TIH 459: Gemma Amor on Full Immersion, Turning Forty, and Setting Boundaries

TIH 459 Gemma Amor on Full Immersion, Turning Forty, and Setting Boundaries

In this podcast, Gemma Amor talks about Full Immersion, turning forty, setting boundaries, and much more. 

About Gemma Amor

Gemma Amor is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Dear Laura, Full Immersion, White Pines, and many other books.

She is also a podcaster, illustrator and voice actor, and is based in Bristol, in the U.K.

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Michael David Wilson 0:28

Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co host, Bob Pastorella. We chat we're masters of horror, about writing, life lessons, creativity, and much more. Now, today's guest is Gemma Amore. She is the author of books, including dear Laura, six rooms, cruel works of nature, and the just released novel from angry robot full immersion. And this is the second time that Gemma has been on the podcast and it is a real treat to get her back on the show. Of course, we do talk quite a bit about the new novel. We also talk about literary agents, setting boundaries, and what some of the biggest challenges both personally and professionally have been since we last spoke. But before the conversation, a little bit of an advert break.

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Michael David Wilson 3:01

Okay without said here it is. It is Gemma more on desses hora. Gemma, welcome back to This Is Horror.

Gemma Amor 3:15

Thank you very much for having me back. I'm extremely excited to be here. Although it doesn't sound like it because it's very early and I'm groggy but I am.

Michael David Wilson 3:25

I mean, I didn't doubt that you were excited until you immediately said that you didn't sound excited.

Gemma Amor 3:33

The vocal range isn't quite there yet, but it's once I've had my second coffee I'll be moving more flexible vocally.

Michael David Wilson 3:41

Right? Right. But I didn't get as we said off air or as we alluded to, I mean, we've we've the British we don't need to have like, your vocal range. It's like, this is me really happy. This is me in ecstatic right now. You

Gemma Amor 3:56

know? It's so strange to me, because this is so yesterday or day before I was with talking scared podcast and now Yeah, and he's he's a northerner, and we were saying how, how different it is sometimes talking with someone from your own country just in terms of like, not always having to particularly when you're British, not always having to explain certain things. But actually, one of the things I've enjoyed the most in the last couple of years, is being exposed to so many Americans sounds rude, and not being exposed to being around many American people. Because the way of expressing yourself in the US is a lot more I find a lot more straightforward and quite genuine. And I rather like that. British people are quite repressed in many, many ways, particularly emotionally because like, especially when I was a kid, you were never really supposed to show emotion or be confident or get to Big feel boots or any of that stuff, everything has to be it had to be like, low key sarcasm so for facing so when you get older and you make all these new friends and people are just genuine and warm, and they just actually encourage you to talk about things like feelings and emotions, and it's kind of nice. It's kind of refreshing. So I've really enjoyed, like, cultural differences between friends in the US and, and my home friends, I'm kind of tickling around the ideas of like, maybe I could move to America. on that. I'm not sure I want to but yeah, don't do it. That's what that's what everyone says don't do it. But I'm like, Ah,

Michael David Wilson 5:39

well, I didn't know you could do. I mean, a number of people I know do where they don't actually move to America. But what they do is spend an extended amount of time there. So I mean, one of the former co host of This Is Horror, right back in the day, John Costello. He used to spend pretty much every summer over in California, so he'd gone is American hit. But without perhaps some of the disadvantages of living in America.

Gemma Amor 6:11

Well, yeah, yeah. I mean, I feel like I've done that this year. already. I've been over twice this year. Was it twice? Yeah, it was twice. Yeah. And almost went back for a third time, but just ran out of funds. But I'll be back next year. I'll be I'll be back over twice again next year. And I can't see that, that that that tradition won't continue. So Yeah.

Michael David Wilson 6:35

Fantastic. You've got it planned out already. But I must say, in terms of having a number of colleagues that are American that it is, as you say, refreshing to be so direct. The only disadvantage I found is, as you know, I employ a lot of sarcasm when I do it in a very dry tone. And there's some people particularly a friend, not that used to British people who are like, Yeah, I don't understand. I just I know what's going on here.

Gemma Amor 7:08

I had to, I've had to temper myself a fair bit, actually, in that sense. And it's, it's interesting, because I think, particularly with social media efforts, there are times where I think I perhaps come across as particularly, not bothered or unlikable, or quite cool in that sense with how I interact with people on social or on Messenger or whatever. And then it's interesting when they meet me in real life, and they're like, you can almost see them going, Oh, she's not a total bit. It's just like, actually, I'm British. So this is kind of par for the course, like we're all very, we're quite guarded, in how we react and talk to people to begin with. And we're, quite generally we're quite hard to impress. But in person, we're very nice. It's like, it's funny. It's, um, I know what you mean, I have, I've reined in some of my sarcasm and some of my sauciness as well, because other cultures are not quite as I was quite surprised when I went to I went to Virginia Beach this year. And it was such an interesting dichotomy to me that there were signs on the actual beach. Kind of cautioning against profanity, like don't swear on the beach, which absolutely staggered me because then I went to a restaurant and there was a big sign in the window that said, No concealed carry. And I was like, wow, it's like, I couldn't get my head around. Don't swear on the beach. And don't bring your gun into this restaurant like the to give similar proportions. So I'm still there's a lot about American life and culture that I'm still learning about. But yeah, it's Yeah. But I love that. That was that stuff fascinates me the differences. People fascinate me, right? Different cultures and traditions and ways of doing things and ways of saying things and words and all of that stuff. Language Absolutely. fascinates me. And, Michael, you probably you still living in Japan, right? So you notice, one of the things that I hear a lot about Japanese culture is, is it can be quite difficult to access, and people are quite private over there. I don't know how is because British people are quite private. So I don't know whether there is a marked difference, but it's just interesting to me how, how different things are. And I think that's why I traveled so much as well, and how I'm always driven to travel so much. And I'm just, I guess I'm just desperately hungry to like, consume as much of the world as I can before. I'm too old, you know, like, because I find all this so fascinating.

Michael David Wilson 9:43

Wow, you've given so many areas for me to jump into now. But I have to say in terms of the sign saying Don't swear on the beach, it's like if that's the case, I probably just shouldn't go to the beach. Best and if I didn't see

Gemma Amor 9:59

anybody enforcing it put it that way I didn't see like, swear probation officers walking around robbing people over the knuckles. But

Bob Pastorella 10:07

nobody had defaced it because if they either had a sign like that, here, no swearing on the beach, you would have had spray painted, misspelled probably fuck off.

Gemma Amor 10:21

I mean, that was my initial reaction, but I was a visitor in another country. So I didn't say anything, but I did I find it fascinating

Bob Pastorella 10:29

that I've never heard of them.

Michael David Wilson 10:31

And I've been in the UK I don't know if we'd have defaced it with fuck off probably, but definitely be like so many penises drawn around. You right? That?

Gemma Amor 10:45

Never gets old does it drawing a different something. For a couple of my author friends. If I give them an author copy of the book, I'll always sign it with a deck that will make it more valuable in the future or whether everyone just thinks I'm a pure old child. Sometimes I might add like hair to the balls. If you're in a really good mood drink coming out nicely.

Bob Pastorella 11:09

malarious. Like 50 years, it's gonna be like, did it have the cotton balls? Yeah, right. You know, the signature Oh, that much money for?

Gemma Amor 11:20

Say like a book is a unicorn if it's about you and signed by the person that wrote it or something like that? Well, then there's like a unicorn. And then there's the cock and balls. And thus, Gemma sets the tone for?

Michael David Wilson 11:37

Well, I mean, I was gonna say if you didn't say I just appreciate you going in that direction, early doors. I have to say as well, I like that. You said a lot of people. If they meet you, they will say oh, she's not a total bitch. And it's like, Well, that's good. That's a good idea. Really, why don't we just set this impression of us that we're like a total prick or whatever. And then there's a low bar, then if we just like Ocasio precuts, like we've already exceeded expectations, so set it low to begin with. And then you can only please people,

Gemma Amor 12:15

I hope that I'm getting better at not being frosty online because I do know it is it is a bit of a problem I am quite hard work sometimes to communicate with. And a part of that is because I'm just I'm just so goddamn busy a lot of the time now as well, you know, not just with work stuff, stuff outside. Part of that is a burgeoning awareness I have of a potential ADHD, which has been undiagnosed for 40 years. So that's something else that I might be dealing with. But that also makes it really hard for me to like, communicate in a reliable, dependable way. And I think a lot of people don't understand that. So like things like group chats, I find really challenging, so I often won't engage in them. And I think people may misunderstand that as like snootiness. And actually, a lot of the time, it's just looking at your phone and seeing 39 notifications about a sock. It's like, it's not my jam. I can't deal with it, you know, so but you know, it is always much better in this kind of scenario, or in person, which is why that kind of convention circuit opening back up again, this year has been such a massive deal for me like personally and professionally. Because it was just like revelatory. I think I went to author con and I went to stokercon. And being in a room full of your peers and feeding off of your shared and collective enthusiasm and love for the genre. And intrinsically understanding the pressures of the industry in and just all of it. It was just like, it just reminded me so strongly, I think of who I who I am right now and who I'm comfortable being and who I'm growing into as a person. And it's like, you know, my writing career started sort of slowly to take off in 2018. And then the world went into lockdown when I hit my stride. So it's only not this year that I've started to enjoy the benefits of all of that social interaction and and it's it's done wonders for my mental health and it has not damaged my career in any way shape or form either. So like, I'm obviously somebody that works much better in person in the flesh, you know, than I am virtually. So that's something I've learned about myself this year.

Michael David Wilson 14:36

Yeah, yeah, and I gotta say that I've never had the impression that you frosty or anything online, but then I think maybe it's because I have perhaps a similar approach. I mean, if I'm added to a group yet I almost just want to leave it straight away.

Gemma Amor 14:56

I know people that add you without even asking you I'm like oh, knee jerk reaction to that.

Michael David Wilson 15:02

That is the worst. That is the worst. Although someone did add, like me and a few others to a group, yeah, and this person might even be listening, which will be quite funny. And like none of us ever said anything. Because it's like the person. And I'll tell them when I need to talk to them anyway, unless they hear in via this, but they didn't even introduced what's going on in the group. Yeah,

Gemma Amor 15:29

that sounds like that sounds like the beginning of a creepypasta story where everyone's in this group chat, but nothing ever gets said, but then slowly and subtly, is going to drip feed like a curse or some strange instructions. Or if that sounds like a really good start for a scary story, I would not take that experience for granted.

Michael David Wilson 15:53

I could freak him out. I could like add a message to it. Now after a few moments. I need help now.

Gemma Amor 16:00

Don't do that.

Bob Pastorella 16:02

Was this one of the ones that I was added into? No, no, no, no, no, no, because there was one that somebody put, I think I'm pretty sure you were in there, too. It's funny, because you see people, you know, like you see, then after the group starts, it's like, you see notifications, so and so has left the group. So the group, and I'm like going Bob is leaving the group to be involved in this shit.

Gemma Amor 16:31

And then you realize that the last person left in the group automatically won $9 billion. And you're kicking yourself, because you should have stuck it out. But hey, that's life, you know?

Bob Pastorella 16:43

Yeah, that's life.

Michael David Wilson 16:46

Yeah, indeed. Well, I mean, we last spoke to you back in early 2021. So I want to know, what have been the biggest challenges for you both personally and professionally.

Gemma Amor 17:03

It's so interesting thinking back because January 2021. was we were still in England. I think we were still in lockdown. I think things were slowly getting better. But what I have a feeling we were still in lockdown. We had like three major lockdowns in the UK across 2020 and 2021. And quite honestly, everything from February 2020, until about six months ago, is just a blur to me. Like I feel like it was so traumatic. I've blanked a lot of it out, like, professionally, it was fantastic. It was the best couple of years of my life career wise. But my God, it was a challenging couple of years like just you know, being trapped in the house with with the boys. And actually, so the reason that I've started to investigate ADHD for myself is because my child has suspected ADHD. So homeschooling in that context, was incredibly challenging. Juggling our careers and just everything felt like a huge struggle. And then not long after I spoke to you guys, I lost my Nana COVID She died in a care home which, which was fraught with a lot of anger for me, because the government here had a very, some very bad policies surrounding patient care and care homes throughout COVID, which basically kind of led to that. So I was dealing with a lot of grief, a lot of anger, which I probably still haven't really processed. And also I'd been stuck in my house for nearly a year and a half. I think so. That all feels like a bit of a fuzzy nightmare. You know that that's simultaneously feels like a decade ago and only yesterday. This year by comparison has been eons, not eons. That's the wrong word. I can't think of the right word, but it's been so vastly improved. On the previous to that I think I'm still in shock. I think I'm still processing how much better life is now. We're not out of COVID Obviously, we're still in the kind of, we're still in an active like pandemic I guess, but life has become much more manageable. For me personally for my family with schools reopening. Travel, you know, all of that stuff is now back on the table. My horizons have opened up again. And I don't feel so for me personally, freedom of movement is incredibly important. I'm a huge traveler and I always have been, you know, since I met my husband in my 20s we just we went everywhere and we love to travel and we'd like to take our kid with us. Having all of that just sucked out of my life, I had no control over where I was allowed to go or anything. It was, it was a miserable experience and it, it suddenly made me realize how unbelievably privileged I've been up until this point and still am. That I had that freedom of movement. So now that the world has opened up again, I've just been like, right fuck, it, just kind of bankrupted myself with flights and travel. And I've still got a few more cool little trips to go for the rest of this year. So challenges wise, I think the main problems for me were obviously they were all pandemic related. And I think we'll be unpacking the impact of, of what happened to us from 2020 onwards for many, many years to come. I know, I had COVID, myself earlier this year, I know the long term health impacts are quite profound,

I can definitely still feel some of that myself with a brain fog. And I know it's an inflammatory condition. So you know, it's, it's the impact on my mental health, everything. It was like, everything was going fine, I'd set my life up in a way which enabled me to manage my mental health, manage my, my kid manage my responsibilities, and then a giant foot just came down and smash the shit out of all of it, you know, with no warning whatsoever. So that in itself is quite a traumatic thing to unpack. And I think we'll be dealing with that. And I will, personally for a while to come. But I think one of the ways in which I'm actively dealing with that now is to just right, now I can do things again, that's go, I'm kind of 100 miles an hour at the moment making the most of every minute possible. So I have I have no regrets in that area at all. I went, went to Virginia to author con at a charity event organized by Brian Keene in, in Joe ripple, and I went there in March, and hung out with red Legault who pretty much saved my life when my last minute pickup ride from the airport, fell through and she drove all the way from Virginia Beach to Dallas to pick me up. We went on a mini road trip and had an amazing time together, went to the swamps, went to the beach, went to the con. And then I came back and I did I co organized with James Tabata and Don Gilroy and Laurel Hightower, we organized the official stokercon pre party called a night of spirited giving at the Stanley in Estes Park in Colorado, which was an absolute highlight of my career. And then I went on to stokercon. So I've kind of made memories this year that will stay with me for the rest of my life. And for me, personally, again, speaking from that position of privilege and being able to do so like, that is what it's all about. For me, that's what life is about. For me, like I'd rather not have the new Apple phone, or I watch or whatever, and get on a train or a plane or a boat and go somewhere that that's, that's what makes me happy. And a lot of my friends, also, I roll a lot of me, especially in the US, because they don't understand the concept of how much paid vacay time we get here on my husband gets. And so the kind of rolling joke amongst my friends and people like Brandon Boone is always like, Oh, you're off on another four month holiday. I'm like, Well, you know, it's actually if we can, why not say and that's, that's my prevailing attitude. Now going forward for everything I was in such a dark space for for two years, and I've been in dark spaces before. And I'm 40 years old now. I turned 40 this year. And now I'm just like, You know what, I have a chunk of time left on this earth, I'm going to I'm going to make the most of it. And if I can, I will and that's now my motto for everything going forward. Money allowing, which, you know, it's one of those things, but yeah, it's, that's that's a really garbled answer to your question, I think but I think it was an answer.

Michael David Wilson 24:03

Your It was certainly an answer. And I would even go as far as to say it was a pretty good answer. And there's a lot of different things

Gemma Amor 24:11

that British people don't like compliments. I know. I know.

Michael David Wilson 24:15

You're gonna hang out. This interview is over.

Gemma Amor 24:20

Tell me I'm a piece of shit. Yeah, it works.

Michael David Wilson 24:23

Well, I mean, I'll wait for Dan Howarth to be

Gemma Amor 24:30

done a lot hung out with Dan in in Scarborough. And

Michael David Wilson 24:34

I was so jealous like when the pictures remerging of chilla Khan, and it's like, why are all my friends gathered here and I'm not.

Gemma Amor 24:44

I think we were actually on the beach drawing dicks in the sand as well.

Michael David Wilson 24:48

Favorite activity throughout

Gemma Amor 24:53

my career. If you're ever back, I promise we will take you to the beach to draw deck. Okay. We

Michael David Wilson 25:01

draw tickets together for that.

Goodness. I mean, you were saying about turning 40 years old. And so like, I mean, I find, yes, sometimes when it's birthday, we just it's another year and we don't really care other ones like, we might approach it with some trepidation of as it can be quite exciting. So I mean, I wonder, as you're approaching 40, what was the mind state, like at that point,

Gemma Amor 25:37

I'm a massive, I'm a massive diva about birthdays, like, I think because growing up, so I grew up, my mom was a single working mom, when I grew up. And I spent a lot of time with my nan and granddad. And he was kind of I had three parents in that sense, I was quite lucky. And they always made a huge, huge deal out of my birthday. Because I was an only child, well, I'm not an only child, but I grew up as an only child. And it was always something that they made an effort for. And so now in my, as I'm a middle aged woman, I still have like, foot stamp moments. Like, what do you mean, we're not doing anything special for my birthday, a bit of a diva about it. So. But on the same hand, I'm also terrible at organizing things for myself. So this year, I think I just, my husband was very sweet and organized and kind of surprise, birthday lunch. And de Castro turned up, and we went out and drank lots and lots of cocktails, got very drunk, and had a great time. It was it was good. It was good fun. But my mindset was very much that, you know, 40 is a special benchmark age, I think, because these are the years in particular for me, in which I feel like, I finally understand myself and who I was supposed to be and who I am now, and, and I have a lot of gratitude for the journey that I've been on. And like I said, it's like that midway point in your life when you're like, Okay, I'm looking back down at how far I've come. But I can still look up at how far I've got left to go. In terms of like my own goals and benchmarks and things I want to do with my life. This is an ideal midway point to like, we gather and not only kind of feel gratitude for what I've had process all the shit stuff, too. But then think, right, okay, onwards to the next bit and push and push and push. And you know, it's, it's just, I have this kind of, particularly with the writing career, I have this imagery in my mind of it being a mountain. And again, this is something I speak to Brandon a fair bit about. The idea is that kind of you're a mountain climber, right? And you you do some of the climb with people, and they help you along and they motivate you and you do some of it on your own. And I think when you get to the age of 40, you do a fair amount of kind of scanning that mountain just by yourself for a little bit. Because it's in doing that you figure out how strong you are. I know this is all very wonky and allegorical, but it's just how my brain my brain works quite visually. So my mindset was very much going into foresee that like, quite unrealistically I sort of told myself, I want to be in the best shape of my life, I want to be the best looking I've ever been, I want to be the most forward in my career that I've ever been. And actually, then I was like, that's not the right right way of looking at it, the right way of looking at it is, okay, this is what you've done so far. And this is what you want to do. And let's put your head in a space in which you think you can then go forward and do that, if that makes sense. I'm certainly not in the best shape from in the worst. But you know, that stuff will come it's like it's just being kind to yourself whilst also staying staying driven and motivated. So again, that's a balance. I think that's quite hard to get to sometimes because I'm quite hard on myself and I push a lot. But I also understand that you can push yourself too far. And then that sort of pushes you back down the mountain if that makes sense. So

Michael David Wilson 29:24

yeah, yeah, it does make sense it resonates a lot. So work your what you say resonates I feel we must have similar mindsets to so many things. And yeah, I'm always trying to push myself and to optimize to be the best right and the best looking the best shape and, you know, sometimes a few exercises in it's like, today's not the day to be in. Maybe tomorrow we'll be that Dave. You always have like the kind of Rockies the monto And then you go for a couple opponents and you lay this

Gemma Amor 30:05

out. I love the fact you were like, Yeah, a couple of pull ups casually, I've been trying to do a pull up for 15 years, Michael. And I still can't do one. Because I don't have any upper body strength. And I have boobs and heavy bits. So, but one day, I will be able to do a pull up. That's actually one of my goals. But yeah, it's funny, isn't it? Like I did half an hour of yoga last night, because I'm just starting to get back into things that actively helped my brain Stop running 100 miles an hour. And I did 36 minutes of this very gentle beginner's yoga. And then I got to the end, and I sat there like, oh my god, I'm so inflexible. Oh my god, I'm so overweight. Oh my God, my knees were crazy. And then I was like, hold the fucking phone, you just did 36 minutes of yoga, rather than sitting around eating Doritos in your pants, you know, and picking crumbs out of him. And it's got to be better than, like, why don't you celebrate that instead of how bad you were at it. And that's an ongoing process for me, I think is focusing as much as I can now on the positive and not the negative because over COVID and in lockdown, I was in a horrifically negative headspace. And it comes out in a lot of the things I wrote over those two years. Like, I feel when I look back on what I produced, how foggy and muddy and just generally negative A lot of it was. And just just stories that I wrote at the time that I look back at now and sort of wince a little bit like, God, you know, so, yeah, I feel like I'm in a slightly new era, kind of creatively and, and personally, of just aggressively holding on to the positive as much as possible, because it's a survival technique, right? Like, you know, I'm not gonna, I'm not, I'm not advocating Little House on the Prairie skipping through the meadows, like all the time, because that's exhausting. But I'm trying to be as positive as I can, as much of the time as I can, if that makes, you know, if that resonates, it does,

Michael David Wilson 32:10

it does. Picking crumbs out of your mouth.

Gemma Amor 32:19

She is beauty she is

Michael David Wilson 32:24

real, though.

Bob Pastorella 32:31

I mean, because what you're talking about, you get all that it's like you go, I'm a diabetic, so I have to kind of maintain some shape in round as a shape. So, you know, but you have to stay active and things like that. So you get all hyped up and sucked in with your time and you want to go to the gym and everything like that, you know, and you're, you're, you know, 20 minutes in and you're you're complaining about how old you are. And you got that you got pendulums voice in your background in your head going relaxed, you're all die, and so on. It's like, and then you're at the store and you're like getting like you didn't know your style and stuff, but I'm definitely going to get these ice cream drumsticks and you're smoking a cigarette. I'm gonna like

Gemma Amor 33:14

what's it? What's an ice cream drumstick? That sounds very dirty.

Bob Pastorella 33:17

It is dirty. They're very busy. It's like a chicken drumstick. No, no, it's ice cream. It's in a cone. Oh, and they they cover it with with chocolate and peanuts. Oh, I say that they ice cream has a filling inside of it. Wow. And they have some that are like you can get like the the ice cream is chocolate. And they dip chocolate into the cone and then pour the ice cream in there and then shoot Kerrville into

Gemma Amor 33:49

God stop I need to go and change

Bob Pastorella 33:55

know we have this concept that we you know, we're going to do this to make ourselves you know, feel better. And if you're out of shape, then the only thing that makes you feel better is sitting around in your you know your pants in Doritos, you know, and you have to put in all this effort and work to be I've got to be in shape. I've got to be good. And yeah, I mean, it's you want to live a healthy lifestyle and things like that. But you know, sometimes the psych shit man, none of this stuff fucking matters. No one's live forever. There's not this one guy going see I'm 3000 years old. It works, you know?

Gemma Amor 34:33

Right. And the irony of it is that my great grandfather I think made it and actually in so my great grandmother made it until 98 years old and she lived with my great grandfather who smoked about 25 Pipes a day and had no teeth left because because they've all fallen out due to the heavy smoking and and and when he passed away we went to sort of clean the bungalow for her and I remember washing off kind of thick, too. Baco smoke to reveal the color underneath on the wallpaper. And she was 98 years old when she passed away. God knows how much smoke, she must have inhaled and, you know, it's so funny, isn't it like it, I think, I think to a certain amount, you can, you can do so much. And then the rest is in the hands of fate or genetics or whatever. And it's about perspective for me. So I know I can't really control the big things that COVID prove that to me, like, there are many occasions in my life where I will be out of control. But where I am in my life right now what I can control is me and how I think about things and how I choose to interact with people. And it's like, if I fall out with somebody, I can't, I can't control them. I can't control how they feel, how they think how they react, I can't control anything about them at all, nor should I be able to, but I can control me, I can control my own reactions, and my own emotions are my own feelings. And I think that's something that I'm beginning to learn so much more about. And it helps me a lot in my career, it helps me a lot with my, my son and my family and just in general interactions and stuff. And so if I can control my brain to like, not consistently do that British thing of hanging on the negative and actually swerve and go to the positive instead. I think it's making me a happier person. And it's just a bit of a shame. It's taken me 40 years to learn it as a trick. There we go.

Michael David Wilson 36:29

Yeah, but I think the older we get anyway, the more we realize, you know, we don't know. So it's a slow process of realisation, showing me I looked back, you know, my 20s. And at the time, I thought I knew everything I can then I realize, Oh, I knew nothing, and then knowing that I know slightly more. And I guess that's kind of

Gemma Amor 36:57

some. There's a short story about that, I believe by Hanif Qureshi, and it's called the body I think it's called the body I got my mother in law brought me back a small, hey, hey presto edition of it. And the story is basically about an old man who has his brain transplanted back into a young body. So he takes all of his knowledge and experience combined with the physical prowess of having a young man's body. And it just goes on his journey through Discovering, and obviously, there's a lot of sex involved. But then there's also like, a lot of loneliness. And a lot of it just doesn't work. And I think aging is one of those things where we spend so long fighting against it right? And, and I look back at my youth and my 20s. And I'm like, Oh, I was so fit and healthy. And but I was also like, so underdeveloped in terms of who I was like, I had absolutely no sense of myself whatsoever. And I do sometimes think how nice it would be if I could go back and have that strong sense of self, as well as the kind of young nurse and the energy and the drive and the physicality. But it wouldn't have worked. I don't think I don't think life is like that. I think we're meant to age. Because it's a maturity is one of those things that enriches your life, I think, in many ways. She says, as an old person, but like, yeah, I don't know, I've been on a bit of a I don't know whether there's an added thing with women as they get older, and they approach middle age and the pressures on us to kind of remain attractive, or do you know what I mean? Like, I always remember a friend of mine telling me that when she hit the age of 60, she suddenly became invisible, and how distressing she found that I hate that idea. Like, so, for me, I'm going to spend as much of my life doing things now that don't revolve around my appearance or getting hung up on all of that as I possibly can. Because I don't want to feel like that when I get to that point. No.

Michael David Wilson 39:04

Yeah, and kind of talking about well being I mean, you've got a new book coming out imminently it will just be out by the time this airs. So it's called full immersion. But I'm wondering given the subject matter which deals with depression and suicidal ideation and have a depressive episodes that have personally affected you, I mean, what effect is promoting it having on your mental health and well being right now because I mean, I can't imagine that all podcasts and promotional kind of appearances include dick jokes and drawing

Gemma Amor 39:54

know So to be fair, like, just generally in life anyway, I kind of slap on Have a thick layer of humor to most things because it is just it is a coping mechanism for me to be able to laugh at stuff. But yeah, it's a very valid question. It's I knew that writing the book, and publishing the book would expose me to a certain amount of like, I'm gonna have to go through it in terms of reliving this stuff over and over and over again, I don't think I fully appreciated how much I'd have to do that in the traditional publishing world, because with a with a traditionally published book, you go through so many different iterations of a manuscript, there are so many different edits, you know, there's a line edit, there's a developmental edit, there's this edit, there's a copy, edit, there's so many different edits that you go through, even before you send it to a publisher, that you're kind of at one point, it did feel like I was on a hamster wheel of trauma, you know, like, here, I am reliving this scene again and again, and tweaking the words to make it read well, and to make it palatable for an audience. And I'm like, this is hard. And then there was a period of kind of quiet whilst the book goes into being made. And then you're in the promotional period. And back, you are in interviews, and all the rest of it, and won't really hit home for me was I sort of suggested to angry robot, right back at the beginning that I'd be interested in recording the audiobook version of this novel, because I've been sort of getting more into voice work. And, you know, I felt like it was such a personal book, I mean, it's pretty much an autobiography really, that it would be kind of okay for me to do it. And then it wasn't until I was in a recording booth, a professional recording booth in London, with a lady on Edit in the next room in the edit suite, with my own voice in my headphones, for three and a half days solid, narrating this book. It was the first time like when you write a book, you write it in pieces. And the analogy I always use is writing a book for me personally, because I'm quite a chaotic person, is like stringing a series of beads onto a thread. And then you may kind of rearrange the sequence of the beads or whatever. But eventually, you'll have like a completed necklace, right? That's my process. So it's a very fragmented approach. And even when you go through the the edits, in Edit, and edit, you edit in sections, and in chunks, this was the first time I had ever like, I guess, consumed the novel, as a kind of listener or reader would in one complete unit, because I was reading it out loud. And I was hearing myself talk about these things. And I was reliving these kinds of traumatic experiences out loud, in my own in a very intimate kind of insulated fashion. And that was really quite tough. Actually, it got to the last day of recording was the kind of last 10 chapters of the book, which is where most of the really stern stuff happens. And, and I came straight out of that, and I went back to my hotel room. And then I went straight into a two hour interview for I think, Dark Matter museum where we were talking about postnatal trauma and the book and this, that and the other. And I've just been on a kind of bit of a rotation of doing that, and doing guest blog posts and all sorts of things. So it has been hugely challenging for me in that sense, because it's, it's not like we're talking about my trip to the Dolomites. Skip through the mountains. We're talking about, you know, the the bad experiences I had giving birth, my mental health afterwards, my suicidal ideation, my intrusive thoughts, we're talking about these things over and over and over again.

But the upside to all of that is, and I guess, this is why therapy is so useful. And I'm in therapy as well, I'm sort of actively still in talking therapy, is, you take control of it, every time you do that, you know, you, you own it a little bit more every time you do that, you're you're the kind of narrator of your own story a little bit more. So having said that, once all this is over, like I have absolutely no desire to write anything about mental health through for a long, long time. I don't want to become that that mental health and horror author, which I am slightly worried I'm becoming because I get approached a lot to talk about these things. And it's like, that's fine. But there's more to me than then my mental health. So it doesn't define me. It's just part of who I am. But I'm more than that. So it's, it's been quite draining. I am extremely nervous about this book, partly because of all of that stuff. But also, it's been part of my recovery process. And I'm very open about the fact that writing this book kind of saved my life. So I feel like I owe it the due diligence of having the conversations and talking and particularly if it helps other people who may be in a similar A position might not feel informed enough or kind of courageous enough to be able to tell someone about it and ask for help. So, yeah, it's, it's, I've been on a journey this year, I am very much in need of a holiday after it. But I don't have any regrets at all. I do want to write a book about fluffy kittens. But maybe I'll keep that one as a personal project, you know?

Michael David Wilson 45:30

Right, right. And, I mean, while you're doing this, you said that you also in talk therapies, so that will be like kind of a way, I guess, to process things and to keep your mental health somewhat in check. Other things that you're kind of doing or the rules that you have just I guess, to safeguard yourself from just kind of swimming in trauma,

Gemma Amor 46:00

boundaries, basically, and this is what I say to everybody who's like, Well, how do you handle this? And it's like, I have really fucking firm boundaries on a lot of areas of my life now. When I will and won't answer messages, who I will talk to, and how, how I want to be spoken to, and how and by whom. How long, I will allow myself to think about something. Setting in strict like, No, I can't deal with this now or work now. Because this is my walking time, or my time with my kid is all about boundaries. If I feel like I haven't been heard, then I will communicate that and hold to my boundaries. If something is bad for me, I was withdrawn from it. And I won't feel any guilt about that, because that's my boundary boundaries are every thing, I think just in life in general, not necessarily just when dealing with mental health, but they are a particularly effective tool in handling your mental health and in making it better. Even if it's just a simple case of, I'm not going to accept a phone call from this person, because I'm not in the right frame of mind. And I'm not going to feel bad about that. Because it would be a ship phone call anyway, you know, that person if they care enough about you will understand. And if they don't fuck him, they can go and do their own thing anyway. So boundaries are very, very important in this game. And in life for me, generally. And that's how I, that's how I maintain a kind of basic good level of mental health. And I think beyond that, travel, you know, anybody that sort of follows me on any of my socials will see that I'm constantly going somewhere, I am aware of how that comes across. I am aware of how privileged I look, I am very lucky. I have enough in sort of savings and stuff that I can travel when my my nan passed away, she left me a bit of money as well. I just have to go places and in planning those trips, makes me happy and gives me hope and gives me something to look forward to. So I do a lot of that I do a lot of exercise. Yeah, there's lots of things that I do. It's a great, it's a it's a constant process of tweaking variables in your life to make your life more tolerable, boring shit, like eating broccoli, and drinking green tea and cutting down on caffeine, not smoking or boozing anymore. You know, like, it's just a constant process of like, maintaining yourself thinking of yourself as a boat or a car and TINKERING AWAY all the time. But the most effective thing I've found that's changed my life has been boundaries.

Michael David Wilson 48:39

Yeah, yeah. And I think in terms of boundaries, that's another example of something that I feel gets easier as you get older. And certainly for me anyway, because, you know, in my 20s, I was more a people pleaser, or worried, like if I if I say no to this invitation, then maybe I'm gonna upset some people, whereas now it's like, well, no, I don't want to do this. Therefore, I'm not going to do it. If you have a problem that I chose myself, or that I care about my time, then that's your problem. But that's not I'm not gonna let you sabotage me being happy.

Gemma Amor 49:19

Yeah. And it takes a certain amount of think of self confidence to be able to do that, without feeling terrible as well. And then there have been times where I've reacted to something. And then I've kind of gone in on myself and gone Oh, my God, Was I too hard? Was I unreasonable? And then the more I look at it, the more I'm like, No, I wasn't actually and it's about a bit of having a bit of self belief and self confidence doesn't hurt. Boundaries sort of help with that. It's sort of it's all a bit of a self fulfilling cycle. You have boundaries, you have better confidence, you have confidence, you can install your own boundaries. So it's definitely an age thing as well, I think. But I think also, again, the way I was brought up, was very much not In that sense, so I was brought up to not be an inconvenience, not not cause trouble for anybody never speak up. If you saw a problem, just keep your head down. You know, don't Don't make a noise. If you're a girl and you sort of cry, people will tell you, you know, but that's not very ladylike. In a much the same way as when boys cry, they're like, well just be more of a man stop crying, you know, that that whole generation of us growing up being kind of emotionally stunted is something that I'm actively fighting against with my own kid. And I'm, and he knows the word boundaries very well, to the point where I actually find it quite hard to parent him sometimes, because you'll turn around and go, mummy, that violates my boundaries. But it's good, good. It's good because it means when he's 25. He'll know himself a bit better. I hope. So yeah, it's very much a product of being a mild millennial. I guess I am. Yeah, being a millennial as well, like not having a very good sense of what is and isn't acceptable to you.

Michael David Wilson 51:04

Yeah, I was interested in with full immersion is last time we were speaking, I was asking you about what it would take for you to go with a traditional publisher. Well, here we are. So yeah, yeah, I want to talk about, you know, landing this deal with angry robot. So how did that come about?

Gemma Amor 51:29

So I have a feeling when we were speaking January 2021, I have a feeling that I had just submitted them the manuscript at that point, right, if not earlier, I think it was in December 2020. So it's quite a long convoluted journey. But basically, I realized when I started doing this whole writing thing in 2018, that one of the things I wanted to work on was building kind of a network of relations. And a lot of the ways in which I did that was through Twitter, obviously, like many of us do. And I started followed following publishers online that I liked, and whose kind of social media voice I really liked. And I the angry robot, social media manager, at the time, was very on the ball and very funny. And most of their shtick revolved around kind of cheesy jokes, which I loved. Obviously, anyone that's followed me knows my predilection towards shit dad jokes, so it got into a nice little routine of like, I would post a dad joke and the social media person angry robot would always reply with a badam tips kind of gift. And it was just a nice back and forth. I didn't think anything more of it, let's no more, kind of have a solid connection, then. Then with any other social media connection you have that's quite surface level. But then, as the kind of my confidence grew, and I started to do more and more online, and I was talking about it online, they invited me to go on their podcast, and they had a podcast at the time. And they were interviewing an author who has been a hero of mine for a long time, a chap called Jeff neuen. He was a kind of urban sci fi author, he used to write a lot of Manchester based kind of futuristic tech stories, which, which I always describe to people as kind of black mirror before Black Mirror was a thing. He wrote an amazing book called vert. He wrote a series short story collection called pixel juice. And it was all about like, party culture and drugs, and Futurism, and I loved it. So when they said, Would you like to come on the podcast and talk about, you know, horror books alongside Jeff noon? Because he'd just written creeping Jenny. I was like, fuck yeah. And so in the course of that interview, I think the subject of like genre blending, and things came up. And I was quite open about the fact that one of the reasons I hadn't submitted some of my stuff to a traditional publisher yet, is because it sort of blurred boundaries with genre, and I wasn't sure how easy it would be as a cell, which is probably completely the wrong thing to say to a publisher, by the way, you should never do yourself down in those instances, but I did. And then I think that maybe was a bit of a colossal hint that I dropped that they very kindly picked up on. And shortly after, that sort of just sort of got in touch and said, hey, you know, if you've ever got any novel length projects you want to send our way, then please do so. And I knew enough about how publishing works to realize what an enormous opportunity that was because they do have an open submission period, but it tends to be for like, a one week of the year. And most of the time, they'll they'll accept sub through agents, as you know, as most publishers do in that in that traditional sense. And so I knew this was an opportunity that I couldn't really turn down. So then I just sort of started looking at what I had, that I could send them. And this novel was it basically it was it was, the more I knew about them and learned about him as a publisher, the more I knew they could handle it, and deal with it sensitively and publish it well and do a good job with it. And that's what I wanted for this book. And actually, I wrote the novel, never intending it to see the light of day. And I've done several other interviews about this. Like it as it started out, it was just a brain dump, it was almost like a series of diary entries. This shit happened to me. And this is how I feel about it. It took a couple of years to turn it into an actual novel, with speculative elements in and fictional bits woven in, but it was never really meant to be published. But when that opportunity opened up, I thought, actually, I think this book would be a good fit for them, not just in terms of the fact that it blurs genres, but just in terms of who they are as publishers these days and their attitude to authors. And, you know, they take good care of their authors in general and the subject matter and they've been very open and receptive about,

you know, me putting trigger warnings in at the front, and me putting a list of resources in at the back. And they've just been incredibly considerate throughout. And that's what I wanted. Because I think sometimes, the only downside to indie publishing is you don't always get that. receptiveness to these sorts of delicate topics. We've still got a way to go in that area. So yeah, that was the journey i It's, I always feel very awkward talking about it. Because again, it feels very privileged. I was basically approached and then as a result of the the offer that they they sent me, I then was able to secure an agent. So I did everything else about face, I had very little intention of that year actually going out to Trad of querying an agent I knew querying wasn't for me, I didn't have the mental fortitude for it. I know how competitive it is. And for me, it was much more important to just write and get the words out there to my readers than it was to, to suffer 25 rejections in a row from an agent that didn't think I was the right fit. It's funny how much easier that process is with an actual book offer in hand. I always feel a bit like I need to cringe when I tell that story. Because I know some of my peers have been in the queering trenches for a long time. And it's brutal. And I, I have nothing but respect for people that can pick themselves up and keep going at it. I am very fortunate, and I'm very aware of that. And actually, most of my writing career I feel has been like 10% Talent 90% luck, which is doing myself a dirty probably, but like, I've just feel very much like I've been in the right place at the right time. But perhaps I've been in the right place at the right time, because I've worked so hard on making connections and, and being as proactive as I have been on the kind of socials and stuff. So it's all it's all interlinked. Yeah, so that's the journey. And now we're staring at publication date on the 13th of September, and I'm more nervous about anything than I've ever been in my entire life. Which is weird, isn't it? Because I've bought out like seven or eight books before now. But this one feels they're all special to me. But this one feels particularly significant because of because of the book. And what it is, you know, though, I don't think they'll ever be as personal a book that I publish again, I don't think your notes.

Michael David Wilson 58:23

No, I mean, it totally made sense. And I mean, as you said, it saved your life is so personal. And then, you know, you combine that with the fact that it's your first one with a traditional publisher, he's got to two things putting pressure on you. So, you know, I'm not surprised that you're nervous. Of course, what you were saying about luck and talent. I mean, I think, you know, towards the end of that you kind of struck it right there. Because it's amazing how lucky one can be when they work bloody hard. You know, it's like, we, we can't guarantee that we'll be lucky ever. But if we keep working hard and we keep putting that work in it's like we're giving ourselves Extra Credits extra opportunities to to have that lucky break. And of course, there are some amazing writers who haven't had that lucky break. But you know that the more you kind of Qian away at it, the more you increase your chances of being lucky and yeah, it can be unfair sometimes that some people who should get the break down, but it's like just keep doing it.

Gemma Amor 59:43

Well, I mean, for me personally, a lot of that work was about how I presented myself publicly as well and I know a lot of writers who aren't comfortable with that they they take issue with you know what, I don't want it to be a popularity contest and I don't want to do social media because of my you know, this, that and the other and all of That is incredibly valid, and I do understand it. But for me personally, I knew that maybe because of my background in marketing and having done marketing for 10 years, that unless you are visible unless you can display to a publisher a commitment to promoting yourself in an unashamed way, in in a good way as well, not by being a prick, unless you can prove to people that you have that energy and that drive and that ambition, and you have to consistently continue to prove it, then sometimes, you know, it's interesting. So like the idea that when you sign with a traditional publisher, then you're on the home run, like you're not, you're absolutely not like I read some amazing statistics about traditionally published books, and how many copies get sold by per like 50% of the authors published how many copies of each book gets sold, it's no different in traditional publishing than it is in self or indie, like, you still have to promote yourself, you still have to do the work, you still have to put yourself out there and be visible. And I do understand people that don't like doing that, that perhaps don't feel that's a skill set that that find that uncomfortable, find it awkward and stuff. But what I would say is, I would not have landed that traditional publishing deal had I not been quite active and vocal on social media. I didn't think I'd have a publishing career full stop. Were it not for social media. So I think the reason I feel so passionate about this is it's interesting. I was I was on a panel at chilla con, and I was talking about indie publishing and how useful a tool social media is, because it's free. And an audience member kind of took issue with it and and lectured me for about 15 minutes. It was one of those instances where he raised his hand and said, this isn't a question but and everybody's eyes just wrote, but it's fine. I get a lot of it. And it was, you know, the implication being that you shouldn't beat yourself up if you're not very good at social. And it's like, yeah, all of that is actually true and very valid. But it's free. Why wouldn't you want to try? Why wouldn't you want to make a name for yourself? And why wouldn't you want to interact with other writers? And why wouldn't you want to talk about the things that you love in an enthusiastic way online, I don't understand the reticence myself, I try and be as understanding as possible of other people's kind of ways of approaching their career. I don't think in this gig there is any one right way or wrong way of doing anything, I think isn't a uniquely personal experience, your author journey. But for me, personally, I knew and I continue to know that investing a lot of that time and energy into being seen and being seen in the right way, as as false and facetious as that sounds, was the right thing for me. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'd love to get to the point where 10 years down the line, I don't have to compose a tweet every hour, in order to sell books, like I'd love that I'm exhausted sometimes by staring at my phone. But I'm not there yet. I'm not in that position yet. So I'm going to continue to do that. And, and, you know, I just try and make it as fun as I can and interact with people in the way that I would in in the pub. And that's how I approach everything. But the it's all still work is what I'm saying the networking, the tweeting the posts, the blog posts, the email, all of it, all those connections, it's all still work. The difference is that this is my passion. You know, this is not a nine to five office job. This is something that I passionately care about. So I'm willing to invest that time. And it's it is paying off. And I am very fortunate and very grateful for the opportunities that I've had and continue to have. And I'm just I'm riding away for as long as I can. Because I know nothing is a given in this industry. I could wake up next year and realize I've got nothing coming out. Nothing sold nothing, you know, who knows? We'll see. But for now, I'm riding the wave until it runs out.

Michael David Wilson 1:03:56

Yeah, yeah. And then of course, you said that you secured an agent after you landed the book deal. So there's two things that I want to know about that. So firstly, how did you go about it? So I'm wondering if you would just querying in the same sense that one would when they don't have the book deal, but obviously, you're saying, I have this book deal, which is a massive kind of lead and massive reason for people to go for you. And then the second part since you had the book deal, I'm wondering, why did you want to secure the agent or was this something that angry robot encouraged?

Gemma Amor 1:04:44

Sure. There's lots of parts that questions. So the first one is how, again, I knew that traditionally queering wasn't really for me. So it was a process of simultaneously an agent reached out to me at the same time. which was very fortunate and very lucky. So I was able to talk to him about the fact that well, actually, I've got this book offer. And then, in addition to that, angry robot put me in touch with a couple of agents that they also personally recommended as part of that process of making me an offer. So it just came down to me choosing the person that I felt was the right fit for me. Which, again, I know, isn't really how it works. I wish I could give more detail on that. But that's literally what happened. In terms of why I wanted an agent, I think it was just in order to make sure that I understood my own rights in terms of well, just the rights, really the actual foreign rights, the foreign language rights, the all the varying different types of rights that are associated with a book, I wanted to make sure I was protected a little bit. And having an agent, in a sense sometimes predicts the publisher, as well as it protects you, because everybody's on the same table. Right. I knew it was a significant offer, I could have negotiated it on my own, and I did consider it. But I just felt that I would be more comfortable with a little bit of industry expertise behind me in negotiating rights effectively. And I don't consider that that to have been a wrong decision. And I, like I said, it wasn't, I wasn't really prepared to sort of seek out an agent at that point, or wasn't really prepared for any of it, I just kind of bumbled along. But at some point, I knew in the future that I would like to have had an agent to help me with some of this stuff. Because we eat as a self published person, or you do so much of it on your own. You do wonder whether you're making a rod fearing back sometimes, particularly in terms of rights. You know, and it's just my, my books are my creations, and they're the things that hopefully, 1020 30 years down the line will will continue to earn me some money. And so I need to make sure that all the legalese surrounding them is solid, you know, and I just didn't have that knowledge myself. And sure, I had people that I could have asked, but it just I don't know, having an agent gives you an extra little layer of protection, I think, in that sense. So yeah, that's why.

Michael David Wilson 1:07:29

And so you had three agents that you were looking at the one who approached you and a couple

Gemma Amor 1:07:35

who I think I had a four in the end, I think there was a choice of four, I can't remember it was, like I said, it was all a bit of a haze.

Michael David Wilson 1:07:44

So what made you go with the agent you ultimately went for?

Gemma Amor 1:07:50

I think a large part of it was just how easy I found it to talk to them on the phone. Which, again, that's my first ever agent, writer experience. So I am still learning a lot as I go through my career and my interactions with people. But generally, if I feel comfortable talking to somebody, then that's a good marker of like, how well I how much I want to work with them going forward. Yeah, that's that's it really, I just felt comfortable talking to Mark and just felt like we were on a, he understood what I was trying to achieve with my writing. And he represented other people that wrote similar stuff to me. So yeah, that was I kind of went on some gut based feelings.

Michael David Wilson 1:08:42

Yes, yeah.

Gemma Amor 1:08:44

I do feel like at all, though, everyone, everyone's like, what was your agent journey? And I'm like, blah, blah, blah. I feel like, I feel so fortunate. I almost feel like a bit of a fraud. Like, I'm not not, I haven't done it the right way.

Bob Pastorella 1:08:59

I mean, the thing about it is though, it's like we call ourselves lucky. Luck is is being observant and prepared for opportunities. Show, there are no other things that can happen. Sure, because if you if you're not prepared, and you're not observant, and there's no opportunity, but something happens to you anyway, so and that's just life, that's something that fell in your lap, you know, and so the way other people are gonna look at it as being lucky. Right? And so in some people take that as a bitterness, you know, or they can be bitter to that and anything like that. When situations like that fall into my way, and someone's you know, if they say, if they're bitter about it, I don't really care. And I mean, it's, it's not being mean or anything like that. It's just like at this point in time. I don't have time to play those type of games. I'm sorry. You feel that way. So, but now I have this to do, right? Because now I've actually created myself more work.

Gemma Amor 1:10:09

I was, I was surprised at how much bitterness is, is a feature of what we do. Sometimes I can't do I understand, I desperately want people to know that I understand what it's like to feel envious of somebody else's success or to want the same thing or to be driven and not feel like you're in the same place as one of your peers, or feel disheartened, I get all of that I really do. And I've been there myself, but I find it hard to understand bitterness. And it has been a feature of the last couple of years in, you know, certain quarters, I've experienced it. And it's been really upsetting in a way, because it's like, well, I've, in my head, there is no competition, right? We're all just here trying to do our thing. And we're all doing the same thing. So, like, for me, we're, we're allies, right? Where we understand each other, we know the graft and the grift. And this kind of competitive mindset. And this bitterness and resentment is something that I've never really understood anywhere in life. I'm not that way inclined. But I was quite surprised at how much of it sort of popped up in creative industry work. But I suppose it's not surprising when you think of what we do and how bound up with with ego and personality, a lot of it is and he goes, is always a bit of a dirty word. It doesn't have to be ego just means everything centered around your psyche, I guess. And so when it's so, so personal in that sense, it's not surprising that there are different attitudes and behaviors. But yeah, it was, it was one of the earlier lessons that I learned was that sometimes if you do experience some modicum of success, not everybody will automatically be stoked, like psyched for you. And you just have to be okay with that. You just have to understand, like I said, Before, you can't control how other people think about you and how they feel. You can only control yourself, right? So, yeah, there's,

Bob Pastorella 1:12:11

there's a lot of I mean, it's, it's, it's a competitive culture our entire lives. You know, and so I mean, we seen in work, we see it in play we seen in in our passions and things like that. And I'm like, the least competitive person that I know. And I've tried to get, like my peers in work and play to not be so competitive. But you know, it's like, it's basically especially not going to work condition, you're going to number one yourself to the grave.

Gemma Amor 1:12:42

I think the only the only caveat, the only caveat, I would say and the only the flip side of that argument is that there are many of my writing peers who, by stint of not being a white privilege woman have to work a lot harder than I do to get a seat at the table. And that's where your competitiveness comes in. Because you just have to be you just have to constantly fucking hammer that you're there and say to people, I'm here, and these are my stories, and that's wrong. But like marginalized voices, I think often don't have a choice, they have to be competitive as fuck, because otherwise they don't get seen, which is wrong. I like I said everything about me, I feel when I'm talking, I come from a position of privilege, because although I still have to fight in some senses to have a seat at the table, it's not anywhere near as hard as some of my friends have to say, you know,

Bob Pastorella 1:13:39

on green, it's, it's it's like you had you had your right, you had to fight and in the times that, you know, sometimes it just doesn't matter. Yeah, like, you know, it's like, man, it's a weird dichotomy.

Gemma Amor 1:13:58

Yeah, it is. This, like everything that I talk about in relation to this job. And this life is all about balance and finding that balance in so many different ways. And I must feel like I'm going to the end up in a yoga retreat on a mountaintop somewhere of 65. You know, balancing grains of rice on the tip of my fingernails, like it just, it just, it's teaching me so much about myself and how I choose to be and live. Like I said, it's been doing this finding this life finding this writer life, this career has been absolutely transformative for me, and in many ways, I've sort of said, revelatory as well, because I'm learning so much about myself and other people. And I'm being exposed to all sorts of different people from all over the world and all different backgrounds. And I love that and I don't imagine for one second that if I'd stayed working in a nine to five and an open plan office, selling In fucking business phone systems or whatever it was, I was doing that I would have had the same experiences and opportunities. I've learned and grown so much as a person since 2018. It's unreal, and I'm so grateful for that on a daily basis, I'm grateful for that.

Michael David Wilson 1:15:18

Thank you so much for listening to part one of the conversation with gamma or more. Join us again next time for the second and final part. But if you would like to get that conversation ahead of the crowd, if you would like to get every episode ahead of the crowd, then become a patron@patreon.com. Forward slash This Is Horror. And not only do you get early bird access to each and every episode, but you can submit questions to each and every guest. You can get exclusive podcasts including story unbox the horror podcast on the craft of writing q&a sessions with myself and Bob Pastorella and the video cast on camera off record. Now talking about submitting questions to guests, we have got a number of great people coming on the show soon. We have Brian Asman, Cynthia Palacio and Jonathan Jan's amongst others. And we will be soon releasing conversations with Paul Tremblay. big congratulations to Paul for the adapter ation of the cabin at the end of the world. We'll also be talking to Jason Poggi. And he's got a fantastic new book coming. And Tyler Jones who might be one of the best new writers not just in horror, but in general distribute as the real deal. He is so fucking good, and I think is going to be a big hit in literature. So keep your eyes peeled for Tyler. Now if you can support the podcast, it would help me personally you know, I've been in severe pain with something going on at the moment and there's no so real outlet I guess apart from my creativity. I wish I could talk about it. I can't or I feel that wouldn't be the right thing to do right now. But I do want it to end and I mean it will end it will have to end You know nothing is forever. This too shall pass. But Goodness If you could support us on Patreon it would help me with my current predicament my current difficult situation. So if you've been on the edge about supporting us on Patreon This is the time to do it. patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror. I should also say if you want to advertise on This Is Horror Podcast drop me a line Michael at this is horror.co.uk that will be so appreciated. And if you would like some freelance editing, you can drop me a line. You can check out my rates at Michael David wilson.co.uk. See if it's a good fit for you. I also offer writing consultations if you want to chat about what's going on if you need some direction. So all the details at Michael David wilson.co.uk Okay, before I wrap up, a little bit of an advert break.

Bob Pastorella 1:18:30

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RJ Bayley 1:19:09

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Bob Pastorella 1:19:18

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Michael David Wilson 1:19:48

As always, I would like to end with a quote and in my time of need I have been turning to a lot of stoicism and perhaps this quote from st Niko will help you particularly, if you are going through a troubled time at the moment, begin at once to live and count each separate day as a separate life, each separate day as a separate life that is something to ponder and if you can implement it then so much the better one day at a time, one life at a time and you know, on on that topic, what I catch myself having moments of happiness moments that are not encumbered with worry, or anxiety, or depression or stress. If I can have just dislike, glimmer dislike glimpse of happiness and that pure moment. And I know it's possible. And if I can have one moment I can have two moments. And maybe I can have a life that is not fully happy because I think that might be an illusion such as perfection, but it can be punctuated, it can be filled with moments of joy. So if you can have one moment, you can have many moments. Don't give up. I'll see you in the next episode for part two of gamma or more. But until then, take care yourselves. Be good to one another, read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day.

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