"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Interview with A.R. Moler, Author of "Falling From A Height"

Kiki: Hi Amy! I read that you teach chemistry, are a home schooling mother of two, and are a published author. Your blog title is great, Playdoh, Legos and Stoichiometry! So, with all of that going on, can you tell us what a typical weekly schedule is like for you?

Amy: To a degree, our family "lives" the schedule. I teach from 5pm -10pm two to three nights a week, so I operate on a sort second-shift mentality. If I'm up before 8:30, it's only because I HAVE to be. I let the kids veg in front of the TV for at least a couple of hours while I suck down coffee, check email and hopefully get some writing in. Monday nights are piano lessons, Tuesday daytime is occupied by a home school co-op where my kids are currently taking -stage magic, a lit course in the Aenied and chess. Tues night I teach the "big people" at a community college. Wed is errands. Thursday is swim lessons in the morning and work for me in the evening. Friday is errands as needed. In between all this, we "do school" meaning homeschooling my kids from roughly 12-4:30 almost every weekday.

Kiki: People often ask me, and my schedule is not near as full as yours, when I find down time.  I often explain that writing is often my time for me, and that I am lucky that work and play are the same.  With this schedule, do you feel the same? 

Amy: Yes, I agree that writing is "me" time. Once or twice a year I "run away" to a hotel some where close to home so there's not much driving involved and write like a maniac for about 24 hours.

Kiki: At the top of your blog, you have the quote "Perhaps the most important of all education is the ability to make yourself do what you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not." Can you tell me why you like this quote, what it says to you?

Amy: There are things we all hate. For some people it's math, for other it's writing. Often the things we hate are a stepping stone to things we want to do. I have people pass through my chemistry classes who want to go to med school and pharmacy school and the like. Some really hate chemistry. "Sorry honey, but if you want to go   to med school, you have pass chemistry. Knuckle down and come see me during office hours for help."

Kiki: That is great advice for us all. Thanks!

Kiki: On your blog you said “my plot bunnies are not the fluffy sweet kind.” So, tell me about what plotting a story is like for you. And, more specifically, how did you come up with the plot for your Shadowfire Press release, Falling From A Height? Love the title by the way!!!!

Amy: Plotting? It's often starts in the middle. I get blind-sided by an image or event that seems really cool. Really cool for me often tends to involve danger, injury and interesting set-ups. Last weekend I stood in front of a man in a line while waiting to take my son on the "Howling Tornado" at Great Wolf Lodge. He was apparently a SWAT team guy, and was telling his girlfriend about how when you're hanging off the side of a helicopter in flight preparing to rappel down to an active scene you have to make sure your body is "ell-ed" out away from the skid, otherwise when you push off to rappel down, gravity swings you back fast enough to smack your face into the skid. Presto ---plot bunny.
Falling from a Height- that's a little more complicated. It started out life very, very loosely as a fan fic. I wanted a kick ass, hard nose female to be put in a situation where her life was literally in somebody else's hands. I grew up 8 miles from the cliff where the main event is set, graduated from Hood College in Frederick MD where I spent a semester being an unpaid slave in a government lab ( aka doing an internship), and have a good friend who married a Norwegian student. It twisted and mutated and got placed in my Division P universe which then gave me shadowy bad guys behind the scenes.

Kiki: I love when real life sets off the imagination! And, this leads me nicely into my next set of questions. Your bio on Torquere Press reads “A scientist at heart, she loves the pursuit of knowledge especially the first hand experience type. Recent "research" forays have led to the purchase of a motorcycle, rappelling, riding with the local EMS service, learning to shoot a hand gun and traveling out of the country. She hopes soon to add helicopter flying lessons to the list.” Really? Have you always been this adventurous? Have you started the flying lessons yet?  Tell us a little about rappelling. Whew, and finally, what is the craziest “research” you have done?

Amy: Yes, I took a helicopter flying lesson. Verdict- I am too seriously uncoordinated to operate machinery that requires two hands, two feet and operates in an x, y and Z set of coordinates. Rappelling took a lot less upper body strength than I thought and a whole lot more "balls." The part where the instructor pulled back the 5 foot square covering the center of the platform and told me I was going to drop the 35 feet to the floor "free" meaning no nice wall to place my feet against generated some serious trepidation. Craziest? Driving uphill through the heart of Georgetown during rush hour in a stick shift with a set of directions laying on the seat, because I had no clue where I was going. This was not a planned event, it was a mistake. It will make it into a story at some point.

Kiki: LOL, I love it! So, here is are some easier questions meaning nothing as grim as that driving experience. *grins*  With all you do, how much time do you get to read a week?  What is the best book you have read recently?

Amy: Reading? Maybe an hour. Best lately? Blood Moon by M.R.Sellars

Kiki: If you had the time, what hobby would you take up?

Amy: What makes you think I have no hobbies? I crochet -socks, sweaters, etc. Gotta have something to do with my hands when the kids are at piano lessons and such. And we travel (as family mostly). Most years we spent 2 weeks in the UK. Sometimes I quilt. Sometimes I assemble and finish furniture.

Kiki: *laughing* I guess your crazy schedule for one, but what I actually meant was is there something you have always wanted to do but just haven't gotten around to in life.  For example, I knit myself, but I hope someday to find the time to take piano lessons.  So, let me rephrase. Is there any hobby you haven't tried yet that you think you would like? 

Amy: I'd like to have time to actually learn more than a few dozen words in Welsh. I'd love to spend a couple weeks over there just taking a language class one summer. Maybe in my retirement years...

Kiki: Closing on a sweet note, what is your favorite ‘unhealthy’ food?  Is it something you have to hide from your kids to get any? I ask because when I was young I had a neighbor who hid M&M’s from her kids to get some. LOL 

Amy: At the moment-Hershey bars. I buy the whopping big ones and hide them on an upper shelf in the kitchen and break off pieces usually late in the evening to nibble on. 

Kiki: My favorite last question - Create a question of your own (and answer it too please) tell me something I would never have thought to ask.

Amy: What other country would you consider moving to? Wales, probably the suburbs of Cardiff. All the best of beautiful coastlines and the culture options of the city, and you can drive to London in one day.


Kiki: Thanks so much for being here today Amy.  I really enjoyed getting to know you better.

Please visit Amy's blog to find out more about her and her books.
Play-Doh, Legos & Stoichiometry
Amy's Publishers

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In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.