Wednesday, July 8, 2015

#Interview with Amanda Gibbs (#giveaway)

Why did you pursue writing?

I’m not sure if I pursued writing as much as it pursued me, if that makes any sense. When I was young, I didn’t have the easiest childhood, not that many people do. Being an overweight tomboy that got along better with my teachers than my peers didn’t exactly breed popularity. Because of that, I needed an outlet. Someone, or something, that I could share my thoughts with, share my dreams of what I wish my day had been like, rather than the reality of eating lunch in the bathroom alone. I found diaries. I was lucky enough to have a mom that would never say no to buying a book, so half the fun was picking a beautifully bound notebook off the shelf and treasuring the unmarked pages. And then I would write in them, exploring a whole new joy. Writing became my therapist. My journals would never judge me for wishing I looked like Hannah, or wondering what it would feel like to punch that dick Aidan in the face, or (not so) secretly crushing on my geography teacher.

Eventually, my writing evolved from “Dear Diary” to “Once Upon A Time” and my love for fiction was born. At this point, I was well into my teenage years and had been writing for over a decade. Around the same time, I was diagnosed with a mental illness and temporarily dropped out of school. Friends slowly dwindled away, and once again writing was my only pal left. I wrote stories of what I wish my high school experience had been like, what it had actually been like…and stories about that elusive experience of love, which would eventually inspire Making It.

I returned to high school, and met a teacher that would come to be the other reason I decided to pursue writing. He was the first person I ever read my work to, and surprisingly, he didn’t hate it. We spent lunches editing and revising until I was left with my first piece that I was happy with, and so was he. He showed me that with hard work, my natural talent could turn into something great that other people would want to read, and for that I am so grateful.

To wrap up that sob story novel, I pursued writing because it’s the one thing that always keeps me honest, transcends every phase of my (sometimes) crazy life, and has brought me closer to some of my favourite people on this planet. I figure if I share it with the world, I might just meet some more.

What inspired your book?

I don’t think any single thing inspired Making It, but rather many situations and people that I’ve come to experience along the way of my life journey. Whether it was a fantasy I dreamed up sitting in Cultures class, watching my grand parents eat dinner together, or overhearing a couple’s conversation on the subway, I took experiences from wherever I stumbled upon them. That was really important for me, as I can honestly say I have never been in love. Writing a short story about a couple that lasts a lifetime, that may sound a little crazy, but it became my mission: put together a collage of things I’ve seen that I wish could be my own love story. This was never extravagant diamond rings, or endless bouquets of roses. For me, it’s always been the little things that mattered; The Netflix marathons, the planting a garden, the attempts at cooking for your significant other. Those are the things that make me “swoon”, and judging by the reaction from “Making It”, I’m not the only one. I think inspiration comes in many forms for different people, but for me, my inspiration has always been making the little moments we share with others in life the most beautiful and meaningful. I truly hope I have done that in my book.

How long have you been publishing your work?

Making It is my first published book actually! I’ve shared poetry at open mic nights in Toronto, but Making It is definitely my first baby…with hopefully more to come

What’s your writing environment like?

My writing environment tends to change on the daily, as I’m the kind of person that loves change to stimulate my brain. I’m also much more productive in the middle of the night, when I can’t get distracted by new episodes of Outlander, or texts from my Mom about who got kicked off on The Bachelor. Half of Making It I wrote at 3am every night, listening to Luke Bryan on max volume, and the other half the exact opposite. The last half of Making It I wrote sitting at my school in the Resource Room, music-less, sitting across from one of my inspirations for the book. I’d like to think my change in atmosphere reflects in each half of the book too!

What projects are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on a book composed of only letters between two strangers, both very different people. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say it’s a book about unlikely friendships when they’re needed most!

Author Bio: 

Amanda Gibbs is an eighteen-year-old student, photographer and actress from Toronto, Canada.  Writing since preschool with Crayola crayons, Amanda’s passion is writing stories that make the mundane beautiful, and the little moments in life profound.  Inspired by writers like Michael Faudet, Jamie McGuire, and Walt Whitman, Amanda loves experimenting with form, dialogue, and combining poetry and prose.  In her spare time, Amanda trains in mixed martial arts and takes care of her six dogs, as well as procrastinating schoolwork to write her next book.

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