Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Interview with Amber Michelle Cook
Tonight is the awesome Author Speed Date, as mentioned before. I believe NIWA author Amber Cook will be there as well. I’m honored to have Amber as a Guest Blog today. Here’s the interview we did. Don’t forget to go to kickstarter and support Amber’s latest project. She’s really kept her budget down to the minimum. Author Mary Rosenblum has been a mentor, and my parents have shown me a lot of support this year. What advice would you give an up and coming writer? Be careful of whose advise you follow. There are hundreds if not thousands of people out there trying to make money off of new writers. And the best way to get someone to pay out money is to promise them the system to success. Like all artists, writers don’t follow one formula and then succeed, they get there a million different ways. Make sure you know what you want to get from your writing, and what you want to give with your writing. Then you can take bits and pieces you hear from different people and assemble them into your own plan for success—because that’s your best chance for having a good experience along the way, as well as reaching your goals. What do you do when you aren't writing? Sleep. Grin. Okay, also read. Surprise, surprise, huh? I’m also an artists (photography and graphic arts, see my Chromatic Daffodil Shadows). I love 19th century lit and period pieces, esp. really good mini-series adaptations. Anything aquatic. I love going to aquariums, and I love watching Tanked and The Fish Tank Kings as they build custom, luxury aquariums of all kinds. Improv writing. And hitting SF cons. The City Museum in St. Louis, MO. Part family play-land during the day, part youth hang-out in the evening, the City Museum has eye-opening art everywhere, local history, crafts, rides and slides, indoor fountains, an adult ball pit, all kinds of things to climb, caves for exploring, on and on. Made from found-objects. Not corporate-owned. And it contains a whole aquarium inside it as well. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. The story concept for Defense Mechanisms is something I’ve wanted to write as a novel for years. Alternate dimensions fascinate me as a writer, and I’m drawn to urban fairy, so this is how I put the two together. The catchphrase is: what if your déjà vu was really flashes of a life running parallel to your own? Right now I have too much queued up for fine-tuning and release to write anything new except short fiction, so I thought I’d give the idea a try by writing a short story in the meantime. Halfway into it I realized it needed to be novella-length, and that made it the perfect follow up for my first book, What the Faeries Left Behind (also a novella). Ultimately, Defense Mechanisms is part of the trio of urban fairy tales for adults I’m releasing as my first three books this year (with Sleepwaking, a modern adaptation of Through the Looking Glass, a full-length novel, coming in fall). My Kickstarter for the release of Defense Mechanisms runs through July 15th. So only one week left! Sign up for an advance copy of the book, and be part of the process as it goes from manuscript to published. How would you characterize your writing style? Prose-wise I tend toward the playful—not always in tone, but in some way. It could be word play, it could be writing richer, period prose that delights in the use of language, or it might be lacing sly humor into more serious text. I say I write stories of deep, meaningful fun. That means I like to dig into meaty topics but do so with at least some amount of humor and playfulness. A favorite theme: as I say in my blog, Caution: Adults Playing, we work so hard to make ourselves into responsible adults, that we give up fun, wonder and play at just about the time we begin to need it most—to counteract the drudgery, over-responsibility and accumulated disappointments than can lead to being stuck in a rut and on to bitterness. The two aren’t mutually exclusive—you can take your responsibilities seriously and enjoy the innocent delights of life! Just for fun, what's something about you that you don't normally share with people? My toothbrush. Oh, something about me. Let’s see. I love dancing to 80s music. The term ‘dancing fool’ comes to mind… Thanks, Andy. Write on!