female characters and they’re cheated on or abused, by the last book they’re flourishing and doing better than ever. I’ve never had a female character crack under pressure, so I wanted to try it out. So, I outline Earie being hurt and broken and then I wrote out a relationship for her and I thought of ways her pain could affect those relationships. I really wanted to push how close twins are to the point where it was actually a little creepy. I wanted to make it so that the twins felt like they only had each other and then take that away from them and I didn’t know how I wanted the series to end until I literally got there.
Brax and East will definitely be making an appearance again. I’ll actually be letting them free on February 22 to an extent. When the book ended, they were at a gravesite reflecting on the events on the series and their son, Egypt was beside them, not even a teenager yet and it was revealed to the reader that he still had no idea who his biological parents were or even that he was adopted. I ended the series that way because I had every intention on bringing the couple back and I’ll be doing that while focusing on Egypt and the entire craziness that comes with finding out your parents aren’t even your parents. In the spinoff, he’ll actually be paired up with Rhylan who is the daughter of Rhea and Kenyan so I’m excited to see where it goes with the way they were raised so differently. East was 100% in the game and he plans on pushing Egypt into that while Kenyan did everything he could to get out of the game and to make sure Rhylan and her brother never had to be faced with the things he had. I think it’ll be interesting to see how Kenyan deals with his daughter throwing away all of his hard work in a way by doing the exact thing he worked tirelessly to prevent all in the name of ‘love’.
Do you feel anxiety with new releases? If so, what do you do to calm yourself?
I definitely feel anxiety when I release. I usually pull an all-nighter the night before so that I’m so exhausted and tired, I have no choice but to sleep through the first few hours of my release. That way when my book actually updates with me being ranked for the first time, I don’t have to see it. I’m not huge on rankings but I do refresh my book the first week or so A LOT to read reviews. They definitely keep me writing.
Are you currently working on any new projects?
I’m currently working on the finale for ‘My Ruthless Gangsta Loves Me Better’ which is based loosely on the life of my best friend. She was completely in love with this man, he went to the military and basically vanished and when he returned four years later, she was engaged to someone else. I used that as the basis of this book, so it was really special to me and I loved retelling her story in a way.
I’ve also already turned in ‘Rhylan and Egypt’ which will be out Feb 22ndand I’m really excited about that it. It’s a little different than what I usually write but it definitely has my signature ‘ML Bash’ touch throughout.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
From the home team I am a huge fan of Heiress, Nikki Brown, Jaii Lynn, Tay Monae and of course, KC Mills. I’m surrounded by a group of amazingly talented women all across the board, but those are definitely my top picks.
I’m also a huge fan of Bianca, Shvonne Latrice, Keta Kendric, Anne Rice, Wahida Clark, Mikal Malone, and Keith Lee Johnson. I’m sure there are more but those are the people that come up off the top of my head. Keith Lee Johnson’s “Little Black Girl Lost” series is a timeless classic that I’ve reread at least 15 times and Shvonne Latrice is actually the reason I got published. I binged several of her series in the time frame of a month and at the end of her book was an ad about aspiring authors. It left the contact information and how to apply and I sat down and wrote my first book, “Changing the Game for You: Rowan and Dominic” in a week and a half, sent up a hail Mary and sent it off to Supreme Works Publications where I definitely found my home.
What advice would you give an upcoming author who is a little discouraged because they aren't seeing their books on bestseller lists yet or receiving the support, they'd like to from their fan base?
My advice would be to have realistic expectations. Urban fiction seems like it’s booming right now. Books are coming out every single day by the waves. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a number 1 in your first year of writing. The best thing to do is be consistent and to have tunnel vision. Don’t try to imitate what other writers are doing and don’t think you have to change your vision to get numbers. Don’t even put a huge emphasis on the charts. It’s nice to land high but it’s also not going to break you if you don’t get it. It’s also extremely important to be consistent especially when working on series. There are about 10 books that drop every day. If you write a book 1 and book 2 takes a year, that’s kind of like starting over. People like me, read two/three books a day. They won’t remember book one by then or may have lost interest. It’s also important to understand that you can’t compare yourself to others. Someone can drop their first book and get a best seller and you may have to drop 30 to get a number 5 on the charts. That’s okay. Just continue to push through and continue to write for you. You’ll find your target audience.
I'd like to thank ML Bash again for granting me this interview and for her patience in answering the questions so thoroughly. Make sure you follow her on social media to get updates on her upcoming projects. Also, get ready; February 22nd "Pretty Girls Fall for Dope Boys Too" will be live!
ML Bash Amazon Author Page (includes direct links to download each book): https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B0756N5N2X?_encoding=UTF8&offset=0&pageSize=12&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=2&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1407209612719462/