Interview with Ashley Elston – Author of “This is Our Story”

“Five went in. Four came out. “

The moment I read those words, I was hooked. The concept of five friends going hunting into the woods, one of them shot, and four emerging with the same innocent story when the evidence so clearly points to murder? Intriguing. And not only that, it’s so deliciously twisted.

Ashley Elston weaves a captivating story of four friends bound together by one terrible secret—a hunting trip gone wrong or a murder gone right? Following high-school senior Kate Marino, a photographer with a burning desire of justice for the murdered boy, who also happens to work at the DA’s office, we’re thrown into behind-the-scenes access of the investigation. While clues, and the boys themselves, begin to unravel, Kate slowly begins to reveal his story.


1. What inspired you to write This is Our Story?

I was sitting around my kitchen with my critique partner, Elle Cosimano, when my mom called to complain about being called for jury duty where she wasted three days before they sent her home. Elle and I talked about how interesting it is that a person’s fate rests on the perceptions of twelve random people. And how much effort both sides put in to get the “right” twelve people for their case. Something about that conversation kicked off the idea for this book.


2. Without giving away any big spoilers, what was the hardest part about writing it? What about the most fun you had while working on it?

The hardest part was walking that line between supplying just enough information to the reader but not so much that I give all of the twists away. The most fun was writing the shooter’s POV. He was so bad and I enjoyed writing it probably more than I should have!


3. This is Our Story is a mystery at its core. What did you do to help keep all your clues straight?

I hung a huge sheet of brown craft paper up in my office that I covered with sticky notes. I’m very visual so I need something that I can pull up a chair and stare at when I’m trying to work out a plot twist.


4. Who was your favorite character to write? How did you manage to write four unique boys, while still keeping their “group” as a character in itself?

I loved writing Kate. She was smart and fun and determined. I have three sons so my house is always full with their friends coming and going. Being surrounded by so many different personalities made it easy to pull traits and qualities from each one to create my River Point Boys.


5. At the end of the book, the stakes are high and nail-biting. How were you able to ramp up so much tension?

I love a ticking clock…that very precise moment where all is lost if things don’t get solved in time. I think having a moment like that helps raise the stakes because it’s such a concrete thing.


6. Any cool news to share about your current writing project?

I’m very excited about both of my upcoming books. I have a YA thriller out this November. The working title is THE PREACHER WOODS but that is likely to change. I also have a book coming out in November 2019 called TEN BLIND DATES. It’s very different from my other books, mainly because no one dies in this one. It’s been really fun to work on something so different.


Ashley Elston is the daughter of an attorney and grew up surrounded by talk of court cases, crazy clients, and the law in general—all of which triggered the ideas in her legal thrillers. Ashley is also the author of The Rules for Disappearing, a 2014 finalist for the International Thriller Writers: Best Young Adult Novel, and its sequel, The Rules for Breaking. She had a liberal arts degree from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, with her husband and three sons. For more information about Ashley and her books, click here.


My Fan Art for This is Our Story:

10 Responses to “Interview with Ashley Elston – Author of “This is Our Story””

  1. I read this book for school (9th grade) and it was great. I found it hard to stay focused at first but near the end, I just could not stop reading it! I love it. I was just wondering what state does this take place in? I wanted to look more into the criminal prosecutions and I do not know what state the laws in this book are based on.

    • Lindsey Duga

      Hi Skyler! Yes, I really enjoyed it too! Did you know she has another book that is in the same genre that just came out? It’s called “The Lying Woods” – you should check it out!!

      As for where it takes place, it takes place in a small (fictional, I think) town in Louisiana.

  2. Dakota Wilmot

    My teacher showed me this book and at first I wasn’t really getting into it because it’s very hard to me to get into a book but the way you twisted the story and the characters I had two of the boys that I thought it could have been and I was right! Once I got hooked on this book, I couldn’t put it down. For two days I wasn’t on my phone I was just reading and trying to rap my head around who did it. The ending was perfect and I loved Kate and Shep and how you wrote their story! I’ve been thinking a lot about this book and how you should really make it into a movie (I know you probably get that a lot). This book made into a movie (with the right actors and good directors) could probably be one of the best movies. If the details and everything from the book was almost exactly the same! I would die watching it over and over again! You’re an amazing writer and you definitely had me on my toes pin pointing who it could be!

  3. This is my comment

    This book was awesome! I finished it only a couple days ago, and I LOVED it. Great job, Ashley Elston!
    BTW, love the fanart, it’s so cool. Though I feel like Shep should be smiling because Kate would probably be taking the photo.

  4. i had to read this book for 10th grade summer reading. at first i wasn’t excited because i hate reading but this book was so interesting. it took me about 3 days to finish it, i finished it like 5 mins ago lol. i just couldn’t put it down. i even read it when i had a friend over lol. but this book as a movie would be so great. i really think she should turn it into a movie

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