Another beautiful Saturday with another great author. This week we have Amalie Coles. She writes contemporary romance and chick lit. Let’s find out more…
Welcome to Love Indie Romance, Amalie! Tell us about yourself.
Hi! Thank you so much for having me here! I’m a stay-at-home mom/freelancer/indie writer with a geeky side. I love all things related to archaeology and learning, and my favorite form of therapy is a trip to a museum or a bookstore. On a good day, you’ll find me inside Starbucks or Second Cup penning ideas for my next novel, or the one meant to come after. When I’m not writing, I like spending time with my family and friends.
Part of your book, My Journey, is set in Israel. Have you ever been to Israel? If so, describe your experience there. If not, what kind of research involved depicting the scenery?
Yes, I travelled to Israel twice, both as part of an archaeology dig and as a tourist. Many places I’d visited, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and sites in the Galilee, serve as part of the setting of my novel. Although I haven’t visited Ashkelon yet, I was able to get a good sense of what this place may look or feel like thanks to Google Earth. When researching about Becky’s excavation project, I used a lot of scholarly articles and field reports to discover more about the dig. For the most part, however, my novel is based on my past travels and personal experience with Israeli culture.
You’re an archaeology enthusiast. Have you ever been on an archaeology dig? If so, describe in detail what it was like. What would be your favorite archaeology dig to go on?
I was part of Bethsaida Excavations Project back in 2013. This site is mentioned briefly at the end of My Journey, when Becky recounts the last road trip she and Jason took before returning home. Becky’s daughter, Julia, gets named after this site that was also known as Julias (after a Roman empress Julia).
For me, the digging experience at Bethsaida was phenomenal. I got to meet lots of fellow archaeology geeks from around the world, practice Hebrew with the locals, and even give a small presentation. The people at the cozy village of Ginosar, where our group stayed, were hospitable and charming.
Regardless of all its amazing aspects, digging wasn’t always easy. We would get up at five in the morning, have a bus take us to the site, and work on the ground until noon. Lots of times, I’d spend hours and hours filling up buckets with earth and hauling them to the sifter just to discover one tiny shard or even nothing. I often wondered where all the coins and ancient amulets were hiding, lol. In the afternoons we had a bit of downtime, during which I usually tried catching up with homework (I was taking a distance education course at that time), but normally I would just cave in and hit the beach. The last activity we would have before dinner was pottery reading, which involved sorting through shards and trying to figure out where they belonged in terms of the archaeological timeline. Overall, the excavation season was pretty busy, but also fun and inspiring. I think without my experience at Bethsaida, I wouldn’t be able to write this novel.
What draws you to history? Tell us your favorite time period or event in history.
I love the material culture that remains after a particular historical period has passed. Nothing ignites my imagination better than beautiful manuscripts, stone inscriptions featuring earliest writing, royal seals, amulets, and, of course, ancient jewelry. As you have probably figured, my favorite time period is the Iron Age (circa. 1200 BC–500 BC), which coincides with presence of the Philistines in Israel and rule of the Biblical kings. Most scholars agree that it was very different from the way we were raised to see it, but it’s nonetheless fascinating.
My Journey has the recipe for a love triangle. Describe, if any, challenges you came across while writing.
I think the hardest part was describing some of the scary situations the characters found themselves in. My Journey takes place during the year of a military conflict, and a few times throughout the story, the characters have to run for their lives. Luckily, I never had to deal with similar situations during my stay in Israel, so trying to imagine, let alone describe, what it would feel like to hear a siren or to hide inside a bomb shelter was a bit challenging.
You’ve previously worked in marketing before. Would you say this has helped you as an indie author? If so, how?
Actually, my job at the marketing company was very similar to Becky’s. I was mostly responsible to order entries and client calls, so I didn’t really have much exposure to the marketing side. In a way, this job inspired me to write a story dealing with the theme of feeling stuck and wanting to move forward.
You also provide editing and indexing services? Tell us what kind of editing and what is indexing? How do you manage your time between home life, work life, and writing?
I edit all sorts of texts, from fiction/non-fiction to corporate documents and marketing collateral. Indexing sounds mysterious to a lot of people, and it’s basically compiling a list of important terms to be placed at the end of a book. You can learn more about it by visiting my blog. To tell the truth, I don’t know how I balance everything. I just do.
Crazy question time! You’ve just discovered an archaeology breakthrough of a lifetime. How would you celebrate this momentous occasion?
I would organize a family getaway somewhere in the nature!
Thank you so much for joining us, Amalie! If you want to connect with Amalie, or check out My Journey, just click those beautiful links below.