Happy Thursday! Today, we catch up with a Starving Review alumni who is finally getting a chance to visit the kitchen for a sit-down. Say hello to Kimberly Amato, author of Steele Resolve!
Please introduce yourself to my literary foodies!
I’m Kimberly Amato, author, avid reader, wife, video gamer, computer geek and proud auntie. In other words, an everyday person doing the best she can every day.
Do you do any work outside of the writing kitchen? Any non-work interests?
I actually work for Stiegelbauer Associates, Inc, the company behind the Saturday Night Live sets and many other television/film/theater projects. I work in the office, handle the website, promotional materials, etc. I am a member of SAG-AFTRA so I still audition for various parts or voice over projects.
What is your latest dish to be served up? Are there any past pieces of literary cuisine you think we should take a bite out of?
Steele Resolve & Melting Steele are the first two books in the Jasmine Steele Detective Series. I am currently working on book 3 Breaking Steele and have been tinkering with In the Shadow of the Needle on the side.
What made you want to put on the chef’s hat and whip up your own books?
I needed to get these stories out of my head. I have so many pieces of paper littered about with ideas, script/book titles – I needed to finally sit down and put it all to the page. It was either that or let the stories/voices just run rampant in my noggin.
Do you have a genre of specialty or do you dabble? Why?
I prefer to be genre-less. I know that sounds silly, but if I have an idea in my head the genre it fits into is the last thing I think about. I have a tendency to lean more towards crime, thriller and horror. That being said, I know I could write in other fields – if the idea came to me.
Style! Every literary chef aspires to have their own unique one! What do you think sets yours apart and why?
I think the introspective into the mind of the main character sets me apart. I want you to feel what they feel. Breathe when they breathe. Walk when they walk. I try to let the dialogue, inner thinking wrap itself around you and bring a wholly immersive feel to the project.
Even the best of us find inspiration is the dishes of others. Do you have any literary inspirations, heroes, and influences?
King, Koontz, Cornwell… those are some of the fiction writers I follow. I admit I am addicted to reading a lot of non-fiction about crimes, scientific research in the field, and mysteries that will never be solved. I love seeing how the writer attempts to bring a murderer to justice when they will never be caught. Jack the Ripper, the Black Dhalia and the Zodiac Killer are ones I tend to read about most.
Let’s get into the meat and potatoes: the art and craft of writing itself! Do you have a preference of points-of-view when you write?
Truthfully, I love the first personal POV. I have a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology so I love to delve into the minds of the characters I write. I do enjoy third person as well, as I can showcase a wider spectrum of emotion. One day I will write one with both aspects. Chapters written in the POV of the antagonist and other chapter’s third person from the protagonists POV.
Sparse or wordy, how do you like your descriptions served up? Are you a Hemmingway man or do you like some saucy adjectives with your nouns?
I like straight forward and to the point. Sometimes wordy is needed, other times it weighs my story down to a crawl.
Picking off the menu of base literary conflicts, what’s your favorite and why?
I do enjoy intrapersonal conflict. It is the most human aspect of all stories, in my humble opinion. I like to try and have a conflict with criminals be the outer story with the intrapersonal conflict being a sub-plot.
What do you think is more important to your recipes, plot or characterization? Why?
To me the character is the most important. Like any good movie, television series or novel – if the main character is unbelievable the story will falter. A person is more likely to allow something to fall in the “realm of disbelief” if the character is real.
We all know that the first taste means the most! What do you do to get that first bite hook with your readers?
I like to have a forward that showcases some of the things that happened in previous books, but also has a feeling of everyday life. In the case of the Steele Series, I like to bring a normal scenario one can come across (a car accident, people staring at their phones at a coffee shop) and write about how it is perceived from Detective Steele’s point of view.
The most important of questions: Cake or pie?
Truthfully? Neither. I’m more of a cookie and Starbucks kind of girl.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to aspiring literary chefs out there, what would it be?
My high school English teacher Mr. Kalinowski read anything I could dish up. I went from being made fun of by my fellow classmates to being supported and constructively corrected by someone I admired. He was the first to support any drivel I wrote. Between him and my aunt (a published novelist herself) I have this inner confidence that I can do this.
The point of the above is simple – never give up. Never allow others to knock you down. Never move away from the goal you set for yourself. There will always be someone to tell you that your project is horrible. There are those who will love your work as well. People are fickle. Find those you trust to be honest, and let them read your work. Find the confidence in yourself and use that to block out all the darkness. The sun is much more beautiful place to be.
Get an editor… from experience… get a good editor.