ERIK AMMON: I AM A MILLION DIFFERENT THINGS
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Erik Ammon released earlier this year his book The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly. The readers loved the story and gave it an average 4.8 stars from 18 Amazon’s reviews. Our next featured author describes himself as father, teacher, runner and writer. Do you want to know more about him and his works?
– What is your next book The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly about?
– The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly is the story of Kona, a rabbit, and his bird friends, Bella and Morgan. Kona is often left behind by Bella and Morgan since he has more ground to cover than his friends. Because of this, he feels left out and often wishes that he could fly like his friends. As it turns out, their flying gets them into a bit of trouble and it’s up to Kona to use his rabbit skills to save the day. It’s really a story about being happy with who you are, and also helping your friends when they are in need.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I was asked to write the story by a member of an on-line writer’s community. He asked that I write a story that had a moral to it. It was supposed to end up in an anthology of other children’s books as a fundraiser for M.S.. However, the site that was organizing the anthology ended up getting absorbed by another site and the project never took off after that.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Editing and revising! The actual writing took about 1.5 hours or so. The editing and revision process took an amazing amount of time! I did most of it myself, but did have some friends look it over as well as a critique group.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it 100% fiction or it’s close to someone from your real life?
– Kona is totally fictional. However, I used the name of our cat, who really does not like rabbits at all. Kona loves helping others. This theme pops up in The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly as well as in the next book, The Lost Squirrel. He’s very loyal to his friends, and loves spending time with them.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– From the time I wrote the story to it’s publication in February 2014, the total time was about 9 months. Formatting it for Createspace and also for Ingram Spark was a big pain in the butt, but totally worth it!
– Give us some insight about your other other books Why He Runs From the Basement and The Incidental Hero?
– Why He Runs From The Basement is an action urban fantasy about a demon hunting cat, Kona (detecting a theme here?) who leads his owner through a portal to hell (that happens to be in the basement of their house) to rescue his family. Once through the portal, Kona changes from a mere house cat into a sabertooth tiger sized panther. I based the story on our real cat who, for some reason, always flies up the steps from the basement after he uses the litter! It’s quite funny to see.
The Incidental Hero is based on an unusual event that happened to me while on a trail run years ago. The event is the beginning of the story with a really creepy feeling, and an eerie wind that left me with chills. I was so freaked out by it, and the sudden silence of all the birds and insects, that I ended up turning around and running a different part of that trail. Anyway, in the story the runner decides to investigate the strange winds and ends up going through a portal into an alternate fantasy universe that is in the middle of a war. While trying to find a way home, he ends up helping some new friends fight for survival.
– Who are you?
– I am a million different things: A father, husband, writer, teacher, running coach, creative (used as a noun here!), blogger, editor, critique group leader, marketer, and so much more. What led me back into writing was having to sit on the couch after having knee and hip surgeries two months apart from each other. Being an ultra marathon runner, I had a lot of energy pent up inside of me and needed something to do to keep me busy. So, I started writing! Unfortunately, my knee no longer lets me walk a whole lot without pain, let alone run, so I really don’t run anymore.
– What are your writing habits?
– I write whenever I can! I always have a journal with me to jot anything down that pops in my head. I’ve even stopped in the middle of a lesson to jot a story idea down (of course I tell my kids what I’m writing down). I’ll write stories in a journal, or on my laptop. I’ll write on the couch, at a desk, outside in a hammock, at my kid’s soccer games and practices-anywhere I can. I don’t have any set time, or number of words I have to write each day. I just write when the mood strikes me!
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book?
– At first I was very satisfied with the sales. I sold about 300 in the first 4-6 weeks. In the 8 months since, I’ve sold about 100. I was really hoping to hit 750-1000 in the first year. Live and learn! Since it is 48 illustrated pages, in color, he price on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in bookstores has to be high since they take 55%, and then I pay for printing as well, in order to make a minimal amount. However, I have made some great friends in bookstores, and even done a couple author events. A local elementary school is going to have me come in the spring for a full day event! I’m really excited about that one!!
– What are the plans for your next novel?
– So, the next book in the series, The Adventures of Kona and His Friends, The Lost Squirrel, is going to be out before the end of this year!! In this story, Kona, Morgan and Bella help a new friend, Oscar, find a new home.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– The best thing for my book was word of mouth! I sold the most copies through friends and friends of friends, as well as connections through Facebook. FB is still my main promotion focus. I also have the book in about 18-20 libraries and schools in the eastern US.
– You love a lot your cat Kona, because it’s featured in your works. Tell us more about the animal, what is his story?
– Kona is an awesome cat. We don’t know his full story as he was a stray that we adopted. He was brought in by a family before a hurricane as they didn’t want him to freeze. They couldn’t keep him because he HATED their dogs, though they loved him dearly. They also discovered that he can get out of rooms with closed doors, something he hasn’t done here yet. At some point in his life he broke his femur, and has also had 8 teeth pulled. The vet feels he was about 8-10 years old when we got him, so he’s around 11-14 now. He is very chatty, still acts like a kitten when it’s warm (his arthritis really gets him in the cold) and he loves to sleep on our laps (he’s on mine right now).
– What are the special spices that you use to produce a nice children’s book?
– In my children’s books, I do not dumb down my vocabulary. How else are kids going to learn new words? They need to be exposed to them! I like to keep them humorous and adventurous as well. I also like using animals more than people, but that’s just my own preference 🙂
– You are doing also a reviewer. What are the biggest mistakes that the new authors are doing?
– The biggest mistake is that they stop writing! Writing more, and self-publishing more, or sending out manuscripts to agents and publishers to get published, are the best ways to promote yourself. You also need to put yourself out there. Start a blog, or a Facebook page. Along with writing, you have to promote yourself, too!!
– Ask yourself a question (And don’t forget to answer!)
– Do you think writers should join a critique group?
Yes! Joining a critique group was one of the best things that has happened to my writing. Since putting myself out there, my writing his improved immensely! If you are not part of a critique group, then find one and join it! Check on-line, check local cafes and check bookstores!!
Take a look at his books
The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly
Why He Runs From the Basement (Demon Hunter Book 1)