Allen Ashley

Allen Ashley

Allen Ashley is the author or editor of 13 published books, including the acclaimed novel “The Planet Suite” (TTA Press, 1997) and the anthology “The Elastic Book Of Numbers” (Elastic Press, 2005). For this latter he won the British Fantasy Society Award for Best Anthology in 2006. His latest book is as editor of “Creeping Crawlers” (Shadow Publishing, 2015). He is currently working as a freelance writer, editor, critical reader, event host and creative writing tutor. He is a committee member of the British Fantasy Society and the sole judge for their annual short story competition. He lives in London.


Allen Ashley in 60 seconds

When did you start writing?

I started writing as a child. Songs, stories, cartoon strips of football matches, pictures of Daleks…

What do you love about short stories?

I love the self-contained nature of a short story and the fact that the best of them are one complete hit delivered in a short space of time, with no padding.

Do you write in other forms?

As well as short stories, I write songs, poetry, non-fiction commentary articles, novellas, novels, critiques.

What distracts you from writing?

I am actually quite good at compartmentalising and then returning to writing at a more convenient time. I learnt a long time ago that one should not simply sit around and wait for inspiration; that can be a bit like waiting for a cancelled local bus service.

Outside of writing, what are your other passions?

Music. Football. Swimming.

What is your favourite book?

My all-time favourite short story is “Josephine The Singer” by Franz Kafka.

Who are your favourite writers?

J. G. Ballard, Kurt Vonnegut Jr and William Burroughs

Where is your dream location?

I’m not sure whether this is a location for living or for writing. Probably the British seaside.

What one item would you put into Room 101?

Jargon used to mask the truth.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Find your own voice and don’t give up despite the inevitable mountain of setbacks.

Work by Allen Ashley:

Queen of Clubs
Allen Ashley
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Living alone, currently unemployed, behind with the rent and with only sour milk and mouldy cheese left in the fridge, Henry Merriweather tells himself that “It’s just the usual modern male condition.” Mundane matters don’t concern him greatly because he is on a mission to form a union with his dream woman, the Queen of Clubs. From the standard deck of playing cards. A taut, witty and moving urban fantasy. "Henry Merriweather had been playing Patience for two hours. He shuffled the pack again, flicking the edges of the two stacks and then gradually re-uniting them. It had taken him ages to master this trick. At first he had been all fingers and thumbs but now he was as adept as any croupier. He was somewhere around thirty; possibly nearing forty. Or maybe he had already crossed even that threshold. It depended on his audience: welfare benefits official, local council departments, potential employer or possible girlfriend. He was seeking his perfect woman. He assumed that most men were doing the same..."

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