Ashley grew up in rural, northern Georgia. In her words it was the “Type of place where fertilizer goes to greeting ya soon as the front door went to close, where cow tipping and horse jacking and bonfire-truck-meet-ups with blue label sodas stacked heavy in ice chests were the norm, and where ‘mams and sirs were added on to ever’thing less a slap upside the head were what ya’s hankering after.”
After high school, she studied at a small liberal arts college in South Carolina, and was the first member of her family to earn a degree. After graduating, she followed in the footsteps of her brother, a chef, and landed behind a bar. She’s since worked at every type of bar imaginable. “From dives to high class buys. Figured it was better than the nine to five game and the people slurping ‘em back seemed a helleva lot of more interesting. Settled, there weren’t any place I’d rather be than acting as priest, psychiatrist, and practitioner to the lot. Been going strong some ten or so years later in the role.”
So what keeps her passionate about the work? “Suppose, it’s all rooted in being a people pleaser, making sure folks are having a good time. Making ‘em feel special. Like the world sees ‘em. Takes notice. That’s all anybody really wants anyway. To be seen. Guess I just come from accommodating people. Taught ya should always make everybody feel at home from the get. Be kind. Listen to their stories. Make ‘em something that eases the calm or turns that mother up! The spontaneity of it all, kinetic, ya know, that’s what keeps me trudging ahead. Well, that and a healthy dose of competition, to be fair.”
Ashley vividly remembers her first experience with Angel’s Envy. “Funny enough, I was yanking out drinks at this little spot in Atlanta, this brewpub that had a pretty decent whiskey list set up in the basement of an old antebellum house. Well, they’d go to having whiskey tastings upstairs there and one of ‘em, no doubt, was the Atlanta debutant debut of Angel’s Envy—the grand unveiling of that little black dress number of a bottle. I remember seeing ‘em sleek curves and those wings printed up on the back of that thing and thinking, daaaammmmmmnnnn, that’s a good looking bottle and then I went to tasting it…and I got to tell ya, there ain’t nothing that’ll get me going like a little snort, and I was like, maaaaaannnnnn that’s smooth…yeah, mighty fine indeed, and then I heard the name and listened to the story they were spelling about it and I was hook-line-and sink ‘er on it. Been a little sweet spot for Angel’s Envy ever since!”
So what does Ashley do when she’s not dispensing drinks and wisdom from her side of the bar? “I write. Southern Pulp, which is a derivative of noir, ‘cept a little more exploitative and all of it centering in the south. Come from a family of story tellers. Whole daddy’s side rooting up there in the hollers of southeastern Kentucky, over there in mining country, and the law of the land according there were by Gawd ya might not have much but if ya’s to lend out a yarn it better be good. Stories round the bonfire if ya catch my drift. Best one got the longest pull on the jug. Oral tradition there. No writing of it down for most. Stories carved up in yar bone. Left there for good keeping ‘til the time right for the share. For when the shine’s done been run good, ya hear. Published a book about five or so years ago. Just finished two more. They’re in the midst of shopping right now. Looking for a good home. Gotta couple shorts out as well. And when I’m not writing or slinging, I’m usually telling a story at a series called Noir at the Bar. Just got back from spewing one in Newcastle, England couple weeks back.” Look for Ashley at Angel’s Envy events around LA. Come for the drinks; stay for the stories.