|Amy Vansant is the author of the romantic comedy Slightly Stalky, urban fantasy series Angeli, editor of the best-selling Moms Are Nuts humor anthology, former editor for Surfer Magazine, and author of The Surfer’s Guide to Florida. She’s also a professional nerd, labradoodle mommy and huge dork. She’s been writing and finding other creative ways to make no money since high school.She’s written humor for places like McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies, Barnes and Noble Review and others. You can read more at her humor/self promotional site, http://AmyVansant.com. Or follow her on Twitter @AmyVansant. She’d like that. Be a dear. Amy lives in Maryland with her husband Michael and their Labradoodle, Gordon.
Here is the AwesomeGang.com Author Interview for more info!
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m the author of “Angeli – The Pirate, the Angel & the Irishman” – a contemporary fantasy/mystery/adventure/romance and the editor/co-author of the “Moms are Nuts” humor anthology. Years ago I also published “The Surfer’s Guide to Florida” – a wave finding guide to the sunshine state. I also have 3 or 4 novels stuffed in drawers around here somewhere…
I’m a Labradoodle mommy and never turn down a cocktail. Or three.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Angeli – The Pirate, the Angel & the Irishman” is a super-fun urban fantasy/adventure with a good dose of humor and romance. It’s a little Sookie Stackhouse, a little Buffy the Vampire Slayer… but no vampires. Bottom line is it is a fun read. And hopefully infectious, though not in a skin rash sort of way.
I had always been a writer, I was the East Coast Editor of Surfer Magazine for years and a freelancer, but I started to do web design for added income. Then the web took off and I put writing aside for years. About four years ago I had a dream that was the nugget for Angeli, and suddenly realized I hadn’t been doing what I love for over a decade! I started working on Angeli and started my humor blog (http://www.AmyVansant.com) to help me get back into the swing of writing again.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Only that I prefer to do it very early in the morning, like 3 or 4 am, when my husband and dog are asleep and I don’t have to fear distractions. My husband and I both work from home and it’s like having a permanently 2 year old wandering around. Gordon, the Labradoodle, is much more mature.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The authors I love the most are much more serious than I am – Vonnegut, Douglas Coupland – much more literary. They inspire me simply because I love them and I want to write as beautifully as they do and touch people the way they do, even if my approach is lighter. Also, I think I probably started Angeli after reading the first two books of the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series. They were light and fun and I thought “This is just like how I write! Hey… how come I don’t write anymore…”
Then I guess my mind started writing via my dream world before the rest of me caught up.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a chick-lit humor novel called “Slightly Stalky,” which is the semi-fictional tale of how I stalked and bagged my husband (Spoler alert: I got him). I put so much humor into Angeli and my blog is pure humor, so I thought I’d just write a straight-forward romantic comedy next. Angeli has been well received, so I’m hoping to wrap up “Slightly Stalky” in time for Christmas and start working on the next Angeli book.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve put an embarrassing large number of hours into building my Twitter following, so that helps get the word out. My next best is begging… a lot of begging for reviews. Begging friends, web design clients, people on GoodReads, people on the street… I try to send 1-3 requests for reviews out a day.
Speaking of which, would you like to write me a review on Amazon? Let me get you the link here… just a sec…
In all seriousness though, I’ll gladly give a free Kindle download to… say… 50 of your readers willing to do reviews? I only ask that they A. not hate books with some fantasy/supernatural elements/romance and B. are very very kind people who would never dream of breaking my heart.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep writing! You’ll never sell what you haven’t written. That’s the only knowable. Get a good proofreader. One that will not only check your grammar and spelling but who will tell you if your chapters are really in a bad order or your plot has more holes than a gopher field. Nobody is going to give reviews to a book riddled with mistakes. I used Nicole at http://www.ncdediting.com/ – she was AMAZING. Also, if your self publishing get a good cover! It makes a difference. I used Donna Murillo: http://dhm-designs.com/ She was also amazing with which to work. I REALLY lucked out finding both of these women.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
That much of success is perception. You can’t forget the marketing. You could write the best book in the world, but if you or your editor/publisher isn’t out there flogging it, the odds of it selling are very slim. There is a ton of competition and you have to do everything you can. You have to get the reviews. People don’t even take your book seriously on Amazon until you have over 50 reviews. And getting reviews is BRUTAL.
Did I mention I’d love some reviews?
What are you reading now?
Stiff by Mary Roach. Love it. I love fascinating non-fiction. I wish had the patience to research and write it myself. I also just finished two short books by Nick Tory – Johnny 12 Steps and Johnny Vegas. Very funny, quirky little gems.
What’s next for you as a writer?
The goal is to keep selling books and hopefully someday quit the day job. I suppose you’ve never heard that before, huh? I also want to try and write a book every 6 months… but between marketing of the books I already have and work, that might be a tad optimistic.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Oh yikes. Oddly, the first thing that came to mind was an old book called “The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy.” I think they publish updated versions now. They basically have everything you should know to be a well rounded person in them. That would kill some serious time.
Probably Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle too.
Maybe my own books so I could really agonize over corrections I’d like to make….
And then I would insist that I’d be allowed to take all these books with me on a satellite phone, which I would then use to call for help!
Author Websites and Profiles
Amy Vansant Website
Amy Vansant Amazon Profile
Amy Vansant’s Social Media Links