Please welcome Ami Blackwelder to Immortyl Revolution!
First, Hi Denise and thanks for having me!
Ami, toward what age group is your work geared?
My book is written as a YA book, though the main character is a Sophomore at University. Middle school, High school and college students as well as young moms would enjoy the novel.
Into which genre would you say your work falls and why?
Paranormal and science fiction romance, though the story could be called a chick lit with paranormal elements.
Here is a blurb on Ami's book the Hunted of 2060:
Three Lovers. Two Species. One Way to Survive. It's set in Alaska in 2060, when April enters her sophomore year at University. She thought Robert might be the love of her life, but as she discovers, she is hiding something inside her, something the rest of the world believes to have died out. She struggles with who she was and who she is becoming, as she learns of a family she never knew existed and of enemies she will have to outrun, outfight or outwit to survive. As April embraces her new identity, will she have to leave the life she loves behind? With underlining themes of how prejudice breaks human connections and animal/wildlife conservation, this novel,which has received rave reviews, will leave the reader flipping through the pages of April’s story.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
April and Arken. April is the main character and she is very torn in the beginning trying to find her place between two worlds. Arken is her hybrid love, and his dark, dedicated pursuit of her is very intriguing to me, as well as to many readers I hear.
What other writers would you say have influenced your work and why? What are some of your favorite books in the genre?
I enjoy paranormal and science fiction, but I would confess my favorite novel of all time is Pride and Prejudice and have read and seen it many many times. My novel, I am told, is reminiscent of Teen Alien Huntress and Shiver. Fans of those two books will love this novel.
Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorites as well. What is your writing process like? Do you do a lot of background research? Do you plot every detail or do you prefer the characters to move the story in new directions, or a combination of both? Do you belong to a critique group and do you find this helpful?
I begin with a seed, and the water pouring is the growth that occurs when I allow my character to develop freely without my own pre-conceived restraints. I usually have the beginning and an idea of an ending, but the middle really forms a mind of its own and sometimes influences the ending as well. My outlines develop as my story progresses. I don’t pre-outline. With science fiction and historical novels, I do research.
Do you have any advice for young or beginning writers?
Believe in yourself and never stop writing.
Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?
I’ve published through Ireadiwrite publishing, and Indiependent Books. However, I am currently listing all of my books with Eloquent Enraptures publishing. I am also seeking a big time agent/publisher. Go to http://amiblackwelder.com/ for prints, ebooks, and purchasing options. You can find my work at Amazon. Kindle. Barnes and Noble. Nook. ipad.
What is your website and/or blog where readers can learn more? Can they friend you on Facebook or other sites?
I'm at http://amiblackwelder.com/ and yes they can friend me. Simply go to my website and you will find everywhere I am !
Are there any upcoming signings or appearances you’d like to mention?
I will be at the Pasco County Library and soon at Barnes and Noble of Wesley Chapel to sign books.
Ami, will you share an excerpt of your book with my readers?
I am torn. Two halves dividing. I feel it deep inside. There is no escaping it, no denying it. My body aches with a pain too familiar.
My hands clutched the metal student desk in sophomore Biology class at Alaska University in Anchorage. Sweat dropped from my forehead in the air conditioned room. Chills rushed up my spine and I shivered in a brief moment only noticed by me. My long nails scratched the surface of the classroom desk. My class schedule appeared on the square shaped electronic device on my desk, beaming in and out of focus as my vision blurred:
The pain as sharp as a knife carved into my sides, my muscles, my bones. My mouth opened in silent agony. I didn’t want anyone to know. I cried out in a quiet prayer inside my own mind. Make me whole. Make me not think. Make me not hurt.
Robert’s athletic build filled his seat one desk away from me in the back row. ‘Are you alright, April?’ he whispered. His brows formed crooked angles over his intense stare. I wiped the sweat as it slid down my jaw line. I felt the color fall from my face.
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ I forced a smile to hide my pain.
‘You sure?’ he insisted. ‘You look kinda pale.’
I excused myself and walked to the restroom. The ceramic tiles of the bathroom walls swirled in dizziness. I fell to the hard floor, hitting my knee and then my chest before everything went black.
In the nurse’s office, I awoke lying on top of a clinic bed two doors down from the dean’s office. Not a room I wanted to be so close to. Not a room I wanted to visit again. His office made me feel claustrophobic, and excited a certain angst inside of me, something I didn’t know how to control. I heard chatting above me, next to me, only I couldn’t see anyone.
I turned my head toward the wall and listened. I heard the sounds in the next room, every word, every movement, every sigh. Turning my head away from the unwanted reality, I curled up on top of the crisp white sheets. I stared at the ceiling and talked myself into believing I just needed more sleep. I didn’t want this. I didn’t understand this.
‘April?’ The nurse’s warm tone called me. She swung the door open and in maternal instinct, stood by my side. ‘Are you feeling better?’
‘How did I get here?’
‘A student found you unconscious in the bathroom.’ The nurse considered her words. ‘Have you been taking anything, prescription drugs, anything illegal that I should know about?’
‘No,’ I shook my head vehemently, ‘no.’
‘Are you sure? I need to know so that I can help you.’ She sounded so genuine. I could hear the sincerity in her voice, in the thumping of her heart. She meant it.
‘No,’ I said plainly.
‘Ok.’ She smiled like she believed me. ‘I’m going to run some blood tests to find out how I can better help you.’
‘Help me? I don’t need any help. I don’t need any tests.’ I pushed myself off the bed. The palms of my hands grasped the clinic sheets covering the plastic cushion. The sound of it crinkling irritated my ears. I don’t need needles in my skin, my blood. I know I need help, but not the kind she can give me. Somewhere inside of me I knew what was happening, but my rational mind could not make sense of it.
I pushed the clinic door open as the nurse tried to grab my shoulder and pull me back, but I turned the corner and disappeared down the hall. I moved fast. My fragile mind could not understand the pace which I took. In a moment, I stood at the door of the main office, leading outside. I couldn’t fathom how the spaces below my feet disappeared underneath me.
But I am safe outside. The fresh air feels right.
Robert nudged me from behind. ‘April, how are you feeling? After Biology, I didn’t see you. I was worried.’ He raked his fingers through his chiseled blond hair that could be modeled for a shampoo commercial. I shrugged, not knowing how to explain this to him. I didn’t even know how to fully explain this to myself. Pulling my long wavy chocolate hair over my left shoulder, I fluttered my lashes fringing hazel eyes.
Distraction is easy for me. Deception is like second nature.
‘I’m fine,’ I said, almost convincing myself. ‘Did I miss anything important in class?’
‘Not really.’ We began to walk down the university campus sidewalk. ‘The same topic from Monday.’
‘Metamorphosis,’ I ascertained.
‘So, what are you doing tonight?’ Robert brushed his crimson sweater against the sleeve of my black silk blouse hanging over a pair of faded blue jeans.
‘I’m not sure.’ My lips tightened and I glared at the cobblestones below us.
‘Plans?’ Robert concluded and I could feel the drop in his enthusiasm. He always jumped before I told him how high. I opened my mouth to say something, something I wasn’t even sure of. I wanted to ease his insecurities, but then I closed my lips and nodded. It’s better if he doesn’t know. ‘Maybe another time?’
‘Maybe.’ As our eyes parted from each other, a few players in Robert’s hockey team, huddled over the lawn, called to him.
‘Robert, over here!’
’‘Look, I gotta run, but call me if anything changes. You know I’ll be there if you need me,’ Robert said in a loyalty I knew only he afforded me. His squared shoulders and robust form made me feel secure. When he wore his hockey jersey, number 17, I almost swooned, like most of the girls. With a hockey stick in one hand and a puck in the other, his image would remain an indelible stain on my mind.
'I will.’ Alone on the campus lawn, I lay on my back. I heard the laughter of the hockey team fade as they drew away from me and entered a building. I experienced a kind of envy for what Robert had with his team, his friends. Something I had never developed in nineteen years. Always too recluse.
The grass squished up against my skin as I glanced over the stars hidden so well in the late afternoon sky. I miss moments like these. Moments of peace. The knife had been removed and I felt no pain. The vibration of sounds around me vanished. I could almost feel the cold of Alaska again.
Ami, thanks for being my guest today and good luck to you!