Quill Hawk Publishing talks to Amelia Woods from Pensacola, FL on her journey as a mother, entrepreneur, and emerging author of the book, A Heart Like Mine: A Story From the Boy Born Brave.
QHP: What inspired you to write this book?
AW: My son’s journey with CHD; I wanted him to have a book that made him feel special and helped explain his special heart on a level young kids could understand and relate to, as well.
QHP: Any advice for people getting started with their book project?
AW: Just start! Mine started as a note on my phone and has been edited numerous times before getting to the final draft. Continue to read over it, make edits, and don’t ignore the project that’s been put on your heart, no matter how long it may take to complete it.
QHP How did you get your start?
AW: I never planned to write a book until the idea came to me. I’m hopeful that this book will be one of many and with the help of QHP and the support of the heart community so far, I’m encouraged to keep going!
QHP: Do you have any favorite moments in your writing/self-publishing journey that you'd like to share?
AW: So far, my favorite part was when I told my son (3 years old) I was writing a book about a boy with a special heart, and his response was “for me?!” – instant gratitude for his sweet little response!
QHP: What have you found is the biggest challenge in writing / publishing / promoting your book?
AW: Promoting myself as an author – it’s easy to talk about my kids or things I’ve already accomplished in my corporate life but promoting my creative work is not always easy for me.
QHP: Did you always want to be a writer or did you have another path before you got here?
AW: I never envisioned being a writer, especially in the creative writing/children’s book world. I got my Master’s in Criminal Justice and thought maybe one day I’d go for a PhD and be published in research, and there’s still time for that too, but here I am doing the complete opposite!
QHP: Where did you study at?
I went to the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL – my hometown college!
QHP: Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
AW: I own a small business, embroidering clothing for heart warriors big and small! I also embroider comfy items for mamas, dads, and anyone who needs something a little more personalized! It’s the Heart Like A Mother Shop.
QHP: If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
AW: You can plan your life out all you want, but it will never go exactly as you planned. Be ambitious, and pursue whatever passions you have, but give yourself room to change and grow as you get older.
QHP: What is your greatest accomplishment?
AW: My kids, for sure! I’m proud of who I am becoming as a mom.
QHP: What are some goals you hope to achieve?
AW: Publishing a couple more children’s books (I have so many ideas!) and being able to step away from my traditional corporate job to pursue my creative work full-time.
QHP: Are there any habits you have that have shaped your writing style?
AW: Do over-thinking and procrastination count? Kidding! Kind of… in my current season of life, I have to make myself take quiet time to write/edit/create anything, so I think one habit I’ve had to implement is communicating with my spouse regularly about needing time to do that.
QHP: When you are creating a story, what is your process for putting a storyline together?
So far, starting with the general idea of a book and brain-dumping into a Word document has been my process. In addition to A Heart Like Mine, I have 3-4 other ideas written out, and any time I think of a line or phrase to add, I write it down. Clean-up can come later, but taking regular notes when you’re not sitting down for a session to write helps a ton!
QHP: If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it?
AW: Becoming a mom – I know, it seems like a cliché answer, but seriously – becoming a parent gave me a totally different perspective on what matters. No job in this world, or creative work I do, is more important than that role!
QHP: Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your work?
I want people to know that my motivation for completing this book, and any others to come, is to shine a light on the stories of those in the medically complex community. I know our world is already becoming more inclusive and sharing stories of kids with differences, and I want to be a part of that change by encouraging kids and parents alike. As a pre-teen, I had severe scoliosis and a major back surgery following that diagnosis, so I relate on a personal level to being a kid with a physical abnormality. I just want my son and others like him to know they are not the only ones who have a special heart.
QHP: Do you have any websites or social media pages you’d like to share?
My website is www.heartlikeamother.com, and my Instagram handles are @heartlikeamother and @heartlikeamother.shop.