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Wordsmith Extraordinaire: Crafting Stories Globally


In this week’s episode, Geoff chats with Ashleigh Mounser – 2023 NSWYAA 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards, Semi Finalist – Western Sydney University Academic Achievement Award.


Ashleigh Mounser is an Australian writer who has been published across print and media. In 2016, Mounser graduated as a Deans Scholar with a Bachelor of Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong and later completed a Graduate Certificate in Screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. She was Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Writer of the Year in 2012; the overall winner of the Future Leaders Writing Competition, winner of the ‘Time to Write’ contest conducted by the University of Melbourne and recipient of three arts grants from the Bouddi Foundation for the Arts, presented by John Bell. Her debut feature film QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS premiered at festivals across Europe, America and South Africa and has received numerous laurels. Her first children’s novel, HOW TO BE COOLER THAN THE MOON, was released October 1st, 2023.

Connect Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleigh-mounser-a3b331163 , Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ashleighmounser ,  TikTok – https://www.tiktok.com/@ashleighmounser  , Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ashleigh.mounser


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[00:00:08] Josh

Welcome to inspirational Australians, where we share stories of Australians making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. We get inspirational Australians acknowledge that we’re wondering and vulnerable people of the colour nation as their traditional owners and custodians of the lands and waterways on which this podcast is produced. We pay our respect to elders, past and present, and those who are emerging and extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. At inspirational Australians, we are inspired by the world’s oldest living culture and pay homage to their rich storytelling history. When we share stories on our podcast,

[00:00:58] Josh

I’m very excited to speak with today’s podcast guest Ashley Mansour Ashley was a semi-finalist in this year’s Western Sydney University academic achievement award category. In the seven years young achiever awards for new South Wales. And the act. Ashley is a writer, a poet, and a filmmaker. All the things that I think I would like to be that I’m terrible at time em in order of Ashley. Ashley. Welcome to the inspirational Australians

[00:01:29] Josh

podcast.  Thank you so much for having me.

[00:01:32] Josh

As I say, I am a little in awe because I’m not a writer and poet or a film maker. I love to be all those things. Pretty exciting. But I think you need to be pretty creative. Uh, and you are an extraordinary young superstar and clearly very talented and you want your first major award is young writer of the year in twenty twelve.

[00:01:53] Josh


[00:01:54] Josh

Tell us about that. If you can remember way back when and how it all started for you, what, you know, what got the creative change going in your, in you, um,

[00:02:07] Josh

it’s sort of interesting. You say you kind of have to just be creative and I think it is something, at least for me that I just started doing as soon as I could hold a pen and kind of before I could form letters. So I used to do something called pre-writing, where I just feel pages and pages of notebooks with just scribble that I said the stories. And I said that those were poems. And I was doing that from like about three years old thinking that I was Writing stories. So it’s kind of hard to pinpoint like the beginning of it. Um, but I’ve been doing it a really long time. And it’s interesting that I sort of have gone for like I’ve done so much sort of academia on this subject because I do think it is ultimately something that can’t be taught. It’s something that you have to have and um, you learn and you refine it. Um, but yeah, by the time I was eighteen um when I won the young writer of the year, I knew that I was pretty serious about it. I sort of had all the different things that everybody wants to be when they’re young, where I want to be a marine biologist and I want to be an actress and I wanted to be Uh, I wanted to be a fairy godmother at one point, but the Writing thing never went away. I was always like, I’m going to be a full time writer and a part time fairy godmother. So by the time I was eighteen, I was sort of ready to commit full time to it. Um, and that was the first major award that I want and um, and a huge amount of things came off the back of that. So I feel really, really lucky that I had that sort of beginning to my, I guess you would call that the beginning of my proper creative Writing career.

[00:03:35] Ashleigh

You said that it’s, Uh,  it’s got to be in you. So I guess that  means I should give up now.  Um Uh,  the hopes are I maybe I just, I’m still trying to find what I’m good at,  but you found you also that is awesome. And I have to ask, what came first,  the poetry or the story Writing?

[00:03:58] Josh

Uh, definitely story Writing. So the first story I ever wrote was about  a cow called Jemima. Um and then that’s had lots of spinoff stories,  but it’s always been the storytelling. So. Um, even when I write poems they have,  they’re not abstract poems, they’re still telling a story. Um, so I’ve experimented with poetry and I’ve expanded,  I’ve experimented with screenwriting, but um, the storytelling like short stories, novels,  those are the things that I just keep coming back to.

[00:04:27] Ashleigh

Is that where the filmmaking came into it from the story Writing, I guess?

[00:04:32] Josh

Yeah, it was just sort of, I fell into it literally by accident,  but it was just exciting to me to think that there was a different way to tell  a story. Um and a different sort of like it’s a obviously  a visual medium which is so different than like the level of interiority that you  get in a novel. It’s much easier to hide things from an audience or  a reader when you have that visual medium.  Yeah,

[00:04:56] Ashleigh

you, Uh, obviously this, the creativity grew,  your Writing strength grew and your storytelling because he then went to to union  Uh, graduated as the Dean’s scholar with a bachelor of creative Writing in twenty sixteen. There must have been  a big influence and Uh, significant in terms of your career.

[00:05:21] Josh

Yeah. Um I think always as well when you go  into the sort of creative field. One of the big things that you,  one of the biggest assets you can have is just connections, is just other people who you can Bounce off,  who you can send things to. So that was a  huge thing that came out of it. Um, I think the dean scholar thing looks quite good on  a résumé just because it was something that I had to stick with for three years for  three years. You have to keep up like quite  a high grade point average. Um and I think it has helped me get jobs that I’m  quietly underqualified for. But I think um the culmination of like the Dean’s call in academic scholarship. Um,  because of those things I was able to move away from Uni, I was able to travel between semesters,  I was able to have all of these really life changing experiences that shaped the  stories that I ultimately ended up telling.

[00:06:06] Ashleigh

It says that you had to work pretty  hard for it.

[00:06:09] Josh

Uh yeah, I think I think I had to have a PhD,  the average visiting scholar. So it was, it was quite high. Um and I was still,  I was working full time through most of Uni. So there are  a few times where it was touch and go whether or not I was going to be able to hold  on to it. But Uh, I managed it.

[00:06:26] Ashleigh

I think that’s the lesson is the harder you work,  the lucky you get people say you’re lucky. Well yeah. You know,  it’s funny how the hobby I don’t work the luckier I  get. Yeah. Uh so I don’t pay it  off. Well done. Thank you. You’ve also won three arts grants. Uh are they funding grants to help you?  I mentioned with your, your film making and so on.

[00:06:51] Josh

Yeah. So they were all for different things. All three grants came from the same foundation,  which is the foundation of the arts. Um it’s on the central coast,  it’s actually chaired by John Bell from the Bell. Shakespeare’s Uh company,  and they do some really incredible work supporting like local artists from my  hometown. Um. So all three grants I won the  first one. The day I decided to move to  and go for Uni. Actually I came directly from wollongong Uni from an open day and I  was really in my head thinking, God, I like  I know I want to do this now,  but how am I possibly going to move this far away from home? Um,  so that’s what I use the first grant for Uh was to set myself up in wollongong. Um  and then I went back to them  a couple of years later when I wanted to go on exchange to Miami. Um and study film  Writing. Um or to sort of just expand into like  a few different kinds of Writing. Um so that’s what I use the second grant for. And  then I use the third grant when I came back from Miami and I was like,  that’s amazing. I love film Writing now I want to go to  a proper film school and I wanted to move to Sydney, which is obviously very expensive. Um,  so that’s what I use the third grant for. So it’s really hard to quantify how much  that support not just sort of financial,  but like the vote of confidence meant and how much it’s shaped my life and my  career. Because especially as an artist, I think  a lot about the kind of stories that you tell because you were in a particular place at  a particular time. And for five or six years.  The fact that I had this backing and  I had the support was putting me in all these different sort of places. Um,  because all these stories that I’ve written,  the book that I’ve written with sort of came from and I’ll get into this  a little bit later but came from, I saw a child riding  a mobility scooter. And the novel that I’m Writing now is because I saw like  a motorbike rider hit a kangaroo like all these things that I’m like,  I had to be in that really specific place. And  I had to see that thing. Um yeah, and you know,  I ended up in wollongong because of them and I ended up in Miami because of that  and I ended up in Sydney because of them and what sort of stories would I have told  or would I have told any stories if I had been even five minutes further down the road.

[00:09:02] Ashleigh

Yeah, it is Fascinating how life works and um,  it’s important that we really understand to use our mistakes, the trials,  things that we go through or positive because you never know when these things kind  of come back to really help you in the future. It sounds like you have made the  most of all opportunities and, and craft everything that has come before you. Yeah. Tried.  It’s Fascinating what you said. It’s really awesome. Um so,  but obviously the grants have helped you in good good stead because you went on to Produce your debut film,  a feature film. Questions and comments. Uh. Tell us about that. And it premiered on a number of countries. I

[00:09:50] Josh

believe it did actually. Um yeah. So I went to Miami  thinking, you know, I’ll do a couple of different subjects.  Um,  their course codes work really differently from our course codes and it was really  difficult to know what level of subject I was enrolling in. So by that stage I was  in my third year of Uni, I was accidentally in fifty percent intro to creative Writing classes and fifty  percent classes for master’s students. So I ended up in this film Writing class. I’d never written even  a short film in my life. Um and it was for master’s students and we were meant to  write an entire feature length film in six months. And I remember thinking, gosh,  this is unexpectedly difficult. And I didn’t realize I was in the wrong class until  about three months in luckily my other classes were so easy because they were intro  to Writing. I was, you know, one class was, you know, does anyone know what a metaphor is? And like,  I know. But then the other class is so difficult and I ended up Writing um  a film that was really inspired by American culture and how litigious they were and  how Fascinating I found that. So, um, it’s about  a mental health Rosenberg. And he’s sort of made this career out of complaining.  And the film starts with this impassioned email that he’s Writing to the makers of  frozen peas and he’s describing how disappointing the experience of eating these  peas were. And how it just set the tone for his whole day and his whole week and he  wasn’t able to get over it. Um, and we discovered that this is  a man who just makes his living by being dissatisfied, and he runs  a blog and he complains constantly and he gets free things in exchange. Um and then  eventually he goes too far and one of the companies takes him to court for  defamation. So he, unless he’s very hapless Uh, neighbor who is a lawyer sort of Uh and the subway guy,  meaning the guy who discovered that the subway footlong was only eleven inches. So  he something of an expert in customer disappointment. Um and he goes on this quest  to prove that he’s dissatisfaction with these products is legitimate. But

[00:11:52] Ashleigh

there’s a Fascinating and interesting movie. Yeah. Uh, so you can play the, the movie, the Writing in six months.

[00:12:02] Josh

I did. Yeah. And then because it was a master’s class,  there was a woman in that class who was doing her master’s in filmmaking. Um,  in directing um. And she wanted to make the film for as her sort of thesis project  the next year. Um, so she managed to get some funding for it. It was  a huge like crew. It’s incredible the film industry in America compared to here. Um  and I was so keen to learn like the behind the scenes. As I said,  like it was quite an escalation because it was the first time I’d ever tried to  write any kind of film. I’d never even, I didn’t even start with a short film. I started with  a feature length film um and I really wanted to be on set. So I actually flew to  Miami to watch them film it. Um,  just to kind of learn. And then I went basically directly from there to, to Sydney where I, um,  went to film school.

[00:12:50] Ashleigh

Wow. So how long did it take to actually Produce the movie?

[00:12:54] Josh

Um they did the majority,  the principal photography was two weeks and then they had to do some pick up shots  um later, which unfortunately I missed but yeah, it was incredible,  incredibly long days. It’s amazing how hard these people work. It was like fourteen,  fifteen hour days every single day for two straight weeks. Wow. Oh

[00:13:13] Ashleigh

that’s how the movie’s made today. Did you get to view viewer to approve it before it  went Uh to air or Mhm.

[00:13:24] Josh

Um no, not really.  And I think that that wasn’t really my role um my I approved of the  script which is what they

[00:13:32] Ashleigh

two were happy for them to. Yeah. Produce it to make it.

[00:13:36] Josh

Yeah. I really like I, I respect their knowledge in their own discipline and to know what they’re doing  and to know why they made choices that they made. Um yeah,  there were certain things um like, oh you know,  I’d love to have this like this shot of like have stayed in the film that was like  had two hundred people like it’s just,  it’s financially not viable or I love to have like wide sweeping shot of the beach  and there’s a reason they didn’t do it. Um yeah,  they made the best choices for the film with the knowledge that they had.

[00:14:08] Ashleigh

Yeah. So it’s their interpretation of the story.

[00:14:13] Josh


[00:14:13] Ashleigh

Somewhat governed by financial

[00:14:16] Josh

constraints of course. Yeah.  But I love, I think this is something  a lot of writers struggle with, but I love having my work interpreted. I really,  I go by the philosophy that the author is dead, meaning, Uh,  my authority ends the moment I create something and then it’s up to other people to  decide what it means or doesn’t mean um,  in my opinion on what it means is no more important than anybody else’s

[00:14:36] Ashleigh

but giving you a lot of joy to know that your hard work actually came became reality on the

[00:14:43] Josh

screen. Yeah. Yeah, it’s really  a surreal feeling to see something like I thought that you had in your head. And  there’s so many people working to make it a reality. And most people,  their thoughts just stay in their heads. Um and I  got to see it. I got to read it like a live action of my thought process.

[00:15:06] Ashleigh

I guess the privilege not often shared by many  writers. Um that would have that opportunity to see it come to

[00:15:14] Josh

fruition. Yeah, definitely.  And that’s I, I’ve won like  a few different Writing competitions that are my favorite things that I’ve ever won  are always like when people do illustrations of characters that I wrote. I love  seeing like what other people thought they looked like. Yeah,

[00:15:29] Ashleigh

yeah. How they see the reality of the story. Yeah. Fascinating. And where the, the movie was written. Um you,  it was then translated into film the into interpret it into film. Questions and  comments. Where did it Uh, where did it show, where did it feature?

[00:15:50] Josh

So it was streaming on TV for a while. It was streaming across quite  a few platforms I. It’s currently on Plex,  so it can be watched on Plex in Australia. I think it’s on more platforms if you’re  in um America. But in Australia you can watch on Plex

[00:16:03] Ashleigh

on Plex. I have to,  I have to watch it sounds amazing. Um, I’m  very, very, very keen to, to, to how do you, how do you find Plex, excuse my, Uh, my ignorance.

[00:16:18] Josh

Um Uh no, I’m not familiar with them with it either. I think it’s more for like Indian  student films. Um but if you just search um Plex and questions and comments on  Google that’s. That’s how I found it. I

[00:16:32] Ashleigh

can’t Wait. It sounds very exciting. Um,  I know a film maker, I think Uh, can I get an autograph as well?

[00:16:39] Josh

I film writer in any case. Okay.

[00:16:43] Ashleigh

Um your first children’s novel. Um had to be cooler than the moon.  Yeah. It was only released very recently. Um. Yeah. Tell us about, tell us about the book.

[00:16:56] Josh

So I think the idea came from an intersection of multiple  things. Um, as I always think, I think it’s surprising when people say, oh,  I just had it. I just, it just came to me. It’s always like  a few different things happen in a few different things were percolating. Um,  so I at the time that I had the idea, I was watching old people’s home four year olds. Um,  which I don’t know if you’ve seen, but it’s about this relationship between older people and essentially toddlers and  how cathartic and healing and like just how good it is for both parties. Um and  then I was also spending  a lot of time with my grandparents um who the book is actually dedicated to. And I  was thinking about my life and what my personality might have looked like. Um,  if I had spent my whole childhood with my grandparents and I just been built up the  way that grandparents build you up. And I thought that I was the most amazing  wonderful thing. And I never been pulled down to reality by the school,  by the school yard. And I was really obsessed with this idea of like,  who would I have been, what kind of monster would that have created?  Um and then you know, if I hadn’t had that grounding influence, um especially because as a girl, I think  a lot of young girls will have experienced this,  that sort of drop off in confidence around like prepubescent around the time you  hit eleven and you just suddenly become very aware of yourself in the way that you  never have been and, and for a lot of young women,  I don’t think they ever get that confidence back. So to have that confidence prior  to eleven and just to have it keep building forever. You know,  it’s the question of where would that have gone, where would that have ended up?  Um and then as I mentioned, I was driving and I saw what I thought was a child riding  a mobility scooter on the highway.  And it was just and that was sort of the,  I guess you call it like an AHA moment is like I sort of asked myself, I’m like,  why would a child be riding a mobility scooter, where would they be going,  why would that be the means of transport and then immediately I had this idea um the book had  a name straight away. I knew what the name was. I knew the character was called  blaire Amelia moon. Um I knew that she was eleven years old. I knew that she had grown up in  a nursing home. Um I knew that she will lime green pantsuits and she’s really good  at bridge and she was really terrible at relating to people her own age. Um, and it’s  a story about how much that like love and attention can create someone who has this  really superhuman level of confidence. Um,  she’s never doubted herself her own abilities and then she goes to real school. And  she has to navigate this whole new set of Social rules that she’s never really been  familiar with. Um, so yeah, that’s essentially what the book is about. It’s about a kid who grew up in  a nursing home and who goes to school with all of these ambitions of being prime  minister and president, consolidating her power on the playground. Um, and very rapidly learns that they respect  a very different kind of Social currency in the school yard than they do in the nursing home.

[00:19:50] Ashleigh

So you crafted this book basically in an instant, go zone, draft it out. Uh in the moment,  which is awesome. You said it’s  a children’s book terms actually quite interesting to read as an adult as well. Um,  is it written for children or is it really a joy for anybody to read?

[00:20:13] Josh

The goal was to write a story that is funny for kids,  but that is also enjoyable for parents and teachers to read along with them. So  there’s jokes in there that are for kids and there’s jokes in there that will go  over kids heads. That also will be adults who are reading alongside them. Um, so it’s definitely,  it’s definitely for both. And I think it’s quite nostalgic as well as an adult to  read like just like the intricacies of the rules on the, on the playground.  And it’s really about like,  how do you find your place when you don’t understand what the rules are?

[00:20:45] Ashleigh

Sounds like could be amazingly engaging. Uh, educating and Uh,  I think grandparents must go into reading the book with the realization that  Uh, we should be far more accountable for. Oh, yeah, fuck, yeah, my grandkids and that’s,

[00:21:06] Josh

,  that’s essentially the moral of the story. They pay more attention to their grandparents.

[00:21:12] Ashleigh

Uh I, I’m feeling very guilty at this point in time. Uh, but anyway, let me write one. Um so,  so the book has come out. You’ve told us how the hearing came about just in that moment, which is,  which is amazing. Welcome. Where can listeners buy the book?

[00:21:36] Josh

Um, so if you’re in New South Wales Victoria, I see it in quite  a lot of book stores. Um, particularly Harry hot dogs. Um but it’s in a range of different bookstores. Um,  you can also order it from the publisher for street publishing directly. It’s on Amazon, it’s on eBay,  it’s on um book Topia. It’s kind of like in all the standard places,  if you just Google the name of the book,  you should be able to find somewhere near you or somewhere that has reasonable  shipping, that you can get it. Okay.  And if a bookstore doesn’t have it, basically any bookstore apart from  a cubed can order it in for you.

[00:22:09] Ashleigh

What do you Produce? Uh, an e-book or a Uh, digital copy.

[00:22:14] Josh

Um, I haven’t so far, but it is sort of on my, on my radar.

[00:22:19] Ashleigh

That’s amazing. You are a superstar, as I said earlier,  where can people find out more about your Writing, your film? Uh and Uh, all the things that might come.

[00:22:34] Josh

So I’ve sort of just this year consolidated all of  my, Uh, work on my website, which is actually Monster.com. Um,  I’m also on Instagram and TikTok. Uh, which is all just under my name because it’s  a fairly unusual name and no one else wanted it. So I actually Bounce off of  everything. There was no competition. Uh,

[00:22:53] Ashleigh

what’s next for Ashley Mansour?

[00:22:56] Josh

Writing. Lots and lots more Writing. Uh, I’m Writing,  I’m just finishing off actually hoping to finish off another novel before Christmas.  There’s nothing I love more than Writing when it’s going well and there’s nothing  I hate more than Writing when it’s going badly. But at the moment it’s going really  well. Um and I’m really grateful to be back at it because I had to take  a break this year because I was working full time. And um, even if you get traditionally published,  you actually have to do about ninety five percent of the marketing for the book  yourself. So I was working essentially two full time jobs trying to market this  book um and had to give up on Writing for a little while. But I’m,  I’m back into it. Um and I’m working on getting so I write children’s comedy and I  write adult horror. Uh I’m trying to get my adult horror Uh manuscript published at  the moment. Um as well as finishing this other one. Um yeah,  and I’m still tinkering with the sequel to how to be cold in the moon. So there is  a second one.

[00:23:53] Ashleigh

Awesome, and come on publishers get your act together. We want to read the the horror  stories. Probably my favorite, so I’m looking. Oh really? Yeah. So yeah. So come on,  publishers get your act together. Right now. You don’t know what you’re

[00:24:09] Josh

missing out and it’s click to them.

[00:24:11] Ashleigh

Hey yeah, exactly. And when Uh, when you become  a best seller on this publisher that we haven’t determined yet. Yeah. Will you for  the record promise that you sign Uh, an autographed copy for me.

[00:24:28] Josh

One hundred percent?

[00:24:29] Ashleigh

Yes. So Uh so that’s good. Uh save this recording. Yeah. Posterity  and Ashley signature. Uh and for all of our listeners, if you contact Ashley,  I’m sure she’ll do the same if you go and see you the Uh book signing Uh that she’ll sign  a copy for you to say that you listen to the podcast. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:24:56] Josh

Just as a disclaimer, my um, my signature is still terrible. I think, well, well I,  because I knew I wanted to get published from the time I was about five. So when I  was five, I was like, you’ve really got to sort out this autograph situation and then I got published  this year and I was like, how have you procrastinated for twenty five years and haven’t thought of this out.  So it’s not the best.  Uh,

[00:25:18] Ashleigh

well, I have had many  a person say to no one could Uh forward that thinking that to so I know that’s  a good thing or a bad thing. Um, but

[00:25:27] Josh

it’s definitely a good thing.

[00:25:29] Ashleigh

Uh, but the jury’s still out on whether it’s a good team or  a bad signature. So I still want something quirky. We might not know it, but you

[00:25:41] Josh

Um, so I’ve been told this is quirky. It’s probably very bland moon. Um, I have very Uh,  rigorous schedules for my day so all of my days are broken into fifteen minute increments. Um,  with what I am planning to accomplish in that fifteen minute increment. If it’s  a more relaxed day, they’ll be thirty minute increments. Um,  and then on the weekend I give myself one hour increments so that it’s  a bit more relaxed. Um, but yeah I’ve, I’ve been told that that’s quirky, but I actually,  I find it really helpful because then if something goes wrong in that fifteen  minutes, you just you just start a new fifteen minutes. It’s like starting a new day every fifteen minutes.

[00:26:23] Ashleigh

I think we may need to call the twins for some  training on how to use our time better at our office for, for myself and Uh,  another person that I can think of that I won’t name because it may incriminate me. And then

[00:26:38] Josh

that’s my one. You’ve actually tapped me out though,  it’s fifteen minute increments. I don’t have anything else going on, right?

[00:26:46] Ashleigh

I need to be more accountable in fifteen increments,  so any increments at all. Now that’s, that’s a good one that’s I think that’s  a very handy and you’ve actually been very enlightening Uh throughout um,  in terms of some practical ideas for people. Thank you. Do you think just changing tack for a moment?  Of course, as I mentioned at the beginning of our chat, you’re  a semifinalist in the seven years young achiever awards for new South Wales. I see. And I,  I’m just pondering where that the standard of the Uh,  semifinals must have been extreme. That you didn’t make finals because you’re  amazing. And I think potentially if we’d had an arts award. Uh you would have Uh  been right at the top of the pile. Uh so yes. Anybody listening want to sponsor  tonight’s award? Uh, let me know. Just  a little plug there. Uh.  But do you think being nominated and making the semifinals  has helped you as a person or your career at all?

[00:27:52] Josh

Yeah, massively as much as like anything does, it’s always you, particularly, I think novel writers, it’s such  a solitary pursuit. You do so much of it alone any time someone gives you any  measure of like a pat on the back and says,  oh you’re doing okay. It’s like, oh, okay,  well That’ll keep me going for six months. Um so there’s definitely that aspect of  it but also um, as someone who was I think long listed um I had access to  a mentor which could not have come at  a better time because I was publishing my book this year as I said. And I had to do  so much of that marketing myself and you would think, you know,  that you might get like some guidance or you might have like access to like some  sort of leaflet. You really don’t get anything. You just, you know,  that you have to do something and you don’t even know what it is. So,  um that was really incredible. Um and a huge,  huge support just be given like some point in some direction. Like to be given like  an angle that I’m, you know, excited to have, you know,  someone tell me how to talk about the book because I didn’t even know how to talk  about it. Um, yeah. So it’s made a huge difference. Fantastic.

[00:28:58] Ashleigh

And we love to hear that and Uh,  we love to hear the stories and it’s about telling stories of positivity,  inspiration, and role modeling and to help the individual of course is,  is paramount for us as well. Individuals like yourself,  who are real people doing extraordinary things, and too often about the negatives,  the few that maybe aren’t performing to the level that we have expectation of.  But there are many,  many like yourself who are extraordinary in doing really amazing things beyond what  the average person is doing. But it is about average people doing well above  average things. And it happens all the time. And with more inspiration, confidence, and  a bit of personal building like your grandparents that we’re able to to do more  and be more so Uh well done to you that many words of wisdom throughout since

[00:30:00] Josh

um yeah, I think probably just don’t dwell on failure is my big thing,  I think when you fail and then you give up, the failure is the story. Um,  so I feel like the story now or the narrative that I’m telling is that I got  a book published, but I was trying to get  a book published for ten years. I was dropped by two literary agents. Um I had to  like I wrote a bunch of books that weren’t good, I wrote  a bunch of books that were good, but they didn’t know how to market it. Um,  and even the day that I was dropped by my second literary agent,  I think I got that email and I opened  a new tab and I got the address of three more publishers and I sent my book out  that day probably within about ten minutes of being dropped um and one of those  publishers published my book. So now that’s the story that I’m telling because I  didn’t, I didn’t sort of sit there with it. And honestly it’s,  it’s quite easy advice to take because it’s so uncomfortable to sit with failure  anyway. But just I think you just get back up  and you just give it another go. Um, it’s only, it’s only the story if you start the story there.

[00:31:00] Ashleigh

Yeah, I think that’s absolutely brilliant. And Uh,  for those people that give up we can only wonder what might have been.

[00:31:09] Josh

Yeah, because I do genuinely think the people who sort of get through and find success in  these really, really difficult fields, are not necessarily the most talented. It’s,  it’s the people who just kept getting up again. Um,  and that’s what’s going to get you through more than any level of talent. Uh,

[00:31:27] Ashleigh

I think it is a talent in itself. It’s a self-belief in

[00:31:30] Josh


[00:31:30] Ashleigh

people. And you need to, you just, your advice is,  is superb. We learn from our failures and they make us stronger and better. And Uh  you and Richard branson’s friends and have  a lot in common because the amount of times that he failed before he was successful  and he’s trying, kept going back up, kept believing in himself. And it is hard.

[00:31:54] Josh

Um and then it’s like you said and then and then you get lucky. Yeah,  you do good overnight success and you got so

[00:32:00] Ashleigh

lucky.  Yeah, that’s what Uh is like our events and I digress,  but people’s is so lucky. You get to go with these Uh dinners and yeah,  these wonderful meals and you think? Yeah, so lucky um I was Uh nine finish it to the next morning,  packing then and I actually don’t get paid because my job is really talking to  everybody in the room. Uh so um, but yeah,  I’m lucky but I am lucky. I am probably, Uh, other than you,  I’m the luckiest people in the world because I get to make people like sales. His stories continually be  a part of helping to change lives and give people opportunity. So I am,  I am extremely lucky as people say,

[00:32:48] Josh

you guys can be true though,  you can be extremely lucky and also be extremely hardworking like it can be both.

[00:32:54] Ashleigh

Yeah, well, yeah, that’s right. That’s very true. Um and often you’re in the right place at the right  time because you’ve made the opportunity presented

[00:33:02] Josh

itself. And because you were in so many wrong places along the way,  you’ve just tried to be everywhere eventually you had to be in the right place. Yeah, just quickly.

[00:33:12] Ashleigh

So the key lesson is keep trying. Yes.

[00:33:14] Josh


[00:33:15] Ashleigh

back up. Yeah. Uh, although my age does get harder to get back up physically, physically, emotionally,  physically it’s, it takes a lot longer. Um and Uh, my grandkids say come on, grab up,  get out. Um time Uh want some awakens  listeners connect with you online or get a copy of your book again.

[00:33:43] Josh

So Uh, actually an answer on TikTok and Instagram. I’m very active on TikTok. Um and then  you can also check out my other work. So I’ve got lots of poems, the short stories, um,  lots of short films that I’ve made um on Ashley Monster.com. Um and how to be full  in the moon is available in bookstores on Amazon, on eBay, on book Topia. Um,  basically anywhere you get your books, you can get it.

[00:34:06] Ashleigh

Fantastic. Well can I have to get one? Uh,  real soon and find Plex. Uh and watch your movie. It all sounds amazing. And as I said earlier,  superstar apatow’s one piece of advice you’ve given us some words of wisdom. If  there’s one piece of advice that you would leave with our listeners. Um, what would that be?

[00:34:30] Josh

I think it’s probably dedication over motivation. Um,  and what I mean by that is the things that you do when you’re feeling unmotivated  are so much more important than the things that you do when you are feeling  motivated. Because it’s very easy to, you know, get a lot of work done and really,  especially as like an artist and say, oh, I’m inspired,  I’m going to do all this work. But can you get up every day and put in that work  even when you don’t feel like it even when you are feeling like a bit down on  a book or a bit like you’ve got a series of rejections?  Can you keep getting back up and keep putting in that level of work even when  you’re not necessarily feeling that motivation? Because motivation comes and goes,  but dedication and if you can form that habit. Um that’s really like, I think the bedrock of,  of breaking through and

[00:35:16] Ashleigh

dedicated and motivated. I like that. That’s very cool. I haven’t heard that one before.

[00:35:21] Josh

Yeah. What’s mine?

[00:35:22] Ashleigh

Yeah, it’s very good. It is a great piece of advice for our listeners that’s free of charge as well.

[00:35:29] Josh

Yeah,  free of

[00:35:30] Ashleigh

charge as, as well, the signing babe. Uh, when Ashley becomes, Uh, Super bestseller,  Mega star. So make sure you get all of these books because we don’t at this stage  now which one is going to be the best seller. So keep an eye out,  get that book and sign it

[00:35:48] Josh

and make sure you’re in the right place. Get as many you can

[00:35:52] Ashleigh

get onto the ashley’s website. Keep following everyone. Um Uh  is your your work on. You said you’re on TikTok and Instagram was up

[00:36:04] Josh

and Yeah.

[00:36:05] Ashleigh

So we can follow you on those.

[00:36:06] Josh

Yes. Yeah,

[00:36:07] Ashleigh

beautiful. I mean get, keep up to date with what’s Uh, moving and shaking,  and Ashley as well. Yeah. As well. Well, Ashley,  it’s been an Absolute privilege to have you on the podcast today. You’re  a true champion and inspiration. Thank you so much.

[00:36:22] Josh

Thank you so much for having me.

[00:36:24] Ashleigh

Absolute pleasure.  And our podcast is about everyday people just like Ashley,  who are really doing extraordinary and motivational things. If you enjoy the podcast, why not subscribe?  ? We would love to. Also have you write in reviews. If it’s good,  if you would like to see the show notes or transcripts or hear the interview again  head towards Australia dot com. Forward slash podcast. Thanks to Annette our  producer and miko’s co-host Josh for making your podcast happen and  a special shout out to seven years for their promotion of their programs. Right  across the country, about Australia is actually a family owned business. Who have for the past thirty five years,  endeavoured to recognize those who go above and beyond for their communities. If  you’d like to find out more about nominating someone or partnering with our  programs. Contact us at awards Australia Uh on our words,  Australia podcast. Thanks so much for listening to my chat with the extraordinary  Ashley. And until next week, stay safe. Be kind and keep making a difference. Thanks so much. Ashley.

[00:37:36] Josh

Thank you so much.

[00:37:37] Ashleigh

Bye.  Bye. Oh that was what  you got. I was Super motivated and now dedicated more than motivated so thank you so much for your

[00:37:48] Josh

time. Yeah, thank you so much for having me. Really appreciate it.

[00:37:51] Ashleigh

Take care and good luck with everything or should I say hard work,

[00:37:57] Josh

hard work with everything.

[00:37:58] Ashleigh

Uh, dedication, take care Ashley.

[00:38:00] Josh

See you later. Thanks a I The inspirational australian’s podcast is brought to you by awards, Australia. We recognise,  celebrate and share the stories of inspirational Australians throughout awards  programs across the country. To find out more to nominate an inspirational  Australian in your life, or to partner with our awards, visit awards, Australia dot com. If you enjoyed today’s story,  we’d love it if you could subscribe rate and review to make sure you don’t miss an  episode. And to help our guests reach more people with their inspirational stories stories. stories stories.  stories stories. stories stories.