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© 2018 by Romancing the Coast.

Interview with Aimie Jennison

February 23, 2018

Aimie is a Yorkshire lass living in Australia. She is a mother to three boisterous boys, two of which are teenagers who drive her crazy on a daily basis.

Aimie 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, gay romance and crime/thrillers being her favourite genres. Her characters talk the loudest when she's at the beach or climbing a mountain.

 

And on with the interview...

 

ME: What is your favorite childhood book?

AIMIE: I don’t think I had a favourite book, but I bought all the Enid Blyton books when I was a kid, The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair etc. Then as I got older I moved onto Goosebumps and Fear Street books.

 

ME: What is the first book that made you cry?

AIMIE: Molly McAdams' Taking Chances is one that I remember balling my eyes at.

 

ME: Is writing your primary 'job' or do you have another source of income?

AIMIE: I’m a stay at home mum and writing is my primary job at the moment.

 

ME: Do people around you know you write romance/erotica and what do they think about it?

AIMIE: My family know I write romance, they are all extremely supportive.

 

ME: Do you believe in writer’s block? If not why not? And if so what suggestions do you have to start the juices flowing again.

AIMIE: Writers block is definitely a thing. I’ve been struck by it a number of times. Everyone is different, and you have to find what works for you. I find pressure sets me off, if I set a deadline, I’m guaranteed to be hit with writer’s block, so now, I don’t set deadlines. My editor is awesome and allows me to send it through whenever I have a complete manuscript as long as I understand that she won’t always be able to get to it immediately. Which is fine because I don’t have any release dates set so I’m okay to wait.

I’ve also found forcing myself to write something I’m not feeling, or ignoring a character that I shouldn’t be writing also triggers the block too. So now, if a new character talks I will take notes or write the scene they won’t shut up about, until they let me go and if I don’t feel a story at that moment I focus on something else until it flows.

 

ME: Let's talk about your process for a bit. Are you a plotter or fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer?

AIMIE: To be honest, it depends on the character. Some characters come to me with a whole story arc and I will know exactly what is going to happen along the way. Others come to me with just one scene that leads to another and another, and some of these scenes could belong anywhere in the story, not necessarily in order.

 

ME: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

AIMIE: It depends on the story. I usually write Paranormal so I tend to have more free reign with that, so research isn’t always needed, unless it’s in regards to a characters job or past. In that case I’ll research as I come up to the scene if I feel I need more information than I have. I am currently writing a short story based around the Titanic which is taking far more research than I’d expected. It’s made me glad I don’t write historical romance.

 

ME: Would you rather write standalones, standalones with connections to your other works, or multi book series with no true conclusion until the very end?

AIMIE: I personally like reading multi book series because once I fall in love with characters I want to know more about their futures, so I guess I’m the same when I write. These characters become family and friends and it’s hard to let them go completely. In saying that, if a character comes to me with a solid story that only fits as a stand-alone, I won’t push it for more.

 

ME: Where do your story ideas come from?

AIMIE: Now we get to the questions that make me sound like I’ve escaped an asylum.

All of my stories have started with a sentence or a voice (is your crazy alarm ringing yet?) floating around my head for days. I had one “I’m sorry, I can’t, Kevin,” in my head for months before I knew what story it belonged to and which character was actually saying it.

These odd words or even full scenes come to me when I’m doing everyday things like washing the dishes, cleaning, or having a shower. That’s why I always refer to my writing as telling my characters stories because they tell me these stories and I’m just putting them down on paper and making them into the novels they become.

 

ME: Yep, you're just a little crazy... Actually, it's not that crazy, I hear many author with similar stories. So, do you ever base your characters, events or locations on real people, events or places?

AIMIE: Yes, I have three characters in Releasing the Wolf who are based on real people. One of them is the villain. LOL. The other two are really close friends of mine.  I have other unpublished stories that also have characters based on real life people, Jared’s book (Mount Roxby #5) his love interest is based on a friend who adores him, he just couldn’t love anyone but her. I couldn’t do it to her.

 

ME: Is there a character in one of your books loosely based off yourself?

AIMIE: I like my female characters to be strong and although they aren’t based off me, I think I wrote them how I would like to be. So, in a way yes. They are who I want to be even if they aren’t who I am…Yet.

 

ME: What process do you use for selecting the names of your characters?

AIMIE: Again, crazy alert...My characters tell me their names. I have a current work in progress or WIP, that I’m about four chapters into, the hero only just told me his name and the female lead still hasn’t told me hers. I’m sure it will happen in time. I will look at baby name books for secondary or background characters if I need them, but like I say they usually come to me with names.

 

ME: Who has been your most difficult character to write so far?

AIMIE: I don’t think I’ve had any difficult ones. I’ve had a few surprises. Jared came to me as a bad guy in Pride to Pack. An abusive ex-boyfriend. But then when I was three quarters of the way through the story he told me the prologue and that explained everything and actually turned him into a good guy. He wasn’t abusive after all.

Dominick Drake from Pride to Pack did the same thing. He was meant to be the enemy, the antagonist. But he turned out to be a misunderstood bad guy. Seems like I have a soft spot for them. LOL

 

ME: Who doesn't love a bad guy? Have you ever killed off someone who pissed you off in one of your books?

AIMIE: The villain I mentioned earlier who is in Releasing the Wolf and based on someone I know, well, let’s just say they got what they deserved.

 

ME: BAHAHAH. What was your hardest scene to write?

AIMIE: I’ve written a couple of death scenes and they are the hardest. Especially when I’m not expecting them and that characters just throw them at me out of the blue. It hurts me just as much as it does the rest of the characters and hopefully the readers.

 

ME: Does writing energize or exhaust you, and why?

AIMIE: Honestly, it depends on my frame of mind. If the scene is flowing, it’s energizing but sometimes it’s hard work even getting a couple of paragraphs and those days are totally exhausting.

 

ME: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal, and why?

AIMIE: I’d have to say a turtle, because I’m a slow writer. I can’t knock out books as quick as some other authors can, but slow and steady wins the race, right?

 

ME: Ain't that the truth. On to some advice for the aspiring authors out there. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

AIMIE: Believe in yourself and never lose the love of writing.

 

ME: What are common traps for aspiring writers?

AIMIE: Don’t set your expectations too high, very few authors have that big break with their first release. For everyone else it’s a hard slog to the big break and many of us still haven’t had it yet.

You need to go into publishing for you. Write the story you love. Not what you think others with love, because that is a shortcut to making writing go from something you love and enjoy doing to something you hate and just don’t want to do anymore.

 

ME: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

AIMIE: So, there are three things I think are worth the money.

  • Editors. Get a good one. Please, do not self-edit unless it’s something you went to school for. I made the mistake of trusting that my first editor was good, she said she had done previous work and she was a friend, so I believed that. It wasn’t until the reviews started coming in that I realized she wasn’t that good. If your book is badly edited, readers WILL let you know in reviews. It’s hard to get good reviews but those bad ones will come in thick and fast if there’s a reason for them.

  • Vellum for formatting. It’s expensive but so worth it. Once you have formatted four books you’ve covered the cost in what you would pay someone else to do them. And you are left with pretty and professional looking books. It’s also so much easier and quicker than formatting yourself through Word.

  • Covers. This is the main selling point of your book. People will be drawn to or turned off your book by the cover. So, you want the best of the best. Cover designers know what they are doing so trust them. All the designers I have worked with have hit my vision perfectly yet made it even better than I’d imagined. Many designers offer premade covers which are cheaper than custom covers which may fit your story or even give you an idea. But be careful, buying premades is like eating Pringles—once you start you can’t stop. You’ll end up with a folder full of premades waiting for you to write the stories for. 

ME: Thanks for your time, Aimie, some great advice in there. We look forward to seeing you at RTC2018!

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