AshleyRose Sullivan, author of ‘In Cappadocia’ from Issue 2 of Alt Hist is next up for an interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Los Angeles now but I grew up in the mountains and foothills of Appalachia. I have a degree in Anthropology with minors in English and Theater and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. Aside from writing, I founded and run a Shakespeare Institute for children in rural Kentucky.
What attracts you to historical fiction?
I’ve always been a huge history fan but when it comes to fiction, I prefer alternate history. I like looking at the tapestry of our past, getting really close to it, and asking, “What would happen if I were to pull at this single thread? What sort of effect might that have on the larger piece?” And, of course for me, thinking about it isn’t enough. I have to come as close as I can to actually pulling the thread and running with it. Writing alternate history is a way for me to do that.
Tell us a bit more about the background to the story ‘In Cappadocia’.
I’d heard about the Cappadocian civilization before but had never seen it until I caught a special about it on The History Channel. Once I got a look at the amazing caverns that make up the underground cities and the alien landscape above them, I was transfixed. I thought about how terrifying and captivating a place like that would be to an invader from antiquity and wanted to get close to a person like that – to show how scary the unknown can be.
One of your stories has been turned into a musical. How did that come about and what did you think of the results?
At Spalding, I got to work with a number of really talented writers. One of the playwrights, Tommy Trull, liked my work and asked if I had any stories that might work as a musical and I sent him “Silent Pictures” which is about an immigrant actor at the end of the silent film era who’s in danger of losing his job because of his accent. The play premiered at the Greensboro Fringe Festival in North Carolina. Tommy did an amazing job converting the story to a musical, especially considering the fact that the main character didn’t have a single line of dialogue in the original piece. It’s a fresh, multimedia production and I love what he’s doing with it.
What are you currently working on?
I recently finished an alternate history young adult novel which I’m beginning to shop around and I just started research on a new novel that mixes contemporary paranormal elements with events and people from history.
Don’t forget to check out AshleyRose’s story ‘In Cappadocia’ in the second issue of Alt Hist.