In the literary world, where everybody is following the traditional route of publishing, here is a novelist who has opted to self-publish her brand-new novel. A.M Gilliam has captivated her readers with her unique style of writing. Her power to portray human emotions and tendencies and transform them into romantic sagas have made her the queen of romance novels. She currently lives in Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books,“Sweet Serenity” published in 2017 and ”Redemption” in 2020.
MALAVIKA: Before we talk about writing and romance , let’s get to know you better. While browsing about you online, I came across your profiles on amazon and goodreads. Can you tell us a bit about A.M Gilliam that is not given in your bio on your social media platforms?
GILLIAM: Yes. I’m a mother, a writer, an entrepreneur and I also work as a Medical Accountant full-time.
MALAVIKA: Great! For me, I started writing out of the blue. So what motivated you to put pen to paper? When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
GILLIAM: I was around the age of 11 or 12 when my love for writing emerged. I used to write down my dreams and create stories out of them. I used to have a book where I would write in. Up until my dad found it. LOL, Needless to say I stopped writing for a while after that. 🙂
MALAVIKA: I’m so glad to know that you didn’t give up your passion. Did you ever consider writing under a pen name?
GILLIAM: I never really cared if people knew it was me writing my stories. The people I mostly cared about were my parents. They can’t read them, but everyone else knowing isn’t a big deal to me.
MALAVIKA: That’s so sweet. I like to write in the morning when I can concentrate better. How is it for you? Do you have a strict writing schedule or do you have to be in the mood for writing? Tell us about your writing routine.
GILLIAM: Well I really don’t have a writing routine. I mostly just sit down and start typing.
MALAVIKA: Tell us about your favorite: book, movie and TV show. Who is your favorite author and singer?
GILLIAM: I am a huge romance reader, I read just about anything romance related. My favorite movie would have to be ‘Brown Sugar’. It’s an urban love story, with Sanaa Lathan and Tay Diggs. Tv show is Grey’s Anatomy. Love, Love, LOVE that show. 🙂 My favorite author is Melody Grace and favorite singer is Jhene Aiko.
MALAVIKA: As the readers know you a lot closer now, let us talk about romance.“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams” writes the american author, Dr. Seuss. What’s the most fun about writing romance?
GILLIAM: The love story. You can literally make it anything and everything you want. Everyone, even characters in a book, deserve to have the perfect love story.
MALAVIKA: Sounds magical and dreamy. The love story is a major part, but what do you think is the single most important element in a romance story?
GILLIAM: Chemistry. The character must have chemistry in order of the story to come out right. Without the element, the story could be boring and unrealistic
MALAVIKA: So, what brings out the good chemistry between the main characters? Tell us your opinion.
GILLIAM: The conversation between the main characters needs to flow. With just the right amount of humor and flirting. Chemistry is different when trying to reflect it on paper.
MALAVIKA: When I write certain articles, I read and gather as much as information and views regarding my topic. It really helps me with my work. What kind of research do you find yourself doing for your stories?
GILLIAM: Most of the research I do is regarding descriptions. Like if I picture something in my head about the house one of the characters live in, but I don’t know the word for the wood, or accents etc. I’ll research to find it. things like that. I rarely have to do a lot of research unless I’m hitting on a topic that is real. i.e mental illness.
MALAVIKA: Wow, You are so good at creating stories. I can relate as I live in my head most of the time. As a romance author, how do you balance the storyline with the sensual element?
GILLIAM: I have some sexual content in my books. I don’t necessarily believe a romance book for adults, can be romantic without the underlining sexuality in it. I try to show the chemistry from the beginning. Then, if I feel the plot allows for some adult content, I’ll add a little spice to it.
MALAVIKA: Ooooh…Hot and Steamy. So “Sweet Serenity” is your debut novel. What was the most challenging scene to write?
GILLIAM: The ending was the hardest part for me. Because I had so many ideas on how I wanted to end it. It took me a while to decide which ending I would go with.
MALAVIKA: I get you. It’s really difficult to make a choice when you have so many good ideas. So, how do you define your female characters? Do you incorporate feminism into your stories?
GILLIAM: Definitely as individuals. Yes they are women but that’s not the only thing that defines them. I try to give each and everyone of them an identity outside of that. I wouldn’t say I put a lot of feminism in my stories. It would have to fit the story and what I want the woman to portray.
MALAVIKA: Good answer. Also, you are required to capture and display the emotions of your male characters. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
GILLIAM: For me it’s not knowing how men think. I can research and research, but making sure the male voice that I write, reflects male tendencies, is the hardest part.
MALAVIKA: Hmm….A different perspective but keeping it real. You self-published your new novel, ‘Redemption’ recently. How did the process of getting self-published go?
GILLIAM: It was tiring, but I think it is way better for me than traditional publishing.
MALAVIKA: That’s interesting. Have you ever written any other genres besides romance? Are you planning to try a different genre in the future?
GILLIAM: I’ve only published romance as of now. But my new project is a paranormal romance series, so I’m venturing out on this one.
MALAVIKA: That’s exciting and all the very best for your new project. One question, If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?
GILLIAM: Honestly, I would tell myself not to traditionally publish. I know that’s a shock but I would definitely tell myself that.
MALAVIKA: Right. This will definitely help fellow authors to self-publish. Do you believe in writer’s block?
GILLIAM: Do I believe in it? No. I think that sometimes our minds are too busy, and that causes us to go blank when we need to write. But believing in something like that only perpetuates it.
MALAVIKA: I agree. It’s our own mind playing tricks with us. Now, we know more about you as a writer. What else do you like to do? What are your other activities?
GILLIAM: I own an Event Planning and Interior Decorating business and I like to spend time with my family.
MALAVIKA: Really nice. You are an entrepreneur too. It’s always good to be multi-tasking. I feel, every job, every industry, every sector is composed of obstacles. Is there any struggle in the writing world as a female author?
GILLIAM: I think it’s some struggles. Especially from other women authors and readers. Women tend to be catty by natural, and authors are no different. Lol
MALAVIKA: Haha. One last thing, what advice do you have for aspiring romance authors?
GILLIAM: I would like them to keep going. Life is too short and too precious to let anything get in the way of your dreams. You might not be able to publish your work right then, but keep writing, and never give up. Take steps toward your goal. No matter how small.
It was such a pleasure to chat with you. Thank you for sharing your time with us.
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