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Interview with Jami Leigh Burk

A Little Something About Jami:

“Pittsburgh Native, Book Architect, Cheese Enthusiast, Okay-ish Writer, Fantastic Story-Teller”. Jami Leigh Burk’s origins are unknown for certain. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her family and elderly bulldog, Rambo. Not feeling like she ever really belonged on Earth, Jami often looked at the stars and longed for a place that she could be herself. After years of dreaming of this place she decided to create it in her stories. Thirteen years ago, the decision was made to pursue writing as more than just a hobby. Being at home with her then two-year-old daughter, Jami began creating stories with characters that had often originated from dreams. Many stories were started during those first years of novel writing, but none seemed to have what it took to keep

Jami’s attention and therefore none were completed. And, if you ask her, she will say none of them deserved to be finished, which was why they were sentenced to the dreaded “right-click” and “move to trash”.

Fast forward to present day, Jami promised herself to publish her debut sci-fi novel for which she has a love-hate relationship. The beast of a project has caused many sleepless nights and vodka sodas with a twist of limes. Jami has found that her love is for the novelette or novella, and after The Keeper Book One and Two are out, she will stay within the realm of the short story series. The grey hair and wrinkles that come from writing novels have increased expenses for the author, and as a result the hair dye and Botox are cutting into her profits. It’s just a good business decision.

Questions and Answers:

1. What made you want to be an author?

I think I have always had this wild imagination that needed an outlet. When I was young, I used to do elaborate plays with Barbie Dolls, and each had this dramatic back story. Like, Skipper was abused by her mother; Ken #1 and Barbie were high school sweethearts, but Ken #2 was trying to steal Ken #1’s Barbie from him. Now that I look back on it, these were probably too grown-up situations for my age. Being so young and having a more adult imagination helped me create imaginary worlds in my writing. The crazier, the better- I always say-because I write about aliens. 😊

2. Typically, what timeframe took you to write your books?

I have about four unfinished novels that I haven’t looked at in years. My current “big boy” sci-fi novel is done, and I have been working on that since January 1, 2022. The short story in my Southern Spice Series took me two weeks to write.

3. Are you a planner or pantser?

I feel like I am a mix of both. I like to plan, but I also want to go with the flow. Using the Living Writer app has helped me organize myself a bit more to be more of a planner amidst the chaos of my crazy ADHD brain.

4. What would you say is your unique writing style?

I love dialogue. Since I am a bit of a newbie, I focus on each character’s unique voice. I want my readers to hear how different they are while reading to get them as close as possible to visualizing and feeling the character’s current mindset and emotions.

For example, if my character had just lost someone close to them, I want my readers to empathize and feel what that character is going through. Or, if one of my characters falls in love, I want my readers to participate in that feeling actively.

It is all about emotional connections and touching my reader’s soul in every way possible.

5. Whether it be traditional, self, or storybook apps. How did you find the publishing process?

I published on Lutionary, which is a fantastic app. I find it hard being new and gaining a readership. You can only count on your family and friends so much. I think connecting with other authors and cross-promoting is such a fantastic tool. There needs to be more support for each other in the community because this process isn’t easy. Doing things like this with my wonderful friend Leia has been transformative in getting my name out there.

I would also like to add that I am nervous as hell to self-publish and will report back on how it went for me. Fingers crossed!

6. How much of your process includes researching your subject matter or plot?

I haven’t paid attention to how much I research, but I know I can spend hours on the internet, specifically Pinterest looking up weird stuff.

The most recent example is “how does one kill themselves where no blood will remain?” Pretty messed up, huh?

I can say for sure that I research places more than anything because many of my stories take place in areas I have never been to. I want the writing to capture the experience of the places just right, so I spend the lions-share of my time trying to get it right.

7. How old were you when you first discovered your passion for writing?

I believe I have known it since thirteen but never took it seriously until I was 24. I am now 40 and working on publishing my first novel.

8. When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing with your time?

I teach cycle classes! It is so much fun and keeps me in shape. I also enjoy being in nature and, getting my hands dirty, tending to my plant babies.

9. Is your family supportive?

Yes! I am lucky that I have a family that loves to read and thinks it is fantastic that I am pursuing my dream.

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in creating your books (characters, location, plot)?

My confidence in myself isn’t what I thought it was. I can get wrapped up in the dreaded imposter syndrome. When I am actively writing, I can’t read anything for the fear that my writing will be influenced, and I want to stand out for my style.

Also, when I am taking a break from writing, I have to stay off social media because I get really weird when I see other writers in the zone and being productive. It makes me feel like crap. I have to say, one good thing about me is that I am incredibly self-aware and know what I need and when I need it.

11. What is your favorite component about the genre you write?

Anything is possible in sci-fi. Creating new worlds, beings, and even languages is super cool. It gives me the chance to push my imagination to the next level.

12. What advice would you give to help others become writers?

Just do it. Don’t think about it. Jump in and let the creative juices flow. And for love, don’t let other people’s opinions keep you from writing your story. Only YOU tell your story as YOU can.

13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

So far, the feedback I have been pretty excellent, so I am thankful for that.

14. Do you like to create books for your target audience?

I know this is probably not the right thing to do, but I create the stories that I want to create. If people read them and love them, that is a bonus. I write for myself because if I kept these stories in my head, I would go insane.

15. What pulls you in about a book? Do you read a book based on the cover or the summary?

The cover and description don’t affect my decision too much. I think I am drawn in by the first couple of sentences.

16. How do you handle writer's block and what do you tell other aspiring authors who may be fighting or fearful about hitting that wall?

This is an appropriate question since I am going through this now.

If you are particularly excited about writing a scene but are stuck in the linear writing pathway and not quite to that scene yet, write the part that brings you joy, and I promise it will all come together later. It is about finding that pathway to the vibration of divine inspiration, and more will follow.

Final Note:

I have been blessed and honored to have been welcomed into this author's world. She is extremely imaginative, creative, and talented (different words, all the same meaning - I know). That's what makes for a successful storyteller. She has a knack for character building, her ability to detail a setting, timeframe, and condition is impressive. You can tell she studies the human condition; she watches how people interact in the real world and she applies it to her fictional world seamlessly.

I have loved watching her grow as a writer in the short time I've known her, and I know good things will happen to her. Be on the lookout for her work.

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