1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
I began enjoying creative writing in middle school. This is when I began to feel pride in my work and was first published in an anthology. Since then, it has been my dream to be a traditionally published author.
2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
I would have to go with prose.
3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Elinor Dashwood. I feel I am oftentimes more of a Marianne, but I really wish I could have Elinor’s elegance and grace.
4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
I don’t really know how to answer this question. I guess I would have to say I most identify with any YA author promoting a heroine worth looking up to.
5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
I currently have a blog (amberbatdorf.com) that I attempt to update regularly. It’s mostly anecdotal; about my crazy life, but with the occasional writing update or excerpt.
I am also finishing the second draft of my first, full-length novel Becca’s War. It is the story of a girl fighting both inside and outside of herself – battling the ideals she’s been raised with versus the truths she sees around her.
6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
I don’t know if I really, consciously change anything from first draft to second. I start with a general idea of the story I want to tell, but as my characters grow and develop, they take control of the story and make their own decisions – whether I like it or not.
This story has become something I’m really proud of and I don’t think it could have come about any other way.
7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just get it down! I give this advice to anyone who tells me they wish to write.
No one can tell your story but you. If you have a story in you, just get it out from start to finish. You can always add, polish, or embellish when editing drafts. The most important thing is to just get it out. Then the hard part is done and you can rejoice in the fact that you just wrote a poem, novel, etc.
8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful 😉
My grades were always great in English class because I love to read and I get really into literary theory. I shied away from creative writing classes because the idea of peer critique freaked me out, but I really wish I had taken more of them. It would make it easier to release my work to beta readers, I think.
9. How much research do you do for your writing?
I don’t like to over do it on the research unless it’s something awfully specific that would be offensive or even dangerous to misrepresent.
10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I used to prefer writing longhand; loving the look and feel of a full notebook. When converting from page to screen, I found I was taking too much time editing as I went. Now I prefer to just get the story out on the computer, print the entire first draft, read, edit, and then redraft.
11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I have ever been given is to not be afraid of an ugly first draft. It’s okay if it’s messy. It’s okay if it doesn’t always make sense. It helps you find your story. Don’t stress over making it perfect on the first go-around.
12. What book do you think everyone should read?
Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. I have read it at least two dozen times and it somehow manages to be more amazing each time. Don’t let the title fool you – it’s an adventure tale of a woman in the wild, untamed territories of early Canada.
13. Two-part question: Do you play an musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?
I started playing the flute the summer before fourth grade. Since then, I have added many woodwinds and even some low brass to my repertoire.
I can plunk out a tune or two on the piano, but I would really like to be able to play it proficiently.
14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?
I would love to be traditionally published, but I am also doing the research on all that goes into self-publishing.
15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
Without a doubt – Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Who wouldn’t want access to that library?
16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. If I couldn’t write, I think I would go back to further my degree so I could teach collegiate level Literature.
17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin?
Definitely Chevy Chase. I love me a good Vacation movie. I would have to go with John Cleese as I am more familiar with his work outside of Monty Python.
18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
Finishing the first draft of my first, full-length novel. Just holding the complete, printed novel in my hand was almost overwhelming.
19. What quote do you live by?
“I can paint.” This phrase is a family mantra meaning “I can do it,” especially in instances where your capability has been questioned. It started as part of a story of a conversation between my grandfather and my aunt (when she was younger) and has just evolved into this powerful thing. Any time anyone doubts me, even myself, I remember “I can paint.”
20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous Pulitzer Prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)
I would love to be able to write full-time. I have so many stories in me I am just bursting to tell. I want to share them with the world.
21. Would you like to ask me a question?
No, but I do want to thank you for the opportunity of this interview. It was fun!
It was a pleasure hosting Amber on here, thanks again!
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