Author of short stories and Young Adult novels, Amy Baker resides in Yorkshire, UK. She began her writing career penning music reviews and articles, then found her passion in writing fiction, now writing self-published stories available from Amazon. Amy always looks outside the box when it comes to storylines, and hopes to inspire readers everywhere. Amy is also an animal rights advocate, student mental health nurse, crafter, runner and vegetarian.
Interview with Amy Baker:
Matthew Toffolo: What is the general theme and tone of your novels/short stories?
Amy Baker: Well, my debut novel is Young Adult, and so are the other novels I have in the works, and they mainly focus on characters who are growing and learning and searching for something in their life, battling various struggles along the way. My short stories tend to be of different themes and tones depending on how I feel or characters and issues that inspire me. However, they all tend to focus on ‘real life’, sometimes seeming quite bleak (but in an interesting way!), but I am starting to delve into the fantasy world now.
MT: Why should people buy your novels/short stories?
AB: If they want to read stories that aren’t really put into general categories, but are still interesting reads with characters that many people can identify with.
MT: How would you describe your novels/short stories in just two words?
AB: Bleak and real!
MT: What movie have you seen the most in your life?
AB: I’d say I’ve seen “13 Going on 30” the most, which might seem a bit ‘chick-flick’, but I really love the characters in it, particularly the main character Jenna and how she, like many of us when we’re young, wants to be grown up and popular and thinks that will make her happy. But I love when she realises the real things in life that make her happy and how sometimes you may think you want these superficial things but actually when you get them you find out it’s not all what it’s cracked up to be. It’s a lesson myself, and everyone, has learned in life at some point, and I love movies and books which have characters like this who I can identify with.
MT: Was being a novel writer something you’ve always dreamed of doing?
AB: Honestly, not at all! It’s something I’ve grown to want. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school, but I’d always loved to read. When I was around 18 I started a distance learning writing course and wrote various articles and music reviews for different magazines because I had an idea I liked writing at that age but didn’t really know what kind of writer I wanted to be. After doing that for a couple of years I decided I’d have a go at writing stories, and I’ve never looked back! I’ve always been a creative person, and I love creating characters and worlds that I can involve myself in, and I hope people who read my work feel the same. Although I am a self-published author with a ‘paying career’ as well, I’ll eventually send my books to agents and publishers and try to
make it more than a hobby (once I feel more confident about it!).
MT: Do you have an all-time favorite novel? Have you read a novel more than once?
AB: I don’t have one that’s my favourite, I just love particular authors, such as Neil Gaiman and Linwood Barclay. I like authors who keep me hooked all the way through with fascinating characters. In my childhood, and even now, I love Alice in Wonderland, both film and book. I’d love to be able to create a fantasy world like that. Lewis Carroll has a fantastic imagination.
MT: What motivates you to write?
AB: When I write it takes me into another world and that often helps me to de-stress. I might see something or hear something and that will motivate me to write something new, which is always exciting. I always think ‘that would make a really good story’ when something inspires me!
MT: What artist would you love to have dinner with?
AB: If he were still alive, I’d definitely say Terry Pratchett! His mind and wisdom fascinates me.
MT: Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
AB: Many things! Animals, travelling, nursing (I am currently a student mental health nurse), my family and friends. What’s life without passion?!
MT: Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
AB: Yes, make sure you’re writing the things you want to write, not what’s popular at the current moment, because trends come and go. Don’t listen to anyone who laughs when you say you want to be a writer or tells you you’ll never be able to do it. Sometimes there’s constructive criticism that every writer will come across and can use to improve their writing, and every writer gets plenty of rejections, but don’t ever let that put you off writing. Also, practice, practice, practice! Writing can take a while to get better at.
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.