Friday is upon us again and time for another Author Spotlight. It’s my pleasure to introduce Amy Peterson, recent author of the pet centered memoir, Something Furry Underfoot.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m the stepmother of four big kids, a grant program manager, spouse of an obsessed fisherman, and the “mom” of two nine-month-old puppies, one middle-aged cat, four hamsters, two mynah birds, two tanks of tropical fish, and one rescued white-footed deer mouse that does the loop-da-loop on his exercise wheel. You can see Smokey Joe, the mouse, in action in my pet video, What Animals Deserve at www.youtube.com/watch?v=keR2jssTtOs.
Where can we find you on the Internet?
If you go to my web site www.amylpeterson.com you’ll see that I blog about pets, nature and life. You’ll also see cute photos of my puppies, links to my FB page and Twitter account, a link to My Books and my Videos. I’m also on LinkedIn, GoodReads, BookBlog.ning, Indie Writers Support, Booktrailers.ning, microcerpt, several pet social networking sites, and other places I’ve probably forgotten to log onto for quite some time.
Why did you choose the genre you write in and how would you describe your writing style?
I chose humorous, touching memoirs because while documenting my experiences for myself, it dawned on me that what I learned might actually be of interest to—if not help–other people. My first book, From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds, is a humorous, touching memoir about becoming a stepmom to four kids. It contains over 50 tips for stepmoms and future stepmoms. At the very same time I was figuring out my role as a stepmom, my husband was bringing pets into our home one by one. Before I knew what had happened, I had helped care for a whole variety of pets, and that’s the basis for my second book, Something Furry Underfoot.
I would describe my writing as an easy-to-read, friendly style that aims to bring the reader right into my messy, animal-dominated house, fur and all. Perhaps put better, one reviewer said, “Amy writes as if she were talking to you across the kitchen table.”
Tell us about your latest book. Something Furry Underfoot is my humorous, touching memoir about pets. My husband started by bringing home some frogs and iguanas, which, thankfully, found permanent homes elsewhere. But then the pets came to stay. One female hedgehog was followed by a male hedgehog escapee who fathered several unplanned litters of baby hedgehogs. One ferret was soon joined by three other ferret pals; one hamster was soon joined by several other small, cute rodents; one puppy had so much energy, we got another puppy. My book also includes a lot of important factoids about pets, like that adult domestic ducklings can’t just be released to “the wild”, and that while the average guinea pig lives 5-8 years, we had one that lived to be 11 and another to the age of 12. That means that the 13-year-old child we got the guinea pigs for went happily off to college while we took care of her elderly fuzzy pals. The 50 tips in my book also might come in handy, too. For example Tip #30: Some pets show up when and where you least expect them. The overall message in my book is that all pets have stories and I think our job as pet owners is to make those stories as good as possible.
If you could live in any world from a book or movie which would it be and why?
New Zealand. As the spouse of a college professor, I was able to go to NZ three times, and I was taken in by the mountains and streams, easy access to the ocean, lovely islands and fascinating wildlife. NZ cows and sheep are free-range, and NZ chocolate, ice cream and ketchup are top notch because they don’t add a bunch of corn syrup and other yuck to them. Most of all, it’s relaxing there, in part because the population is low and the number of traffic lights is minimal–New Zealanders are masters in the use of round-abouts.
What was your favorite book growing up?
If I had to pick a favorite book from way back in the day it’d be Baked Beans for Breakfast which—I know only after looking it up online—is by Ruth Chew. It’s about a brother and sister who sneak away from their baby sitter to camp out by a lake and attempt to be self-sufficient. I remember thinking “They’re so brave!” Also, “If I did that, I’d be in such BIG trouble.”
The infamous question—What advice would you give to any aspiring, new authors out there?
Two things. One, it takes a long time for most of us writers to become established and “get our name out there.” I finished Something Furry Underfoot in August 2013, made some revisions in September and since then have spent every free moment marketing my book. By that, I mean I am seeking author interviews, reviews, and guest posts, and I’m writing blog postings about my book, participating in blog chats and following up on any new leads.
The other advice I’d offer is to write the words “NO DOUBT” on whatever device you write on, because the time spent doubting yourself takes away from getting the job done.
What are your preferred method to use while writing and the environment?
Because I have puppies, a cat, and a husband all roaming around my house, and an elderly mom a few miles away, I get a lot of interruptions. So I’ve adapted to writing amongst chaos. Most of the time, I write at the kitchen table, with the TV on (but ignored) in the background, the pups chewing on bones nearby (and ignored until they have to go outside or chew on something besides a bone), and my husband chatting to me about his new favorite fishing lure (also ignored except for an occasional nod to make it look like I’m listening, which probably accounts for the number of lures we have).
What are your favorite games (tabletop and/or video)? If you’re not too much into gaming (even monopoly counts@) what are your other hobbies?
As a kid, Yahtzee was my absolute favorite because my brother, sister and I would play it while on our vacations (which always involved camping). We almost got kicked out a campground once because we were getting so rowdy playing Yahtzee. Since then, though, I fell in with a fast-paced game we call Scrunch. It’s sort of like double-solitaire but you play off each other’s cards. Funny thing: I went online while writing this response to look for instructions for Scrunch and found a posting my sister did on her site, simplify101.com, in 2008. She and I get a wee bit competitive when we play this game. Actually, it’s pretty awful in a good way.
What can we look forward from you in the future?
I’m contemplating a humorous, touching memoir about some of the fishing trips my husband and I have been on. We’ve had the great fortune of fishing in Michigan, Florida, Montana, Canada, Mexico, and the Amazon River thus far, and just about every time, I ended up with a bigger fish than my fishing-obsessed husband. And since fishermen tend to stretch the truth a little (and the biggest fish always gets away), well, just think how much fun I could have with a tall fishing tale.
Thanks again Amy for your time.