I am delighted to welcome the fantastic Jennifer Ammoscato to Bookaholic Confessions today. Jennifer’s debut novel, Dear Internet: It’s Me Avery was released on the 27th May 2015 and I can confirm that it’s an absolute cracker of a novel. I loved everything about it (especially, Avery…She goes down as one of my all-time-favourite fictional characters.) I was thrilled to be able to quiz Jennifer on the creation of Avery, our reliance on the internet and her guilty writing habits!
Thank you so much for the warm welcome (they’re my favourite kind!)
I’m a part-time author (Yay! I’m not aspiring anymore!) and a full-time employee of a Canadian university PR department. I’m a mom of two very tall sons who pretend they’re too cool for me, a wife to a pretty fabulous, supportive husband, and an incredibly successful chocoholic. I’m particularly proud of that last one as I’ve put enormous effort into it.
I am SO excited about reading your new novel, Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery, which is released on the 27th of May, 2015. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery is the story of a woman so reluctant to make her own decisions that she pays $14.95 a month to be a member of the website HowTo.com and chat online 24/7 with a virtual advisor named Clementine. Clem is a salt-and-malt vinegar, sassy British gal, whom Avery envisions as a sort of Judi Dench with a high-speed Internet connection.
It’s all fun and games until Avery’s husband confesses his love for another woman and Ave’s new boss, Victoria Van Horne, may or may not be related to the Anti-Christ. Or Voldemort. The novel focuses on how Avery must rise to these challenges, cellphone in hand.
I love the premise for the story. What was the inspiration behind this book?
A few years back, a friend of mine was going through marital troubles. As we chatted on the phone, she mentioned her husband didn’t know how to communicate with her. I opened the Google window, and typed, “How to get your spouse to communicate.” A millisecond later, a kazillion links to websites with exactly that info appeared on the screen.
That’s when I realized there’s nothing you can’t look up online. I mean, sometimes it’s fun to just type in the wildest thing you can think of and see what the Internet serves up. (Be careful of Googling “how to get away with murder,” as I needed to do for research purposes only. You may want to erase your cache. Just saying. J)
Of course, the help you receive might not always fix things. But that’s the chance you take praying to the great god, Internet. 🙂
Is Avery Fowler completely fictional or is she based on anyone in real life?
Avery is a variation on your traditional chick lit heroine: she’s a flawed person with great potential. She’s funny, profane at times, loyal, and passionate. She has little faith in herself and, sometimes, she’s afraid. Ultimately, her spirit and pluck must get her through. At least we all hope it will!
I think the Internet is an incredible resource that you simply have to take with a grain of salt and work to separate the good from the bad.
Sure, WebMD is helpful when it comes to diagnosing that mole on your butt. However, if you drift into the chat forums, you’ll begin to wonder if maybe your mole is that exact kind that comes up overnight and kills you in three hours. (By the way, there’s no such thing, but you get my point!)
It’s best to keep in mind that you can’t believe everything you read on there, and you’re better off getting professional help for anything really serious.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
I’ve always loved writing. My early playwriting efforts for my puppets played to rave reviews at my local library. And I wrote about werewolves LONG before Stephenie You-Know-Who.
But the thought of writing a whole novel daunted me. That’s so F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. I didn’t know if I had the alcohol capacity for it. However, after being goaded encouraged by a friend, I finally took the leap.
How does it feel to have your book launched into the big, wide world?
It’s amazing! And scary! I love nothing more than when someone tells me they enjoyed reading my book. My best beta reading friend, Michelle, has followed Avery’s progress since the beginning. She once texted me from an airport to say she was snorting so loud while reading a scene that people in the waiting area were staring at her.
Another friend told me she put off watching the first episode of the new season of Nashville for which she’d waited four months to keep reading Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery.
That’s what I live for. To know I’ve made someone laugh. That I’ve reached someone. I have no idea whether the “Avery Fowler 2.0” series will be successful, but if I make some people happy while reading it, that would be pretty cool.
Do you have any reading or writing ‘confessions’? (E.g. guilty secrets or habits?)
I always feel I’ll write better if I treat myself to something decadent: chocolate, a caramel latté, or, later in the day, a glass of wine. One is good; two means lots of editing the next day!
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I have a fairly wide range of books I’ll read. As in movies, I most enjoy books that make me laugh that feature smart, clever writing. So, Bridget Jones and Sophie Kinsella are go-tos. I also love something unexpected, which is why I fell so hard for The Rosie Project. You simply didn’t know what would happen on the next page, so unusual and endearing was the protagonist. I also love to read scary books in the dark of winter. I reread Ghost Story by Peter Straub just about every October. And I love Lee Child’s Jack Reacher – he’s a smart hero who uses his brains as much as his brawn to save the day.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I am about to hand Book II, “The Internet Made Me Do It,” to the awesome Blue Moon Publishers, and begin to edit Book III, “The Internet Never Lies.” The adventures of Avery continue!
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Dear Internet: It’s Me Avery.
A huge thank you to Jennifer for answering my questions and to Talia at DigiWriting. ♥
By day, Jennifer Ammoscato is an intrepid writer/editor. By night, she fights crime, the urge to organize closets and to stuff herself with salted chocolate caramels.
Despite her exhaustion, she’s also written her first novel, “Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery” (The Avery Fowler 2.0 Series Book I.)(Blue Moon Publishers 2015)
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