Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hi, readers! My name is A.I. Winters and I’m a fantasy and horror author located in Los Angeles, California. I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and although I’ve lived all over the country and have traveled a bunch, all my stories take place in California. When I’m not writing I love to bake (especially desserts), practice Jiu-Jitsu, and paint. I’ve written three YA Fantasy books (Strange Luck, The Nightmare Birds, and A Darling Secret), as well as one psychological horror novel called Summoner of Sleep.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Summoner of Sleep releases July 1, 2021. It’s about a dark family secret. A town that doesn’t exist on any map. And a drug that will unleash an apocalyptic, transformational horror on the world.
I was inspired to write Summoner of Sleep because some nights I would wake up after having a good dream and think to myself “why can’t I have those kinds of dreams all the time?” I mean, wouldn’t it be way better to have dreams of flying through the galaxy, hanging out with your favorite musicians, and eating all the donuts you want? I had the same thought when I woke up after a bad or mundane dream. Who wants to dream about grocery shopping, or seeing someone die, or being scared? This sparked the idea for Summoner of Sleep.
The character, Botanē, is hell-bent on perfecting not only the best kinds of dreams, but a very specific dream and he’ll do anything to obtain it. 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.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My absolute favorite author of all time is the incomparable H.P. Lovecraft. I mean, 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.
What are you working on now?
I have a concept for my next horror novel and plan to start working on it later in the year.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
When I’m in full writing mode my writing goal is simple—write what I can every day. Life is unexpected for everyone and throughout the years I’ve learned that setting a strict writing schedule didn’t work for me. Things would come up at the last minute, sometimes I totally wasn’t feeling it, and other times distractions descended on me like the plague. More often than not, whenever I pushed myself to write under distressing circumstances, my work suffered and as a result it would take me double the amount of time to clean it up. I eventually became more relaxed about my writing schedule and wrote when I had the proper time and space to do so, which helped a lot. However, my editing schedule is a different story. When I’m on a tight deadline with my publisher, I will set goals like I need to edit three to five chapters a day. This way I have a little wiggle room. If circumstances prevent me from hitting those goals, I’ll try to make up for it the next day. For me, it’s been a learning process and I now try my best to really listen to my body and mind to make sure I don’t burn it out and in turn produce work I’m not proud of.
What are you reading now?
The Man in the Iron Mask and The Historian.
What’s next for you as a writer?
What is your favorite book of all time?
Oh geez…that’s a hard one. Probably Madame Bovary. I love classical literature, especially a good tragedy. 🙂 Gustave Flaubert’s descriptions are incredible and there’s something so haunting about that story that it has stuck with me through the years. I even used a short excerpt from it at the beginning of Summoner of Sleep.