It’s been a long while since I held a proper interview here at Without Sushi. A lot has happened since the last time we chatted with today’s guest, so let’s get into it!
Ladies and gentles, welcome Amber West!
::light cheering and scattered clapping:
Hello. Hi. Thanks for having me.
It’s been nearly two years since our last interview. Can you believe it? What took so long for you to get back here? Think you’re too good for us now?
Uh, no. I’m here all the time.
Whatever. Just because you’re employed and an author now, you think you’re better than us, don’t you?
That’s ridiculous. Are you this rude to everyone you interview?
Possibly. I don’t really know. You’re the only person I’ve interviewed since…um…ever.
::looks around:: Who booked this interview? Seriously? This is the best we could do?
See?? You DO think you’re too good for this.
Whatever. Let’s get on with this.
Fine. What is your name?
You should know this one. Everybody here does, as a matter of fact. Amber West. Although I went through a phase in the first grade where I only wanted to be called by my middle name, Nicole.
What is your quest?
To boldly go where no man has gone before. Or, you know, get my kid to poop every day.
What is the velocity of an unladen swallow?
Well, airspeed can be predicted using an established formula. By inverting the midpoint Strouhal ratio of 0.3 (fA/U ≈ 0.3) you’ll find the speed of a flying animal is roughly 3 times frequency times amplitude. Of course, for true accuracy, I’d need to know…
African or European! Man, you really know how to kill a joke. So, as I mentioned, you’re employed now. What is it you do? Probably something dorky.
It does involve its fair share of spreadsheets. Did you ever watch Friends?
You know how no one ever understands what it is Chandler does, even when he tries to explain it? That’s me. Unless I am talking to someone who works in the same business I do, I’ve found I get blank looks if I try to explain my job. So I don’t anymore. I just state that I am the Chandler in my group of friends.
Okay, so you have a job so boring you don’t even dare explain it to people.
That’s not what I…
Let’s skip talking anymore about your job. The best part of that answer is when it ended.
Another change since our last chat – you are a published author now. Congratulations, I guess.
I mean, you didn’t publish traditionally, so I don’t know how much I really need to be congratulating you. I wrote some lovely haiku on the toilet paper roll last time I had the squirts. I’m considering loading that on Amazon. BAM. Published.
It’s not really that easy. I mean, technically, I guess it is. But if you want to put something out that people will actually read, it takes more than that.
So, you’re saying people actually read your book? Aside from family and friends?
Yes. It was an Amazon best seller and has over 100 reviews there, so, yeah. People read it.
Some of those people did not like your book.
That is correct. It’s part of being an author. Bad reviews are pretty much the battle scars that show you made it.
I heard that The Ruth Valley Mising is up for a RONE award. Is that like those Paper Plate awards they give out in high school? I totally got the Slacker of the Year award.
I know. I was there.
It’s a legitimate award. And yeah, I just found out this week it’s a finalist in the mystery category. I doubt I’ll be taking the award home as the other two finalists are seasoned authors with a lot of novels behind them, but I’m pretty thrilled to be a first time author in the finals with them.
How’d you react when you heard the news?
I’m fairly sure I smiled. I’m excited to be included with other great indie authors, but honestly, it hasn’t really sunk in. It’s really weird. Every little bit of success TRVM has felt weird. I just wrote something to entertain myself, so to have anything more come of it is awesome. And strange.
When is the next book coming out?
I’m not sure yet. I didn’t originally intend for TRVM to be part of a series. It was written as a standalone, but with an open ending. The feedback from readers led me to start work on a second book featuring Jameson Quinn, so I am working on it.
I have two other books I am working on as well, unrelated to TRVM, and the day job and the kid, so I am trying to be reasonable and pace myself.
Who was your favorite character in TRVM to write?
Hands down, Father Mike. He’s a pain in the butt in a lot of ways, which made him really fun to write.
Let’s back up a bit. How did you get into writing in the first place?
I’ve always loved to write. I don’t know what age it started, but I know that I wrote little short stories in grade school. In fifth grade, I had a story published in a children’s anthology. I used to write up reports and stories for extra credit in middle school, I wrote a fake Spanish soap opera version of Julius Caesar for my high school English class, and in my first grown up job, I’d trade emails with my boss and the head of sales in haiku form.
Blogging was something I started just to entertain my friends and give me another writing outlet.
I never really gave much thought to being published. I loved writing. I didn’t want to spoil it by turning it into a job. (The same reason I would never want to be a chef.)
But in the publishing world as it is now, I started to see where you could put your work out there without turning it into a career.
I know, shocking. I don’t view writing as my career. But that’s what keeps it enjoyable. I do it because I love it, and I share it because I enjoy entertaining others.
::snore:: What? Sorry? You went on for a bit there.
Do you have a writing routine? Based on your last answer, I’m going to guess no.
Correct. And I know that there are a lot of writers that think that’s a terrible thing. But it works for me. I write when and where it works for me.
That’s not to say that I don’t sit down and try to write when I’m not inspired. Being a mom and having a full time job and other responsibilities means I can’t turn my nose up at free time when it comes.
Aside from these novels you claim to be working on, you’ve done some fiction on your blog as well. The Tell Me a Story series went on for quite some time. Did you enjoy that?
I did. It was a really great exercise. I usually wrote the newest installment the morning it had to be posted, so the story wasn’t planned at all. I looked forward to seeing what would happen each week as much as the readers.
Speaking of things readers enjoy, the character Red seemed to have her own fan club. Can we expect a story about Red in the future? OR will Red have a cameo in any future stories?
I can’t think too much about other stories right now, given I already have too many on my plate, but yeah, I think a story featuring Red would be fun.
For those that didn’t read the series, Red was very interested in mind control, and secret government programs like MK-Ultra. She’s a conspiracy theorist type…but it would be fun to throw her in a story where she isn’t quite the nut job she seems to be. (Oh, see there, now I want to write that.)
Then let’s switch things up and talk about other people’s writing. If you could be a character in Shakespeare, who would you be?
Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing has always been my favorite. No contest. I used to have a whole stretch of her lines memorized.
Just in case.
Just in case what?
You know, some random person asked me to play her. (Joss Whedon, why u no call?!)
How about Jane Austen: yay or nay?
I actually really enjoy Jane Austen. I don’t love every movie interpretation, but I think she wrote great stories and characters.
(For watching purposes, BBC’s Emma with Jonny Lee Miller is a fave.)
That’s awfully girly of you.
I know. But being that I am a girl, I’ll be okay with that.
I also enjoy tea and knitting, but I’m not particularly into pink and glitter.
How about a character that you hate and would never ever talk to?
In books, I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head. I had the privilege of reading some yet-to-be published fiction of a certain person and she has a character in her story that could definitely qualify.
I have to give major kudos to writers that can make you hate a character that much without making you hate the story. A hate-worthy character is really different than one that’s just unlikable.
You know, like every character in Glee. Unlikable enough for me to change the channel, but not worth my emotional energy to stick with the story.
Is there a book character that you’d date?
Well, there ARE Doctor Who books…
I didn’t know there were rules to imaginary book boyfriends. And if you don’t like that answer, I could choose someone from one of my yet to be written books – and then where would you be?
Fine. How about famous actor you’d date?
I’m assuming the answer to this question takes place in an alternate universe, where existing relationships don’t exist.
Yes. Sure. Nerd.
As is apparent to anyone who has visited my blog, I think David Tennant is lovely. He is funny, has a great accent, and is a bit of a dork.
Nathan Fillion would probably rank pretty high up there, too. Somehow I don’t imagine he’d mind an evening at home playing video games.
(In the non-alternate universe, my hubs enjoys video game date nights and is a bit of a dork, too.)
Speaking of fairy tale scenarios, who is your favorite Disney character?
I always loved Belle. She was my first brown-haired, brown-eyed heroine. And she was brave – she risked her life and stayed with a scary beast to save her Dad. She didn’t fit in, she loved books, and didn’t like the hot dude who was after her.
How can you not love her?
I also like the little Chameleon in Tangled.
::scans Twitter feed:: We’re running out of questions.
Is that a bad thing? We’ve been talking for forever already.
True. You probably lost most people about 1000 words ago. You know, those TL;DR people. They’re annoying, AMIRITE?
To each their own.
Oh, come on, you can be honest here. No one’s listening. ::inches closer:: Tell us, what’s your pet peeve?
Hypocrites are topping the list lately. I can’t stand someone who is two-faced. And man, I see a lot of lately.
Ooo…sounds like there is a story there.
I’m not getting into it. Just remember people, what you say on the internet is public. It will catch up with you.
How about a guilty pleasure?
I kinda hate that expression. I think it would be nice to just enjoy something because you enjoy it without feeling like you’ll be judged for it.
Having said that, I’ve totally used the expression to describe my enjoyment of shows like “SMASH” and “Nashville”.
HAHAHAHA – you like those shows? You’re so not cool.
That’s never been up for debate, to be honest.
Favorite curse word?
You should know better. I don’t curse.
No one is going to believe that.
And yet, it’s true. Having said that, I won’t pretend there aren’t fairly rude expressions that have creeped into my vocabulary.
Does that mean we’re done here?
Your face is done here.
Ah, yes. I remember this. ::takes off mic, walks out::
Thanks for joining us for another installment of self-interviews! And a big thank you to the Twitterverse for providing all the questions. As always, if you didn’t enjoy this interview, you only have yourself to blame.
Shhh…you’re supposed to be gone.
I’m sitting right here.
You’re spoiling the illusion!
Feel free to leave new questions and we’ll be sure to answer them in the comments. Would you like to subject yourself to an interview? Who knows, I may consider expanding my repertoire.