Interview with Tina Amiri
Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
Luckily, since I’m inclined to write and edit, for fun I enjoy quiet time, nice views, good coffee, like any real writer ought to. I also love my cats, and I’m a passionate supporter of animal rights and environmental causes, but I’m also extremely “ying-yang”. For almost every trait I possess, there seems to be a balance to that quality. I like my hair long and always wear a dress but everyone laughs when they see the person behind the art (that I create). My favourite activity for years was watching, reading and practicing martial arts. When people first meet me, they don’t expect me to be the one to shake up the room, but I do tend to either amuse or offend. Being a “green personality”, I also analyze everything I see and hear, so opinions expressed by me may not always be well received by those around me. And yet, despite all that, I am nice. Immediately after a driver incites the deepest road-rage to come out of me and I disparage all humanity, I will still let the next guy in on a by street; I will be the person in the movie theatre who cares about whether the person behind me has a good view of the film.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing before I learned how to spell--probably at five-years-old. I would sound out the words and write them however seemed logical to me. I started with these one-line-per-page stories called "Donkey & Teddy"--basically stories about my stuffed donkey and my sister's stuffed teddy bear--in which Donkey always won the day. They should have been called "Donkey vs Teddy". LOL These "books" consisted of two pages stapled together in the middle and each page had pictures too!
I wrote a single-spaced notebook-length book at age 8. I wrote my first 200 page, typed novel when I was 10 and spent a few years re-writing it. I started writing novels, which i never finished all through high school but I always abandoned these stories when I made a jump on the writing learning curve because I knew I could do better.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?
Whatever The Impulse is a psychological thriller about a young man, named Night, who spent his first nineteen years forced, by his father, to play the role of a deaf-mute in order to isolate himself from others—all, apparently, for a good reason. Finally, Night learns the truth and is immediately thrust into a completely opposite life where he is always in the public eye, but in a world he does not understand, without a totally intact moral compass.
Why did you decide to write in the psychological thriller genre?
I think the hardest part of writing a psychological thriller—and probably any form of fiction—is to come up with a story that doesn’t sound familiar. Nowadays, there are countless TV shows that are based entirely on abnormal human psychology. Of course the writers of these shows are all trying to come up with a new twist every week, so it makes the author’s job that much harder…trying to surprise a reader and keep them hooked for 300+ pages. I’ve always been fascinated by the human condition. The genre also interests me because of the tragic murder of my mother and her date at the hands of an old boyfriend who was believed to have a borderline dissociative identity disorder. He killed himself at the scene and I think that the subconscious effects of discovering all of them in our home when I was 18 certainly have played a role in my interest in this genre.
Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?
Sure, one thing that surprised me was how I could not plan my plot-points and stick to the plan. My characters and the story itself acquired a life of its own and guided me to the end…although there were several rewrites that resulted in major changes every time.
Who is your intended readership?
This book was geared for older young adults- 16+ but it’s finding a home with older adults (40-70) as well as those in the gay community because of a few scenes and homo-erotic undertones throughout the book. I’m getting incredibly positive feedback from both male and female and that could be because of the attractive sympathetic main character.
Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?
Ideas just come to me. Sometimes I think I've come up with a great idea but then I get stumped on how to flesh out an entire novel based on my idea. My writing routine is: write whenever you aren't at your day job, you're okay to not be at the gym or go for a run, and nobody else asked you to do something with them. I do enjoy inspiring settings for writing, like charming urban Inns, hotels etc or when in nature. A room with a view really helps. I am not unique when it comes to this!
How do you research your book?
While some content is just from imagination, much is a combination of inspiration and research. I bought books, I took books out from libraries, and I looked stuff up on the internet. I even reached out, by e-mail, to someone in the countermeasures industry once. I did not know who I was e-mailing and eventually that person, after screening me in a number of ways, divulged their interesting history involved in covert government operations. I did get the information I was looking for. This came about when I ran into obstacles trying to find out about spy equipment in the early 80's. Yes, just a line in the book might have taken me days of research and then years of editing to come out as it did. A lot of the details I initially put into the book where edited out over time. For example, I took out three giant books on guns, from a local library, and did i ever get some strange looks in the line-up at check-out!
What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Greatest challenge is finding time in such a hectic world. Writing inherently removes contact with others, so it is difficult to find time when the only time you can "spend time with friends or family" is when you’re not at work and running around managing other everyday business.
What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?
I like to do distance running, gardening, going to see live theatre (I'm a Stratford Festival member). I also am a huge supporter of animal causes, environmental causes and naturopathic medicine. To contrast that, I also have a weakness for dresses and aesthetic services!
You can find Whatever The Impulse on