Ami Spencer had me intrigued by their latest book, The Storm Within Her, before they even published it. I mean, just look at that cover! Isn’t it beautiful? Not to mention that its initials – TSWH – are the same as my own book, The Summer We’ve Had… that caused a brief confusion on Twitter when we found that out!! Ami’s writing is full of Sapphic love alongside important real-life topics, including neurodivergence, mental health conditions and gender identity. It’s incredibly important to read about these topics, and I’m so glad that Ami is tackling them – and in such a beautiful way too.
Hello Ami! Tell us a little bit about you - who are you, and what do you do?
Ooof! Outside of writing, I'm a Quality Assurance Specialist working in the pharmaceutical industry. It's a lot of checking other peoples work, ensuring everything's done right and essentially being viewed as the "Dark Side" when we have to tell people that something they've done isn't up to scratch or has gone wrong. I'm also a parent to two kids, aged 7 and 4, which in itself is a full time job.
What made you want to sit down and write your first book?
I've always been scribbling down ideas or snippets of stories but it really started to take shape when I was on mat leave with my second kid. They NEVER slept, or at least wouldn't settle without cuddles, and so I spent long hours on the sofa in the middle of the night, baby in one arm, phone in the other, writing. However it was only when I became friends with another author that I thought that what I'd written might actually be worth putting out there. Their advice? "What's the point of writing it if no ones going to read it?" Then it just snowballed to where we are today.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I'm a bit of a backwards writer; I tend to start with an idea for situation I want to address or write, then work out if I can create a solid narrative leading up to it. It doesn't always work, but then sometimes I'll be writing something completely different and realise "that scene I write for another WIP would work perfectly here!" No ideas worth wasting; make a note of it just in case it's useful for later on.
Which of your characters do you relate to the most, and why?
Seph, in The Storm Within Her. There's a lot of me in her; the insecurity, the mental health issues, the feeling of never being good enough or doing anything right. That's very much me.
Has your own writing ever made you cry?
No, but often I think that's because I write to detach myself. When I'm struggling, I push that onto a character and it's enough to dissociate. In my personal life though, I cry all the time!!
Does anyone you know in real life read your books?
Yes! My nan read Broken (all my family have!) and I was terrified about the sex scenes. My great niece also read it and apparently I inadvertently taught her what about certain sex toys. I've never been mortified than when I heard about it!
Imagine your book, or one of your books, was made into a film. Who would play the lead roles?
Ooh easy one for Kate in Storm, is Gillian Anderson. The dress she wears at the end of the book was taken from some red carpet picture of Gillian Anderson, and I had that image on my computer for weeks (trying to get the description right, of course!).
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
Ha! With two kids?! You must be joking! When the British weather permits, we all love to go walking for the day. Living where we do (West Yorkshire) we're only a couple of hours from the coast, or the woods are right on our doorstep so we're kind of spoilt.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to being an author?
Don't try to be anyone else. Don't look out there and see what's popular or what's working for others. Take the time to find your own voice and style and own it.
How about in general life?
Ummm I'm sure there's some profound answer but in all honesty I'm my own worst enemy and will forget it when it's needed anyway haha!
What is a motto you live by?
It's okay not to be okay.
How can people connect with you?
Finally a light-hearted one. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be?
Oh...I don't know. But nothing with salad in it. It's pointless in a sandwich.
If you enjoyed this interview, then make sure you’re following my social media accounts (@kblakemanwriter on Twitter and @katherineblakemanwriter on Instagram) to get all the latest updates! And if you want to support my own Sapphic Fiction journey while you’re here, my new novel The Summer We’ve Had is available now!