Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Amanda Gibbs, Author of Making It

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As part of the "Making It" blog tour, we're interviewing Amanda Gibbs about her debut contemporary romance short story.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hmm…well, my name is Amanda Gibbs, and I’m an 18-year-old author from Toronto, Canada.  My passions are writing, photography, and travelling.  I’m also a MMA fighter, which is something I would love to include in my next book (definitely need more kick ass girls in the media).  As for school, I’ll be going into neuroscience, which is a little left field from creative writing, but I like to keep myself on my toes.  Other than that, you can figure out most things about me from my book :)

Describe the plot of your new short story in a few sentences. 

Making It is a poetic short story that documents a couple’s relationship, from first meeting through marriage.  It’s told through dialogue, letters and poems, allowing the reader to experience Him and Her in multiple literary forms.  Making It is a love story that lasts.

Who do you think would most appreciate this story? 

I think anyone that’s tired of cheesy Harlequin romances with overly contrived dialogue would find Making It a breath of fresh air.  I kept Making It as genuine and real as possible, and I hope readers appreciate that.

 What inspired you to write a short story about the trajectory of a couple’s life? 

The trajectory element came from watching a few too many romantic comedies.  They always got together in the end, had a big romantic make-out sesh…but then what happens?  I wanted to explore after the rom-com ends.  I wanted to explore when things get interesting.

Your story is unique in that it takes place during a 30-year span. Why did you decide to use this length of time?
My mother has always told me that it takes at least a year to get to know someone enough to really love them.  A year to see them through their best, their worst, and everywhere in between.  I figure if one year is good enough to say “I love you”, thirty years is good enough to say all the reasons why.

In “Making It,” you use prose, poetry, dialogue, lists, and vignettes to tell the story. Have you always been interested in telling stories with different approaches, or is this something that you’ve become more interested in recently?

When I began writing, it was always in the first person within the confines of my journal.  I was good at this, and comfortable with it.  I also believe that you should never get too comfortable in your successes enough that you cease to grow.  So with Making It, I wanted to get out of that comfort zone and challenge myself with new literary forms.  That challenge ended up being the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing, and helped my growth and enjoyment tremendously.  I also find that different forms give different perspective, and help different people see situations in a new light, and I love that.  I love helping readers discover things about my work that they may not have known was there with constant prose.
amanda gibbs, romantic story author
Author Amanda Gibbs.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
Michael Faudet has definitely inspired my writing.  He’s so raw, and strips his work down to exactly what it should be… I love that.  Dirty Pretty Things was my favourite book this year, and I’m so happy he finally published it.  The Lover’s Dictionary was another book that inspired my writing, which everyone who enjoyed Making It should read.  Even if you didn’t enjoy it, read it, I promise it’s much better (haha).

How long have you been writing?

My first memory writing was probably second grade.  Whenever we got assignments, I would write so long I always finished my stories with “To Be Continued”.  Even then, I never wanted the world in my head to end.  Now, it doesn’t have to.

Who was your favorite character to write?

He was probably my favourite to write over Her, because He often surprised me.  I knew everything about Her, she practically is me, but Him…he played out like a movie in my head that I had never seen before.  There isn’t as much about Him as Her in Making It, but what’s there is crucial.  Who knows, there might be an edition from his point of view coming sometime soon…

What do you like about the short story format?

As a writer, the short story format forced me to get rid of everything that wasn’t necessary, and I think that’s an extremely important process for any writer at any length of work.  Whether it was whole chapters or single words, omitting needless information is a key writing tool that improved Making It tenfold. As a reader, the short story format makes Making It more accessible and less daunting to read because of the length.  It also gives you just the “juicy” parts, dare I say so myself.  Every time the reader turns the page, they get something new and crucial to the entire story.  I love that.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started? 

I’m much less self -indulgent.  I think all creative people are to a degree, it’s the nature of our beings, but it’s about polishing that into a piece that is accessible to a further audience than just you.  When I started, the first draft looked almost identical to the last.  Now, they’re like distant cousins.  Still have the same eyes or smile, but they speak differently. I think for me, the key is to write the first draft just for me, with the “door closed”, but make the next draft is for a wider and wider audience until it’s ready for the whole world.

Outside of literature, from where do you draw you inspiration?

For me, it’s important that I go about living my life as often as I’m at a coffee shop writing. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and it’s important to fill that creative well with things to draw from constantly.  Sitting on a patio watching the world go by is a favourite of mine, and never ceases to give me new ideas.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

That’s tough.  On one hand, as a reader, I love the affordability and convenience of my kindle.  But, as a writer, I miss the feeling of a hardcopy book in my hand.  Maybe that’s a little old school, but I hope they make a fierce comeback.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

I only have one main goal as a writer, and that’s to write the truth.  Whether in fiction or not, I always strive to tell stories in a real way, with real emotions, and real, flawed people.  For me, that’s been the key to my writing happiness.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

The business part.  The marketing.  I love talking to readers and meeting other book loving people, but the financial business aspect drives me crazy.  I would much rather spend all my time writing and talking to people, but I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

I have a million ideas in my head all the time, but I would love to in the future write a LGBTQ love story.  I identify as such, and think it is so important that non traditional male/female love stories get the representation they deserve.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your story?

I’d like them to know that they shouldn’t expect perfect characters, or emotions, or reactions…because most of the time in life, these things never are.

More Information
Buy "Making It" on Amazon 
Follow the rest of the "Making It" blog tour
Like Amanda Gibbs on Facebook
Follow Amanda Gibbs on Twitter

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