Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Interview with Amber Kizer, author of 7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes and GIVEAWAY!

I am delighted that Amber Kizer stopped by my little blog for an interview! Read on to learn more about Gert and her friends, and find out how you can win your very own copy of 7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes, courtesy of Amber herself! Read my review here.

I loved the realistic situations that Gert and her girls found herself in, and how honest they were with each other. Can you tell us a little about how 7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes came to life? Were any of the scenes or events based on personal experience?

Gert Garibaldi just started to interrupt my writing projects. She had an opinion about everything and an editorial comment for everything else. I was tired of reading YA that didn't deal with real girls and real issues--there's still a lot of taboos among librarians and booksellers as to what girls should read about. Boys can do anything in books, but girls have a whole different set of expectations. So when Gert came along, I tried to be as true to life as possible--as if we were following her with a documentary crew instead of cleaning it up so no one gets offended. She's not for everyone--you either love her or hate her. I admire that pluck in anyone--real or fiction!

Everything that goes on in my life becomes fodder for books--there's just no other way to live. But what happens in my life didn't show up on the page recognizable to readers--think of my life as a smoothie--lots of things go in, but it looks very different once the blender button gets punched!
What would your career have been had you not become a writer?

I didn't always want to be a writer. I didn't have artistic leanings or aspirations at all. But my freshman year of college I was diagnosed with a rare nerve condition/disease that changed my world completely. In short I deal with significant pain 24/7, other weird symptoms, and my legs don't always work. So I needed a career that I could do at 3AM when I was still awake because of my legs or that I can do in spite of the restrictions my legs impose at a whim. I knew I loved books and writing could fit around bad days and doctor visits. So I began to learn the craft and the business. I am definitely where I should be, doing what I was supposed to do!
What have you read and loved recently (YA or not)?
I am currently reading TRAPPED. I loved I AM FOUR. Nonfiction I can't stop talking about are books called PEACE MEALS and THE SOUND OF A WILD SNAIL EATING.Most of what I'm reading right now is research about death and dying for the third in my Meridian series, SPEED OF LIGHT, which will be released fall 2012.
Can you describe a typical writing day?
I try to write 10 news pages a day and then tackle the edits, rewrites and other projects. I usually have multiple books going at the same time, in some form, so there's a lot of juggling. Most of the time I do it from home, but when I need a break or it's tempting to work on something other than what I have to that day, I head to a local coffee shop to change up the scenery or outside when it's sunny (must take advantage of the sun here in rain country). I have walls covered in images that make me think of something in the book (those change with each book), I have white boards that  I color code and adjust as the story expands or shifts. There's a lot to the behind the scenes that readers don't see in the pages!
Would you tell us a little about your road to publication? What do you like to do when you're not reading or writing?
I'm a huge NCAA basketball fan. So this time of year it very fun. I play Wii which is a great distraction from my pain and lots of fun to play with other people. I garden, take the dog to the beach, hang out with friends, watch movies. There are kids in my life I adore--so being an Auntie is important to me too! I love to cook, people watch, go to new restaurants and exhibits.
I saw on your author info that you're a food lover and that you especially love making desserts. I love baking (when I have the time!). What are some of your favorite creations? And finally, can you tell us about any current projects you're working on?
Cakes are probably my favorite--there are photos on my website of wedding and birthday cakes. The challenges are great--the more intricate a recipe or the more steps it has, the more I like it. Of course I don't cook that way all the time! Gert Garibaldi's First Date Flutters are cookies I invented for ONE BUTT CHEEK AT A TIME and the recipe is on my site. Cheesecakes are a specialty, peanut butter cookies...anything that goes well with black tea.

Like anyone it was a matter of doing my work, learning the craft, honing my skills and then also learning the business. Most people think being an author is one job--it's really two--the creative and the business rarely overlap. You have to be able to multitask. I have rejection letters like any published author. I wrote four books before ONE BUTT CHEEK AT A TIME which landed me at Delacorte Press/Random House, where I am now working on books 5-7 for them!

Absolutely, the second book in the Meridian series WILDCAT FIREFLIES will be out July 12 2011 so I'm doing a lot of publicity work for that one as well as writing the third and fourth for that series (SPEED OF LIGHT and COUNTING TENS).  I'm also working on a stand alone YA novel called ECHOES OF 1492 that will be out in 2013. So there's lots and lots going on!
Thank you so much for stopping by, Amber!

Amber wanted to let you all know that readers can always request signed bookplates and bookmarks for free by emailing their mailing address to You can find Amber on Facebook, Goodreads, and her own sites,, and

And on to the giveaway! One lucky commenter will win their own copy of 7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes from Amber herself! To enter, all you have to do is comment below on one of your Ordinary Catastrophes--as simple or humiliating as you want to get! Don't forget to include your email address.
Contest will close on April 20.

Enjoy your reading!


  1. Well my little catastrophe would be when I put together a bookshelf by myself. I should have known better. But somehow I ended up hammering on a piece that I shouldn't have, and BAM!! The shelf is missing some wood. Uhh oops :/ Anyways, I was lucky enough to exchange it for a nice and shiny brand new bookshelf, that I promptly made my husband put together, posthaste. I won't be doing that again in the future. Those directions are too confusing.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  2. Mine goes all the way back to freshman year. I even remember what I was wearing-a teal Champion sweatshirt and navy leggings. I was in cooking class and didn't see the glue trap for the mice and stepped right on it. I tried to pry it ofd-not thinking it through-by stepping on the edge of it with my other foot. In seconds I was flat on the ground with both feet stuck to the flue trap. My cooking partner tried pulling it off but it wouldn't budge. I had to hobble all the way to the custodian office where there were able to remove it work paint thinner. As if that wasn't enough, now my shoes were covered in glue and stuck to floor as I walked. Somebody dug out a pair or old lady, baby blue pumps that I had to wear for the rest of the day. The whole experience was mortifying!

  3. Please excuse my typos....I don't always catch the auto complete feature on my "smart" phone!

  4. I have too many of these to count! Ok, umm... I had just talked to our neighbors so they knew to take care of our pets while we were down in North Carolina (my family lives in New York) and I was so excited I ran at our dog to play. Maggie (a big dog, by the way) got excited too and we collided. I fell and couldn't stop laughing and Maggie thought it was a great game. I walked away and got all the way up the stairs to my bedroom before I realized that my foot was really hurting and lo-and-behold, I had broken my foot playing chicken with the dog. The day before we would drive 14 hours to North Carolina for a week-long vacation.


  5. The worst is when you mess up doing something that is so simple or easy, but you know someone is watching. Then you fell like a fool, and can't get back to your A-game. They think you must be a bumbling-idiot.

    candicerjames (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. The catastrophe that comes to my mind happened recently. (*Warning: It's kind of gross!*) My son's first stomach flu occurred last month and was not pretty. First I had to clean poo off his bed, bumper pads, the wall, and of course him. And then he started throwing up and wouldn't let me catch it in a bucket. He was running away from me and puking all through the house!
    lexie.bookbug at gmail dot com

  7. Thank you for the giveaway!

    My latest ordinary catastrophe happened yesterday. My cousin was co-hosting a baby shower for her brother. I went to give someone a hug and knocked over my glass of ice water. Of course, the glass dumped right into my cousin's purse, destroying the purse, its' contents, and leaving the tablecloth wet for the rest of the shower. Epic fail.

    Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

    fletch8502 at yahoo dot com

  8. Mine was when I was left at my boyfriend's parents house to keep an eye on the Turkey while they left to pick up a relative for Thanksgiving dinner. Little did I know that something had been left boiling on the stove. Suffice it to say the day ended with firetrucks! oops!

    mk261274 at gmail dot com

  9. Fun giveaway! My latest catastrophes all involve my toddler. The other day he decided to make himself eggs, so he knocked down the baby gate, got a pan, and started smashing eggs against the wall. When I got out of the bathroom I found a messy boy, messy kitchen, and pan full of egg shells. That kid.

    kathyreadsthis (at) gmail (dot) com


    Mine have just been busy with school


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