What inspired you to become a writer?
My freshman year of college I developed a rare nerve disorder in my legs. You can’t tell by looking, but I deal with a ton of whacky and weird symptoms including really tough pain on a daily basis. So I had to change my plans and figure out how to have a career that was flexible and didn’t rely heavily on my legs cooperating on a schedule.
I took a friend’s writing workshop and by the end had a story idea I wanted to keep working on, the first manuscript was born! Then it’s about studying the craft and practicing it like an Olympic athlete or a concert pianist. It’s not easy, it takes discipline and determination to be a published author. It takes writing when you can’t even remember how to spell “Muse.”
How long have you been writing for?
I started working on ONE BUTT CHEEK AT A TIME in 2005 and it was published in 2007 by Delacorte Press/Random House. The second in the series, which actually stands alone too, is coming out in April 2011 and it called 7 KINDS OF ORDINARY CATASTROPHES.
Of your work, which is your favorite, or that you hold dear for one reason or another?
At the time I'm writing a book that is my favorite book. You have to remember that authors are working on books that readers will see in 1-3 years. Right now I'm writing a survival odyssey called ECHOES OF 1492 and it's my favorite. I absolutely adore Gert Garibaldi's voice (ONE BUTT CHEEK and 7 KINDS)--she's a hoot to write. But I also love dealing with the taboos and mythology around death like in the Fenestra series of MERIDIAN and WILDCAT FIREFLIES (July 12 2011). There's something I love about all of them. I wouldn't want to give readers a story I didn't love--what's the point of that? :)
As an author who is your favorite to read from?
I read 20-25 books concurrently—like other people change channels on the remote. Readers who are interested can keep up with me on Goodreads, Facebook or by joining my email list at www.MeridianSozu.com, I recommend my faves for the month in my newsletter. Overall favorites include Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Margaret Atwood, Jude Deveraux, Nora Roberts, Stephen King...I read just about anything but math theory and computer programming--everything else is fair game!
What is your favorite genre?
I grew up in a house full of books and love of story, but it wasn't until I found romances in seventh grade that I really fell in love with stories. So they will always hold a special place in my heart--I am a sap for happy endings! But YA is amazing in the last five years--it's exploded, there is something for everyone in that section and adults who don't read in it are missing a ton.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Writing isn't an answer! :)
I'm a huge college basketball fan--so there's that. I love reality TV--the trashier the better. I do a lot of gardening (when my legs cooperate). I quilt. Make cakes and lots of yummy desserts for friends. I spend time with the dog, cats, chickens and wildlife of the area. Spending time with family and friends is a priority even though they know when I'm working I tend to disappear for weeks or months. There is never enough time in the day to explore all the amazing adventures in the world.
Have you ever collaborated with another author? Or plan too?
I have a critique partner and we work each other's writing. I don't have a plan to collaborate officially with an author, I wouldn't rule it out though!
Do you have any pen name(s)? If so, why do you choose to use a pen name?
Nope, I write under my own name!
Any words of wisdom for your fans and readers?
I want to thank readers for their enthusiasm and heart. You guys rock! More questions and answers can be found at my websites: www.amberkizer.com, onebuttcheek.com and meridiansozu.com. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter--I'll be sending out a sneak peek to my fans via there and Facebook in February.
I think the one piece of wisdom I have worth sharing is to not limit yourself to the books and stories you're willing to try reading. You never know what will connect with you on an emotional level. Some of the best books I've ever read I picked up in an airport (I love book buying in airports!) because I was just browsing and open to reading anything that struck my fancy. So when people say "I don't like this genre" or "I only read this" I feel bad for them because there are amazing stories--both made up and true in our world and they'll miss them!
Thanks very much for having me! Happy reading! Amber