Interview With Author A.I. Winters

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Hi! My name is A.I. Winters and I’m an award-winning fantasy and horror author. My titles include Summoner of Sleep, Strange Luck, The Nightmare Birds, and A Darling Secret. I was born in Northern California, but currently live in La La Land. I’ve published many articles on writing and publishing, and have worked as a grant writer and copy editor for non-profits, municipalities, and major corporations. When not writing books, I love taking Jiu-Jitsu classes, baking desserts, and traveling. You can learn more about me and my books here.

# Can you tell us about your latest release?

Attention horror fans! I just released Summoner of Sleep, a psychological horror/thriller in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft. It’s about a man named Ryder Ashling who is plagued by nightmares of clocks. When they start attacking him in his sleep and returning to the real world, he’ll do anything to stop them, including ingesting a mysterious tonic that appears in his house. This leads to the discovery of the tonic’s origins in an isolated mountain town called Marble Woods. There he learns the disturbing and dark history of his family’s origins and is forced to make a decision that will impact the fate of humanity. Expect plenty of monsters, terror, and what-the-hell moments. 😊 You can pick up your copy here.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

All of my books are based on places I’ve lived or have visited often. Many characters and pets are based on a combination of people I’ve known, and as for my latest book, I was inspired to write it based on my dreams. I woke up after having repeated bad dreams and wondered “why can’t I have good dreams instead?” It would be WAY better to have dreams of flying through the galaxy, hanging out with my favorite musician, and eating all the cake I wanted versus having dreams about someone dying or doing something mundane like grocery shopping.

This sparked the idea for Summoner of Sleep and was the inspiration for the character, Botanē. He is hell-bent on perfecting not only the best kinds of dreams, but a very specific dream. Dreams are prevalent themes in all my stories. There’s something so mysterious about dreams and where they come from and why we have them. Summoner of Sleep allowed me to really explore my own dreams and how they impact me on a day-to-day basis. I hope my story will do the same for you.

# You’re also the author of the Strange Luck series. Could you tell us a little about them?

There are three books in the Strange Luck series, Strange Luck, The Nightmare Birds, and A Darling Secret. They chronicle the supernatural adventures of Daisy Darling– an eighteen-year-old with a weakness for chocolate cake and fairy tales. She must leave the confines of her inherited antique shop to find a cure for her ailing father.Along the way she encounters time-altering portals, beautiful and sinister landscapes, strange creatures, and characters from her childhood stories. I’ve been told the series in comparable to a dark Alice in Wonderland meets The Neverending Story.

# How do you deal with creative block?

Going for walks always helps. I find that when I’m not thinking, I do my best thinking…if that makes sense. 😛

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

The best is writing the actual story. I love being totally immersed in the characters and what’s happening to them. The worst is editing. Not only is it tedious, but it’s also one of those tasks that once I start it’s extremely difficult for me to stop. I’ll always find something to change and then another and another. It’s hard to discern the stopping point and after a while I get burnt out. The most surprising thing is how much you have to hustle even if you have a publisher. Pretty much all the marketing and publicity falls into your hands, so it’s a lot of work.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

I use the pomodoro technique, which is a time management system that encourages you to work with the time you have—rather than against it. Using this method, you break your writing into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. After about four pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes. I have a little egg timer that I use on my desk. When it goes off I usually go and stretch, do some household chores, make a cup of tea, or do something fun.

#Who are your literary heroes?

My absolute favorite author of all time is H.P. Lovecraft. The guy created an entire pantheon of gods, not to mention his writing is on a level all its own! I also adore Arthur Machen, Sheridan Le Fanu, Bram Stoker, and Clive Barker. For non-horror authors, I adore Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Gustave Flaubert.

# What are your plans for future books?

I’m currently working with some very talented people on a screenplay for Summoner of Sleep. In terms of novels, I have a concept for my next psychological horror book and have written a few chapters so far. I plan to start writing regularly again after the holidays.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

Let’s see…I collect mini pig figurines and adopted a pig at a farm sanctuary. I have a BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies. I have a Viking Goddess tattoo on my back. I love Chevy Chase movies. One of my favorite things is to make healthy desserts. I was a Halloween bride.

# Anything else?

You can learn more about me and my books at – I’m running a special holiday promotion for all 4 of my books, all are 0.99 on Kindle and Summoner of Sleep is on sale for $9.99 (when you buy direct from the publisher).

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