Amir Lane is a genderfluid supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Sudbury, Ontario. Engineer by trade, they spend most of their writing time in a small home office on the cargo pants of desks, or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural or cooking competition on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper. Their short story, Scrap Metal and Circuitry, was published by Indestructible magazine in April 2016.
Amir is set to launch Gift of Shadows, the first book in The Barrier Witch Trilogy in August 2018. A big thank you to Amir for taking a moment to Q&A with me and giving us a little peek into their writing life!
- When did you write your first book and what inspired you to write it?
The first time I actually finished a book was in 10th or 11th grade. I never published it, because it was kind of a mess, but I finished it. I finished the second one the summer before I started university, and it was also a mess but I hung onto the characters for future reference. I have no idea what inspired the first one. I think I just heard a name I liked and built a character around it, then the story. The second one, I had a scene in my head and I wrote the story so that I could have some context for that scene. I’m usually really inspired by, like, how people got to where they are, how they became this way. Origin stories, basically.
- How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
The biggest change is that I can’t really spend time on ideas that I’m not going to follow-through on. I used to pick up an idea, write two chapters, and get bored. Now that I have a schedule to maintain, that I am literally always behind on, I can’t chase every idea. I do a lot of short stories, and I have a lot of unfinished short stories, and that’s not so bad because I usually do short stories, like, if I’m on a bus or something where I don’t necessarily have time to get into a bigger project or when I need a break, which I’m okay with, but I don’t feel like I can do that with books. Which kind of sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. I keep a running ‘concepts’ list in case one of those ideas speaks to me on a deeper level, but in the meantime, I have more than enough to keep me busy.
- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I think it’s a bit of both. Planning energizes me, but the actual act of writing is exhausting. It’s work. Work is exhausting. But I feel good after, even though I’m tired. So, I don’t mind it so much. It’s like going to the gym. Totally worth it at the end of the day.
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
Endings. I hate endings. I always just want to be like, okay here’s all the loose ends, story’s over, let’s move on with our lives. Because the fun part is over. But nooo, people want endings.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Good covers. I don’t necessarily move many copies of my books, because I’d rather be writing than marketing, but I think my covers do a lot of the legwork themselves. It also gives me something nice to look at to remind myself that, yes, I am actually getting something out of all this.
- Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
I don’t see why not. Writing emotions is just like writing anything: If you don’t know it, study it. Even for me, I’m a very emotional person, I look up ways to describe emotions and emotional markers all the time. To me, there’s no major difference between looking up what an emotion feels like and what, say, being stabbed feels like. We don’t all have the same skills or the same experiences. That shouldn’t be a barrier.
- What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on a book called Gift of Shadows, which will be launched in August in The Shadow Files box set. It’s book one in my new Barrier Witch trilogy. The book stars a Lebanese immigrant, Fairuz Arshad, who has the ability to create barriers and works for the Toronto Police’s Special Crimes division. In the first book, she stumbles onto a string of murders where all the victims are supernaturals missing organs, except nobody seems to be willing to admit there’s a serial killer out there. It’s a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to see the end product.
- What is the first book that made you cry?
The first book that made me straight-up bawl was actually the last Anne of Green Gables book, Rilla of Ingleside. I know a lot of people didn’t read it because it’s one of the only ones not about Anne herself so I’m not going to spoil it, but it takes place during WWI. I was reading it during my lunch breaks, and my co-worker got a little concerned that I spent the entire afternoon trying to hide that I was sobbing. It was at least a week before I could think about it without bursting into tears.
- If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
You know what, I don’t think I would tell myself anything. I was dedicated and persistent and weirdly confident in my writing from day one. If anything, I’d tell myself to just keep doing what I’m doing.
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Gift of Shadows is available for pre-order now exclusively through The Shadow Files Box Set!