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Friday, July 13, 2012

Author Interview with Jamie Ayres

Banner by Cody Underwood

Welcome back, Buccaneers!

This week, I had the opportunity to ask the amazing Jamie Ayres, debut author of 18 Things, a few questions for the blogfest! I have to confess: the more I learn about Jamie and 18 Things, the more I love her and the novel concept.

18 Things will be published soon from Curiosity Quills Press. Take a look at what Jamie had to say about the novel, writing, and her life in general. Before you read on though, take a minute to add Jamie's blog to your list. You won't regret it! :)

You're publishing your first novel, 18 Things, with Curiosity Quills soon! Are you nervous at all?

Oh my gosh, soooo nervous! You know how they have the 7 Stages of Grief? I think writers go through something similar:

Step 1: Excitement--The OMG moment where someone FINALLY offers you a contract for publishment *squeal*

Step 2: Shock--Your body goes numb & nothing going on around you registers.

Step 3: Disbelief--Nope, this can't be for real. They made a mistake. They'll be calling any minute now to retract their offer.

Step 4: Bargaining--Oh God, I'll give anything for this to be real. I won't yell at my husband anymore for never putting his dirty socks in the laundry basket. I'll have more patience for my kids and students. I'll walk the dog 3x a day. I'll treat my body like a holy temple & won't consume massive amounts of chocolate. Just please, please, please let this happen! (say allllllllll of this with your fingers & toes crossed in the prayer position)

Step 5: Guilt--How did I sign a contract before this totally AWESOME blogger buddy who writes waaayyy better than I do? That's not fair!

Step 6: Acceptance--Reality sets in & you remember everything happens for a reason & God has finally given you your shining moment.

Step 7: Hope--That everyone (mostly) will fall in love with your novel when they read it and post rocking reviews.

This quote I read today sums it up nicely:

"A person who publishes a book appears willfully in public with his pants down." - Edna St. Vincent Millay

**I totally agree with the 7 Steps, Jamie!

What can we expect with 18 Things?

So glad you asked! Here is the book blurb I wrote for the back of the book:

Can eighteen things save a life? Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers of course) and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten. Then Conner is killed in a freak accident and Olga feels responsible. The sarcastic, nerdy girl who never missed a day of school is suddenly lost and unable to deal with the emotional pain. When she downs an entire bottle of pain pills, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled 18 Things. Eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday. Olga enlists the help of her friends and becomes a catalyst for healing in their own lives as they eagerly offer suggestions. Alls she has to do is fire-walk, try out for the cheerleading squad, break a world record, and err . . . go on her first date. Good thing Nate, a new hottie in town, enters her life with perfect timing. He brings the fun factor to her list and helps her discover the beauty and strength inside herself, then complicates things by falling in love with her. Maybe it’s time to put into practice the lessons her list has taught her. Just as she’s finally embracing the joys of YOLO, her therapist reveals a big secret and Olga’s world is shaken. In the past year it took eighteen remarkable things to change a life, but nothing she believed about her mission is true. Now she doesn’t just risk losing her true soul-mate forever, she risks losing her very soul. There’s only one thing she knows for certain. Her choice will affect their future for all eternity.

When did you realize you were a writer? Did you write in other genres first or find your niche quickly?

Well, I always loved to write but it wasn't until middle school when the Language Arts classes were seperate that I gained a lot of attention from my teachers. I always won contests and was chosen as the good example to be read aloud in class. I wrote for the high school newspaper and got really involved with that . . . even attended a journalism conference at Columbia University for five days during my senior year. But after my first year of college, I took a missions trip to Jamaica and stayed at a children's orphange. I knew God was calling me to teach, so I switched majors when I returned for my sophomore year, always with the intention of writing in my 'spare' time. Flash forward to also getting married that summer and having two kids much earlier than we expected--you can imagine 'spare' time wasn't in the works. Then in the summer of 2009 hubby started snoring and keeping me awake. Since I didn't have to get up early for school, I started writing. I didn't mean to write a novel for teenagers, that's just what came out! At first I started writing YA contemporary love stories. I pretty much still do, but now there are paranormal twists thrown in:-)

What does a perfect day entail for you?

A lazy summer day at home, peanut butter blossoms baking in the oven, reading & writing, playing & giggling with my daughters & basset hound, a picnic dinner on the beach with family and our besties as we watch the sunset, and later that night, a few moments alone with my hubby *wink, wink*

Do you have a writing routine? Any props you absolutely must have when you sit down to write?

During the school year, I write/blog/critique from 8:30-11:30pm (after my youngest goes to bed) and then read a novel before bed until 12:30am. In the summer, it varies according to what we're doing that day since I must somewhat take on the role of 'cruise director' to my kids--keeping them entertained! But I shoot for actually writing my novel for 2 hours a day every day. It's really critiquing and blog stuff that demand most of my time though. Props--my Starbucks travel mug (so I don't accidentally spill all over my laptop--gack) that's actually filled with Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla Coffee.

Do your characters mirror the people in your life in any way?

If you ask Mr. Ayres, he'd say he was the inspiration for my hot protagonist, Nate, in 18 Things.  My female protagonist is actually named after my two grandmothers, but her personality and looks resembles more of my step-sister, Misty (who will appear on my cover--yay). I used a lot of names from my real life in the novels, kinda to pay tribute to those people. But really, their personalities are all their own.

We all have guilty pleasures. What are yours?

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Did I mention chocolate;-) Also, Barnies Santa's White Christmas coffee. It costs $12 for a half pound but so totally worth it!!

In addition to writing, you also teach. Have you found that the two go hand-in-hand or is there a disconnect between the two for you?

I think writing is more of a stress release from my teaching job, lol. There's more of a disconnect for me but I'm passionate about both, and hopefully good at both. Of course, both really stem from the absolute love of reading!

Have you ever had a fictional crush? If so, who was it? Why?

Ohmigosh! So many! Kostos from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, Gale from The Hunger Games series, Jace from The Mortal Instrument series, Will from The Infernal Devices series, Four (Tobias) from The Divergent trilogy, and most of all, Harry Potter. All of these characters lives are shaped by tragedy, most of them self-destructive, an intriguing loner but also a loyal friend, heroic, and let's not forget good looking!! They helped create series of books I was very sad to leave (well, some are not over yet & the waiting is killing me!)

What's the worst thing you've ever written?

My first novel, Sarah's Crossroads, was pretty cringe worthy. So was my second book, Random Lee Chosen. I still might use those titles, but the stories themselves will never see the light of day! 3 novels in 3 years time and it looks like the old saying is true: third time's a charm:-)

Where else can we find you?

Oh, thanks for asking:

Thanks so much for participating, Jamie! I cannot wait to read 18 Things!

If you haven't stalked followed Jamie yet, what are you waiting for? 18 Things will be released later this year from Curiosity Quills.


  1. LOL . . . I LOVE stalkers:-) Thanks for having me over--it was fun! I'll have to interview you sometime!

  2. What an excellent interview! Even though I follow your blog Jamie (more of a lurker) this makes me feel like I know you a little better, and can I say how excited I am to read 18 Things?

  3. Aw, thanks Amy! That means the world to me:-)

  4. Such a charming interview! I am loving these questions and answers:)

  5. I love the idea of a list used as a catalyst for healing. Sounds like a great read!

    If you have time, check out my interview with Aldrea Alien. She's hilarious!

  6. congratulations on up coming book. it sounds like a pretty cool concept.

  7. What a great interview! ...and with your schedule, who needs sleep?!? Love that you call him Mr. Ayres. Hahahahaa. :)


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