Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Same Six Questions - Ami Blackwelder

Hello there and welcome to this March 1st edition of The Same Six Questions! My guest today is

Hi Andy! My name is Ami Blackwelder. Yep, Ami with an i. So, google me with an i, or you won't find me. ;) I love cats and dogs and own one cat named Lotus. His name came from the Buddhist belief that life is like a Lotus flower. Some below the water not seeing the truth, some just at the surface about to see truth, and some flowering well above the surface of the water seeing truth more clearly. I lived in Thailand for six years and fell in love with it. I consider Thailand my second home and will return in a couple years. My cat is also a Siamese! Named after the Thailand country which used to be called Siam! Though no one really knows where Siamese cats came from. They are really loud and cry all the time just like a baby, so be prepared if you get one! LOL

Currently, I am studying the Montessori style of teaching and it takes two years! You can do it in one, but I have a life and need two. :) Once finished, I want to return to Thailand and teach there permanently, and also travel and teach in Tibet (which I've been to once and will blog about on my blog) and other Eastern countries.

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

Yes and no. I first published through an epublisher named ireadiwrite publishing. That was for The Gate of Lake Forest which was my first full length novel written in 2009. (I've been writing poetry and short stories all my life) . Then she also picked up the sequel Prisoners of Pride. Not sure if that counts, since that is epublishing, not print publishing.

Then, I wrote The Day the Flowers Died and sent it off to Whiskey Press which they accepted, but then I looked them over and realized they were pretty much like an epublisher or small press and my book would never see the inside of a brick and mortar store.

So, since 2010 rolled around and Amanda Hocking was making it big and other success self-publishing stories kept coming up as well as the Kindle and Nook, I decided to go my own way and not sign with them. I knew self-publishing would soon be seen as Indie Books, like Indie films are now seen.

Now, I self-publish everything. I love it. My sales have grown from a handful into 100 plus a month. (By the way, I sell just as much or more on my own as I did with my epublisher). I have a team of editors, graphic artists, cover designers, formatters, and a list of distributors which work well. And I work my butt off. I didn't really get serious about sharing my professional work and promoting it until mid 2010. So, I've been actively perfecting my craft and promotional efforts for about a year and a half now.

I realize most writers began writing full-length novels at 18 or 20 and took 5-10 years of hard work to be able to live off their work and so I am willing to put in my full ten years. Three years done and seven more to go. :) I hope to write enough to be able to live off my books come retirement (like social security) which I won't ever see...

I am looking into finding an agent, and have gotten my Shifters of 2040 written into a screenplay which has been circulated at Cannes, Hollywood, and locally in Florida. I am actively sending books or scripts to Hollywood types and am also searching for a GOOD epublisher/small press for some of my future novels. I'm aimed at Entangled Publishing currently. Just to give more 'oomph' behind my name and books.

Here's some info on my latest, The Mers, a YA Mermaid Dystopian (Mer Chronicles Book #1):

Mira always knew she was different. Growing up with Mers, she never quite fit in. When Mira breaks the rules and takes Niren across the border that divides Ellis Island and New Jersey, a border that divides two vastly different worlds, she thought the journey to find out who she really is would be an easy one.

But as the world in Jersey proves to be a convoluted mix of Aristocrats who hate the Mers, Pirates who want to sell them, and Magi who want to use them...finding her true identity will be a challenge, especially when her best friend Niren is a Mer willing to fight to the death.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I've always written since I could pick up a pen. But I stuck to short stories and poetry. My novels and full length nonfiction books began in Thailand. Nonfiction at 30 and fiction at 34.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

The best I can remember it was a piece about a paper bag come to life. I wrote it for English class in the third grade. Though I'd been telling stories before that time. I had it for awhile, but then it got lost. I tried to rewrite it as one of my children stories and can be found on my blog for sale. Written by a teacher for children.

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

Well, I've always loved writing and wrote. But I didn't really consider full length novels until I turned 34. After I finished my spiritual journey and wrote three books on that, I wanted to continue writing. Loved it. Then the movie Twilight came out and I had heard of Stephanie Meyers for the first time while in Thailand and she inspired me honestly to just do it. Didn't matter if I made millions or not. Writing has always been a part of me and a forgotten part of me for too long, and so I decided to write full length novels. Self-publsihing also was starting (though not big until a year later in 2010) and so I thought I had everything I needed to get my words and stories out there. A temptation I could't resist.

Plus, many people don't realize this, but writers like Beatrix Potter and Virginia Woolf even self-published. Jane Austen's work took 14 years to see the light of day!

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

Such a good question! I would love to meet either one of my shifters perhaps April or Brendan, OR a Mer, perhaps Nerin or Nerissa. They would have such interesting physical characteristics!

6. It's a dark and stormy're alone in the house...there's a knock at the open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

Its Ed McMahon and I've just won a million dollars! LOL


Thanks for sharing with us today, Ami! For more of Ami's work, be sure to check out her Web site, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

See you back here on Monday when my guest will be Sean Van Damme!

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