Meet Amy Ferris, editor of Shades of Blue

 Amy Ferris, left, speaks at a Shades of Blue event along with Hollye Dexter, one of the book's contributors.

Amy Ferris, left, speaks at a Shades of Blue event along with Hollye Dexter, one of the book's contributors.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.     

Amy: Little, huh…oh my Goddess, I thought I shared pretty much everything - and I mean everything - on Facebook. But, let's see: I had absolutely no confidence as a little girl. None. Not an ounce. I felt completely & utterly invisible. I felt as if I didn't matter. I think that's one of the (many) reasons I care so deeply about inspiring people, encouraging people, that their lives matter - that they matter every single day no matter what.

We all have secrets; we all have shame; we all have stuff hidden deep in the back of the drawer. Feeing invisible is so awful, so lonely, so unbearably lonely. I learned many, many years ago to use all my pain, all my suffering - all my mistakes - to use each and every one to inspire others that they're not alone. I am so grateful that I made so many mistakes. So grateful.

Q2: What made you want to create Shades of Blue

Amy: Robin Williams' suicide. It just felt like it was time - an important & necessary time - to come out of that really dark closet, and make a huge fucking ruckus about depression & sadness. There are a lot of lies around depression. For years & years whenever someone would ask me how i was doing i would say, "i'm good, yeah, i'm good." But i wasn't good. I was sad, or lonely, or scared or depressed, maybe even suicidal.

I was taught (at a very young age) that talking about - sharing - my unhappiness was a real weakness. It wasn't honored. It was dismissed. And many folks - many - don't wanna hear you're not doing well. It requires sympathy & empathy & reaching out, and talking, and yes, touching. It requires a real profound intimacy without judgement.

Sadness needs - deserves - a lot of attention and compassion. It deserves being seen and heard on every single level. We hide our pain. We cover it up. We put make-up on it. We dress it up. We disguise it. It deserves to be out in the world. All our scars are our beauty marks. 

Q3: What's been the hardest part about getting the word out about Shades of Blue?

 Amy with her husband Ken, affectionately known to her fans as iKen. 

Amy with her husband Ken, affectionately known to her fans as iKen. 

Amy: Truthfully, word of mouth needs consistency & continuation - it's needs a daily push, a daily reminder. A daily tweet or two or three; many, many Facebook posts. It requires being loud and pushy, and I'm pretty good at the loud part, not so good at the pushy part. Thankfully, many folks are rallying around this book - like you & Valerie & Logan & Joules & friends - there are tons of angels and miracle makers out there. And Seal Press - wow - they are so proud of this book, and Eva Zimmerman (the Publicist for Seal) has been a true blue Goddess/Angel. She has been such a grand cheerleader, and not just because it's one of her titles at Seal, but because it means so much to her - to bring this out in the open.

And many of the contributors have been great about posting, and speaking up, and sharing the book with friends, and the media. Hopefully, word of mouth will just grow & grow & grow. The book is very important. It's a life-changer and life-saver. It's not a tell-all, it's a share-all - a give-all, and each essay, each piece, is a stand alone piece of beauty. 

Q4: What's been the response since the book's release last month?

Amy: The response has been over-the-moon - truly. It's a book that has so much pain and sorrow in the pages, but it also has so much hope and compassion and deep love: love of self, love of friends, love of family, co-workers, neighbors, siblings. It is filled with tremendous beauty & heart. People are championing it because it touches their life deeply, they see themselves in the pages, in the essays. 

Q5: What do you hope the reader gains from reading these stories?

Amy: I hope the reader gains self-love, self-awareness. Confidence. I hope the reader sees their life as fucking gorgeous, flaws, faults, broken pieces and all. I hope the reader sees the absolute truth that they ARE NOT alone. When someone feels they're alone - or not understood, or not seen or not heard - it is absolutely unbearable. It's like wearing a winter coat in the summer. It's such a huge weight, such a huge burden. We forget that so many people - millions - share the same pain, the same sorrow, the same shade of blue.

Once we know that someone else has that story, tells that story; speaks their truth - wow, the whole world opens up. It's truly amazing. I hope, truly deeply hope, that the book helps to remove the awful stigma attached to depression. i hope it fills people with massive courage. Courage is born from pain, from trauma, for sorrow, from grief. We are all so courageous. All of us.

Q6: Do you know if George Clooney read your book (Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis)?

Amy: I don't think so. 

Q7: Have you ever met him?

Amy: I never met him, but I was at a bar In Los Angeles (at the Sunset Marquis Hotel) many years ago, and he was there -  surrounded by gorgeous models, drinking champagne. I was at the bar, nursing a White Russian (the drink, not a man). This was pre-Ken. But all worked out perfect in the end.  

We are thrilled to be partnering with Depressed Cake Shop to host an evening of storytelling and cake on November 19th - celebrating the launch of Shades of Blue! Tickets on sale now!

{follow along on the blog to meet the writers from the book who will be performing in the show}