I have the pleasure and honor of getting to know authors, writers and poets. I get to share a bit about these lovely people I meet with you, my blog readers.
Interview with Author Angela Ackerman – author of The Emotion Thesaurus
Please share about your background with us (where you were born, where you grew up, career changes, siblings, where you live now, etc)
I grew up in a small town in northern British Columbia (Canada) and ended up marrying my high school sweetheart! We moved to the big city of Calgary (Alberta) where the taxes were lower and the opportunities more plentiful, and we have lived here ever since! I have two awesome kids (boys in their teens), the cutest dog you have ever seen. I also am caretaker to a zombie fish (it’s true–I am convinced!) named Dr. Evil.
What inspired you to begin your writing journey?
I have always loved to write. In high school, my friends would ask me to write them into ‘serial’ stories (along with the boys they liked!) I was also the editor of my high school newspaper and penned more than a few school assignment stories that featured teachers as axe murderers, serial killers, or crazy cult leaders in league with evil (and ended up with top marks, believe it or not!) But it wasn’t until I had kids that I started pursuing the dream for real. I wanted to write stories for them, books they might like to read. As fate would have it, my boys turned out to be non-readers (boo, hiss!), but they are proud to have a mom who is an author regardless, lol.
Please share about your book.
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression is a brainstorming tool for writers struggling to describe their character’s feelings in a fresh, engaging way. It looks at seventy-five emotions and lists out all the possible body language cues, thoughts and internal visceral reactions a character might experience while feeling that particular emotion. It also provides description ideas which range in intensity to match any character experience, along with cues that show a character is trying to hide their emotions. Our goal with this book is to give writers a broad starting point for emotional description so they don’t reuse the same shrugs, smiles, frowns and shivers over and over to show emotion.
We also have a FREE PDF called Emotion Amplifiers in our blog sidebar. It’s similar to The Emotion Thesaurus, but provides description for conditions that amplify emotion like Pain, Stress, Exhaustion, Hunger, Dehydration, Attraction and more. This PDF is really useful when a writer wants to really pressure their character or lay on the difficulties, creating bigger, more intense reactions to emotion!
How did you publish this book and why?
Becca Puglisi (my co-author & writing twin) and I decided to self publish this book to get it out there faster to the people who needed it. So many writers were using the original Emotion Thesaurus on our blog, The Bookshelf Muse, and they asked us to expand the thesaurus and turn it into a book. I have an agent and she was willing to shop it, but waiting years to see it on the shelf seemed too long when we knew how badly people needed this resource now. I have no regrets–the book has been on a best-seller list at Amazon since its release, and thousands of writers are now using it to help them describe what their characters are feeling, leading to stronger, more impactful emotional scenes. Becca and I admire writers so much, and it feels great to help in this small way as they create stories that deserve to be out there in the world!
What advice would you give to beginning writers?
To not be in a rush. Learning to write well takes time and hard work, so there’s no point in trying to sprint through the hard stuff. Read fiction, read craft books, make notes, take online courses, read writing blogs and join a critique group. Find other writers and learn & grow together! Write a ton, revise, and feel pride that you care enough about the craft to take it at your own speed, not everyone else’s. In the end, you’ll be glad you focused on quality!
Most writers are readers. What books do you have on your nightstand and on your “must read” list?
Oh wow–tough one! For me, books I loved would be A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness; The Eye Of The World (Robert Jordan); The Giver (Lois Lowry); The Dark Tower series (Stephen King); Okay For Now (Gary Schmidt). Some are adult, some YA/MG, but all are amazing.
How can others find out more about you and your book? (please share website, blog, social media links)
If writers would like help with description and writing, please stop in at Becca & my blog, The Bookshelf Muse. We have a ton of tools that will help with Setting, Symbolism, Weather, Character Traits and Colors/Textures/Shapes description!
To find out more about The Emotion Thesaurus, readers can visit its blog page where we have some samples listed. For a bigger sample, I always recommend the search inside feature at Amazon.
Ebooks and Print are available from all Amazons, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo and more. You can find the full list in our blog sidebar, or order it from your favorite local indie bookstore. You can find me on Facebook and Goodreads. I am also on Twitter as @AngelaAckerman and have another alias, @WriterThesaurus which is a link-only feed. Link to what? Writing resources! So, if you are a writing tool/site junkie like I am, check out those tweets!
Question for fun sake—what was your favorite childhood toy and why?
I guess it would be pretty unsurprising if I said books, right? (But it’s true–I really did love my books!) Okay, for toys, I will admit I had an obsession with Lite Brite, my Holly Hobby mini oven and Barbie dolls. I also loved the board game ‘Masterpiece’ which 99% of the world’s population has never heard of, but that’s cool. As a kid, I liked to bake and create. I loved to make up stories, both in my head and ones to act out with my Barbies. I didn’t have a lot of friends, so I needed a good imagination. Now I’m sitting here with a big smile on my face–so many great memories! Thanks for asking this question so I could revisit my past!
Thanks so much for the interview, Teresa! I’m honored to be included in your line up here and am wishing your readers success in all they do, passion in all they feel and satisfaction for all they have. Happy writing!