Cumbrian Author Up For ‘Book Of The Year’ With His Debut Novel

By Rachael grealish

Cumbrian literature is in the headlines again as author Tom Ashton is in the final for publisher BLKDOG book of the year.

Ashton from Barrow-in-Furness made it into the final with his debut novel, The Hostiles: Storm Area 51.

Tom Ashton

The book takes its name from the viral hashtag that circulated in 2019, is based around the military site in Nevada, where extraterrestrials are meant to be, during a Second Cold War between the USA and Russia.

Speaking about his success of making it into the final the 29–year-old said the process has been ‘really touching’.

He said: “When they announced that this competition was due to take place I was excited to see how far I’d get but never expected to make the final.

“I’m against an established American author with 20,000 Twitter followers so I predicted that he’d pull ahead from the off, but the Cumbrian community has really got behind me to keep me in the running. It’s been really touching.”

The Barrow-born writer explained he was ‘overjoyed’ to experience his life-long dream of becoming a published author.

“Having gone through the education system always wanting to be an author, I was overjoyed when Blkdog Publishing said they wanted to publish my novel last year,” Tom continued.

He went on to say the prospect of winning would help him take his dream further, he added: “Winning this competition might attract the attention of a literary agent, who then might take up my next novel, and that really would boost my writing career to serious levels.”

Inspiration for The Hostiles, Tom explained, came from a mixture between his love of The X-Files and simply not being able to find a book to quell his cravings.

He said: “I’m a huge fan of X-Files, UFO documentaries and Sci-Fi in general and I just couldn’t find the kind of book I really wanted to read – so I thought I’d write it myself.”

BLKDOG’s other finalist is Justin Alcala with Consumed, a murder mystery with a paranormal twist set in Victorian London.

The vote is currently in its final day and is taking place on BLKDOG publishing’s twitter account and takes place until Sunday June 14 at 10am – so don’t forget to cast your vote.

Both books are available though BLKDOG Publishing as ebooks or paperbacks.