#Spotlight & #Interview - Aimie Jennison
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I'm a Yorkshire lass, living in Australia with my three boys, two of which are teenager who test my patience with their mood swings. I've always loved to read; crime thrillers and paranormal being my favourite genre's, although I will give anything a go.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I'm not writing you can find me running around, cleaning up after the three smelly boys mentioned above. If by some miracle I have spare time you may find me in front of the TV, binge watching some addicting show, or I hiding in the barn with a good book.
Do you have a day job as well?
I'm currently writing full time.
What was your favourite book as a child?
I used to buy a new Goosebumps book every week. I can't really pick a favourite but I'll say R L Stine was my favourite author. Followed closely by Enid Blyton
When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
It wasn't until I plucked up the courage to hit publish. Even now, it doesn't feel real. When someone asks what do you do for work? And I tell them I write books I have a few seconds were I actually remind myself that that's what I do.
What book do you wish you had written?
I think we all secretly wish we could write a 'Harry Potter' sometime in our career's. Not necessarily the story itself but it's success. For millions of people to enjoy your books for years to come. And for them to be made into a series of movies. In saying that, I'm so grateful for the readers who have enjoyed my books, I might not have millions of readers but I value each and everyone I do have.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, I hope to still be writing books that my readers a enjoy. Maybe I'll have some books in brick and mortar stores.
When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing my first book when I had just had my youngest in 2008. It took a few months to write and then it sat on my computer for years until I felt like I could share it. It wasn't published until 2014.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I don't think I consciously chose a genre. The characters started talking to me and I just went from there.
Where do you get your ideas?
They can come from the strangest things, a conversation I overhear - even if it's just one sentence it may spark something and a character will start talking. A stranger I walk past in the street or a couple I've seen - my mind will just fill with what their background story could be or where they maybe going.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Yes. I'm really bad with pressure. Some authors need pressure to knock out the books, but I'm the opposite, if I have a deadline creeping up on me my mind goes blank and there is no way in hell I'll finish before the deadline passes.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
I'm a pantser. I usually know where the story is going before I really start writing. I get the story in snippets, a scene at a time. One day I could be working on a scene that belongs towards the end, the next day I could be writing the first chapter. I know roughly where they all belong and end up slotting them all together like a jigsaw, filling in the gaps and blending them all together.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I would never have managed to self publish without the help of GJ Walker-Smith. I love her books and contacted her after reading them. We became friends and when she found out I had written a story she guided me through the whole process. I'll never be able to thank her enough for all she's done for me.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Editing... I had massive fail when it came to finding an editor. I've never been very good with punctuation and naively thought any editor would be wonderful at fixing my punctuation errors. It wasn't until a week before I'd planned to release my first book, that an author friend read through my book and asked if I'd given her the pre-edit version by mistake. It was a mess.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would go back and ensure that first book got a thorough edit before releasing. After I had the editing issues, I rushed to fix it as best I could. A friend went through it and fixed what they could. Unfortunately I received some initial reviews that picked up on editing issues and I regret that now. Even though I have since fixed any issues that have been pointed out, I wish I'd waited to release the best version I could from the start.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
I've started to write a book that I really love, it has so much potential but it scares me. What if I don't do this amazing story justice? I haven't finished it because I don't want to destroy the beautiful story I have in my mind.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Honestly I have no idea. I'm just winging it and hoping for the best.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Releasing the Wolf is a little darker than Pride to Pack or Forever Young and Beautiful. It's more NA too, due to the characters ages. Not necessarily steaminess though, I'm more romantic than racy when it comes to bedroom scenes. Here is the blurb:
Before his untimely death, the Alpha of the Rossi pack gave beta Jesse O’Keefe one last order: protect his daughter at all costs.
Now Jesse is Alpha, and for seventeen long years he’s fulfilled the task of protecting Rosa Rossi.
But that’s about to change.
A pack member’s unwavering quest for vengeance and a case of mistaken identity start a chain of events that put Rosa’s life in danger.
Can Jesse keep his promise to his late alpha, or will he fall short of doing the one thing he lives for?
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Some of the characters are based off real people. Releasing the Wolf actually has three characters like that, Kate, Gareth and Danny. I wrote a short story called Cure For Christmas, which was in an anthology the main character has cancer. I delved into my own experience with cancer when I was writing her story. We didn't have the same type or stage of cancer but I felt I could still use my experience and feelings, when telling her story.
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I don't know if I can pick one particular part. I enjoy writing the scenes that have all the action, and the ones that give me all the answers when it's finally wrapping the story up.
How did you come up with the title?
All titles are different. Sometimes the just come to me when I'm writing, other times I have to try out lots of different ones before I finally find the right one.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
All of them.
For the Mount Roxby series, Cain, Jared, and Alyssa will be getting their own books. Paddy, Misty and Dominick all have a story to tell somewhere. I'd like to visit Bel and Theo. Ruby has more to tell me too.
I guess I'm going to be writing for a long time. ;)
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write for you, because if you don't love your story, no one else will.
What does your protagonist think about you?
This is a tough one. I could tell you what they think about any of the other characters but I don't know what they think about me. Hopefully they think I'm telling their stories exactly how they want them to be told.
Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author, his creator?
Yes, I can see Bel and I having a good chat over a few drinks at Misty's.
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?
Even though not everyone is going to like your book, it still breaks your heart a little to hear that someone didn't like it.
What has been the best compliment?
"I loved your book. I can't stop thinking about your characters and wondering what will happen to them next."
Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?
They tend to take it in turns pretty well. I did have one new character say "I'm sorry Kevin, but I just can't do it anymore." Over and over. It didn't matter what I was working on, this line would just pop up in my mind. It took me a year to work out who the character was and what he couldn't do. I didn't even know who Kevin was.
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee or some complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Most would be simple. Except Dominick, he'd pick the most complicated just so he could try and trip up the barista.
What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
I get back ache if I sit at a desk for longer than an hour, soI like a comfy chair and my laptop on my knee. I like to have music playing, usually pop or country.
Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than other? Racy? Love? Action?
I can't really write racy scenes. I can write them for a villain, but I just feel like I'm invading my protagonists privacy. That's why most of my love scenes are fade to black, they lay out the foundation and leave the readers imagination to do the rest.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for giving my stories a chance when you picked them up. Also thank you for your patience as you've waited between books, because I know I'm not one of the authors that pop books out every couple of months.
Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?
BDSM. It's a subject I'm not really keen on, also it would mean racy scenes and as we've already discovered, I'm not so good with them.
Do you have any strange writing habits? Like writing in the shower?
Not really, my characters talk to me all the time. I have had them talk when I'm in the bath but they know that's my reading and relaxing time so it's not a regular occurrence.
If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation – who would you choose for which character?
Just to name a few for the Mount Roxby series:
Jensen Ackles - Theo
Jessica Alba - Bel
Mika (the singer) - Dominick
Amanda Righetti - Alyssa
How important are the names in your book?
Most of my main characters come to me already named. It's only side characters that I have to find a name for, but again if they already have a strong spirit to them, they'll tell me their name.
Did you choose them based on how they sounded or looked, or was it completely random?
It's usually a personality thing, although Ruby was named after my niece because she looks like her.
Do you have any name choosing resources you would recommend?
I have a love affair with Google. Google knows everything.
Do you read your reviews?
I skim them, if they are 3 stars and above I'll read them completely. If they are lower, it depends how much I want to torture myself. Those 1 and 2 star review can be soul destroying.
Do you respond to them, good or bad?
I never, ever, respond to a bad review, that's a slippery slope. Regarding good reviews, I'll hit the like (goodreads) or useful (Amazon) button, but I won't respond personally unless they've been sent to me (if I've been emailed, pm'd or my page has been tagged) because reviews are for other readers and not everyone wants the author to comment or message them.
Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Not everyone is going to like your book and that's okay. Some people are even constructive with their criticism and you might learn something but some people are just mean. Every time you get a glimpse of an exceptionally evil one, hit the 5 star filter and read all those 5 star reviews, soak up all of that love.
What is your best marketing tip?
I've been told pre-order is the way to go, the sooner you can get the chatter going the better. My personal tip is, write the best book you can and publish it, if it's good word of mouth will do the rest.
What is your least favourite part of the writing or publishing process?
Writing a blurb or synopsis. I'd rather stick pins in my eyes.
Aimie is a Yorkshire lass living in Australia. She is a mother to three boisterous boys, two of which are teenagers who are driving her crazy on a daily basis.
She loves to people watch, it's her favourite way to come up with new characters and stories. So next time a stranger is staring at you in the street, don't panic, they could be an author basing a character on you.
Aimie has always loved to read and write, paranormal and crime/thrillers being her favourite genres. Her characters are talk the loudest when she's at the beach or a forest.
Aimie would love to hear from you. She would be happy to receive an email or post on her Facebook page.