Author Interview with Aimee L. Salter

Okay guys, about a month ago, I posted a review for Aimee Salter’s Breakable and I found her writing style and story so intriguing that I asked her if I could interview her right here on CoffeeShopReader! She graciously agreed, and I was so excited to see that Aimee has a huge personality! If you haven’t had a chance to check out her book, you can read my review here.

Hey Aimee, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some of my questions!

Oh, no problem at all. I’m happy to!

Okay, so I’m going to start with the most dreaded question: what is your favorite book?

My favorite book is THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay. I think her writing is incredible and even a year after reading it, I’m still desperately in love with Josh Bennett. *Drifts off into romantic reverie…*

What are you the biggest nerd for?

Um…if I’m completely honest, my closet geek has recently been unleashed by the fantasy card game called MAGIC: THE GATHERING. I’m nuts for strategy games, and that one’s the ultimate. If I let myself I think I could get completely obsessed with it. But if you’re looking for something bookish, well, all my favorite authors. Whenever they talk to me on social media or we email, I’m working hard the whole time to try and sound normal because inside I’m like a giddy twelve year old.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always loved books and stories. I set a goal for myself at a very young age that I was going to get published before I was twenty-one. That didn’t happen and I lost sight of writing for a long time. But I kind of fell back into it in my thirties after falling in love with Harry Potter and the Twilight books. I just kept getting ideas and they wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote them down!

You cover some pretty relevant, tough issues in Breakable. Is there anything in particular that has given you a passion for writing a story like this?

For whatever reason, I’m wired that way. I’ve always written stories that touch on the hard side of life – when I was in high school I got a short story published in the year-end magazine that was about a girl whose father abused her, so she murdered him and committed suicide (I was a bit of a morbid teenager). Nowadays I don’t like to write stories that are pure escape. I like to write stories people feel they could actually inhabit (with a little bit of escape mixed in).

In terms of BREAKABLE itself, I was bullied in high school and the experience of the bullying, and the process of overcoming how it molded me was a natural theme to explore. I wanted to write about it in a way that wasn’t a “moral of the story” approach, but instead, if it was picked up by a girl going through that, that she’d be able to tell that I knew how she felt. That she’d know I hadn’t forgotten what it was like. And maybe it might give her a little hope that she could move past it too.

Were the bullying sequences in Breakable based on real stories or events or are they more of ‘realistic scenarios’?

It’s a little of both. I haven’t depicted “actual events” from my life or others, but I definitely drew on my own experiences, and a little from my nieces (who’ve attended high school in the technology age). I’ve always kept up with the issue because it felt personal for me, so I had an understanding of how bullying had changed in twenty years, and how it hadn’t. So I took flavors of what I experienced and the things I’d learned, and mixed them together to suit the story.

There are moments when the teenage me comes through, though. When Stacy cuts loose on Mark and finally tells him what she goes through on a daily basis, she describes some of my personal story.

Now, I don’t want to give anything away, but I must say I am impressed with your ability to keep the reader guessing, unsure whether Stacy is crazy or not. Who is Stacy to you?

Stacy is a combination of who I was when I was about 16 (the good, and the bad), and just a bunch of character stuff that the story needed. As a writer I start a story with a character in my head, but as the plot progresses and issues have to be ironed out, the character becomes defined by the story they need to tell. So, the first draft of Stacy was almost purely 16 year old me. The Stacy that’s in the book is very different, but still has some of me at her core.

Okay, now for some completely random, fun stuff to get to know you as an author!

Yay! I love this stuff!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Either taking a canal cruise down the Seine in France, or taking a donkey-walking tour of B&B’s in the Burran region of Ireland. And yes, I did say Donkey-walking. You pack your stuff onto a donkey every morning and wander to the next place. Wander. Tug. Whatever.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure? (type of sweets, TV show, movie, books, etc)

Food. Especially homemade popcorn, fried chicken, creamy mushroom and chicken pasta, and Pavlova topped with blueberries (the best dessert ever to come out of New Zealand).

That said, I embrace food, so it doesn’t really feel “guilty” to me. My guilty pleasure(s) are regency romance books by Julie Anne Long and Tessa Dare. They’re actually very good, well written books. But the covers make them look like something Fabio would pose for, so I always live in fear of someone picking up my kindle and flipping through the icons…

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Oooooooo, fun question. I would have mind reading. I think so many times people aren’t honest out of fear. I’d love to know when I could reassure someone so they could be themselves. And I’d also love to know exactly when to kick the bad guy in the baubles to make the most impact.

Thanks so much for having me, Angie. This has been fun!

Review: Breakable by Aimee L. Salter

Publisher:  Aimee L. Salter

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction, bullying

Series: None

Pages: 340 (eBook)

Release Date: November 4, 2013

Rating: 071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png071913_0709_ReviewThron2.png

Summary from Goodreads:

When seventeen-year-old Stacy looks in the mirror she can see and talk to her future self. “Older Me” has been Stacy’s secret support through the ongoing battle with their neurotic mother, relentless bullying at school, and dealing with her hopeless love for her best friend, Mark. 

Then Stacy discovers Older Me is a liar.

Still reeling from that betrayal, Stacy is targeted again by her most persistent tormentor. Only this time, he’s used her own artwork to humiliate her – and threaten her last chance with Mark.

She’s reached breaking point.

Literally.

__________________________________

coffee to goCoffee To Go: Well, it kept me up until 4:30am the night before an 8am test. It was that intriguing. Stacy makes you want to fight for her. She’s not a pushover. Salter is great at believable plot twists; the story never got boring for me. The most accurate description? Raw. On every level.

Characters—

Stacy: I wouldn’t say I necessarily liked her. I always support fighters who are direct in their approach and Stacy wasn’t that. But I definitely empathized with her; my heart went out to her and her conflicts within herself and with other characters are very realistic.

Older Me: At some times, very enigmatic. I liked it. At others, it seemed like I could see right through her. I think Salter did a great job making Older Me a character full of intrigue, uncertainty, and foreshadowing.

Mark: Oh, so clueless, boyish, and…realistic! As the reader, I didn’t see Mark the way Stacy sees him. Instead, I saw the way Stacy saw him and I saw the way the rest of the world would see him. (That’s a lot of “saws”). Anyway, I really respected Salter for making Mark a round character whom one might actually meet in a high school. He’s not some formulaic love interest full of mystery and unrequited love and brooding, yet he still cares deeply for Stacy. In short, I adore the mistakes he makes!

Finn: Can we not discuss him? Like, is he worthy to be deemed human? Finn, Stacy’s most enthusiastic tormentor, needs an attitude check and a life. He’s awful—almost too awful to be believable. I can’t decide whether that’s a flaw or a strength.

The Themes—

I didn’t feel like Salter communicated any strong themes in Breakable, but I did get a sense of some definite ideas. I think this book is a good lesson to people about what really goes on in the mind of someone who is bullied. It also reminds us of the importance of showing compassion to those teenagers. Honestly, I was beyond angry at everyone in the book who blames Stacy for being bullied. …Then, very guiltily, I realized that I would probably have a similar mindset. Wow. Reality check.

Final Thoughts—

I usually don’t review for self-published authors, but I’m really glad I reviewed for Aimee. She’s a brilliant writer—especially when it comes to plots—and has a lot of potential. Something tells me this will be the first of several novels with which readers will identify. I highly recommend that you read Breakable. You can buy it here for only a couple bucks. It’s definitely worth it.

**The author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way.

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