Aimee Easterling has been spoiled by four dogs, has spoiled six cats, and has largely been ignored by two guinea pigs, four turtles, a cockatiel, and a slew of fish during her thirty-some year life. Studying biology and working as a naturalist have both informed her writing, but she's quite willing to let reality slide in favor of a good story. When not writing, she loves to read and always keeps books by Robin McKinley, Patricia Briggs, and Elizabeth Peters on her shelf. She is currently hard at work writing her next novel. Visit her at wetknee.com/aimee.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
My books are always better if I plan more...but I tend to get excited after and while and just start writing. So I guess I do a little bit of both.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
My characters always take over the story...but then, it is all about them.
What is your favourite food?
My subconscious seems to think the answer to this question is strawberries. But when I started typing the word, I couldn't see how I forgot about chocolate. So maybe the answer is...strawberries with chocolate?
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a morning person. Sometimes I forget other people think life goes on after dark.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
If I'm just dreaming --- probably China. Actually, I literally dreamed I went on a cruise to China via a southeast passage that cut through the Middle East last night. Quite a feat since I live in North America....
Oh, right, you asked me why. Well, I've always been obsessed with the Other, and China seems about as Other as you can get. Perhaps that's why so many of my stories revolve around outsiders finding a place for themselves in a world they initially find strange.
Do distant places feature in your books?
Most of my books are urban fantasy, with the magic happening right under the average American's noses. But Jaguar at the Portal sends my hero and heroine on a jaunt to Mexico at the behest of an Olmec god, so it definitely fits the bill.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Nope. It's gotta be totally silent...well, except when the cats need some food or my husband drifts through the room.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
The biggest thing I've learned is to put your own spin on things, but to focus on reader expectations.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Although my werewolf and were-jaguar books have been well received, I recently unpublished a young-adult novel and a billionaire romance because they were just a bit too off-beat for the average reader. I wish now that I'd put that writing time toward what my fans seem to enjoy the most --- damaged but spunky female shifters.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
My writing has been influenced by hundreds of books, so I couldn't even begin to list the top contenders here. When I was in junior high, for example, I tried my darndest to read no more than one book a night...but it was tough to reign myself in.
That said, the real world has also had a large effect on my books. I've always loved animals, having been owned by hundreds of chickens, two goats, four dogs, six cats, two guinea pigs, four turtles, a cockatiel, and a slew of fish over the years. Watching how these non-humans interact with the world has given me lots of fodder for writing about shifters, who combine human and animal traits in interesting ways rife with story fodder. In fact, one of the characters in Alpha Ascendant is based on my favorite goat.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Don't get too hung up on your first book. You want that novel to be a masterpiece and feel like it will make or break your entire career as an author. But the truth is that most authors learn the most between books. After you get a little space from (and a lot of reviews on) book one, you realize what you should have done differently, so book two is a little smoother and book three is better yet. If you enjoy what you're writing and are in it for the long haul, you'll get there eventually.
What are three words that describe you?
Introverted, interested, nature-lover.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
My all-time favorite book is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley. It hits all of my sweet spots --- a light romance, a hero who wants to do good but is faced with a tough situation, a heroine who wants to break out of society's strictures but doesn't want to hurt her family, plus lots of trees. (There are more sweet spots too, but I don't want to spoil the twists in case you haven't read this classic. Go read it now!)
That said, I've turned the pages of The Outlaws of Sherwood so many times that I can't read it any more --- I know each step of the story by heart. And what I love the most about reading is getting entirely lost in the twists of a tale I've never considered before. So my current favorite book is usually whatever is on my kindle right now.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
Can Terra choose between her mate and her adopted daughter?
Ember is a bloodling, a werewolf born in lupine rather than in human form. The wolf pup is the perfect blend of rainbows and chaos, bound to bring a smile to everyone's face. But Terra soon begins to wonder whether it's truly in Ember's best interests to raise her adopted daughter as a wolf.
As a bloodling himself, her mate Wolfie adamantly opposes the idea of forcing a shift on their charge before her time. But when Wolfie is called away and Ember's sadistic biological father demands his daughter's return, Terra is faced with a difficult decision.
By werewolf law, a shifter has come of age and can make her own choices after her first transformation. But while forcing Ember's shift prematurely would allow Terra to keep the pup out of the hands of her biological father, the act might drive Wolfie out of both of their lives forever.
List of previous books if any
Wolf Rampant trilogy: Shiftless, Pack Princess, Alpha Ascendant
Related short stories: Bloodling Wolf, In Deep Shift
Other titles: Jaguar at the Portal
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.