Category: Eco-literature

Ask a new author

By Midge Raymond,

We are delighted to announce that during the first six months of 2013, three Ashland Creek Press debut authors — Mindy Mejia, Olivia Chadha, and Jean Ryan — will be participating in the Book Divas‘ Ask a New Author column.




This means that for the next six months, Mindy, Olivia, and Jean will be answering questions from readers, writers, and other inquiring minds about their experiences of getting their first books out into the world. Send in your own questions by emailing them to

Here’s a little about these three debut authors…

Mindy Mejia “is simply a beautiful writer,” writes Mary Ann Grossmann of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Mindy’s novel, The Dragon Keeper, tells the story of the zookeeper of a Komodo dragon and a discovery that changes the scientific world forever, highlighting the perils of captivity and the astonishing ways in which animals evolve.

Olivia Chadha is the author of Balance of Fragile Things, an “absorbing” (Publishers Weekly) environmental novel about a multicultural American family that comes together just as the world around them begins to fall apart.

Jean Ryan‘s debut story collection, Survival Skills: Stories, is forthcoming in April. Jean writes of beauty and aging, and of love won and lost, with characters enveloped in the mysteries of the natural world and the animal kingdom. “This book will bring you closer to the things that are important in life” (Lori Ostlund, author of The Bigness of the World).

Visit Ask a New Author for past columns and conversations with such authors as Ellen Meeropol, Scott Sparling, and Nichole Bernier (not to mention book reviews, book giveaways, Industry Tips from authors, and more).

And don’t forget to send in your questions!

Get your ReadVeg stickers

By John Yunker,

We printed up a whole bunch of ReadVeg stickers to help support Portland’s Northwest VegFest. While there’s a lot of wonderful and important nonfiction about animals, the environment, and other reasons to be veg, we especially love discovering great fiction that tackles these issues, and we decided that these stickers are a great way to get the word out about eco-fiction and veg lit.

Check out our Veg Lit page for great stories that are redefining what it means to be a vegan or vegetarian. (In these novels, vegans are mainstream characters, not fringe characters.)

For example, in Falling Into Green, the main character is an eco-psychologist who believes a vegan diet helps the planet. And in The Dragon Keeper, the main character is a zoologist who does not believe in eating animals.

We also publish a young adult trilogy, and the first two books are currently available: Out of Breath and The Ghost Runner. In these books, not only is the main character vegan, but even the books’ paranormal characters are headed in that direction.

Whether you’re part of an organization or just a veg reader yourself, we’d love to send you a few stickers! All you need to do is send us a self-addressed stamped envelope (address below), and we’ll mail them to you.

Ashland Creek Press

2305 Ashland Street, Suite C417

Ashland, OR 97520


Ashland Creek Press authors on tour

By Midge Raymond,

It’s been a busy year for our authors, and we’re always glad to be able to post updates from their book tours. Check out our Facebook page as well as our events page for regular updates — and here are a few highlights from what our authors have been up to in 2012 …

John Colman Wood, whose novel The Names of Things was published in April, toured both East and West coasts over the summer, including a fabulous reading at the Ashland Public Library before he headed to Portland and Seattle.

Also this summer, Cher Fischer, author of the eco-mystery Falling Into Green, had her book launch party at Pages bookstore in Manhattan Beach.

Among other events, Cher also moderated a panel on ecopsychology at a sustainability event at Ford Motor Company (her protagonist, Ez, drives a Ford hybrid — naturally, this was a great fit).

This fall, Mindy Mejia has been busy with bookstore and library events for her novel The Dragon Keeper, beginning with a launch party at Magers & Quinn Booksellers in Minneapolis.

And Olivia Chadha is also having a busy autumn with events for Balance of Fragile Things, beginning with a reading at the Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colorado.

And many authors are, of course, chatting about their books virtually — so if you can’t join them in person, join them online! Visit their author pages on the Ashland Creek Press website for directions to their websites and blogs, and be sure to check out the I Write Because project, where you’ll find short essays on writing from John Wood, Mindy MejiaOlivia Chadha, and JoeAnn Hart (whose novel FLOAT is forthcoming in February).


BALANCE OF FRAGILE THINGS and “On the Wings of Butterflies” on exhibit in Ashland

By Midge Raymond,

Last week at Gallerie Karon in Ashland, it was wonderful to see more of Pegi Smith‘s beautiful work on display, including the gorgeous painting “On the Wings of Butterflies,” which of course is the image on the cover of Olivia Chadha‘s novel Balance of Fragile Things. Here’s a photo of Pegi with the book and a print of the original painting:

The original (and very large) “On the Wings of Butterflies” is on exhibit at 38 Central in Medford, Oregon, but Gallerie Karon is exhibiting a smaller print as well as many other butterfly images recently created by Pegi.

The display is lovely — and it was wonderful to see so many people out on First Friday who were drawn instinctively not only to Pegi’s paintings but to the book as well (in Ashland, it’s available at Bloomsbury Books).

For more on both the novel and the painting, check out this recent article in the Ashland Daily Tidings.

Q&A with Blair Richmond, author of The Lithia Trilogy

By Midge Raymond,

A Q&A with Blair Richmond, author of The Ghost Runner and Out of Breath 

Q: What gave you the idea for The Lithia Trilogy? Did it begin as a trilogy or as just one book?

A: I remember watching the Twilight movie and silently simmering as Ed Cullen explained how he and his family were “vegetarian” vampires. Ed Cullen may be easy on the eyes, but he’s no vegetarian. I guess we were supposed to feel better that the Cullens only killed animals instead of people, but I wasn’t sold on the idea. I love animals. So I went home and tried to forget about it, but I just couldn’t. And soon my crazy imagination took over, and I began thinking about the character of Kat—a young woman, a runaway, who hides out in a small town in southern Oregon.

I had a feeling when I set out to write Out of Breath that I wouldn’t say everything I wanted in just one book. But I didn’t think then I had a trilogy in me—and I’m still not completely sure (I’m still working on book three!).

What I did know is that I wanted to write a book set in southern Oregon. I live here and love the area and the people, and it’s hard for my mind not to imagine paranormal stories set here.

I knew I wanted to write a book about a runaway who takes cover in a magical town of many secrets, only to realize that she cannot outrun her past. I wanted to write about a young woman who believes she can make a difference in the world. And succeeds, in ways she doesn’t expect. And I wanted to write a book about love. About how love can turn a person—even a vampire—into something different, something better.

And as it turned out, I couldn’t say everything I wanted to say even in two books. That’s when I knew it would be a trilogy. And then, I think I’ll be done!

Q: Is the character of Kat based on you? That is, are you also a vegan and a competitive runner?

A: I wish I was as good a runner as Kat! But she and I do share a love of animals and nature. I think Kat is the person I wish I was when I was much younger. A strong-willed woman with unending optimism about changing the planet.


Q: What made you decide to use vampires as an analogy for writing about animal protection and veganism?

A: First, I love vampire novels. I’m attracted to lost and damaged souls, and vampires fit the bill. But I also thought that if a vampire could give up on blood, there would be hope for all of us.

I believe everyone is capable of making great changes in their lives. Giving up meat was, for me, an extremely difficult change. My family wasn’t supportive. I alienated a few good friends (and made a few new friends along the way). And I mostly felt alienated myself. Because vegans are still a minority in the world.

I realized that there were emotional similarities between a vegan (Kat) and a vampire (Roman) and I wanted to explore this more.


Q: Why do you write for young adults rather than an adult audience?

A: My books may be labeled YA, but I first write for myself, which I suppose makes me an overgrown young adult. But I guess I also focus on young adults because they are our future. And if this world is going to be saved—and I believe it will—it will be thanks to this generation. My generation (and I won’t be any more specific than that) has kicked the environmental can down the road for far too long. The younger generation is not going to repeat our mistakes. At least that’s my hope.


Q: What do you hope your readers learn from reading your books?

A: I hope readers enjoy the journey as much as I have. I hope they love Kat and maybe learn a thing or two about Oregon—also about how veganism and environmentalism are so closely connected. And I hope young people are inspired to change the world.