Welcome everyone. Glad to see you here once again for another fun installment of the ongoing author interview series. This week, we have Aimee Wilshire, from Colorado in to visit.
Aimee, will start us off by telling us a little about yourself and where you are from?
- I’m a single mother to a teenage girl and 2 pit bulls, and daughter to 2 parents with M.S., so I spend most of my time at home with them. I have some college education but I was not able to attain a degree.
Sounds like you had quite a few challenges to over come on your journey. Are there any lessons you’ve learned or challenges you’ve faced that you can share with us?
- The hardest part was all of the planning and research at the beginning. I tried to just sit down and begin making stuff up, but that was impossible to do with a book like mine. I had to decide on where and when it was going to take place, and from there fill this new world with everything that makes up ours.
- I find battle scenes rather challenging. I have seen plenty of them on T.V. or in movies, but I’ve never experienced anything like what I write about. There is also the fact that some of the characters can fly, so it can be difficult to keep in mind the movements, shapes, and sizes of their wings while they wield daggers and swords.
- I learned that I was a terrible control freak and that I needed to let go and allow others to lead sometimes. I had to accept the fact that my way isn’t the only way, and not always the best way.
I’ve had to think in 3-D movements before for other projects, so fully sympathize how difficult that can be. Especially in a “heat of the moment” instance during a battle scene.
Since you mention you do quite a bit of research before you get started, it has me wondering: How did your interest in writing originate?
- I can remember sitting in history class at 15, reading a Jude Deveraux romance novel after finishing my work, and suddenly realizing that she made a living writing books. It just felt right to me, and I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing about other people’s lives.
- I began writing in high school because my head became full of ideas that I just had to put on paper. I had been an avid reader since middle school and by high school I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. Of course I was told that it was a stupid dream and I couldn’t make a living at it, so I tried to find another career that interested me. I never stopped writing, although I never attempted to publish anything that I wrote until Fate stepped in many years after I had given up the dream.
- My first book was inspired a lot by the children in my life, but also by my growing disappointment with the things that I was reading or watching on television. Nothing seemed new to me and almost everything is predictable to the point that I can’t enjoy much anymore. I sat down at the computer with the goal of writing something that hadn’t really been done before.
Funny how the ideas and stories have a habit of butting in, and demanding to be released once you’ve put them on the mental memory shelf of “might have been”. Do your remember when you first considered yourself a writer?
- I didn’t really consider myself a writer until I decided to try writing a book with the intention of publishing it. Up until then I just considered myself “creative,” with interests in many different art forms.
Did those interests carry over into creating your titles or covers?
- I have designed the covers myself. I found it was a lot easier to get what I wanted if I just did everything myself.
- [I have a system with the titles, however.] Each title in the series has come to me later in the writing process. The “Faer” part remains the same, and the second word is the running theme throughout the book.
Makes sense to me. Sounds like your title and cover creation are an organic process that occurs as you write. Is your writing style similarly organic?
- I have a specific style to writing my novels which is often annoying to the “grammar nazi” in me. I struggled to make Lamerion feel like a new place, with a different culture and history. To make speech patterns and customs stand out on paper, writers only have a few tools that they can use. The removal of some of the commas that I automatically put in immediately changes how the books sound, which changes the tone of the book entirely. The capitalization of some words that wouldn’t be capitalized in our society is another tool that I have found useful to add more depth to the unique society I have created.
Oh, dear. ::Carefully hides my own works.:: I can understand how that might be a bit challenging. I’m struggling with that myself. Especially to make it feel realistic, yet remain unique. Do you ever include any realism or personal experiences in your work to add a touch of realism yourself?
- That’s a difficult question to answer when one writes fantasy. Obviously humans can’t fly, none of us live between 800 and 1,200 years, we don’t have goblins or trolls running around, and Thyride are my own creation entirely. On the other hand, I did spend a lot of time trying to make my novels as realistic as possible with the belief that they would be more enjoyable if the reader could believe that it would be possible. I created a map with specific longitude and latitude coordinates and researched what plants and animals would be found, as well as what seasonal changes would be like. I researched healing techniques and medicines, how fast or slow the different races of Faer are likely to travel, and made a calendar similar enough to ours that it is familiarly strange. I think that the clothing and weaponry choices that I made are just realistic enough to be comfortable to the readers as well.
- There are hints of my life and the lives of a lot of people within the pages of this series, but they are not based on anyone. Overall, the novels are about good versus evil, about fighting for what you love, and about loving others despite any differences. Everything that makes up any good story.
Tease. ::Grins:: Sounds exciting, to be honest, though. In and among the excitement, do you ever weave a message into your work for readers to find?
- Everyone who reads the novels will find a different message within the pages. I have a lot of characters that play a big part and there is usually a lot going on at any given time. If I had to pick just one message, however, I would probably like people to walk away from the story with a little more acceptance in their hearts and a little more love for their fellow man.
What a wonderful message to spread. And, knowing that as you build up a base of readers, you’ll be spreading such a positive message. I mentioned you were teasing (as you should when talking about your work.) Are you at a point you can share any news, or snippets from your current work?
- I am working very hard on the long-awaited fourth book of my first series, and I hope to have it available sometime this year.
- I am … also working on my notes which may or may not be published as a guide to the set.
- This takes place near the beginning of the book as the family is joined in South Kinyard by the refugees from southern Lamerion. They had just had a short battle with Thyride and discovered there were others hiding within the group that had just arrived:
“You will not kill today, Balan!” Linna shouted as she disguised her fear with rage. “Do you understand me?”
“Linna—” Balan frowned and quickly got back onto his feet.
“I asked you a question,” Linna interrupted in a growl and stepped closer to the Prince threateningly.
“I understand,” Balan whispered and sheathed his sword before taking a step backward.
“His cousin and wife were beaten and stabbed and raped and whipped and drowned and burned and slashed,” Linna shouted to the stunned Faer and Thyride that watched her in disbelief. “His son was killed as Thyride violated his wife’s body again and again for weeks on end. Can any here claim that they would not feel the same hatred and rage? Would you not feel the desire to exact revenge on the horrid beasts that inflicted such torment on those whom you love?” Silence answered Linna’s question and Balan lowered his head as tears filled his eyes. “To feel as Balan does is normal,” Linna continued after a moment and allowed her own grief to be evident. “To ache deep in your bones to hurt others as those whom you love have been hurt is acceptable. To act on those emotions is not. To act would be to lose the very essence of what makes us Faer. We will not lose our morality. We will not become that which we loathe.”
Ouch! Definitely going to have to find your first three books, so I can appreciate what is going on in this scene. Not sure I’d want to be on the receiving end of that tongue lashing.
When you’re not writing, of if you are one of the lucky ones who can read while writing, do you have any favorite authors and/or books that you go back just to enjoy?
- I would say that my favorite author is Amanda Quick. As I mentioned before, her characters are imperfect and easy to relate to. She also has an amazing talent for balancing the action and adventure with the characters’ growth and relationships. I enjoy reading her books written under Jayne Ann Krentz, but there is something in her historical pieces that really pulls me in.
- I was hugely influenced by Amanda Quick’s books mainly because her main characters are more than just the most beautiful people in the land; they are often flawed and struggle to overcome their own issues. Tolkien is my idol because he was able to create a world so comprehensive that we can learn to speak the languages that he created all these decades later. I received an email once in which a fan compared my books to Lord of The Rings and I was hugely flattered.
Would you consider Amanda a mentor figure, even though you haven’t met her?
- [No.] I haven’t been fortunate enough to have a writer as a mentor. I merely read what I can and try to absorb their wisdom from the sidelines.
Have you found any new authors, who have sparked your interest?
- I am always finding new authors on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and Smashwords. As another small fish in a very big pond, I love seeking out the newbies and seeing what they’ve contributed to this world.
What a wonderful attitude to have. It sounds like you’ve taken to applying your curiosity for the betterment of yourself, and others all wrapped up in one package. Are you reading any of the new authors now?
- [I’m between books.] I just finished Before the Sky Fell by Aria Michaels.
::Chuckles:: Oh, dear. Never a good place to be. I’m sure there’s another one close at hand, though.
I’m going to go back to your challenges – did you have anyone outside of your family who offered support when you needed it?
- Indie author groups are great places to find support. There is always someone that is willing to offer advice or just to boost your spirits when you’re feeling low.
Very true. And, with the internet, I think it’s even better – it’s never the “wrong time” to ask a question when you get stuck! That leads into the next question: if you had to start your journey over again with what you know now, would you change anything in your work?
- I don’t think that I could change anything, even if I wanted to. My writing is definitely better when I allow it to flow naturally. Trying to change anything, or force anything, only leads to dead ends and writers’ block.
Amen to that! With four books out now, do you consider writing to be your only career, or do you have to supplement with a day job?
- I am attempting to make writing my career because there is nothing that I love doing more than writing. Sometimes I am grateful that Fate led me back to the path that I wanted to walk in high school. I’m keeping my hopes high that I’ll eventually see my dreams become reality.
With that attitude, I’m sure you’ll get there. Sounds like you are not someone who gives up easily. And that leads into the elephant in the room question: what advice would you offer someone who has not traveled as far as you have on their own journey?
- If it seems like the characters have hijacked the plot and are running away with your story, let them. They often will take you exactly where you want to go, while taking you on a wonderful journey in the meantime.
::Laughs:: How well I relate to that as well. I’d share a few of my experiences, but this is about you, so I’ll be good.
Now, before we wrap up, do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share with our readers, or even with yours in particular?
- I just want to say thank you for sticking by me these last 4 years. Thank you for all of your feedback, for your encouragement, and for loving Lamerion as much as I do. It truly means the world to me.
Aimee, thank you so much for coming over to visit. It has been very enjoyable, getting to know you.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of Aimee’s books, I’ve linked to Amazon Here for your convenience.
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Thank you everyone for stopping by today.