Here is my Author Interview with J.M. Ames, hope you enjoy.
Question 1: Thanks for taking part in my author interview. Why not tell us a little about yourself, Where are you from? Do you write using your own name or do you prefer a pen name?
Thanks for having me! I am a married father of two beautiful girls, ages 7 and 9. I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life – born in San Diego, raised in Huntington Beach, now living in Rancho Santa Margarita. My ‘pen name’ is J.M. Ames – which is really just a variation on my real name.
Question 2: Have you always seen yourself as being in the writing industry? What made you want to write?
I’ve always wanted to write, but never seriously considered doing it professionally until this year. Until then, it was more of a hobby/dream. When I was a kid I was always telling stories, either verbally or in written form. At the start of 2016, I guess I hit the proverbial Mid-Life Crisis. I was 40, and needed to do something new to reinvigorate myself. I couldn’t afford a Harley, so I thought I would quit dabbling and instead dive fully into writing, to take a serious stab at it. And it was the best decision I could have made.
Question 3: I do believe you have a piece published in an Anthology called ‘A Journey of words’, your story being ‘The last ride’, can you tell us a little bit about your piece and the anthology?
A Journey of Words is the second ‘Of Words’ anthology published by Scout Media, and all stories submitted had to include a journey of some kind. You can read more about the anthology series here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/
‘The Last Ride’ is a creative nonfiction story. It is about my boyhood growing up with my best friend Max, who just happens to be a dog. I told the tale from Max’s perspective, which is the creative part, but all the events told DID happen. I was in the middle of writing a completely different story when the inspiration to write The Last Ride hit. I wrote the initial rough draft in a single session. I revised it a few times several weeks later. I had originally not intended to publish it, but at the urging of my family I started looking for a pet magazine or something similar for it. That was when I discovered A Journey of Words, so submitted it as a longshot. Was quite surprised to have it accepted.
Question 4: Do you have any other books/stories published or do you plan on publishing any in the near future?
The Last Ride is the first and as of yet only publication I have. I have several more I am working on, too many to list, but the ones you can expect from me soon are: – The Letter (working title) – Tentatively accepted into the upcoming Take Me, I’m Free anthology. This fictional story is in personal letter form. The writer has left the love of his life behind to pursue a cause he truly believes in, but questions if the decision was the right one.
– Untitled – Nonfiction biography of my friend of the past 37 years. The biography will focus on a tragic accident he was in 20 years ago, and how it and the resulting recovery has affected him. This is for the anthology Flooded, which is specifically about brain injury recovery.
– Only The Dead Go Free – Fictional horror story about a haunted house, and the tragic events that led to it becoming so. This is for the third ‘Of Word’ anthology, A Haunting of Words.
– Phil – Fictional story about a beauty salon that has fallen on hard times. A seemingly random encounter at a local farmer’s market leaves them with a new entity that will alter their destiny. I haven’t found a home for this one yet, in the process of a heavy rewrite.
Question 5: What genre do you prefer to write in and why?
While I do read most genres, I tend to go for horror/fantasy/weird stories the most, and I fully expected that to be the focus of my writing, but I have found myself writing in pretty much all genres. I guess it remains to be seen. For now, I am stretching my skills by dipping my toes in all the genres.
Question 6: Who is your favourite author and why? And what is your favourite book, has it impacted on how you write?
I am going to have to admit that my favourite author is Stephen King. I’ve read most of his books. While some of his stories are less than stellar, it is his writing style that I love. Very character driven, very in-depth insight into the mind and motives of the characters. JRR Tolkien and GRR Martin probably round out my top three.
Probably because it was the very first book I read as a child that really floored me with the amount of imagination behind it, The Hobbit. I don’t think it has influenced my writing style too much, but it definitely helped create the inspiration to develop a very rich, detailed, and unique world for my novel series I am working on called Destiny Reborn. The first of the 6 novels this will encompass is still many years away.
Question 7: Do you like to listen to any music when you write? Any particular genre of music or is it anything you consider would go well with the piece you are writing?
I truly love music, too much to actually listen to it when I write. I find it distracting, but inspiring. That having been said, I do have many musical references in some of my stories, especially Phil. Only The Dead Go Free is actually based on a song of the same name by the band Transpose. While I don’t listen to it when I am writing, I do listen to it a few times beforehand, reading through the lyrics.
Question 8: Some authors have some strange writing rituals, a friend of mine likes to read a page from her favourite book to get her imagination going every time she sits down to write, do you consider yourself to have any writing rituals?
Aside from the unique ritual for Only The Dead Go Free, I do sit down and review all my notes, and reread the last twenty or so pages I wrote, tweaking, editing, and so on. This not only tightens up what I’ve already written, but gets my back into the flow of the story.
Question 9: Do you stick to a strict writing schedule or do you just write if and when possible? Do you have a designated writing place?
I wish I could stick to a writing schedule. My primary Day Job requires me to work 50-80 hours a week, on a more or less on-call type of schedule in addition to the fixed 40. I have a secondary job on weekends that also has a fluid schedule. Add the kids in the mix, and it becomes a much more Write When You Can scenario. I have a home office that I use for my primary job, my writing, and other household business. So I guess that would be a semi-dedicated space. It is a separate room with doors, to help with the privacy required. I am not one of those writers that can go to Starbucks and write.
Question 10: How long does it normally take for you to write a book/ short story from start to finish including editing?
Now that is a tough question. Nonfiction tends to go much faster, as it is merely a matter of recollecting, stitching together, and refining. The Last Ride I wrote the initial draft in 90 minutes, but it went through multiple revisions and edits before the final form. Fiction can take much longer. Phil I spent a couple months on, then it stalled for 6 months, and I am just now rewriting most of it. Really the biggest factor is setting aside a large chunk of dedicated writing time. I’ve cranked out over 10,000 words in a day, I’ve gone three weeks without writing or editing a thing.
Question 11: And Finally what advice would you give to any budding young writers out there?
Read a lot. Notice what works for you and what doesn’t. If you have time to write, do it. Don’t wait for the inspiration to hit you, just write. Sometimes it will come to you then, and if not, you can clean up what you wrote later. Learn the rules of grammar, and follow them, breaking them only when it makes sense to, and on purpose. Join a writers group and learn from them. Definitely hire a professional editor when your piece is otherwise done. The lessons they can teach you are invaluable. Once you have a complete piece, submit it. Don’t let your fear hold you back. Don’t let criticism hold you back. The only way you will succeed is if you put yourself out there.
Here are links for J.M. Ames why not check him out.
Personal Site: https://jm-ames.com/
Scribes Site: http://scribescircle.wixsite.com/books/j-m-ames
Hope you all enjoyed the interview and a big thank you to J.M. Ames for taking part 😉
Mercedes Prunty .x.