Today I'd like to welcome Almondie Shampine, author of 'The Reform' to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Almondie Shampine lives in New York with her two children and their animals, and has been writing professionally for 14 years. She’s a proud author of eight books, including her recent releases, Glimp$es, Blind Fate, and 3 of the six-book The Modules Series. She has also published approximately 40 short stories, poems, and articles, four of which were contest winners. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Almondie writes a variety of genres, including suspense, sci-fi/fantasy, action/adventure, and horror for kids, young adults, and adults.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1: Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
Without hesitation, as long as the loved one is innocent and they themselves did not commit a crime. Our laws are meant to govern us and keep us structured, but our loved ones are our support, motivation, and incentive to waking up every day and going about our business and navigating society, good and bad. In the unfortunate circumstances where society leaves us having to make a choice between protecting our loved one or following the rules, it is better to love and be loved than to be structured. If society falls, it is only our loved ones we’d have to keep going. If our loved one falls, society will not pick them up.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Being alive is a biological body that automatically keeps ticking, whether one is truly living or not, whether one wants to continue to live or not. Truly living is quality of life, not quantity, making moments every day and creating memories to last a lifetime. Truly living is stepping outside the conditioned box of all work and no play, calling in sick to spend a warm summer day with the family, living youthful lives regardless of age, and not waiting around for something exciting to happen, rather making it happen. Truly living is maintaining cherished freedom inside one’s heart and letting it come out and play from time to time, instead of keeping it suppressed.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
My non-stop monkey brain that drives me nuts, or should I say … bananas :) Always an avid reader, I couldn’t get enough of books growing up, whether I was seeking them for entertainment, inspiration, education, or help, and I got all of the above. I had an interesting? life and could have gone down many different paths, some very tragic as unfortunately happens to some who experience tragedy and trauma. Instead, I use my experiences for good, to inspire others and be to others what authors like V.C. Andrews were to me.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
For most, I think, biologically, it’s natural. We got the parts to carry them and have a strong inclination toward going after the parts that help create them. Is it an oxymoron to be selfishly selfless? The psychological desire for children can be seen as selfish. We want a family and want to feel filled up. We want to love a Mini-me and be loved unconditionally in return. We glorify in the power and the preciousness and the pricelessness of being completely in control of this completely dependent human being. We show them off and brag them up to feel good and be acknowledged as doing a good job. But wanting children and raising them is also, typically, a complete sacrifice of this selfishness, and a whole new existence of selflessness. We selflessly sacrifice, evolve our lives, put our own needs aside to support, protect, nurture and grow our children. It’s a beautiful thing.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book,"The Reform" ?
Besides the character’s family dynamics, I think the biggest challenge was having written all 6-books of the series in my head, knowing what would happen, being so anticipant to get there, but that whole annoying expression of taking things one step at a time, or rather one book at a time. Holding all that information in my head, and having delayed gratification extend out over a 12 month period as I endeavored on this series.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
Even though throughout the entire course of our life, unexpected and uncontrollable things will occur that will impact and even completely change our lives, we have this fascinating, amazing, and even frightening power that most don’t truly recognize or will take for granted. In every given moment, every decision, every choice, every action/reaction, we have the ability to change the outcome of not just our tomorrow and future, but the outcome of the tomorrow and future of others.
No.7 How did you come up with the title "The Reform." ?
The Modules series is a dystopian action/adventure, which follows the theme of aversive societies or situations resulting from higher authorities’ decisions and rulings. The six-book series starts at the very beginning of how such situations are created, versus the middle-stages, such as Roth’s Hunger Games series, Collins’ Divergent series where the situation is already in place. The Reform is what sets into motion The Modules, where one has no choice in and cannot leave without severe consequences, which sets into motion a new man-made era of Intelligent Design, which leads to Conspiracy Theories, a Natural Design, and a Revolution – all six titles.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
I’m a big baby, but I’m working on it. Fortunately, my writing and my books has yet to receive such criticism; however, every other job that I’ve had with a superior whose job it is to criticize, whether constructively or not, I’ve got plenty of experience with. I try to be an adult about it, objectify the situation, listen to what the person is really trying to tell me, keep in mind that it is their personal opinion, communicate effectively so there isn’t any miscommunication, but it really depends on the person doing the criticizing and how they approach it. I like the approach of a compliment preceding the criticism. Tell me something I’m doing right first. The authoritative figures that dive bluntly and brutally into the negative spin of everything I’m doing wrong has a tendency to make me regress to that child consistently being scolded by parents of never seeming to be able to do anything right, and everything I do being wrong. Yes, even with my Psychology degree, I’m still prone to those faulty cognitive errors of thinking.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
The Reform is be free on October 11/12th on Amazon, so I say, why shouldn’t they? It’s free. A win-win situation. A chance to get to know me, my book, my style and my abilities without uncertain readers having to fork over the dough and take a chance on an author they’re not familiar with. Bigger reasons – pre-Modules series I was a struggling adult in my early 30’s, acting the part of the adult who goes out of their way to act out the vision of the old adult. Quite boring and unsatisfying really. My 6-month young adult binge of reading everything young adult made me recognize I still had it in me, and allowed me to find self-amusement in the flawed perspective of acting old out of conditions. Youth is not an age. It is not a number. It is a feeling, one that revives, rejuvenates, energizes, and allows us to laugh at the smallest things until we begin going out of our way to be able to laugh because of how good it feels. Writing The Reform and following Catina Salsbury did magic on my soul, and I know that it can inspire that same magic within others.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
There’s not really any such thing as nothing. Nothing is a non-existence of anything. Can we be part of nothing? No, because just our part would vanquish it. Can we have nothing? That’s impossible. Even stranded in an abyss of darkness, silence, and nothingness, the sense of sight, hearing, and awareness is something. Our physical body and our situation is something. Our thoughts. Even our experiences of nothing is something. My book, “Otherland” currently enrolled in the KindleScout contest actually discusses these topics. Something is anything up to almost everything as everything is also as impossible as nothing.
Thank you Almondie :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out 'The Reform' on
I always knew I was different from others.
School came way easily, but friends did not. My sister Kadrin and I were the worst twins ever. The identical stopped at our physical characteristics. But that aside, I had my best friend, Charlie, and I was my conspiracy theorist Dad’s favorite.
My life wasn’t bad and my future seemed promising...
...until the Reform.