Hope you all enjoy our next character question with Lilliana Rose's Ashley.
Ashley, 24 years old, the main character from the short story, Following Dreams, published with Alfie Dog 4th Aug 2013.
It’s a young adult sweet romance.
Ashley has spent the last three years planning and studying to set up her own organic café, Zaphire. Her fear of failing in a tough industry threatens to stop her from following her dream. When she finally rents a shop, Ashley ends up with support from a stranger and more than a café.
What one thing from your childhood has had the biggest effect upon you as an adult?
My Nan. She believed in me. She supported me so that I would be able to set up my own café. Nan always encouraged me to cook, to get a business diploma, and to actually think about starting up the café instead of just dreaming out it.
What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?
When my Nan died. She left me money to start up my organic café Zaphire, but I just didn’t want to waste the money. It’s not easy starting up a small business, and this was her life savings, I didn’t want to waste it.
What do you do best?
Cook! I love to cook. Especially cup cakes and I like to ice them with thick chocolate icing.
Where do you call home?
What makes you laugh out loud?
Rom coms. I love them. Have you seen ‘Warm Bodies’? I really liked that one. Who would’ve thought that there could be zombies in a romantic comedy?
Do you have a secret?
No. I’m a straight laced sort of girl.
On what occasion would you lie?
If I had a secret.
What is your greatest achievement?
Opening Zaphire. I can’t believe I’ve done it! I just wish Nan could be here to see.
What is your greatest fear?
Zaphire being forced to close. It used to be setting up my own business that was scary. Everyone had advice to give me, told me what I should and shouldn’t do. The economic climate isn’t good for small businesses, it’s too risky, wait a few more years. But I did that, and now I want to keep Zaphire open for years.
Tell us a memory of childhood?
Making my first chutney at 10. Mum had a fit when she walked into the kitchen and saw me sterilising the jars in boiling water. It was all fine, Nan had told me what to do. Mum loved the chutney too, and we sold it at the Lion’s food store on the weekend. People even put in for orders. It made me realise how much I love cooking for other people. I think it started my cooking journey.
Have you been in love and had a broken heart?
I’m in love now. At least I think I’m in love. I mean I thought that Craig broke my heart in year 12 but if Tim and I broke up I would be much more heart broken now. But Tim and I are going well, we might move in with each other soon. *squeal*
What is your current state of mind?
Happy. Ecstatic. Over the moon. Now that my life is on track and I’m following my dreams.
What would you change about yourself?
Nothing. I’m not perfect, but I’m me, and being me is perfect enough, even with all my faults.
Do you believe in luck?
Not really, but Nan was always so superstitious and I spent a lot of time with her growing up since she lived with us. I wonder if some of her sayings have rubbed off on me, I mean one of Nan’s sayings nearly stopped me from opening the business on Pirie Street. But no, I don’t think I believe in luck. I believe in hard work.
What do you hate?
Burning food and wasting food. I’ve set up to give any unsold food and produce from the café to the Salvos so they can pass it onto people in need.
What is your idea of happiness?
Now. Right now. I’ve got my café open. *squeal* Zaphire is doing really well, and I’ve survived the two month period – that time which can make or break a café. And I’ve met a guy, Tim, and he’s been a great support. So has my family of course. I feel my life is really starting now.
What is the strangest thing to happen to you?
Looking at the green door when I first went to look at the shop front. I’d forgotten about Nan’s superstitious sayings, and I knew that she would always mutter about never walking through a green door. It was weird. I knew that Nan wanted me to set up the business, but I thought that maybe this wasn’t the place. Strange how memories come back and haunt you. I know in my heart that she would be glad that I didn’t listen to the saying about the green door, and she would laugh knowing that I’ve painted it blue.
~~For more information about her varied work have a look at her website and her page at Alfie Dog