Welcome to my website. I'm glad you're here! I'm Ami Polonsky, the author of Spin with Me, Threads and Gracefully Grayson. I'm also a middle-school English teacher and a mom. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions:
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No! I actually didn’t know that I wanted to be a writer until I wrote Gracefully Grayson. My parents tell me that when I was little, my dream was to grow up and become an "ice skater dancer." This is hilarious, because I'm extremely uncoordinated. When I got older, I decided to become a teacher, and now that I’m ALL grown up, I think I want to be a teacher and a writer (at least for now).
Do you have any advice on how to become a writer?
Anyone in the publishing world will tell you that the way to become a writer is to read and write as much as you possibly can. I agree with this advice. What I’ll add to it is this: along my path to becoming an author, I read and read, but I never read with the intention of improving my writing skills. I read because I loved the stories I was reading and I wanted to talk about them with my middle-school students. I read because I wanted to find out what decisions characters I cared about would make. I read because I wanted to watch characters grow and change, and I read because I wanted to take what I was reading and apply it to my own life so I could become a better person. I read innocently, without any purpose other than to internalize stories. Ironically, reading like a reader, not like a writer, led me to become a writer. So I would advise you to read and write a lot, but when you read, read freely--not necessarily as a writer, but as a human being.
Where do you get the ideas for your books?
My ideas, like all ideas, come from a melding of the world around me and the world within me. Because some of the characters in my books are trans, readers often want to know about my identity and the identities of my family members. There are many facets of identity, one of which is gender identity. I'm cisgender, which means that my gender identity corresponds with the sex I was assigned at birth. My pronouns are she/her. Beyond saying that, I don't talk much about the Polonsky family and identity in public forums because it's just not my style. That's not to say that you should necessarily follow suit. If you want to shout your identity from the rooftops, I think that's awesome! If you don't, I think that's awesome, too!
I'm struggling with my gender identity and/or sexual orientation and/or coming out. What should I do?
First off, here's a big virtual hug. You're perfect just the way you are. Check out these great resources:
The Trevor Project https://www.trevorspace.org
What are some interesting things about you?
I am a horrible speller. H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E. Thank goodness for spell check.
For absolutely no logical reason, I’m petrified of sharks. Put me on the shore of an ocean in water six inches deep, and will I be watching the waves crash into the sand? Will I be inhaling the thick smell of salty ocean water? No. I’ll be fixated on my feet, on the lookout for sharks.
Conversely, I love lakes. I have no problem with slimy fish, worms, seaweed or leeches. Put me in a lake and it will feel like home.
If I had to survive on only peanut butter and coffee for the rest of my life, I’d be okay with that.
I went on a family vacation to Maine when I was twelve. Ever since, I’ve wanted to live there. But next to a lake, not the ocean because, you know, sharks.