Please welcome Amalie Cantor to the blog for this week's Fellow Author Friday!
When and how did you decide to become a writer?
I think that, in one way or another, I’ve always been a writer. My first attempt at a novel came in seventh grade. I made it through maybe eight chapters before I decided I was already bored with the topic and dropped the whole thing. I dallied with poetry and fiction on and off through the years, but I didn’t really become serious about it until a friend directed me to writing.com. I got more and more involved with that community, even moderating an intro to poetry workshop there a couple of times a year. Maybe six months or a year into my membership, the site hosted a “query letter contest.” As a grand prize, the site was offering funding to self-publish the novel of the winning query letter. I had been toying with a novel idea for a few months and decided to give it a shot. Somehow, I won. A year later, I used the grand prize money to publish the paperback version of Choosing Her Chains. I gave it another editing and reformatting and published it in eBook format six months later.
All that to say I’m still not sure I “decided” to become a writer. I just wrote, took some risks, and what had always been potential eventually became incarnate. I do still have a full-time day job, but would love the opportunity to make weaving stories a full-time career.
Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
For me at least, character comes long before story, even before the world they inhabit. The characters in Choosing Her Chains came to me as I was enjoying a picnic with my (then) fiancée at a local lakebed. Alisandra stepped into my consciousness more or less fully formed, and it took many months of speaking with her to get her story to come out. I have met characters in some of my other short stories (and failed novels) everywhere from weddings to funerals. Eventually they all begin to tell me their stories, and voila.
Elizabeth Gilbert writes about how inspiration is a literal physical force in the world. My own experience makes me inclined to agree with her. I think characters are real, but that they work with us as authors to bring their stories into the world. They cannot become incarnate without our assistance. In that sense, we’re just glorified mediums.
What makes you unique as a writer? What do you think sets you apart from other writers?
I very rarely write anything that doesn’t focus on LGBTQ+ characters and situations. Being a happily married lesbian myself, I find their unique struggles both familiar and intriguing. I also like to write romantic relationships that don’t turn out well, or at least don’t turn out in the way the characters would like them to turn out. I love a good love story as much as anyone, but I am not much for the so called HEA (“happily ever after”). Instead, I prefer to leave as much of the story as I can open to a reader’s interpretation. A reviewer recently told me that, at the end of the book, she didn’t know whether the protagonist had made the correct choice, but that she thought that was kind of the point. She was totally right. I want to present a particular point of view to my readers and then let them make the decision for themselves, just as my characters have to do.
I frequently blog at DaughterofKieran.com and am a social media addict. I’m oftentimes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads (even when I am supposed to be at my 9-5 day job). Friend or follow me on any of them to stay up to date with all my publication information (and to see pictures of my cats). I would also encourage any would-be-readers to check out my debut novel, Choosing Her Chains on Amazon.com. The sequel, tentatively titled Homebound, should be out either late 2016 or early 2017.