Author Interview - Elizabeth Ames
Author I draw inspiration from: Toni Morrison, whose work I’m rereading upon learning the news that we’ve lost her. We all stand in her tremendous shadow, and in her light. It’s hard to fathom how one person was able to do so much with and for the form of the novel, and then also give us so much in the way of more workaday inspiration—how to be a person in the world. Jesmyn Ward inspires me in this way as well. Both women, in addition to being extraordinary writers and thinkers, have been clear about writing for black audiences. While their work is not for me, I need it—we all do. So taking inspiration from them is indeed a tall order, but their art invites more art, and more artful lives.
Favorite place to read a book: In bed, and especially in freshly made beds other than my own
Book character I’d like to be stuck in an elevator with: Arthur Less
The moment I knew I wanted to become an author: I can’t recall the moment, but as soon as I learned it was an option, I knew it was the dream for me. I was that kid selling little stapled books I’d made at a lemonade-type-stand in my front yard.
Hardback, paperback, ebook or audiobook: Hardcover and paperback. I like to read paperbacks best, but can’t resist buying hardcovers. I do read books on my phone too, but I’ll always prefer the physical object.
The last book I read: Last night I fell asleep after reading the children’s book Big Wolf & Little Wolf written by Nadine Brun-Cosme (trans. Claudia Zoe Bedrick) and illustrated by Olivier Tallec. If anyone reading is looking for wonderful children’s books, Enchanted Lion Books is publishing such gorgeous, cozy, magical books. My family also loves Bear and Wolf; Be Still, Life; and the Chirri & Chirra series. The last book I read for adults was my friend Joel Mowdy’s bracing and beautiful collection of stories, Floyd Harbor.
Pen & paper or computer: Computer, though I’m a glutton for office supplies. I can’t read my own handwriting, nor keep up with my own thoughts when writing by hand, but you’ll never pry glitter pens and washi tape from my clutches.
If I wasn’t an author, I’d be a: A “nose” for perfumers, a therapist, or a bookseller
Favorite decade in fashion history: The ‘60s. I like short skirts, impressive collars, and tall boots. Even though I still can’t do a decent cat-eye, the Beatles’ girlfriends’ beauty look is the one I like best: heavy bangs, heavy liner, eyes alight.
My signature drink: This summer it’s an iced Americano with lots of Oatly
Favorite artist: I’m continually inspired by Alice Neel’s portraits and the photography of Gregory Crewdson. I also love the work of the painter Alexander BG Nolan. And I follow so many amazing illustrators on Instagram—Women Who Draw is a great resource for people seeking more visual inspiration.
Find more from Elizabeth Ames, here: