Interview with Amber Lea Starfire

Interview with Amber Lea Starfire, author of Accidental Jesus Freak. Includes giveaway!

What genre do you write and why?
Though I also write poetry and dabble in fiction, I am drawn most to writing memoir. I think this occurs for a number of reasons. One is that life can sometimes be more fascinating and stranger than fiction. But I think the main reason is that memoir is a way of sorting out and understanding the past, of connecting with the many facets of the universal human experience. Our life stories connect us to one another, broaden our horizons (reading memoir can sometimes be like visiting another culture), and help us know that we’re not alone in our challenges.
Interview with Amber Lea Starfire, author of Accidental Jesus Freak. Includes giveaway!
Tell us about your latest book.
Accidental Jesus Freak tells one young woman’s story of the Jesus Movement, how she was caught up in it, its effects on her life, and how (and why) she finally left in order to live a life true to herself. In many ways, this is also a love story and a coming-of-age story that many women will recognize as similar to their own. Women can lose themselves in many ways — to men, to children, to religion. Learning to trust and listen to their own hearts can be difficult, but it’s necessary to living an authentic life. I hope my story will resonate with and encourage other women to break out of the bonds that surround them and live a life of free self-expression. That’s not to say that my memoir is only for women. I’ve had a lot of feedback from men as well, that my story was eye-opening for them.
What did you edit out of this book?
Any vignette or incident that didn’t contribute to the core theme of my story. Because life is so rich with source material, one of the challenges (and truly, the art) of memoir is choosing which events to include and which to exclude. Where to offer reflection and interpretation and where to simply let the events stand on their own.
How was this book published? (traditional, small press, self-pub, etc...) Why did you choose that particular publishing route?
In 2011, when I wrote my first book on journaling, Week by Week: A Year’s Worth of Journaling Prompts & Meditations, I made the decision to self-publish, so I established an imprint (MoonSkye Publishing) and set about learning how to publish books. Since then, I’ve published four more books, including my first memoir, Not the Mother I Remember, and now, Accidental Jesus Freak.
I chose this route for several reasons:
I like being in control, and if you go with a traditional publishing house, they control everything — the cover, the royalties, and even the life of your book; if it doesn’t do well right away, they can bury it;
Speaking of royalties, a typical nonfiction author is paid between 6-12% of net sales, whereas as a self-published author, I make between 100% of the net sales, after paying print costs and the percentage that goes to the distributor. Put into practical terms, for a $4.99 ebook, I would receive between $0.21-0.42 if published traditionally, whereas by self-publishing, I receive between $2.70-3.50 for that same book. Financially, this seems like a no-brainer.
Unless you’re already famous, publishing companies no longer provide marketing services or publicity or even advances like they used to. So, for me, the tradeoff of going through the agent-to-publishing-company gauntlet just doesn’t make sense anymore.
Interview with Amber Lea Starfire, author of Accidental Jesus Freak. Includes giveaway!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad or good ones?
Yes, I do. I love reading the reviews where I can tell that the reader really got the essence of my story. And the not-so-good reviews? I take them in stride. Every story has a specific audience it appeals to, and others may not like it. I just shrug my shoulders and move on.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
On my website: I’ve been blogging on the topic of journaling and memoir writing since 2008, so if you’re interested in those topics, you’ll find hundreds of relevant articles there. Or you can just find out more about me on the “About” page.
How long did it take you to write your book?
About three years. I have a day job, so my goal was simply to write 100 words per day until I was done. And, believe it or not, that worked. So for anyone who thinks they don’t have the time to write, take heart. If you have a story to tell, you can make time to tell it.
When and where do you write?
I typically write in the early mornings before work in my home office (a converted bedroom). But I don’t write at my desk (that’s for “work”). I usually write sitting in a cozy corner by the window with my laptop on my lap desk, and a cup of coffee by my side.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
My first response was to say that I’m a pantser, because I don’t make a full outline before writing. But that’s not totally true. Typically, I’ll start by making a list of key events/scenes that I want to include. Then I choose the scene that feels most like it wants to be written and start writing. In the writing process, that list of scenes expands and morphs over time into a full-blown outline, so that I always know where I’m going next in my story. So perhaps I’m a hybrid between the two — a plantser. J
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To not put aside my writing dreams just because the world says it’s “not a living.” I would encourage my younger self to start honing my craft at a younger age, to take risks and get my writing, my stories, out into the world. To never give up or falter in my purpose, because I was born to write. It’s all about believing in yourself.

Interview with Amber Lea Starfire, author of Accidental Jesus Freak. Includes giveaway!


  1. I enjoyed getting to know your book; congrats on the tour, I hope it is a fun one for you, and thanks for the chance to win :)

  2. Congrats on the tour and I appreciate the interview and the great giveaway as well. Love the tours, I get to find books and share with my sisters and now my twin daughters who all love to read. We have found some amazing books for everyone. So, thank you!

  3. Thanks for this interview. Inspiring!!

  4. Thanks for hosting. Who is your favorite author of all time? Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  5. I am really enjoying following this tour, thank you for all the great blog posts and excerpts!


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