I don't think we've had anyone Welsh on the blog yet. At least, not that I can remember. But that changes today! Today we're chatting with Jaimie Admans, author of AFTERLIFE ACADEMY.
Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello – thanks for having me! I’m Jaimie Admans, 28 and from South Wales, UK. I write mostly chick-lit and young adult books, but would never say no to any genre if I had the right idea for it. Although it was chick-lit that got me started on writing, young adult is my main love!
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was young, and writing seriously for about twelve years now. I always knew I loved it and I wished I could make a career of it but didn’t think it would ever be possible. About seven years ago, I wrote my first chick-lit novel, and I realised that people could and did earn a living from doing just that. That’s when I started to really concentrate on writing novels and started to take writing seriously, with the intention of writing something that could one day be published.
Tell us about AFTERLIFE ACADEMY. What’s the story about?
It’s about a girl called Riley who dies in a car accident. She’s not alone though as she discovers that the accident also killed a boy she hates and spends most of her time bullying. Riley and Anthony find themselves standing outside the gate of a school, except it’s not an ordinary school. It’s Afterlife Academy, a school for teenagers who die before they finish their education. Riley is convinced she had a perfect life and that being dead doesn’t apply to her. She desperately tries to find a way back home, but really the story is about her character journey and growth. Riley starts off as the typical popular girl who you love to hate, but gradually she starts to see that maybe her life wasn’t really as perfect as she thought it was, and death offers a second chance in more ways than one.
Interesting premise! How did the idea of the story come to you?
I was just thinking about teachers one night and how strict they are, and I started thinking ‘I bet they’d even make you finish your education if you were dead!’ and that was it – lightbulb moment! It’s usually a snowball effect – one simple thought just spirals out of control and becomes a book plot, and the more you think about it, the more ideas come in. Pretty quickly I had this idea of a school for dead kids, a previously popular girl suddenly finding herself the outsider while this boy she thinks is a loser becomes popular, the demon dinner lady she befriends. I think you know you’ve got a good plot when you let yourself think about it and you find your mind adding more and more things that work with it and suddenly you’ve got a book you want to write!
Cool. Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
I self-edit up to a point, usually four or five drafts, until the book is as good as I can get it on my own, then I send the manuscript to a professional editor, and write another draft when her changes come back, then I send it to a beta-reader and a proofreader. After that I proofread it myself about a hundred times – you can never proofread too much – and then it’s ready. But there is always at least one typo that slips through the net, and then it’s a mad panic to correct it and re-publish the book before anyone notices!
Mad panics are inherently part of the writing process. ;-) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A little bit of both. I need to know the beginning and end before I start writing. I’ll also usually have a vague list of scenes in the vague order they’ll be written in. I haven’t always written every novel this way, and it’s been a learning curve. I learnt very quickly that if I don’t know how the book will end, then I end up rambling about nothing and giving up halfway through. The most important part is knowing how it begins and how it ends, and I just have to trust that everything else will fall into place while writing.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
Just sitting down and doing it. I’m a terrible procrastinator, and even if it’s something I want to write or a scene I’m desperate to get into, I still put it off. I faff around on Twitter, and sometimes even resort to cleaning the house, just to avoid doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Even when I want to be doing it! I know it’s stupid, and yet I can’t help myself!
What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
A cup of tea! I can’t start a day without one, and can’t survive a day without many!
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
I’d love to be invisible! I think it would be really fun to be a fly on the wall in some situations! The possibilities are endless. You could find out what people really thought of you, you could spy on people you liked, and you could frighten people you didn’t like by pretending to be a ghost and haunting their house!
What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
You don’t want to know! If anyone ever checked my search history, I’m pretty sure I’d end up in prison! Last year I wrote about a serial killer and, honestly, if anyone had seen the kind of thing I was googling, they’d have been scared for their life! It was all the best, quickest, easiest, ways to kill a person. It was pretty grim research, and I would have been arrested if anyone had seen what I was looking up!
Don't worry, lol. You're in the same boat as most writers. They'd have to make a separate building just for us! Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: waffles, derogatory, and ambition.
My boss waffles on in a derogatory manner and my ambition for the day changes to punching him in the nose without getting fired for it.
LOL, great one! Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...
… Gardening! I love growing fruit and veg in my little garden, so if I’m not sat in front of the computer, I’ll be outside, up to my elbows in mud!
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
I hate doing this because I’m always convinced I’ll leave someone out! Everyone has been amazingly supportive, I never expected my family to get behind this whole writing thing, but their support and interest in what I’m doing has been amazing! My friends, new and old, from people I’ve known for years to other YA writers and bloggers I’ve only gotten to know through Twitter in the past few months, their support has been overwhelming! It’s so great to have people going through the same thing as you are when writing, editing or getting ready to publish a book. It makes so much difference to know you’re not alone. I’m sure I’ll never be able to thank everyone enough!
And finally, where can people find you and your books online?
My website is http://www.jaimieadmans.com
And you can follow me on Twitter @be_the_spark and Facebook at the jaimieadmansbooks page!
All my books are on Amazon too, you can find me at Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jaimie-Admans/e/B0097VSV0Y/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 and Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Jaimie-Admans/e/B0097VSV0Y/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1