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Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024

A Novel Success


Local author’s best-selling novel heading for television

Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, and a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist.

It is a plot line that would draw anyone to crack open the spine of “First Lie Wins,” the latest book and first adult mystery thriller of long-time Shreveport resident Ashley Elston. Even though Ashley is already a celebrated author of six young adult fiction books, her latest book has been a wild ride.

For starters, Reese Witherspoon selected “First Lie Wins” as her January Book Club book. “To be chosen for Reese’s Book Club is incomparable,” Ashley says of the experience that has rocketed her book on social media and beyond.

“First Lie Wins” has also been selected for January by Book of the Month Club, Indie Next List, The Reader’s Digest Book Club and Jordy’s Book Club as an inaugural book of the month. It is also a top 10 pick for January by Library Reads and Amazon.

Then there is the New York Times Bestseller List. “First Lie Wins” is at No. 5. “It is surreal; there are not enough words to describe being on the New York Times Bestseller List,” Ashley says. “It is the cherry on top of an already amazing cupcake.”

In addition to these accolades, the book was optioned in October 2021 by ABC Signature for a series on Hulu in development with Octavia Spencer and writer and producer Krista Vernoff. While this is not the first time to have one of her books optioned, the first time was a learning experience for Ashley that ultimately ended in her getting her rights back. “I didn’t even recognize my book anymore,” she says. “This time, I very much care what happens with my book, and the people involved very much agree with me. I feel like my book is in the best hands. I’ve read the pilot; it is fantastic and stays true to the story but has also been elevated for television. With the writers’ strike, we lost a year in production, but we are still moving forward.”

Ashley’s first young adult fiction book, “The Rules for Disappearing,” a mystery, came out in 2013, followed by three other mysteries and two romantic comedies. Her books “10 Blind Dates” and “10 Truths and a Dare” are set in Shreveport, La., while her latest book is set in a fictious town that Shreveport readers will recognize as familiar. “I don’t see myself in my characters,” Ashley adds, “but people who know me tell me they can hear me saying the words in my books.”

Ashley says her family is very proud and supportive of her writing adventure. “When my boys posted my book on their Instagram page, I cried.”

After a busy week promoting her book in Toronto and North Carolina, Ashley has an equally busy schedule ahead with many podcasts and the Tucson Festival of Books in March. Amid all this activity, Ashley still feels the pressure of being an author. “How do you follow up something like this? You are always trying to top yourself.”

Ashley is working on an idea for another book, but she respects the importance of her latest release. “Releasing a book is like having a newborn, you have to devote the time and attention it needs.”

Find out more about Ashley on her website, ashleyelston.com. Her books are available on Amazon and at B&N, as well as bookstores nationwide.


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