Friday, June 12, 2015

Secret Worlds Author Spotlight: Aimee Easterling

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Today, I'd like to welcome Aimee Easterling to my blog. Aimee has been spoiled by four dogs, has spoiled six cats, and has largely been ignored by two guinea pigs, four turtles, a cockatiel, 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 her next novel. 

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book?
Pack Princess is the second book in my Wolf Rampant series, which follows a werewolf who has spent a decade squashing her inner wolf. I don't want to say much more about book two because you'll need to read the first novel before any other description will make sense!

JET: What drew you to paranormal fantasy?
I've always been a fan of fantasy with a romantic thread, and I also enjoy books that engross me with interesting world-building. Paranormal fantasy often has all three elements going for it, and also provides lots of opportunity for the spunky heroines that I love.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?
It's sometimes hard for me to take writing seriously. What, you say I don't have to feel guilty for sitting around and making up stories? My husband keeps reminding me that writing is work too, but I sometimes force myself to do things that are "more productive" during what should be writing time.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

When I put my first novel up on Amazon, I expected it to sell a few copies per day or for the book to drift into obscurity. Instead, people started buying Shiftless and leaving glowing reviews! I know that authors aren't supposed to read reviews, but let me tell you --- when real, live readers wrote in to say that they loved my book, their reviews made me much more likely to write the sequel!

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?
I went through a phase where I had a favorite book every year. Fourth grade was The Secret Garden, fifth grade was The Outlaws of Sherwood, I can't remember sixth grade (no, I mean it, I've blocked out the whole year...well, not really), seventh grade I found The Prydain Chronicles, eighth grade was all Earthsea, I discovered Charles deLint and Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey in high school, and by the time I hit college I was engrossed in the Amelia Peabody mysteries. In between, I read everything from classics to space opera that I could get my hands on. So, it's hard to choose one or even a few authors who had the most influence on me during those formative years --- every book had an impact on who I am today, both as a person and a writer.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?
Perhaps it was when my kindergarten teacher allowed me to read to my big brother's second-grade class --- what a rush! Or when my parents praised my juvenile story-telling so much that I decided at age twelve to write a novel. More likely, the deciding factor was simply the endless books that my English-major parents shelved in every room in the house --- how could I not want to write?

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?
I'd like to say that I went on a safari or hung out with real, live wolves, but the truth is I write about interesting characters because I'm a boring, homebody of an author. That said, I did watch a lot of youtube videos of wolf packs in action and read extensively in preparation for writing my shifter fantasy. I'll never forget reading Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf and learning that the primary food of the wolf packs that the author studied consisted of...wait for it...mice.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?
Bloodling Wolf has a soft spot in my heart. I started writing the short story as a way of wrapping my mind around who the romantic interest in Shiftless was as a person, but I ended up falling a little in love with the protagonist myself.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?
Read, read, read and write, write, write. That's really all there is to making gripping stories.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten...starting with Paper or Plastic?
Paper, because I'm also a homesteader and you can use paper in the garden and to start fires. Plastic just isn't that useful.
 JET: Beach or Mountains?
Always mountains, which is where I live. When my family went on our annual beach adventure when I was a kid, I always felt like I was exhaling a sigh of relief when the flat land gave way to hills and valleys.
JET: Paper or Digital?
Digital for fiction, paper for non-fiction. My ereader is just so handy when I'm out with the goats...although the device did slide out of my pocket last weekend and into a mud puddle where it sat for ten minutes until I tracked it down. So I had to put the kindle in the food dehydrator for two days before it came back to life.

JET: Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars. Well, actually, my favorite option is making my husband think I'm confusing the two. Husband: "I heard that Han Solo is going to be in the new Star Wars movie." Me: "Do you think Spock will be in it too?" Husband tears out hair....

JET: Twilight or True Blood

JET: Vamps or Wolves?
Wolves, but that should go without saying giving the topic of my books.

JET: Cat or Dog?
I know, I know, this blows my werewolf street cred out of the water, but the answer is "cat." I'm currently pondering a cat-shifter novel where the hero can twist space to turn into a feline the size of a pussy cat.
JET: Coffee or Tea?
Neither --- hot chocolate.
 JET: Salty or Sweet?
Always sweet...if it's chocolate.

JET: Dark chocolate or White chocolate?
Now we're finally getting somewhere. Dark chocolate. (There is no other kind of chocolate.)

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?
I'm working on two novels at the same time, even though that slows down the completion of either. Terra's story from Shiftless will climax in the conclusion of the trilogy, tentatively titled In Deep Shift. But that cat shifter just keeps prowling out of the dark recesses of my mind and won't leave me alone, so he might hit the outside world first.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Aimee Easterling and her work at the following places:

Until next time,

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