“… a haunting testament to the survival of self and family in a struggling, desperate Appalachian community.” — Kim Michele Richardson, NYT Bestselling Author

Ashley Blooms is the author of Where I Can’t Follow, which was named a Most Anticipated novel by Good Housekeeping, Gizmodo, Den of Geek, Tor.com, and more. Her debut novel, Every Bone a Prayer, was long-listed for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize and received praise from NPR, BuzzFeed, Good Housekeeping, POPSUGAR, Bustle, and others.

Born and raised in Cutshin, Kentucky, Blooms received her MFA as a John and Renee Grisham Fellow at the University of Mississippi. Her short stories have appeared in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons, among others. Her nonfiction has appeared in the Oxford American. She’s been awarded scholarships from the Clarion Writer’s Workshop and Appalachian Writer’s Workshop. She currently lives in Kentucky with her partner and dog.

Ashley 's Featured Titles

Where I Can’t Follow

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“Haunting and hopeful…a magic so vivid it feels more like a memory than a work of fiction.”—Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Once and Future Witches

NAMED A MOST-ANTICIPATED BOOK BY Good Housekeeping, Gizmodo, Den of Geek, Tor.com, and more!

Walk through the door and leave all your problems behind…but you don’t know what’s on the other side. And once you leave, you’ll never come back. Will you go through?

Maren Walker told herself she wouldn’t need to sell pills for long, that it was only means to an end. But that end seems to be stretching as far away as the other side of Blackdamp County, Kentucky. There’s always another bill for Granny’s doctor, another problem with the car, another reason she’s getting nowhere.

She dreams of walking through her little door to leave it all behind. The doors have appeared to the people in her mountain town for as long as anyone can remember, though no one knows where they lead. All anyone knows is that if you go, you’ll never come back.

Maren’s mother left through her door when Maren was nine, and her shadow has followed Maren ever since. When she faces the possibility of escaping her struggles for good, Maren must choose just what kind of future she wants to build.

From critically acclaimed author Ashley Blooms, Where I Can’t Follow explores the forces that hold people in place, and how they adapt, survive, and struggle to love a place that doesn’t always love them back.

Every Bone a Prayer

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Blooms has taken the voice and names of Appalachia, tended, and evolved them, and created a book that is at once haunting and hopeful.–NPR

Praised by BuzzFeed, Good Housekeeping, POPSUGAR, Bustle, and more

Misty’s holler looks like any of the thousands of hollers that fork through the Appalachian Mountains. But Misty knows her home is different. She may be only ten, but she hears things. Even the crawdads in the creek have something to say, if you listen.

All that Misty’s sister Penny wants to talk about are the strange objects that start appearing outside their trailer. The grown-ups mutter about sins and punishment, but that doesn’t scare Misty. Not like the hurtful thing that’s been happening to her, the hurtful thing that is becoming part of her. Ever since her neighbor William cornered her in the barn, she must figure out how to get back to the Misty she was before–the Misty who wasn’t afraid to listen.

This is the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose fight is boundless, as her coping becomes a battle cry for everyone around her. Perfect for fans of Southern coming-of-age stories like Where the Crawdads Sing and If The Creek Don’t Rise, Every Bone a Prayer is a beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.


Appalachian Magic and Folk Tales

In this multimedia presentation, Blooms describes how she approaches blending the realistic elements of her world with the fantastical, how her world-building is influenced by Appalachian folk tales and superstition, and how she deals with themes like trauma and healing through a speculative lens.


Quare as Folk: Queer Appalachian Stories

In this multimedia presentation, Blooms explores the history of queer writers and story-tellers in Central Appalachia and how their legacy has impacted current writers who continue to explore what queer means in fiction. 


Queer Appalachia Stories

In this multimedia presentation, Blooms explores the history of queer writers and story-tellers in Central Appalachia and how their legacy has impacted current writers who continue to explore what queer means in fiction. 


Blurring Genre Boundaries in Fiction

A lecture on fabulist, slipstream, and magical realist literature—what defines it, how it’s achieved, and how you can bring a little more strangeness into your own fictional worlds.


Short Fiction Workshop

Suitable for 3 or more weeks, this interactive workshop combines craft lessons on form, character, plot, pacing, and other essentials with group workshop of students’ short fiction. 


Outlining Your Novel

In this interactive workshop, Blooms explores different approaches to outlining novels, working from a top-down perspective that gives students useable tools to begin writing their own outlines before class ends. 


Query Letter Workshop

Suitable for a single day or weekend event, this interactive workshop combines lessons on the basics of writing your query letter with one-on-one feedback from Blooms on students’ drafts. 


Worldbuilding with Theme

In this multimedia presentation, Blooms draws from modern literature, film, and video games to explore how to use theme to create cohesive and plausible worldbuilding in fiction. 


Reverse Outlines for Revision

An interactive workshop where students will learn what a reverse outline is, how it can be used to study specific craft elements and create detailed revision plans, and practice creating an outline for their own short story with Blooms. 


Paragraphing in Revision

An interactive workshop where students will learn how to and then practice altering paragraph and sentence structure to enhance clarity and tension in their final drafts.  


Stories and Essays by Ashley Bloom

Trigger Warnings

Ashley’s Upcoming Events

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Most Anticipated novel by Good Housekeeping, Gizmodo, and Tor.com
Long-listed for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize

Media clips

Now, Appalachia! (February 2022)

Still: The Journal (February 2021)
The Perks of Being a Booklover Podcast (September 2020)

BookTrib (August 2020)

Shimmer Magazine (July 2020)

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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