Wednesday Author Interview: Aimee Easterling
I am happy to present my first official Wednesday Author Interview for your enjoyment. My guest today is Aimee Easterling, author of the Young Adult paranormal werewolf novel, Shiftless. Please feel free to comment on Aimee’s interview, and ask any questions you might have about her book, her writing style, or what’s coming up next for her. And if you enjoyed this interview, please let her know that as well.
Welcome to Bookin’ It, Aimee, and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
Aimee Easterling has been spoiled by four dogs, has spoiled six cats, and has largely been ignored by two guinea pigs, four turtles, and a slew of fish during her thirty-some year life. Studying biology and working as a naturalist have both informed her writing, but she’s quite willing to let reality slide in favor of a good story. When not writing, she loves to read and always keeps books by Robin McKinley, Patricia Briggs, and Elizabeth Peters on her shelf. She is currently hard at work writing the sequel to Shiftless, her first werewolf novel.
1. Tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?
I never really decided I want to be a writer, but I did make a decision to start writing around the time I thoroughly fell in love with books in early elementary school. In fact, without realizing it, I’ve been preparing for my writing career ever since — every one of the thousands of books I’ve paged through has impacted my eventual writing style.
2. Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you?
Every book that I thoroughly love inspires me to write. My husband calls me a book slut, though, so those beloved books are many and varied. My favorite books have included The Secret Garden (fourth grade favorite), Outlaws of Sherwood (fifth grade favorite), Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain chronicles (seventh grade favorite), Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series (high school favorite, perhaps, among many other books), and Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series (college favorite). It’s harder to settle on current favorite books since I tend to love the one I’m with, but Patricia Briggs’ two werewolf series would definitely have to be among my current flames.
In general, I love books that have a strong female lead who grows as a person during the course of the book. I like a hint of romance, but not so much that it overwhelms everything else, and I definitely enjoy books (both fantastical and realistic) that introduce me to a well-thought-out world I’ve never been to.
3. What genres do you read most often for pleasure…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore?
I’m always intrigued by fantasy (especially paranormal and urban), often enjoy romantic suspense, love young adult, will read any book with art theft or archeology in it, enjoy chick lit for light reading, and consume quite a bit of non-fiction. It’s actually easier to say what I don’t like. Lately, I’ve been leaning away from most books written by men, won’t touch horror with a ten-foot pole, and can’t seem to get into books geared toward a middle reader or younger audience. Other than that, it’s more about characters than genre for me. Remember, I’m a book slut.
4. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day?
My laptop is my dedicated work space — sometimes on the desk, sometimes on the couch, and sometimes on the porch. Since I do a lot of work outside for my other career, my writing schedule shifts with the seasons, with more keyboard time in the winter and less in the summer.
5. Do you use visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do consult most frequently as you write?
When writing Shiftless, I mapped out Wolfie’s pack’s living quarters, and I’ve got a similar map of pack locations that I’m using with that book’s sequel. Other than memory aids like that, though, I don’t use many visuals while writing — I like to go inside my head instead of looking out into the world.
In terms of reference books, I watched a few videos on wolf behavior and read up on the same topic while writing Shiftless. Werewolves aren’t wolves, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to start with something real to get the creative juices flowing!
6. When you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing?
I used to sit down and start typing, but with Shiftless, I outlined the plot and was glad I did. I felt like the result was a stronger book that stuck to the point rather than wandering off onto flights of fancy that let the plot drag. That said, I didn’t actually stick to the outline after I was about halfway through the book, so I guess my writing style is a bit of both.
7. Tell us about the books have you published, and where we can buy them.
Both of my books are currently available on Amazon for 99 cents. Shiftless is a novel about a werewolf who fled home as a teenager and squashed her wolf, but who must now come to terms with the pack she left behind and with her inner canine nature. Lollipops, Garlic, and Basement Salamanders is a collection of three urban-fantasy short stories that I wrote a few years ago, before becoming obsessed with werewolves.
8. Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available?
At the moment, I’m writing the sequel to Shiftless, tentatively titled Pack Princess. The world outside is green again, though, so I can’t make any deadline commitments, but I’m hoping to finish Pack Princess sometime this summer. Stay tuned to my blog for more updates.
9. Do you prefer reading eBooks, or print? Why?
I’ll read words anywhere I can find them, including ebooks, print books, and cereal boxes. That said, I do prefer reading non-fiction books on paper since that format allows for a more non-linear reading style, easier reference, and color photos without eye strain. In the world of fiction, I probably prefer ebooks, if only because there are currently so many free choices on Amazon that I often feel like a kid in a candy store when the time comes to choose what I want to read next.
10. What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
The best thing about being a writer is making up worlds to fall into. When you read, it’s always a gamble whether the characters and plot of a story will hit the spot. If you write that story, you know it will resonate with you.
The worst thing about writing used to be bad reviews, but I’ve learned to discount the criticisms that aren’t constructive and to use other reviews to improve my writing. Now, I’d say the worst thing about writing is that there’s never enough time to write as much as I’d like!
Thank you so much for being here today, Aimee. Folks, be sure to check out Aimee’s books on amazon.com. You’ll be glad you did!