Every time we meet someone new, the same getting-to-know-you questions come up again and again. We all have our Top 10. (“What an interesting accent, where are you from?”) Well, if you’d like to get to know me here, these are my answers to…
Q: So you’re a writer. What do you write about?
A: I write about all sorts of stuff—didn’t you read my carefully crafted “What I Write About” list on my Writing page? These days, I write a lot of celebrity cover profiles for magazines, as well as lifestyle features and essays. I’ve written three of my own books about happiness and optimism. I also ghostwrite books for other people and do copywriting for brands when the project is right. And like most writers, I have numerous projects of my own going at all times. And I absolutely, positively, couldn’t love writing more.
Q: Who’s the best person you’ve ever interviewed?
A: Oh my gosh, there are too many to name. I’ve been lucky enough to interview an enormously wide range of people—including Denzel Washington, Emma Stone, Amy Adams, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Katy Perry, Ellen Pompeo, Meghan Trainor, Christina Aguilera, Kanye West, Michael Phelps, and Justin Bieber. I chat with them over lunch and dinner, or at their homes. Some I’ve interviewed multiple times, and it’s been fun to see how their careers and lives change over the years. And, really, they’re all my favorite. Whether the person I’m talking to is funny or inspiring or cool or shy or intense or goody, I find it thrilling to find out what they love and have learned about life that we can take into our own lives. And in some cases, I get to really deep dive into someone’s life by collaborating on book projects with them. I have the best job in the world and I’m grateful every day.
Q: Who have you ghostwritten for?
A: Ooh, nice try! But you know I can’t tell you that. 😉 One of the most rewarding parts of collaborating on a book with someone is taking a vacation from my own writing mind and telling someone’s story as only they would—with their words and their voice. Sometimes a subject is writing down their thoughts and I’m there to organize and edit it into the best book it can be; other times, I work with them to pull the story out from day one, so they can share what they want with their readers in the most effective, relatable way. Ultimately, it just makes sense: I have ten years of experience as an editor and another fifteen as a full-time writer, and when I can bring all that experience to a project that someone is passionate about, everybody wins!
Q: What books have you written?
A: My latest b0ok is The Happy Life Checklist: 654 Simple Ways to Find Your Bliss (Perigee, 2014). I have also written Bright Side Up: 100 Ways to Be Happier Right Now (Perigee, 2012) about how to flip your perspective to be happier in life. I also published a dating advice book for singles called Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match (Running Press, 2010). I sometimes update my site TheLifeOptimist.com where I dole out doses of positivity. And if you’re an obsessive iPhone or iPad user like I am, you can also get doses of dating advice when you need it through my iPhone and iPad apps. The first was Half-Orange Optimisms, and the newest one is Bright Side App, a companion app to Bright Side Up. And like I said, I’ve also ghostwritten and collaborated on books that don’t have my byline.
Q: Your books are all about optimism and love. Do you ever get sick of talking about that?
A: You know what? I don’t. I want to help everyone see the world through my life glasses, which makes every situation you’re in seem better. Bright Side Up is full of personal stories and strategies of how I’ve come to see life more positively—and how anyone can, too. As far as relationships, the way I see it, love is The Great Equalizer. Whoever you are, whatever you do, and whichever tax bracket you’re in, we are all equally human when it comes to relationships: We’ve all had palm-sweating, stomach-churning crushes. We’ve all been blinded by lust; confused by mixed signals; fallen hard; fallen wrong; had our hearts tugged; had our hearts broken; and we’ve all had good, great and terribly awkward sexual experiences—hopefully not in that order. And in the end? I think we all want the same thing: Someone to love us for all the right reasons, and remind us that life, at it’s core, is full of good stuff. I aim to bring every person one step closer to that sweet and satisfied place.
Q: Wait, you used to have a radio show on Sirius? How did you get that?
A: It happened the way most creative projects do: slowly and over a long period of time. After working as one of the launching editors of Maxim magazine, I was asked to appear in a short segment on Sirius radio’s Maxim channel, providing a woman’s point of view on dating for the Covino & Rich Show. Over the course of two years, the segment grew from 15 minutes to 2 hours, and the feedback implied that guys liked having a down-to-earth woman help them answer their burning questions about relationships. So, like Frasier and The Ropers before me, a spinoff was born! Like many kids, I spent my youth conducting my own mock radio show and a few later years DJing at my college radio station, so I felt hashtag-blessed that all of my passions came together in one fun union. The show ended in November 2008. But, oh, it was fun.
Q: Why do people always call you Amy Spencer instead of just Amy?
A: I don’t know. But I like it. Which is probably why I introduce myself as Amy Spencer. Which is probably why people call me that.
Q: I’ve always wanted to start writing. What do you think?
A: I think you should! It’s the best job on the planet. It’s also the best hobby on the planet. And for me, strangely, it’s both. The best way to “start”…is to do just that. Just be prepared that not everything you write will end up published on paper for all the world to read—most things I write aren’t even out there. My advice from there is to give yourself a gift: Begin by writing about what you love, something that will keep you going whether you’ll be paid for it or not. And write using what only you can—your point of view, your job, your town, your dating disasters, your opinions, your family secrets. Also, perseverance, passion, and pass-along count for as much in the writing world as skill—maybe for more. So get started, keep at it, write what comes most easily from your point of view, and share what you write with as many people as you can.
Q: What are you working on next?
A: You mean what aren’t I working on? I always have multiple projects going at once. Currently, I am working on some children’s picture books—including one that would make a fabulous TV series—a memoir, and a screenplay. And I always have a book collaboration going as well.
Q: Do you like living in L.A.?
A: I love it. It’s been ten years now since I moved from New York, and the city has been treating me well. I also love how determined people are here to do what they love—like the guy bagging my groceries at Trader Joe’s who told me how, on the side, he helped build the marionette puppets for Beck’s last tour. “Whatever it takes to create your art,” he said, placing my $3 bottle of wine into the cart. As my husband put it, L.A. gets a bad rap because people come here to chase their dreams…but since when is going after your dreams a negative thing? I’m a dreams kind of girl. I think we should all be.
Q: Would you like another drink?
A: Yes. Thank you.