In case you haven’t figured it out yet, being a published author is my dream job. Ten years ago, when I first started writing, authors were my rock stars. I read their bios with devotion, pored over their acknowledgements hoping to find a tidbit more of their personality, and pretty much daydreamed like a gushing fan girl about meeting one someday. Ten years later, I still squee on the inside, but I’m way better at taming my idol-worship into a poker face. I’ve also met a few. Turns out, they’re a lot like you and me. At the beginning of my brave year, I noodled the idea of a six-week series interviewing authors. Fun, right? The rest is history. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
Today, I’m interviewing Jami Amerine. I met Jami over a year ago at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I sat down next to the coffee shop fireplace for a little R&R and Jami struck up a conversation. During which, she showed me the ropes of blogging (Canva, Hoot Suite, etc.). Since then, she has been a wealth of information and a cheerleader. Thank you so much for being here today, Jami!
Rachelle: Tell me a little about yourself.
Jami: I am married to Justin, 25 years in May. He is the most genuine human I have ever met. Currently, we have 7 children. Maggie 21, recently engaged and graduating from college. John who is 19 today and at Marine boot camp. Luke is 17 and a freshman at Abilene Christian University, and Sophie who is 14 going on 34 and she is a freshman in high school. Then, we started all over with our adopted sweet Sam, leader of the vandals. Sam is five. We adopted our son Charlie, now three last October and he was our first foster placement. Finally, we have #joybaby, she is our 18-month-old foster daughter. She has been with us for 15-months and she is transitioning home to her birth mom.
I have an undergrad degree in Family and Consumer Science and a Masters of Education in Counseling and Human Development. I haven’t had a “real” job since I finished my education. I was recently accepted into a Doctoral Program which I will begin in August. I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Education and Pastoral and Community Counseling. And… I haven’t actually told anyone that yet so… surprise!?!? I love to cook, spin, write and be with my family. I also am an advocate for the Sunday nap. I believe the Sunday nap could be the answer to World Peace.
Rachelle: I completely agree. Sunday naps= World Peace, at least in my house! You’ve been fostering for a while now. What made you take that leap? What are some of the bumps and joys along the way?
Jami: We have been foster parents since May of 2015. We initially got into foster care because we knew two little girls that needed a home and I thought I was in charge of all things called “Life.” I was wrong. They were placed elsewhere and then we met Charlie… and now #joybaby. The bumps are more like Mount Everest. We have had a lot of ups and a bunch of downs. Right now #joybaby leaving is very traumatic for our family. I wouldn’t change a moment of loving her for the pain of losing her, but I think there needs to be a new level of intervention within the foster care system. Hopefully, as my platform continues to grow I will have an opportunity to speak for these humans and their families.
Rachelle: That is truly an amazing cause and a hard one. I applaud you and support you 100%. Why did you first start writing?
Jami: I first started writing because I had the flu. In December of 2015, I asked my husband if I could use his computer and I wrote 60K words in 9 days. It was like word barf. I just did it. I had no plan of anything and other than a spiffy Facebook post I never wrote anything. Ever.
Rachelle: Wow! Sounds like you needed to get some thought out of your brain. Speaking of which, you have a book coming out soon! Congratulations! Tell me all about it.
Jami: My first book, Stolen Jesus: An Unconventional Search for the Real Savior, launches in October of 2015 with Harvest House. It is the message of how I fell into the message of Grace and fell into the arms of Jesus – Real Jesus. It is funny, touching, twisted, inspirational… I made that genre up.
Rachelle: Also, tell me a bit of your journey from blank screen to published work.
Jami: Like I said, I never wrote. Didn’t even own a computer. I wrote the 60K words and my dad and mom offered to send me to Mt. Hermon Writers conference and the rest is history. It was there I was told I had to have a platform. I really didn’t have any interest in this and so I was like, “Meh. California was cool but I don’t have the mental energy to build a platform.” Some of the authors there wouldn’t let me out of my room until I started a blog. I did so reluctantly. I put up about 19 posts and then I put up An Open Letter to My Children: Your Not that Great, on my phone at a dance recital. I had 69 blog views in August of 2015. I had 690,000 in September of 2015. Boom – platform, agent, and a two-book deal from Harvest House. The internet is a fascinating thing.
Rachelle: Will you share a favorite piece that you’ve written? What makes it your favorite?
Jami: My favorite piece is probably “Go and Don’t Believe Everything I taught You.” Or “The Meet the Teacher Fallacy.” The first is my favorite because I was letting go of what I thought I believed about what I wanted for my children and I don’t remember writing it. I don’t remember what the thought process was. I just remember reading it and believing it and knowing I wanted my children to know and love God as their own. The second is just funny.
Rachelle: What’s your writing process? Has it changed over the years?
Jami: There is no method to the madness. For instance… it is 3:54 am and I just remembered I had an interview… yikes. I am embarrassed to say I have no order and that is probably why I get an email every time I put a post-up with some embarrassing mistake. “Dear Jami, its yoke… not yolk.”
Rachelle: What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Jami: I wish I knew about Grammarly before I ever put up a single post. #dylesic Beginners, just write.
Rachelle: What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done as a writer? Or in life?
Jami: The bravest thing I have ever done as a writer is exposing just about anything except nude selfies to the internet. In life? The bravest thing I have ever done is write about anything.
Rachelle: What keeps you inspired?
Rachelle: What’s your most vulnerable moment as a writer? Why did it feel so exposing?
Jami: My most vulnerable moment as a writer was the day An Open Letter went viral. I was humiliated. I sounded harsh and arrogant. It was a blessing but the firestorm of hate was unexpected – and I had no idea people were so nasty online. I really didn’t have any idea what that post would expose. I am not a cruel person and I was just venting a little… wow.
Rachelle: What quirk does the greater public not know about you?
Jami: I am very forgetful. It actually concerns me a little. I didn’t use to be so.
Rachelle: Let’s do a rapid fire favorite round. Answer with one word. What’s your favorite:
Color: kelly green
Food: Rock Shrimp Tempura from the Nobu
Book: Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes… yes that’s a children’s book… but it is the best ever.
Vacation spot: a beach… any beach.
Thanks again, Jami! I loved getting to know you better. Go check out Jami’s blog Sacred Grounds Sticky Floors and if you love it (and you will) preorder her book Stolen Jesus: An Unconventional Search for the Real Savior at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.