My First Time...with Amy Baker
Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book?
It was actually such a cheesy, romantic moment, which just isn’t me AT ALL. I was living in Colombia on top of a mountain when the idea for the book first came to me but it was only when I was leaving, heading back to the city, and then to the UK, via a bumpy motorcycle ride through the jungle that I actually made my decision. The sun was setting, which felt pretty poetic – it was like it wasn’t only setting on my time in South America but also on the period of my life where I didn’t have a clue which direction to point my body in or how to apply myself. In that moment I knew I was capable of doing it, and made the decision to get to work right away.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write your first book?
Oh man, there are so many things I wish I’d known. How bloody long it would take, for one! That no matter what your idea is at the beginning it’s going to grow into something you never could have envisioned. That each draft doesn’t need to be perfect. How important it is to take care of yourself and not to isolate yourself completely from the outside world. I learnt a lot.
What’s your go-to procrastination method?
Youtube. I could watch stupid videos about nothing for days.
What was the biggest tantrum you had while writing it?
I don’t think I ever had a full-blown tantrum but I did a fair amount of crying to my Mum and friends, and a lot of talking to myself in the mirror. In hindsight maybe I should have smashed more stuff up.
Best thing about writing your book?
Creating something that I am super proud of. And the worst?
Being so all-consumed by it that I thought of little else. I’ve been a complete bore for nigh on three years now.
Go-to writing snacks?
Chocolate biscuits. One dunk and they’re gone – which means they don’t count.
The book that changed you?
There have been a lot but the most recent, and therefore the one that’s freshest in my head is “Women who run with wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I cannot recommend this book more highly – I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen how magical it is. I plan on buying it for everyone I know that I think might need it. It’s life changing, and so beautifully written it felt like every single word was being whispered to my soul. I’m really not exaggerating. It helps you to understand yourself and what it means to be a woman, unapologetically. It also reminds you of the power you have within – and I’m all about that right now.
Who or what inspires you to write?
Humans. Everyone’s so interesting and wonderfully weird. I like observing to understand what they’re about and then writing it down to make sense of it. I also really like making people laugh.
Your pump up song?
The song from the finale of Karate Kid 1. It reminds me that I am indeed the best around, and that nothing’s gonna ever keep me down.
If you could share a bottle of wine with one writer dead or alive, who would it be?
I’m relatively new to Lena Dunham, but now I’m completely sold. I love her honesty and how she doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable. It’s what I try and do…she’s just waaay better at it.
One piece of advice you’d give first time writers hoping to get a book published?
Don’t be afraid to talk about your idea. I was so guarded at first, but when I started to talk about it – it grew and became clearer. Talk about it as much as possible. If you confide in the right people they'll raise questions and in responding, you'll often find the answers you’re looking for.