Sunday, December 1, 2013
Authors Ashley & JaQuavis: Young, Successful & Ready For The World
by Cyrus Webb
The success of New York Times bestselling authors Ashley and JaQuavis is measured not just in their book sales and the loyalty of their fans. It's seen just as much in how they have been able to grow together, experience the roller coaster ride of the literary industry together and their willingness to share the journey together.
In less than half a decade the husband and wife team from Flint, Michigan has risen to the top of the urban genre and branched out to diversify their readership. Make no mistake: this was by no means an accident. It was part of their plan from the beginning. Confident in their abilities yet seemingly unaware of their influence, it is no doubt that they will be talked about for quite some time.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the power couple when they visited Mississippi in September 2011 promoting their novel MURDERVILLE and the anticipated MURDER MAMAS. After a day of watching them interact with their fans, it was obvious that they loved what they do and most importantly they love each other. It was that love that led them to be a literary team in the first place.
After experiencing a personal loss, JaQuavis suggested they have a friendly competition to see who could write the best story. For Ashley, who has always wanted to write and wanted to go into journalism, this was a great distraction. That was the beginning. Their literary career officially began in 2005, and now dozens of books later (written separately, together and some ghostwritten) these two have no intention of stopping or slowing down.
"It surprises me that something that comes so easy to us is loved by so many people," JaQuavis confesses. "It's fulfilling to know we have so many readers in such a little time." When talking about their influence especially among readers of what is considered urban or street lit, Ashley adds: "We are the CNN for the streets. We are writing a life that we and our readers can relate to. It's the journey of going from the gutter to the top."
Though they have their success as solo writers, JaQuavis knows that their ability to tell a great story together is appreciated by readers. "We tell both sides of the coin as a couple," he says. "We can tell you how the characters (both male and female) feel in a voice and style that is authentic." That relatability,though, is not just confined to a certain genre. "We are writers first," Ashley explains. "When people meet us we change opinions about the type of fiction we write. In a way we are telling everyone's story."
That cross-over ability is something I saw right away in their book MURDERVILLE, published by Cash Money Content this year. It is indicative of how the authors see themselves now and where they want to go. "We like to be the best at everything we attempt," Ashley told me. JaQuavis quickly agreed. "We want to be mentioned as one of the greatest," he says. And that greatness goes beyond just writing books. They have already set their sights on their next objective: films.
With the confidence that comes across from them in their books and in their conversation, I was surprised at their reaction to being called role models for aspiring authors and individuals going after their dreams. After giving it some thought their responses were tempered with both humility and appreciation. "Study what we do," JaQuavis advises, "but know that you have to mix up your own formula." This was mirrored by Ashley as well. "It's an honor to be considered a role model," she said to me, "but I hope people realize there is not just one blueprint for success. You have to find your own way."
For sure the way that these two have gone about their journey to success has worked and continues to inspire others and thrill their devoted fans. Here's wishing the same for all who dare to dream.
To find out more about Ashley and JaQuavis visit www.ashleyjaquavis.com and www.readordieonline.com.