Ashley Little, author of PRICK:Confessions of a Tattoo Artist, discusses how she came to write her first novel:
I was staying with a friend in Calgary in 2006, and her boyfriend was a tattoo artist, I got the idea that night for a short story about a tattoo artist and it would be divided into sections, with the headings of
the tattoo design:
and each section would be the experience the artist had with the person he was giving that specific tattoo to. So then I started researching tattoos & tattooing and the more I learned about the history, sub-culture, symbolism, and psychology of tattoo, I realized that I had developed a total fascination(borderline obsession) with the world of tattoo. As I continued my research, and developing this tattoo artist character, I realized at some point that I didn’t just have a short story any more, I had a novel.
What did you do for research?
I read and watched everything I could get my hands on about tattooing. During my 3 years of research, I accompanied friends when they were getting tattooed and sometimes took notes right in the shop. Sometimes I would go into tattoo shops and just pretend to browse, look at flash, and just listen to the artists and clients and watch what was going on. I was fortunate to have a good friend just starting his career as a tattoo artist at the time I started writing my book, so I would call him up with technical questions a lot, he was really helpful. He came out to the island to visit me one summer and brought his whole kit with him and laid out everything for me, the tattoo machine, the needles and their sizes, the inks, the gloves, all the tools my character would have. That was incredibly valuable.
What do you think the tattoo community will think of PRICK?
I think tattoo artists and enthusiasts will enjoy reading about the world they’re a part of. There are very few novels about the industry and I think PRICK will be well received by the tattoo community. A signed copy in every shop!