with Amara George Parker::
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Amara: As soon as I learnt to write, I began making stuff up. I loved creating stories and putting images in people’s heads. My first influences – the ones I can remember – were R. L. Stein, Ursula K. Le Guin and Chris Riddell. Looking back now, it’s clear they set the tone for my future work!
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Amara: . Ursula K. Le Guin is still a firm favourite, but she’s up there with Neil Gaiman, Octavia E. Butler, Vylar Kaftan, and N. K. Jemisin. I absolutely refuse to narrow it down any further than that!
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Amara: When I was very small – six weeks old until 4 years – I lived on a sailing boat called Hobo. My parents hadn’t been sure they could have children, so they sold up and bought a boat, fully intending to sail around for a few years. My mum ended up studying for her Ocean Master’s qualification while pregnant with me! We spent four years sailing around Europe, and I remember some of it. It’s definitely something that creeps into my work. I’ve written a kids’ book about a magic boat called Little Wanderer, and an adult SFF called Rafterland which heavily features boats! In later life, I did work on boats for over a decade, though!
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?
Amara: With the pandemic and ableism raging all around us, I’d say my most meaningful creative work to be a poem I wrote called Casual Eugenics. It’s about the government’s appalling handling of the Covid-19 situation and people’s attitude toward disabled people. It’s been tough having to hear how many people don’t think you should live. You can find a video of me performing it at a poetry slam (I won that round with it!) but I haven’t yet got a decent recording of the whole poem – something which is on my ever-growing to do list!
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Amara: I wanted it SO BADLY when I was younger, and while I was good at it, the feedback I got from those around me was that it was a hard career to get into, so find something else. My other passion, obviously, was being on the water, so I trained as a sailing, powerboating and kayaking instructor and worked my way toward running my own centre. Just as I got all the qualifications to do just that, my genetic disability – something I hadn’t known I’d had until hiking at 16 – reared its head and put a stop to that. I picked up writing again as a way to cope with immobility and to handle the grief that invariably sets in when your whole life changes. Since, there’s been so many moments that have affirmed why I write. Sometimes it’s a message from someone saying how important it was they found a nonbinary character, or a queer protagonist, or that something I said touched them, but most days – even if the work is hard and the words that come out are drivel – it’s the process that lights me up. Honestly, it feels like nothing else. If that ever changes, I’ll know it’s time to do something else.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Amara: . Reading, being on the water, meditating, walking in nature, sex, singing, gentle yoga.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
MY DEBUT NOVEL IS OUT!
White lies and good intentions have paved the way for Laela’s untamed magic to bleed into the land, resurrecting a terrible power intent on vengeance.
Twisted Roots is available on Kindle or via my website. It’s a perfect dose of dark fantasy and escapism, and I hope you love it!
And for anyone interested in watching an excerpt of Casual Eugenics: https://youtu.be/MfV5pGibsOk
and Small Hate Stops Big Change https://youtu.be/HNJTL19abYU?t=700
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
Amara: “…we are waves seducing land into entropy…”
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Amara: My writer friends! Having a community to share with is incredible, and we all support each other. My partner, too, has been amazing.
George Parker (A. G. Parker)
Writer | Poet | Editor
| Editor for Angeprangert! Spoken Word