Interview with Michael P Amram

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Now that I consider it, growing up in then conservative Richfield, MN influenced my writing. Ours was a very politically liberal family in a neighborhood where most did not talk much about the Vietnam war. I think that atmosphere, that conditioning in contrast to apolitical friends or their parents, made me reach more for controversy. In both of my novels I delve into history of the time, the trends and politics. I think I try and use history as a soundboard for my characters. I am politically inclined, so they are. They can't change history, but it changes them.
When I was young, I watched history being made, changed in how the Vietnam War would play out. I had parents who were very inclined politically. They were among the members of the DFL (Democratic Farmer-Labor) Party who went against the Johnson-Humphrey administration to support Senator Eugene McCarthy for the Democratic nomination in 1968.
Much of my poetry is political at some point. I guess I like to stir pots and subtly point fingers in poems at bigots and hate mongers in the world. Yes, definitely the small, quiet first-ring suburb of Richfield in the early '70s flavored my writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Glad you asked. The book Growing up DFL: A Memoir of Minnesota Politics during the Vietnam War was a labor of love. It is dedicated to all those brave tenacious DFL (Democratic Farmer-Labor) Party members who risked their reputations as politicians to support Minnesota senator Eugene McCarthy as an anti-war candidate. My parents were among those who dissented within the Democratic Party to oppose the Johnson/Humphrey administration and support McCarthy for the 1968 Democratic nomination.
My manuscript began in 2013 and grew over the next year to detail the war, my parents efforts to end it, how the war affected me as a child, and how it affected us as a family. A project of my niece and her grandmother which produced a timeline of my mom's life got me thinking. For whatever value or interest it had, or would have, the time seemed right for the story to be told. One of my tools (the timeline) was right there, plying me to fill in the blanks. Many things had happened by coincidence to bring
my parents together, and I thought it was noteworthy for each of their stories to be told. It was a remarkable time to grow up, and ours was a remarkable house in which to grow. The late 1960s and early 1970s was full of pivot points and teachable moments for the nation to grow. It was an exciting time to be a kid, and my book is a testament to that.
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What motivated you to become an indie author?
Rejection. Much rejection as I first pursued traditional avenues to be published. I'm thinking I began submitting my manuscript for The Orthodoxy of Arrogance in 2011 and late in 2012 went indie. I published all of my books with that publisher. I got great deals on book packages and filled my last one in July of 2015.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I do not regulate the pricing of retailers like Amazon or buying directly from the publisher. With Smashwords I have control over the price of the book and I receive most of the profit, sometimes even more than I do with Amazon.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When someone gets something out of my writing. If they ask me why a character did something a certain way, or if they say a poem resonated with them.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. If they call themselves a fan, that's cool. I don't believe writer's, or even authors, have fans. I thought that honor goes to rock stars.
What are you working on next?
A collection of short stories, each recounting a different phase of my life.
Who are your favorite authors?
Bukowski, Dickenson, Laura Hillenbrand, Kerouac, Dylan Thomas, Ginsberg
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I take full advantage of Minnesota's summers. I bike on the many trails in the Hennepin County parks system. I try. At fifty my priorities changed. I work a lot on writing and marketing. I used to easily put 60 miles on my bike in a week. Now I am feeling good if I do 20.
I seem to want/need to do some baking and more domestic things these days. I bone up on news, politics, and the latest Trump hair sighting.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I honestly have not read an ebook. A nook, android, kindle, or I-phone are pieces of technology I have no desire to own. As a child of the 70s, raised on the auspices of the library, I like how life was.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was a short thing about a summer camp for physically challenged people. It was inspired by a job I did the summers of 1987 and '88. I was a counselor at Camp Courage North, up on Lake George near Bemidji, MN. I can't remember if it was for a college class or something I just wrote
Published 2015-09-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

When Monkey feel Rhythms
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 11,010. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
When Monkeys feel Rhythms explores relationships. My poems wade through veins of life, from marriage to technology. The first section, "Spatial relationships," suggest ways humans see or deal with the world.
Agent of Orange
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 121,480. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » African American fiction » Historical
Corporal Chauncy T. McClarren is a Vietnam Veteran. His ten years of service as a marine is glibly worn on the sleeve of his dress uniform well into civilian life. He went to Vietnam years before the draft began with the sub-conscious hope of being a martyr. He is reluctant to admit this to his friend and even to himself.
Poems from Captain Salty's: Crumbles of Piecemeal Pie
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 8,080. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
A quasi-autobiographical collection of poems, Captain Salty takes his poems from a treasure chest. He has spent his working life searching for clues, taking cues, trying to unlock the good and bad times he’s had. He is a sea captain looking back at a life lived piecemeal. His fifty poems throw coy lines at the trend of erotic poetry and prose. A few poems come to life in parodical masquerades of