July 2022 – Here I bring you another interview. Another talented author I met on Twitter. She’s a friend of writer JD Estrada and I wanted to know more about her, so I invited her for a chat. I present to you author Amie “A. I.” Winters.
She writes young adult fantasy and horror fiction genres. She has also published multiple articles on writing and publishing, and has worked as grant writer and copy editor for non-profits, municipalities, and major corporations.
Her published books include the three books of the Strange Luck series –Strange Luck (2015), The Nightmare Birds (2016), and A Darling Secret (2017). In 2016, her book The Nightmare Birds was selected as Best Story of the Year by Fantasia Reviews. In 2021, she published Summoner of Sleep in the psychological horror genre.
I confess I am not a fan of horror stories, but I’m curious and want to know more about Amie. Here is our conversation:
Hello, Amie, welcome to my blog is Full of Coffee! First question: do you like coffee? If you do, how do you like it? Or, do you prefer tea?
- Yes, I love coffee, although I’ve cut back in recent years. I like a good dark roast and I drink it black. I also like any kind of tea and lately I’ve been drinking a lot of those Yogi teas that don’t taste the greatest but are super good for you.
- I think my first memory of drinking coffee was in junior high when my parents would drag me to church each week. I would always sneak a cup of coffee and powered donuts and dunk away.
I love black coffee. It reminds me of my late mom. Tell me, where did you grow up? Did your childhood have any influence on your interest in reading or writing?
- I grew up in Northern California but have since lived all over. Most people think I’m a beach person because I’m from California, but I actually loathe the beach. Give me the mountains and the forest any day of the week. This is one of the many reasons I recently relocated to Colorado for the second time. In terms of my childhood, I wasn’t a big reader growing up, but creative writing was my favorite subject in school. I actually wrote my first horror story when I was nine and still have it. I shared it on my Instagram along with awkward pics of me as a kid.
I grew up in a rural area in Puerto Rico, surrounded by hills, mountains, and forests, so I love that. But, it’s an island with beaches all around, and I live in Florida, so I also love the beach too. I recently visited Colorado! We did a long road trip there. And, I’m going to check out that story on Instagram! When did you decide to give writing a try? Did it affect your personal life, your profession?
- I published my first book, Strange Luck, in 2015 right after I graduated with my master’s degree. It was something I started as a fun little hobby to occupy my time when I wasn’t working at my corporate job. Since Strange Luck is young adult (YA) fantasy, I really enjoyed writing about fantastical worlds and magic versus the tech writing I did by day. Since then, I’ve published three more books, my latest of which is Summoner of Sleep—a psychological horror novel in the vein of authors Lovecraft and King. I’ve been a grant and technical writer for about fifteen years now and really enjoy it, especially working for non-profits with a mission I really believe in. Although I’d love to write fiction full-time, I think keeping it as a hobby makes it a little more special and fun because it’s something I want to not, not that I have to do.
I know from experience that going for a master’s degree, you have to polish your writing skills. Writing fiction makes your imagination inspire you, as you create characters and settings, and give them their story. Strange Luck was your first published book. How was that experience of getting a book published?
- Strange Luck is a classic example of figuring things out. I had no idea how to write a book, let alone publish it back then. It was a long hard road of trial and error and somehow, I figured it all out and produced a book. I think the worst part though was figuring out formatting. For all you writers out there just getting started, my advice is to do your research, talk to as many people as you can, and take your time during the process. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, so don’t give up!
In fact, I’m actually in the process of writing my first fiction romance novel, and believe me, I’m taking notes. After Strange Luck, you published books 2 and 3 as a series. How did the idea of doing a series come up?
- I initially wrote Strange Luck as a stand-alone novel, but then readers started mentioning to me that they wanted to know more about the characters and asked if I planned to make a sequel. When I got the idea for The Nightmare Birds (book 2), I decided that a sequel made sense so I continued the journey. Then the same thing happened. Readers wanted a finale; hence A Darling Secret (book 3) was born. From time to time I’ll still get asked if I’ll do a fourth book in the series and I’d love to, but truth be told, I feel like Daisy and the other characters had a good run and their story is now complete. This experience is what also prompted me to start writing in another genre. I wanted to write something different and new, which led me to write Summoner of Sleep.
In Summoner of Sleep you went into the horror genre. Tell me about this change in style.
- Summoner of Sleep is unlike anything I’ve ever written. It’s much darker, told from different character perspectives, and quite frankly it’s much more adult than the Strange Luck series. H.P. Lovecraft is my favorite author of all-time and therefore I wanted to write something in the horror genre. I liked going all in on this novel in terms of being as creepy, weird, strange, and psychological as I wanted. I remember that when I was in early talks with my publisher, Literary Wanderlust, they kept asking me to make it gorier and darker, which to me is an awesome thing to be asked to do as a horror author. If you’re a horror fan, I hope you can check it out and let me know what you think.
Wow! I’m glad you found a publisher to motivate you that way. Any future project you want to talk about?
- Currently I’m working on another psychological horror novel. I’m not going to release any details yet until I finish it, but I can tell you it will be very creepy and weird (*insert evil laugh here).
Wonderful! Can’t wait to see what else you have to show us. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, with us.
I hope everyone enjoys this interview as much as I have enjoyed writing it. It’s a great opportunity for me to meet all these incredible writers.
If you want to know more about Amie, you can follow her on Facebook @aiwinters, Twitter @AmieIWinters, and Instagram @aiwinters_author. Also visit her website AIWinters.com and YouTube page/channel. And don’t forget to visit Amazon to find her books!
I’ll keep reading, I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep dreaming! I have some more pending projects to work on. Thank you for reading! It’s time for my tacita de café. Salud!
Para versión en español, vea Fullofcoffeeblog.com/una-tacita-de-cafe-con-la-autora-a-i-winters