Ami Blackwelder Interview
April 20th, 2012
The Shifters of 2040
The Gate of Lake Forest
She Speaks to Angels
Hi Ami! Thanks for stopping by VRB to answer some questions for us today!
Your bio says that you consider Thailand your second home. Can you tell us a little about the time you spent there and what are the things you love most about it?
I spent six years teaching English to some of the poorest and to some of the richest. I had a lot of experiences from fun, to crazy…LOL. I went dancing in the ‘Minus 5’ club. C-O-L-D. And I had flavored Vodka. I’ve been wind surfing, and I’ve visited prisons there. Very sad. Packed like sardines. Mostly Cambodian visitors wanting refuge. I can tell you everyone should travel to at least one place before they die. A must:do)- What I loved most? Thai people are very friendly. Everything is so affordable, from food to clothes to rent.
You started writing at at a young age. What inspired you to start writing?
Story telling has always been a big part of me. I had stories read in class in English at young ages. When I grew up (Am I an adult now?) I studied English at my University. Whatever I would be doing and wherever I would be, I wanted writing to always be a part of it.
Is there a particular author that inspires you?
Indies who succeed inspire me.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing?
Reading, Movies, Massages, Swimming, Walking, Hanging out with friends, Sun bathing.
Does your family and friends give you input about your books?
Sometimes. They are actually big critiques, so I don’t know where people get the whole don’t mind what your family says. They are as harsh as the harshest critiques on amazon and goodreads. LOL. But yes, they give input when they read it. But most of my family doesn’t actually like the genres I write, so it is not often.
Both your Elf and Mers series have an underlying theme of stewardship of the earth. In the Elf series it is very pronounced and in the Mers series we see the results of not taking care of the planet. Was this intentional?
Ummm…I didn’t actually think of it before, but yes you are right. I do love our Earth and hope more people would take care of it, so I think it is inevitable that the message would seep into my work. It is also in my Shifter saga, deliberately. There is another theme, that is of prejudice and oppression which also runs in all of those books.
The use of poetry as a medium to communicate emotion between Michael and Evelyn worked very effectively, what gave you this idea?
I love poetry and in fact wrote poetry before I wrote novels and so when writing my first novel, I wanted to incorporate poetry. Plus, I wanted the YA to see that poetry could be enjoyable.
Do you plan your books as series when you begin or does the story grow larger than one book sometimes?
All my series’ began as a stand alone and when I say “OK, this book is going to be a solo deal…” it turns out to be more. There is just more to the story that needs to be told I guess and it becomes a series. I don’t force series’. It just happens. I actually preferred solo books, because it means less work on my part…but if the story needs to be told.
The Shifters Evolution series is a really unique, how did the idea come about?
The idea came about while watching my Lotus cat jump trees in Thailand. I envisioned a woman morphing into a cat. I thought how this could be possible and thought of aliens. I played around with the concept a bit and came up with sentient begins of light who could shift, but had to assimilate into the DNA to live on Earth and then could shift for longer periods of time. I played around with a lot of what if questions, a lot of prejudice and oppression questions, a lot of questioning of governments and of authority and of humanity. Ultimately it is a series about humanity coming to forgiveness and redemption. But we take a while to get there.
The shifters in the series are so different from anything that I have read in other books was that your intention from the beginning?
My intention is just to write what is in my head. Everyone always tells me that my books are so unique, not just the story which often is twisting unpredictably, but the characters and even the writing style. I guess I’m just a different thinker all around than most people and so my work comes out that way. I don’t deliberately try to be anything I am not, it just is as it is. People either love it or hate it. I get strong responses.
You have several different works. Can you tell us a little about them?
I have a series on elves, on mermaids, on angels, and on shifters. I also have one War World II Romance. They all play with themes of prejudice, or what you see isn’t always what you get, first impressions, oppression, and often include themes of caring for the Earth and wildlife. Those themes are central to all my work. In She Speaks to Angels, Ali doesn’t know who the good guys and bad guys are. Looks are deceiving.
Of your works which is your favorite and why?
Gosh, I love them all for so many different reasons. But if I had to chose, I’d take The Day the Flowers Died with me to a deserted island. The characters made me cry while writing and thinking about the story long afterward still makes me cry. It was inspired by a dream.
What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about it?
I’m doing a set of novellas on vampires and zombies. It also will be a bit different then you’ve seen. I’m just that way. Then, I’m doing DON’T SPEAK, a psychic dystopia thriller
I read that you are a self published author. What are some of the advantages to self publishing?
I love it. You have full control of cover, release dates, touring, publicity, profits….love it.
How do you promote your work?
Everywhere:)- I have a book to help others in the biz: Indie Publishing Secrets
If you could give one piece of advice to other indie authors starting out what would it be?
Get my Indie Publishing Secrets, it will give you a bunch of tips! It will be .99 cents until the 20th.
Thank you for your time Ami! Is there anything you would like to add or say to the readers out there?
Follow my blog and get free books and updates:) http://amiblackwelder.blogspot.com