Friday, July 10, 2015

InfoBarrel Author of the Week: Amerowolf (Emily Heeb)

Soon after I joined InfoBarrel, I checked out the homepage features. Immediately I was drawn to an article by Amerowolf (who I thought was a guy). The article was called The James Bond Shower - The Health Benefits of Cold Showers. I was probably having a hot flash.

The following month, I read Malala Yousafzai - The Girl Shot for Going to School and I found myself completely absorbed in Amerowolf's piece. I remember glancing over at her boyish avatar with the smoking gun thinking, 'Gee, this young guy is an incredible writer.' 

A month or two later, Ryan (admin) contacted me about writing for Paw Mane Fin. So I took a peek at Emily Heeb's article New Study Shows Cats Recognize Owners' Voice, Yet Fail to Care and after reading a few more of her pieces, I started feeling insecure about my own stuff.

I loved the flow of her words. She ended her stories with the most thought-provoking final sentence. She proved that a newsworthy item can be professionally covered in 400 - 600 words.
Avatars of Amerowolf and Emily Heeb (InfoBarrel and Paw Mane Fin author)
Avatars of Amerowolf on InfoBarrel and Emily Heeb on Paw Mane Fin (used with permission)

A couple of months later, Emily Heeb "followed" me on Google Plus. When I followed her back, I glanced over her Google Plus profile and discovered she was also Amerowolf.

It blew me away.

Now I recognize her seamless style. She can tackle any length or depth of article. Plus she's fearless. Emily Heeb (Amerowolf) makes every word count. Reading her work is like sipping fine wine.

Still, I had to know more.

So I researched her profile on Paw Mane Fin and found a clue. She admitted to being "in other places" in Canada. Suddenly, it all made sense: the scarf, the hat, the snow. Emily Heeb is a Canadian in disguise.

And she's pretending to be a gun-toting American. Why? Because she never made it out of Brownies (like me).
Avatar of Amerowolf and Amerowolf (Emily Heeb) in a Brownie Uniform
Amerowolf avatars. Right image of Brownie uniform (circa 1980) by Girl Guides of Canada on flickr (CC-by-2.0)

She's mad and she wants to feel powerful again (hence the smoking gun and Amerowolf alias).

Now Emily, believe me, I understand. But pointing a gun at Brown Owl isn't going to solve anything. Look, I talked to Hannah Gold (mommymommymommy) and she has a program for us. Yes, we can go back and earn Brownie badges and "Try Its" – whatever the h*ll those are.

And before you know it, we'll be skipping around a huge fungus that is surprisingly strong enough to support a real stuffed owl.
Cropped image of The Brown Handbook (1965 - 1977) illustrated by Frances Shadbolt
Image of Book 3, The Brownie Handbook (1965 - 1977) Illustrated by Frances Shadbolt. Credit: Girl Guides of Canada on flickr (CC-by-2.0)
Hmm, I don't recall the smallish elf-type men, but perhaps the idea here was to prepare us girls for guys with "Peter Pan Syndrome." Although the one on the left looks French (could be problematic too).

Without Further Ado

I present to you my interview with the exceptionally talented Emily Heeb who is also known as Amerowolf on InfoBarrel. And yeah, she openly answered the naughty question and shared some helpful advice too.

Writing-related questions:

Q: How did you end up writing on InfoBarrel and Paw Mane Fin?

A: I started writing at InfoBarrel around a week after graduating from college. While I was looking for a place to put that newly minted Bachelors of Web Development and Design into action, I needed something to fill the cavernous void of free time on my hands. I decided to put my efforts into writing for a bit of money. I checked out all the options - HubPages, Squidoo, and the like - and came across InfoBarrel. Unlike the face of potential consumers, InfoBarrel seemed to be generally oriented towards knowledge. Being new to the world of online writing, it took a few tries to get articles approved, but I got the hang of it from reading and absorbing proper formatting, content quality as well as reading the forums.

As for Paw Mane Fin, it's actually related to InfoBarrel. Admin Ryan approached me and asked if I'd like to take on some more pay-per-article writing opportunities. Having lived on a farm with ample pets for the majority of my life, Paw Mane Fin was a natural fit for me with a subject I'm passionate about.

Q: What is the strangest response or most hilarious comment you ever received on one of your articles?

A: You know, I don't rightly know . . . Probably something Vic posted.

Upon reading through my comments, I've found I was indeed right. I wrote an article about some of the terrifying creatures that live at the bottom of the sea and Vic Dillinger said: 

"This article supports my main argument about why there is no Bigfoot/Sasquatch. If humanity can find these obscure critters several thousand feet below the surface of the world's LEAST explored territory, obviously we could have easily identified and captured a lumbering, idiotic, slobbering, smelly, none-too-bright 8-foot tall primate out here in the great wide open any old time." 

He makes valid points, though. [I have to agree with Vic – and I remember commenting on that fascinating piece of yours too.]

Q: Do you have any weird or helpful writing rituals?

A: I always write while watching something on my second monitor. I have kind of a loud mind (ironic, considering I'm a quiet person) and I've found having something in the background to listen to keeps me focused on what I'm doing. Another unique habit I have is I proofread by reading things out loud. Personally, I think articles that read as if a person was talking to you are more . . . engaging, I guess. Thus why I occasionally throw grammatical rules to the wind, or at least that's what I tell myself to cover up my poor grammar skills anyway.

Q: What are your niches and do you have any that you'd like to explore?

A: I've never really focused on one thing in particular. I write about things that interest me and things I know because that's what makes me happy. My favorite niches are gaming and anime because those are the two things that soak up the majority of my spare time. Plus, they can both be pretty profitable, especially gaming guides about newer games.

As for niches I'd like to explore, I have always been fascinated about all the non-famous, awesome people from history. Unfortunately, the problem with non-famous, awesome people from history is that they are hard to discover. [I'm sitting right here, Emily. JK] 

Emily cont'd: I'd also like to eventually move into some more environmental topics as I can see people grazing this planet away like locusts, but I still have a bit of learning to do on that front.

Q: What advice would you give new InfoBarrel writers?

A: I'm going to recommend the best piece of advice about writing that I ever read - "Just write." That's the advice Vic Dillinger gives to every new person, and it's really the key to success. While I occasionally write articles oriented on making some money from a keyword I happen across, mostly I just write about things I find interesting. 

Just write about what you like, be detailed about it, pour a little heart and soul into it (blood, sweat and tears might not hurt either) and people will come. This isn't the early years of online writing anymore, no one cares about keyword-smushed, product-stuffed, robot-written articles about all those popular topics like weight loss and how to get the shiniest knuckle hair.

Q: If you could change anything about the online world what would it be?

A: I would probably change the way passive income writing sites are viewed from a quality of content standpoint. People saw Squidoo, EHow and HubPages as the face of writing sites for a long time and their content is questionable at best most of the time. It is hard to build trust back after someone was duped by misinformation. [Nods.]

Highly inappropriate questions (entirely voluntary):

Q: What is the most daring (or dangerous) thing you've ever done?

A: Isn't getting up and going out into the world the most daring thing everyone does every day? [Hmm, good point.]

No, but really, I had a serious proclivity for crafting explosives when I was much younger. I never aimed to hurt anyone or destroy anything, I was mostly just interested in how big of a boom I could make. [Aren't we all.]

Living in the boonies [Canada?] with access to a number of potentially volatile ingredients, I could make a pretty big one. The worst I did was leave a few craters in a field as well as some burned patches that got out of hand. Still, I probably should consider myself lucky to have all nine . . . Er, I mean, ten, of my fingers.

Q: What famous person, author, film/TV character, cartoon character or comic strip do you most relate to (and why)?

A: This is a surprisingly tough question considering like I often feel I've watched every TV show under the sun. While it's unlikely anyone will remember this cartoon character, I'd have to say I relate to Daria from the eponymous MTV show, Daria. She's sarcastic and has a biting wit, but often remains a quiet bystander in her surroundings.

Q: Ever "made out" in the great outdoors? And if so, is there anything one should know beforehand?

A: I have, actually. If there is one thing to remember, it is that no matter how rural you think you are, there are still eyes everywhere and they always seem to find you. [Agree, strongly.] Also, bring a blanket, grass stains are real tattletales as to your antics.

Q: Do you have any secret crushes online? And is there anyone you'd like to meet in real life?

A: Secret crushes online, eh? No, no, I don't believe I have any of those. If I told, I don't think it'd be a secret. [Hmm, notice the "eh" folks and the brilliant line of reasoning = Canadian.]

Emily cont'd: There's no one I'd like to meet in real life either. It's not that I don't like anyone (although to most people, I'm sure it seems that way), but for as charming and eloquent as I am online, I'm terrible at socializing face-to-face. I'm shy, quiet and just terribly awkward, recognizing all of which makes me incredibly nervous when meeting people. It's the perfect storm of ineptitude. [Well, I'm guessing that pointing a smoking gun at the peeps might make them "incredibly nervous" too.]

Q: If you were an animal, what would you be (and why)? 

A: A dog, most probably. It seems like a nice, simple life. Just eat, go for walks and sleep all day with the only stress and worries coming from the occasional nail trimming or encounter with the vacuum cleaner. And yes, I frequently tell my own dog that it must be nice being a dog.

Back to you and your work:

Q: Which three articles of yours would you like readers to check out?

A: Let's go on a magical journey of obscure people throughout history~

The Baddest Frontierswoman That Ever Lived - Stagecoach Mary Fields, the roughest, toughest, whiskey-drinkingest woman you'll ever hear about.

Hiroo Onoda - The Man Who Fought World War II for 29 Years, a lesson in dedication, loyalty, and the strange story of keeping your military uniform in perfect condition for 29 years in despite humidity.

Q: Where can readers find you?

A: InfoBarrel, of course: Amerowolf

Paw Mane Fin, I post new articles every Tuesday and Thursday: Emily Heeb

Twitter, which I recently taught myself to use correctly and now fill with snarky comments about anime and gaming: Emily Heeb @Amerowolf

Facebook, which I just casually browse and rarely ever post anything: Emily Heeb on FB

Q: Are there any other writers on InfoBarrel you'd like to see interviewed? And if so, are there any questions you'd like me to ask him or her?

A: Like the loneliest dinosaur, all my friends on InfoBarrel are dead, or rather, inactive. However, there are a few people I would be interested to know more about, like Marlando and egdcltd (but classicalgeek beat me to him). Also, you, my dear Rose, I don't think anyone would argue if you interviewed yourself. [I tried, but I got upset with myself and I had to leave the room.]

As for questions, I'd like to know what TV, movies and documentaries Marlando has worked on and what egdcltd's favorite game is.

In Closing:

I want to thank Amerowolf (Emily Heeb) from the depths of my soul for letting me interview her (and for not shooting me or blowing up the studio). I've been admiring her work for well over a year now and she is definitely one of the hippest, coolest writers out there [even if she isn't Canadian].

Drop by next weekend for another up close and personal interview with a hugely successful InfoBarrel author.


  1. I enjoyed this interview with Emily (whom I also thought was a man due to the avatar!). Getting to know the people behind the scenes after all these years of reading their fantastic work makes the online world we share seem a bit smaller.

    1. Oh good, I'm not the only one that was "fooled" by her avatar.

      And we definitely have an incredible talent pool on IB and I feel strongly that knowing more about each other will help our online presence. Other platforms just don't seem to care about their authors.

      Thanks so much for supporting every one I've featured, it means more than you know Hannah.

  2. I've always liked her (!) articles, and I find it really interesting to see which articles each writer considers important to her/him. Great interview, Rose!

    1. Oh for sure. I'm constantly amazed that at the difference between what we (as writers) feel is our most important work and what the peeps out there believe is. I sometimes read Emily's work and wish I could write like her. She makes it look so easy (a sign of a true professional).

      Thank you for dropping by and commenting CG.

    2. That's just so strange every time I read it. I consider myself a rather terrible writer, at least from a technical standpoint. Improving to be slightly less terrible each day, but still pretty bad.

    3. Not at all! Bertrand Russell was right when he remarked:

      "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

      You're just too gifted and don't realize it. And you are waaay too critical of your work, I'm guessing.

  3. I have truly enjoyed her range of material over the years, and though she didn't mention it I do believe Emily is the record holder for features on IB ( a couple hundred at least, I think). Anyway, the thing she did on Mary Fields was fantastic, one of my all time faces, and I'd like her to keep on doing what she's doing.

  4. I have truly enjoyed her range of material over the years, and though she didn't mention it I do believe Emily is the record holder for features on IB ( a couple hundred at least, I think). Anyway, the thing she did on Mary Fields was fantastic, one of my all time faces, and I'd like her to keep on doing what she's doing.

    1. Holy cow, you're right. So far she has 305 features. I certainly hope she keeps on writing for InfoBarrel and I love her work on Paw Mane Fin too. Thanks for dropping by Vic and commenting. Your opinion means so much to the writers (and to me).

      Oh yeah, and Mary Fields was one I'm glad she mentioned.