Best-selling young adult fiction author Ashley Poston isn’t afraid to unleash her inner fangirl. Poston is the author of Geekerella, a modern-day retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale, and her latest book, released April 2, 2019 The Princess and the Fangirl, a fandom-focused twist on Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. Growing up in a small town in South Carolina, she started her career by writing fan fiction—stories written by fans involving popular fictional characters—in middle school. We spoke with Poston about fandom and her advice for aspiring young writers.
Colorado Parent: How did writing fan fiction propel your writing career?
Ashley Poston: I had a really bad speech impediment when I was younger and I ended up writing more than I spoke. Writing ended up being a way I could communicate with the world around me. I realized that by writing fan fiction I could get out the ideas that I had.
CP: What drew you to young adult fiction as a genre?
AP: When I was growing up, the Twilight series wasn’t a thing until my sophomore year in high school. There were YA books but there weren’t any that spoke to me as a fangirl or geek. I really enjoy writing to the kind of person that just embraces their geekiness and is unironically enthusiastic about what they love.
CP: What characters do you enjoy writing about?
AP: I like writing about people that rise up to a challenge. Sometimes the best way to do that is to have them start at the bottom. In The Princess and the Fangirl, Jess is super popular and an award-winning actress so it was a really cool dynamic to write about her rising up to what she needs to be. The Princess and the Fangirl is about finding your self worth, which is not always a physical accomplishment, but an emotional lesson.
CP: What advice would you give to girls that want to be writers?
AP: I would say start with whatever stories you like to read. If you like to read friendship stories, start by writing friendship stories. Or if you like stories about magical cats, write about that. There’s really no way to start writing, you just have to jump in and go for it.
CP: Why is fandom important to you?
AP: I basically grew up in fandom because I grew up in a small town where there weren’t a lot of people that liked the things I liked. The internet was this playground where you could find your people and I ended up finding my people in fandom. I’ve participated in fandoms for as long as I can remember.
CP: What do you fangirl over?
AP: I really love animations, like any kind. I love She-Ra, Voltron, and the anime that’s happening on the other side of the world. I really love beautiful colors and artwork that’s moving and telling masterful stories, that’s where my fandom lies.
The Princess and the Fangirl is available in hardcover and e-Book (Quirk Books, 2019).