Author Spotlight Interview: Amey Zeigler
Today’s interview is with author Amey Zeigler. Amey writes across multiple genres but all of her books include comedy. And, according to her official bio, because she grew up moving all around the United States, Amey loves writing about different places. In her books, she explores the whole world. It was an pleasure getting to know more about her writing process and publishing journey.
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
AZ: My books are action-adventure-romantic-comedies. They aren’t boring. They aren’t your typical romance novels which is a double edged sword–they’re hard to classify, but they also go beyond tropes and one, simple storyline. They are packed with interesting situations, characters, questions, hard topics, and fun. I didn’t know about tropes when I first started writing and just wrote from the heart. Most of my books are from personal experiences and are deeply meaningful to me. For example, I lived in Switzerland for nine months and wrote the The Swiss Mishap as a love letter to the country. And The Casserole Dish is based almost entirely on personal experience, except for the divorce.
HG: Fantastic! When did you know you were ready to take on the title of author?
AZ: I had written three whole novels before I felt like I was an author. I’d always wanted to be an author since I was in fourth grade and devouring Nancy Drew and anything else at my school and local libraries. I wanted to help people to feel the same way I did–swept away into another world. But it took three books under my belt for me to feel that yes I could make this work. I didn’t just write one book as a fluke. I want to be a full-time writer.
HG: Love that you wanted to make others feel swept away. You write in multiple genres. Is there something all of your writing has in common? Maybe a certain feel or theme?
AZ: Hahah! I do write in a lot of different genres–women’s fiction, historical, rom-com, mystery suspense. But they all have one thing in common: comedy. Most of them are very funny, some of them are mildly funny, and a few have a couple of chuckles. But they’re all funny–not crude or crass language, just situationally funny. I like to put my characters in situations where they are caught off guard and have to think on their feet. All my heroines are strong, independent women who still recognize that life is better when we have full spectrum of relationships including romantic relationships with men who are truly worthy of them. I have strong female leads with complementary strong male leads. I think that’s definitely a theme. All my books are at PG-13 or PG. I like to write things that your grandma or your 14-year old can read. All my books have messages of hope–hope to love again, hope to survive, hope to accomplish something bigger than themselves. Most of my female protagonists are young, about 26, which is technically a New Adult genre, but I hate listing it as that as a category on retailers because NA has a reputation for on-screen intimacy. I prefer to have either closed door, or implied intimacy so my books don’t fit the New Adult genre stereo-type, but they still have the same themes: young women, going off on an adventure whether that’s going to a new country to start in an internship or start her own resale shop or travel across the country to meet the man of her dreams she’s only met in letters. All my books are also pretty easy reads. They’re inspiring.
HG: How wonderful! What feeling do you hope readers are left with when they finish one of your novels?
AZ: My work is still escapism–meaningful escapism, but I want people to feel refreshed, like they’ve gone on an adventure, met with the enemy, conquered a fear, pressed through a challenge. I love themes of hope, transformation, endurance, patience, hard work, being kind etc. I want people to think better about humankind, to have learned a little insight about themselves or others. Fiction is truth-telling. I hope my readers feel enlightened.
HG: Love that. Any interesting writing or brainstorming quirks?
AZ: I discuss a lot of my stories with my husband. He’s brilliant and very good at helping me solve my writing problems. He’s a big reader, too. And he doesn’t let me get away with BS. There are always a few scenes where I’m hoping I can skate by and he always catches that and makes me rewrite them. I also think of a theme or what the character needs to learn. I have a notes section in my phone of just funny things I hear, a title, a character attribute and then I build ideas off of that. And yes, it’s just one looooong note that’s disorganized and all over the place.
HG: What a wonderful partnership! What have been the challenges you’ve faced in your publishing career?
AZ: Ahahah! Yes, there have been quite a few. One, I think I have ADHD. I have a hard time sitting still and finishing a project. And two, I jump genres (that may be a function of the ADHD). I found out after I published a few desperate genres, stand-alones, of course, that the way to make money was to publish a series–in fact the longer the series the better. And I was like, oopsie! I was writing where my heart took me, which makes amazing fiction because I write what is near and dear to my heart. But it doesn’t make for a great sales/marketing plan hahaha! Which brings me to my third challenge, all of my books have a part of my heart, which means it takes longer for me to write (I published four books this year, hoping to get out a fifth by the end of 2023.) Because every book has meaning, I feel they resonate more with readers. The Casserole Dish, my best-seller, award-winning novel was so personal to me. I wrote about a time in my life when I battled Postpartum Depression–although it was never mentioned in the book–and all the vicissitudes I had in my life at that time. It was a love letter to my neighborhood and to a friend who reminded me to be the bigger person, to take the higher road and to offer the olive branch. Readers really resonated with the theme and message of that book, but to duplicate it might take another catastrophic event, which I hope I don’t have to go through 😉 I feel like saying to newbie writers: don’t be like me! Write in a series! Write a long series! Stay in a genre. But I also enjoyed the creative exploration I’ve had. It’s helped me to find my voice and my message as a writer. Also, I’ve discovered I’m not really a romance writer. I didn’t know much about romance tropes as I didn’t really read romance until after I started writing in romance. I really want to try writing YA, which is what I love reading…so, maybe watch out for Amy LeDuc–a pen name for my YA fantasy 🙂
HG: Thank you for sharing. What was the best advice you ever received related to writing and/or publishing?
AZ: Hard work > than talent. Skills=talent. Talent can be learned. Talent+ hard work= success. When I first started writing, I read a book that basically said if you can have the bum glue to sit and write 1 million words or 10k hours of writing, you’ll have something worthy to be published. That was immensely encouraging to me. All growing up, I wanted to be a writer, but I struggled with so many things: organization of ideas/time, grammar, even spelling. I had ideas, but I thought I wasn’t talented. A teacher even complimented me on my voice. I held on to that compliment for years! But here was a writer (back to the book) telling me that hard work trumped talent. I was like, Hey! I don’t have to be wildly talented to get published! I just have to work hard to gain the skills to be a writer. I spent 8 years writing every day, reading books on craft, and getting feedback (some of it was not kind) before I got traditionally published. For others, getting to the point of publication probably won’t take as long (see the aforementioned struggle with grammar, spelling, and organization). If you have those things pretty well in hand, you’ll be able to get there much faster. Now I just need to learn how to market myself better… 10k hours later…:)
HG: That’s inspiring. Thank you! Your most recent release is a rom com, titled The Autumn Fallout. Tell us about this book and what readers will love about it.
AZ: Since I learned tropes, I decided to write them my way. Yes, I have a one bed trope, but I do it with a twist. For example, the one bed is the bed of a pickup truck. And a bear comes. So yeah, hopefully funny, surprising, and fun! But what I love about TAF is that there are lots of surprises and delights. Charlotte discovers her house is haunted and then strikes up a relationship with her ghost. Charlotte and Eric have a prank war since they’re on opposite sides of a town issue. Then they go on a treasure hunt. What’s super fun about this book, it’s actually part of a series! It’s a book two to my first book, A White Christmas Lie in a Seasons of Sugar Creek Series–a multi-author series some author friends created. Although both can be read as stand-alones. But it’s also the first book where one of my readers requested to be IN the book. So I wrote a character of one of my readers in my book for a fun twist. She plays a big part in getting my secondary couple together–it’s a later-in-life couple–mostly inspired by my mom who was widowed in the last year, and I wanted to give her hope that she could find love again.
HG: For fun, if The Autumn Fallout were turned into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
AZ: This is such a fun question because we all have images in our mind of what these characters look like. And all writers have the secret hope that someday their vision would come into the big or small screen. I don’t watch a whole lot of TV so I’m not as familiar with some actors as I should be. I’d probably cast Florence Pugh as Charlotte and someone like Richard Madden for Eric.
HG: Awesome. What can you tell us about any other projects you have in the works?
AZ: The biggest thing I’m doing is turning my stand-alones into series. So next book, The Christmas Mug, hopefully will be out before Christmas. I’ve got a fourth book in my billionaires rom-com “series”–really just a collection of billionaire rom-coms. I thought I’d try writing a fake fiancée. Then I’ve got another rom-com that I started years ago as a therapy baby The Late Bloomer, and I’m going to turn that into a series with The Wing Girl and The Third Wheel. I am starting my own Shopify store and trying to get book bundles together and make my work more cohesive for readers to understand what they’re getting. After that, I’ll try my hand at YA. I’ve already written two books, but again, I need them to be series.
HG: Sounds like you’ll be busy! We will be on the lookout for your future releases. Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing when not writing?
AZ: Enjoy is a strong word. But I have a few outside-of-writing hobbies–I make charity quilt tops for the local Linus Connection. They give those quilts to kids in crisis–like homeless shelters, abuse cases, hospitals etc. I volunteer at my local food bank. I volunteer at church as a youth minister. I have three kids, so growing them up right takes time, mental energy, and insane amounts of patience. 🙂
HG: You’re doing good work! What was your last 5-star read?
AZ: I bowed to TikTok pressure and read the The Inheritance Games. They were fun. Devoured them in like a few days. The fourth book is out. One of these days I’ll read it. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of The Forest Grimm by Kathryn Purdie.
HG: For fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…cookies or cake?
AZ: Cookies probably. Macarons. Yummmm.
HG: Movie or book?
AZ: Good book.
HG: Pool or ocean?
AZ: Ocean any day as long as it’s 85* or so
HG: Introvert or extrovert?
AZ: Extrovert. We do exist in the writing community. 😉
HG: eBook, print book or audiobook?
AZ: Audio so I have an excuse to do laundry and housework 🙂
HG: For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
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