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Confessions of a Maneater

Here it is, the book I have been writing for two years has finally come out! This book has been healing for me in so many ways and I am very excited to share it with you all.

We caught up with Ashanti to find out more about her new book, 'Confessions of a Maneater' and what advice she would give any young, aspiring authors.

Do you have any tips for young writers?

  • If you believe what you need to say is important, then say it! Someone out there will connect to it, appreciate it and be thankful for it.
  • Look to other writers for inspiration, it's not a competition. As a young writer, I found myself questioning my ability by looking at successful writers and thinking ‘my words will never be that good’. Use other writers to inspire you, they too were young writers once, probably thinking the same thing and were shocked to find how many people enjoyed their words.
  • The more you read the more you will learn and the better you will write!
  • If you are writing (this may sound contradictory) the best way to stay motivated is to know when to stop writing! Write a piece, let it breathe, then come back to it with fresh eyes. It will help your editing process and it will spark new ideas for you to add in as well.
  • Write for yourself first, get it off your chest and then think about your readers. This isn’t to say the reader isn’t important, but the reader can always tell when the words are forced. Focus on what you want to say, what story you want to create, what pictures are moving in your amazing imagination first, and then once the words are on the page begin to think about the reader.
  • Last but not least, keep writing, take breaks but don’t stop. If you feel you don’t want to work on your project for the moment but you do want to write, then allow yourself the time to write something different. If you are someone who enjoys writing, then allow yourself to write with freedom.

What inspired you to write the book?

I am a lover of words and the power they hold. I believe if you have something important you would like to say, then you should find a way to say it, and what a better way than through a creative medium – writing was my way. The inspiration for this book derived from my life experiences (as the book is of course semi-biographical); my studies, which heavily included women’s literature and lastly Rupi Kaur, a poet I enjoy, whose poems I felt I connected to in some way, in the ways she told her story – I wanted to do the same.

The book is centred around feminism. Many female writers inspired me and influenced my writing, such as George Egerton, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkin Gilman (writers of the 19th and early 20th century) but also post-modernist writers like Ali Smith – each writer with something important to say in their politics.

How did your studies help you get to writing and lead to publishing a book?

The book began as part of a university project – we were required to write a short book which would then of course be graded towards our degree. Since this was a book I always wanted to write, it didn’t stop at the grade. I continued to write for a further two years until I felt it was ‘ready’ to be published. (I use quote marks as we all strive for perfection which is why some books take years and years to write – as a creative you just know when the time is right).

University opened my eyes to the publishing world. It showed me it is perfectly acceptable to self-publish a book, and actually as times change, self-publishing is probably the more preferred route for many. Although it is hard work and does take a lot of motivation and dedication, it allows you to be completely creative and free as you are responsible for the book in its entirety. I used a self-publishing medium called Blurb.com with software called Bookwrite which is fairly straight forward to use but again requires dedication.

A massive congratulations and well done to Ashanti on this fantastic achievement. Knowing the attention to detail and dedication that Ashanti went to with her Access coursework, we're sure that this will be an amazing read.