Monday, 16 April 2012

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR: INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY - From Zero To Four Kids In thirty Seconds

Author Amy L Peterson is touring for her non-fiction, From Zero To Four Kids In thirty Seconds with Tourz de Codex and we are proud to present ourselves as one of the tour stops.

About The Author
Amy L Peterson is a happily married wife, stepmother, author, amateur photographer, outdoors woman and keeper of numerous spoiled fuzzy animals. Her writing is diverse, her photography of animals and wildlife unique, and her pets have trained her how to get what they want.

Amy met Mark at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the early 1990s and married him after he carried a rubber raft, oars, foot pump, camping gear, and fishing gear to 10,000 feet while backpacking in Montana. In addition to his prowess, Amy was attracted to Mark’s limitless supply of fishing tackle, and his interest in every kind of critter. The fact that he came with four children in denial about until she married him.

Amy summarized just some of the fun of entering into instant stepmotherhood in From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds. This humorous, entertaining book includes over 70 tips for stepmothers and women thinking about taking such a plunge. These tips are tried and true since all four of Mark’s children survived their time with Amy. Amongst the kids is one social worker, one mechanical engineer, and two college students.

Between bouts of being a wife and stepmother, Amy spends way too many hours photographing and writing about wildlife. Her publications and photos have appeared in Grit, Moxie, Montana, Travel Impulse, Women’s World, Bonaire Nights, and Pacific Coast Sportfishing. Her article about Nunavet wildlife was featured on the Nueltin Lodge web page, along with a photo of a monstrous pike she claims to have caught.

Amy has also co-authored numerous technical documents for the State of Michigan, all of which are really quite boring. Her favorite past time is writing mostly true stories of the various animals she’s spoiled or encountered in the wild. She is currently working on a book about all the animals Mark "always wanted."

Her blog at, is focusing on her book excepts and many a reviews she is receiving every day.

This is Amy’s humorous and compelling story of becoming a stepmother. The book has catchy chapter titles like "Can't We Just Duct Tape Them Together and Send Them Outside?" And it contains over 70 tips including "Tip #44: You can't exchange a bad child for a good head of lettuce." This book is a must read for stepmothers and future stepmothers, and a fun romance that might just make you giggle somewhere along the way.


Amy is a 30-year-old woman who spent many years polishing an unapproachable outer shell and maintaining a long list of reasons why not to have children. She keeps a canoe on her front porch, a mountain bike in her kitchen and a balance in her checking account.

Mark is an older, divorced man with four kids. He sleeps on an Army cot and eats out of pots and pans given to him by his therapist. He has a Ph.D. in stream ecology, a VW Rabbit with 285,000 miles on it and enough fishing tackle to sink a small boat.

Amy falls for Mark hook, line and hundreds of dollars in sinkers.

An Exclusive Interview With Her

Q. Tell us something about yourself. 
I try to find humor in most things in life, because life can be really quite grim if you think about it too much. So, instead of dwelling on the fact that my dogs are both 13 and one has no teeth and the other is deaf, I’m happy to report that between my two dogs, I have one really great watch dog.

Q: It is often said that if you can write a short story you can write anything. How true do you think this is and what have you written that either proves or disproves this POV?
I don’t think just that because I can write a non-fiction humorous story I could also write a Pulitzer-prize-winning novel, an article for a medical journal, or a technical manual detailing how to install a new garbage disposal. Though, having recently helped my husband install a new “Easy to install” garbage disposal that wasn’t easy to install, I think I might be able to write better instructions than the ones we had to work with.

Q: How do you research for a book before you begin the writing process? 
The great thing about works like mine is that I don’t have to do a lot of research and can instead, take the personality trait of a real person and run with it. For example, in Chapter 7 of my book, “Is That Sweat Dripping Off Your Forehead, Honey?” I play off the fact that my normally cool and collected husband sweats his way through asking my dad for permission to marry me. Not only does my dad make this difficult, I do as well.

Q: What is the best part of writing for you? 
Hearing that people laughed out loud while reading my book is a great feeling. Also, the ties I make with people who read my books has been rather nifty, too. People have told me my book was a fun read and that they feel they got to know me (which is kind of scary, really, since I don’t know anything about them). I also have had stepmoms tell me they could relate to what I wrote about, though none have admitted to pondering duct taping their stepkids together and sending them outside (which is the basis for Chapter 9 of my book).

Q: How would you describe your book in a sentence? 
A humorous memoir about a woman who fell hook, line and sinker for a man with four kids and enough fishing tackle to sink a small boat.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your book? 
My book is about becoming a stepmom to four kids, ages three, five, 13 and 15. I share what it was like to fall for a guy with four kids in spite of having hundreds of reasons why not to have kids. I’m also happy to share how awesome I was at mom-like things: my first batch of rigatoni was rubbery, and when the youngest kid couldn’t get her doll’s clothes back on, I handed the doll to one of the other kids. The book is a series of hapless events that, while stressful at the time, made for an amusing story to share with others when I stepped back from it years later. What I tried to pull together was a funny romance story about a girl meeting a boy with kids, interwoven with helpful tips.

Q: What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about? 
Malted milk balls. Those are darn dangerous little bits of chocolate that you can either chew or let melt in your mouth. Sadly, my dentist loves that I love them, too.

Q: In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of writing for a living? 
I wouldn’t know because I don’t yet write for a living—it’s something I do after work, after walking the dogs and after helping with housely duties. My goal is still to write for a living, which is why I so appreciate your helping me out.

Q: Your opinions on a modern family. 
The modern family is what people make a family out to be. For more and more people, it’s not like the Cleavers, the Partridge Family, the Waltons, or even the Brady Bunch. It’s a family of one or more divorced people that, with any luck, includes at least one character with a good sense of humor.

Now some simple questions and more fun^^

-Your favorite books and author? 
Erma Bombeck books. They are fun, easy reads. Now, if only I could gain her popularity.

-Your favorite band/singer? 
Adele and John Denver would be neck-and-neck in a horse race, but since Adele has an obvious advantage, let’s just give it to her.

-Twitter or Facebook? 
I Tweet at Amylpetersonblg and 
I have a FB page at!/authoramylpeterson.

-Favorite place in the world? 
I don’t know yet because I haven’t been to the Amazon, Africa, Madagascar or the Arctic. All are on my bucket list, though I fear my bucket has holes in it because money is currently leaking out.

-Last movie you watched at the cinemas? 
My husband and I took my Dad to see Act of Valor, which featured active Navy seals. My Dad is 76 and a proud Navy veteran and he got all teary-eyed, which got me all teary-eyed. My Dad was only somewhat amused when I wiped my eyes on his shirt sleeve.

-The last book you’ve read? 
One of Cesar Milan’s books, which confirmed that it’s my fault that my lhasa-bijon dogs bark like crazy when other dogs go by our house.

-Have you ever googled yourself? 
Not until you asked the question. And here’s the thing: there’s an Amylpeterson on Twitter that isn’t me—she’s “interested in education, mothering, books, theology, food, pop culture….” That’s not me. She’s an imposter and likely the reason I had to use amylpetersonblg for my Twitter account. But after that entry, people should find my web site, and then my photo gallery, then my Amazon author page, then my book info and more about me--the right Amy L Peterson. Then there’s a listing about another Amy L Peterson in NJ, who’s another imposter (or maybe the same as the first one). The next listing is from She Writes and Book Blog sand those are me again. Having googled myself and found imposters, I should have used a pen name like “Silly Stepmom” or something.

-If you wouldn’t be a writer, what you would be? 
Probably psychotic. I enjoy writing but it’s just a hobby at this point because it doesn’t yet put food on the table. In the meantime, I’m also a state government employee that runs a grant program and helps other grant program mangers stay one step ahead of auditors. I’d give that up if writing were more profitable. Photography, too.

Q: The cover of the book is really awesome. 
Did you have any inputs in it? Thank you! The book cover was partially based on my wedding cake, which I designed and which a local baker brought to life: the bride and groom on the boat with the fishing poles are all part of the original design, and, equally important, the bride’s fishing pole is connected to a larger fish than the groom’s. The wedding cake lacked color, though, (the bubbles and fish were clear), so when it came to the book cover, I wanted lots of color, and also the four kids in the boat. I think the illustrator did a great job with the overall concept, and my web designer did a great job with the background the illustration is on. Or in.

Q: What's next after this? 
In May, I hope to start work on draft two of my next book, which is about all the critters Mark “always wanted” and which I knew as much about as I did becoming a stepmom. The critters include frogs, iguanas, hedgehogs, ferret, mice, gerbils, dogs, cat, rabbit and a domestic duck. It was sort of like having a barnyard full of animals without the benefit of a barn.

Q:What advice would you like to give budding authors or those who want to start writing? 
It’s helpful to realize that nobody throws parties for newly published authors, any more than anyone throws baby or kid showers for new stepmoms. Whatever you write is your baby and it’s up to you to make it grow. And that takes me right back to thanking you again for hosting this stop on my book tour and for setting the whole tour up. You did an excellent job.


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