Hyde Park, NY Native to Release the Final Book in “The Coven Series”
It's so cool to see a Hudson Valley author flourish. Ashlynn Stone Knight is releasing the latest book in The Coven Series. The series includes The Coven—The Triquetra (book 1, 2019.) The Coven—The Transformation (book 2, 2020) The Coven—The Tacitus (book 3, 2022) and now The Coven—The Absconded (book 4, will be out spring of 2023.) I had a an opportunity to ask Ashlynn some questions about her latest book, the series as a whole, her writing process and much more. You can read that interview below.
What is the series about?
The tag line on the ads for the first book says: “She’s perfectly average. He’s carrying
The Coven’s secrets. Sharing those secrets could prove deadly to both.”
To add more detail, the series is written first person, from Aurora Washington’s point of
view. Thirty-two-year-old Aurora meets James, a mysterious, vague, and suspicious
man. Although it’s impossible, she has a feeling he has a supernatural ability. She is a
perceptive woman but has no idea James is hiding as many secrets as he is. As a
strong bond forms between the two, Aurora falls victim to his unique power, confirming
her superhuman assumption. Eventually, she has enough of his secrets and demands
he tell her how he stole time from her. James warns her that sharing the information
could lead to her death, but she doesn’t heed his warning. Once James’ father, the king
of The Tacitus Coven, learns James shared The Coven secrets with Aurora, he gives
her two choices: either leave her beloved family and the life she loves so much to
become a Tacitus, or face termination. She doesn’t want to become a superhuman, but
she doesn’t want to die either.
The remainder of the series follows Aurora through her years as a human police officer,
saying goodbye to her family, transforming into a Tacitus, developing never-before seen
powers, a near-fatal childbirth and later, protecting her child’s life although by doing so,
she put her life at risk. The sacred laws of The Tacitus people are barbaric but allow
them to live undetected among humans for longer than the human species existed.
This Urban Fantasy series is intended for the same audience as Twilight—almost
everyone. It’s packed with mystery, suspense, love, strength, and an intriguing story
line. The Coven Series is a new take on the supernatural! Every person who has read it
and spoke to me about it said they couldn’t put it down.
Despite the title of this series, witches aren’t present in any of the books, nor are
werewolves or vampires. The Coven Series is far from a romance story. I hate tropes,
so I’m proud to say that readers won’t find any in these books. The series is a fresh
idea; one I have never read about!
What Are Your Feelings About the Latest Release?
Simply put, bitter-sweet. I have been living and breathing the Tacitus life for almost eight
years. I’m thrilled to put it to bed, but at the same time, I will miss Aurora and James
How Have You Seen This Series Grow with the Fanbase and Readers?
I didn’t start marketing this series until recently, so people in my area hadn’t begun hearing about it until mid-2022. So, aside from book sales, I can tell in one way. Invitations for book signings have begun rolling in. I did my first signing in the beginning of February.
One story I love to tell is about the time my sister in-law was staying at a hotel. She went down to the pool and found a woman reading the second Coven! My sister in-law ran out of the pool area, ripped her phone from her bag and called me. Neither of us could believe it! I’m smiling right now, just thinking about the day!
How Long Have You Been Writing?
I began writing in the fall of 2014, nine years after a late bipolar diagnosis. It was a
difficult diagnosis to accept, so I kept journals to help me cope with it. I was terribly
bored one day, so I grabbed my laptop and journals and typed each journal entry into
the computer. By the time I finished in the summer of 2015, the Word document was the
length of a book. I was flabbergasted. I had never written anything of such length
before. I spent the next few months converting it into story form, and on September 16,
2015, Lithium Realm: My Bipolar Hell was published. I was the only one who edited it
(something writers should never do themselves,) which explains its many mistakes.
Once Amazon had Lithium Realm: My Bipolar Hell available for purchase, I reluctantly called my mom to tell her about it. I also shared the Amazon listing on my Facebook
page. I was shocked by how many people emailed me or messaged me on Facebook to
tell me how much my book helped them; they didn’t feel so alone. That was my goal.
The day Lithium Realm was published, I walked to a local craft fair and purchased a
triquetra charm. By the time I had returned home, I had a slew of ideas in my mind for
one story. I rushed through my door and ran to my laptop so I could record my thoughts
before I forgot them. Within three weeks, I had completed the first drafts for the first
three books of The Coven Series. Originally, it was only supposed to consist of three
books, but people wanted to know more about the lives of those in the book. I wasn’t
ready to say goodbye to The Coven, so I happily wrote another. Book 4 is the last,
So, to answer your question, I have been writing as an author since 2014, however I
didn’t become a published author until 2015.
What Other Projects Have You Penned?
I’ve written thirteen books under a few pseudonyms, all of which I keep separate from
the others. Ashlynn Stone is the name I’m most proud of, which is the name I go by in
everyday life. Not accounting for the books that I’ve unpublished, I have five books
available on Amazon under the Ashlynn Stone name. Barnes & Noble and Walmart also
sell some Ashlynn Stone books online. The available books include:
- Lithium Realm: My Bipolar Hell (September 23, 2015)
- The Coven—The Triquetra (October 27, 2019)
- The Coven—The Transformation (July 1, 2020)
- The Coven—The Tacitus (February 5, 2022)
- So, You Want to be a Writer (October 1, 2020)
Who Is "Ashlynn Stone?"
My legal name/married name is Crista Knight, however my husband and I have only been married for three years. Those in the Hudson Valley only know me as Crista Haight.
I cringe when anyone calls me Crista—including those who knew me as Crista before I began going by Ash. Hearing people address me by my given name only reminds me of the horrible person I had been after my bipolar symptoms surfaced, but before I had a diagnosis. It also reminds me of the last two years of my first marriage. Those years were so neglectful that I turned to alcohol. With the help of rehab, I’ve been sober since March 2, 2017. I hated the last ten years of my life as Crista. I’ve loved every year as Ashlynn.
For a very short time, I worked in a hippie store while I was a junior at FDR. Since my last name was Haight, the manager called me Ashbury, based on the famous Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco. It didn’t take long until he shortened it to Ash. I much preferred that of Crista and I used the nickname as the base for my pen name. Stone came from… I’m embarrassed to admit this but I spent a day taking notice of every object I passed. I saw a pebble and thought, “Ashlynn Pebble.” That made me feel like I belonged in a Flintstone’s episode, but it also led me to Stone.
Tell Us About Your Writing Process
Each day, I start writing at between 3am-4am and either type or edit until my four-year-old wakes up between 7-8. My daughter is in daycare part-time. On those days, I write for another 4-5 hours. The time zooms by. Assuming the temperature is above 40, I can be found working at my workstation on my front porch.
I can’t believe how many people ask me about my editing process. Most don’t realize that writing and publishing a book as an indie author is extremely difficult and tedious. This explanation will be tedious as well. The writing end, although hard, is the easy part of the process. It takes me between 1-2 months to write the first daft. Once I finish it, I typically spend the next 4-6 months editing. (Switching parts around, corrections, adding/deleting sections, etc.) Coven book 4 is 412 pages, so it took me a lot longer to edit. Once I’m finished writing the first draft, I go back twice to make corrections, usually adding another 80-120 pages. That part of the process takes roughly two months.
Book proofs then go out to my two developmental editors. They mail their marked-up books back to me with their well thought out ideas written in the book. I consider each comment and go back to my computer to make major and time-consuming changes to the plot. When finished, I order a proof for myself, go through it to make sure it reads correctly before ordering more proofs for my beta readers. Typically, a month later, I have received their marked-up proofs back in the mail and begin making manuscript changes. I then order another proof and edit it myself to make sure I am happy with the way it turned out. Assuming I am, proofs then go out to my line editor and content editor. After receiving their books back and making their suggested changes, I order one more proof for myself to make sure it’s perfect. Once I’m confident it is, I publish it. It’s a lengthy process, but it’s my blood, sweat and tears. My name is on it. I want it perfect.
Although I’ve written in many genres, I only write Urban Fantasy now. I’ve already written the first draft of my next series: Mind Thieves, which follows a bunch of mind-reading teenagers. It sounds simple and cliché, but it’s far from it. The only reason I don’t go into more detail is because the story can change a lot by the time I’m finished with the series.
Parts of myself are found in every one of my books, from the alcoholism to my time as a dispatcher for the Hyde Park Police Dept (of course, I didn’t mention the town’s name or the officers I worked with.)
The Coven’s protagonist, Aurora Washington, is 80% Crista Knight. I wrote the first three Covens two years before meeting my husband or any of his family members. Even though I had no idea who any of them were, I used all their names in the story. I even used my husband’s name as a villain in the third book! Talk about uncanny!
I have a strong team behind me. I have eight phenomenal beta readers, two developmental editors, a line editor and a content editor. Four of my beta readers and my content editor are FDR alums! There is no way I would have produced such high-quality books without them. I can’t begin to express how ESSENTIAL each of them are to the success of The Coven Series, and I am grateful to each and every one of them!
Any Final Thoughts?
I am so proud to be a mom. My favorite activity is killing monsters and zombies with my daughter.
On behalf of all writers, I beg people to stop saying two things. When someone tells you they’re a writer or an author, please do not say, “I wrote a book.” (Tap your temple,) “It’s all up here.” Also, when someone tells you they are an author, PLEASE don’t say, “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” That’s as insulting as telling a neurosurgeon, “I’ve always wanted to do brain surgery.” Both will irritate the writer/author and we will vent about you to our writer friends. (I say that last sentence with a smile.)
Anyone is welcome to email me or message me through Facebook. I answer all of my messages.
The Coven—The Triquetra (book 1) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZMV29ZM/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0