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March 9, 2020

Ames’s debut work took an unusual turn during the writing process. What began as an autobiographical self-help book pivoted into a work of fiction. Still not satisfied, Ames changed the main character from male to female and voilà, the first book in the Girl with a Future series was born.

What inspired you to write Angie’s story?

A few years ago, I wrote a self-help/autobiography that I ended up shelving when I read it through for the umpteenth time and realized, who am I to tell people how to live? A couple of years later, I returned to the story as a work of fiction, but I still felt too close to it. The #MeToo movement was happening, and I thought, what if I try to write this book from a female perspective of growing up and experiencing similar things to what I did? Would she have ended up on the same trajectory as me? That was how Angie was born. And then about halfway through the first chapter, she took on a life of her own.

As this is your debut, what did you find most difficult about the writing process and how did you overcome it?

The most challenging part for me is sitting down at the computer. Once I start writing, it usually comes out easily. But getting in front of that computer is always tough. There are so many distractions and excuses. I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott years ago, and it stuck with me that you just need to write. Write every day, and eventually, you will have a story. I make a goal of having at least a thousand words down on the page a day. I also attempt to end with an open thought, so the next day I know where I’m beginning. That way, there are no excuses.

Who is your ideal reader and why?

My ideal reader is anyone, male or female, between the ages of 18 and 35 who can’t figure out their destination in life. It is also those who are older and went through struggles when they were younger or are attempting to start fresh. This is a story of breaking free from what is expected of you, and of what you expect of yourself, and opening up to change and fresh experiences.

How do you imagine readers at this moment will connect to Girl with a Future?

I hope that readers will find something in Angie that reminds them of themselves. Angie faces many obstacles and often makes wrong decisions but keeps chugging along. My wish is that her experiences will inspire the reader to push through barriers that they face, even through failures and mistakes.

Can you give any hints about the next Girl with a Future book?

The self-help/autobiography I wrote covered a span of 20 years. I got through only four years of Angie’s story. So I feel like I have at least four more books in me about Angie. With that said, I am already struggling with the second book. I thought it would be easy to jump in and continue the story after finishing the first book, but I am hitting wall after wall. The second book delves more into her relationships with others, specifically with her mother and the man she met at the end of Girl with a Future. I’m having difficulties with perspective. It may be time to get out of Angie’s head and into the minds of those who interact with her instead. But we’ll see. I’m still in the early stages. I’m going to just keep pumping along.