A foray into the world of writing 13 years ago resulted in a three-part novel series for Palmyra resident and author Ashley Stone’s first title, “The Book of Joel.”
Stone began her writing journey at the start of the pandemic in 2020, after she stumbled on an old flash drive with some already written chapters. In just a few months, those rough drafts turned into a full-fledged novel that, despite being categorized in the young-adult genre, is meant for all.
“This started … when I had a dream about this dystopian world where my main character existed,” Stone explained. “I wrote some of the middle chapters then and sketched out the layout of how I wanted the book to go. It’s dystopian, young-adult science fiction and survival.”
The most coincidental part about the book and its plot is that it centers around a plague that destroys society – a subject eerily familiar after two years of COVID. Stone found the written chapters while rummaging through her teaching bag, after she retired from teaching chemistry to spend more time at home with a newborn.
“I read when I had written one night after the baby fell asleep,” she recalled. “I said to myself, ‘This is pretty good, I’m going to write the rest of this.’”
Within four months, Stone had finished the novel. Aside from writings published in the autism community – her daughter suffers from a more severe form of autism – this was Stone’s first major writing project. Involvement in the autism community ended up helping her write not just an accessible novel for young and old, but also for those with special needs.
“The reviews have been great so far,” she said. “Among those included someone with dyslexia, and she told me that normally it takes her months to read a book, but this took her just two weeks because it captivated her.
“It might be that special-education teacher inside me that wrote it in a completely accessible way,” Stone added.
“The Book of Joel” was published last November and is taking off locally. Stone has lived in Palmyra for about a year. She’s already writing a second novel she expects will be finished and published before the year’s end.
You can purchase a copy of “The Book of Joel” on Amazon and Barnes & Noble; it’s available in eBook and paperback versions.