Q: Introduce yourself! What is your experience with writing?
I’m Eliza Ames. I write fantasy. I currently have one book out, a young adult deep fantasy called Something Special, which is number one of a tetralogy. I’ve been writing a long time but I haven’t been published very long at all. I’m about to hit the five month mark on that.
I’ve always been a writer. I was the little kid at camp that told stories that kept the other kids up all night. I was the little girl with the wild excuses that somehow made sense even if far-fetched. I became the adult that told true stories that actually made people laugh. Often, when someone on social media asks stuff like “How’d you meet your significant other,” my answer is the one that goes on for a couple paragraphs and draws you in anyway. I typically have a dozen likes and comments like, “Damn! That should be a book.” I off and on made a living writing (even though I didn’t fully realize it). I wrote commercials for radio (I even have a crystal award for one), I wrote letters for offices I worked in, and I wrote the content of the web page for the museum I worked at. In my head, I was always the office assistant or copy clerk or web designer and never took into account the sheer volume of writing that I did.
If I could write every interaction, my life would be easier. I write far more clearly than I speak.
Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Q: What does literary success look like to you?
I’d like my books to pay for themselves. There’s a lot of little stuff to writing. Honestly, the writing part is the easiest for me. Even editing is a fairly easy process for me. No, I don’t edit my own books, but because I’m an editor I’m less likely to make grammatical or punctuation errors than some writers. I’m a great speller; I even won a spelling bee a gajillion years ago. (Yes, before you say it, gajillion is not a word.) Anyway, those little things add up. More than that, marketing can actually be expensive. There are a bunch of PAs (Promotional Assistants) that I think the world of. I have three officially earning a little off of me. I’d like it to be more. I’d also like the signings and trips to actually be covered. Right now, they aren’t. I would consider that some success as a writer.
Ultimately, literary success isn’t measured in dollars though. I’d like some stranger to come up to me and say, “Your book helped me. I felt alone – like I didn’t fit in anywhere and you gave me a world where I did. That’s success.
Q: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I research everything. Sometimes I’m looking up weaponry for an era I consider the technological equivalent to my made-up world. Sometimes I’m learning a process for something I don’t actually know how to do. Sometimes I’m actually using google maps to understand an area that will actually appear in my books (I have an urban fantasy underway). I research words sometimes, too. Even the most versed word-smith can’t know everything. I was always amazed at hearing stories of readers who noticed anachronisms in works. I figure if I don’t do it right, someone out there will notice, so research is necessary.
Q: How many hours a day do you write?
I know there are writers that have a set number. I cannot. I have two special needs children. I have a sideline editing job. Sometimes I get a whole ten minutes to myself. I spend it all on research.
Q: What is the first book that made you cry?
I’m not sure. It might have been Deenie by Judy Blume, but I don’t really remember.
Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?
Sex scenes. I can’t write them. I’m never happy with them. I generally avoid them. For books, for movies, sex is often unreal. You don’t have that moment where things get a little awkward or one of you is really sweaty. I don’t find certain industry standard words very appealing either. Body parts as animals doesn’t do it for me. I can’t say if that will change in the future, but right now, that’s my kryptonite. Everything else I can handle.
Q: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Ha! The truth is very little is absolutely original any more. Just yesterday I thought I had a brilliant idea when helping my friend flesh out a few town quirks – not only was the idea already in print, she knew exactly who had written it (someone I’ve never read, by the way).
I suppose I try for originality, but also do try to write something marketable. My readers are always under consideration, but I also try to stay true to myself.
Q: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Prior to that, I didn’t worry about marketing. I tinkered with the books at leisure. Then I was signed briefly by Kingston Publishing but decided I wanted to be even more independent. How the stories develop hasn’t changed. I have a weird mind. I invite people inside it, but I also have messages, things I want to say buried in action and adventure.
Q: Where can readers learn more about you?
My webpage elizaames.com or on my facebook pages: Elizaames7, https://www.facebook.com/groups/406809263135879/ , fb.me/elizaames.somethingspecial, fb.me/ElizaAmesAuthorPage. One of these days I’ll probably do more with mewe (mewe.com/i/eliza.ames), Goodreads, Instagram (eliza.ames), Bookbub (@elizaamesauthor), and Twitter (@elizaamesauthor). Right now, I barely touch them, though I have stuff out there. You can also find bits of me on the pages of my books. I’m all over them.