Reader: What would be the most important points/tips you would share with novice writers?
It's all about the craft. Don't rely on clichés, on the stuff that comes to your head the first time. Sometimes you need to dig. Write, write, write. And write what you care about. Write what makes you tick. Don't write what's popular.
One thing that always amazes me is when reviewers or readers complain that the hard things in the books I write about aren't realistic, that the suffering is too extreme, like people don't really go through these kinds of battles. And I always think to myself, 'well, bless your heart." Because life is DAMN HARD for so many. I know people who have lost both parents, siblings, struggle daily with debilitating disease, and that's just in the first 25 years of their lives. Life IS suffering. For almost everyone. We all have battles, we all have trials, and the charge is to find the beauty in life in spite of it.
Reader: How in the world do you write such intimacy without taking us beyond yet leaving the reader totally satisfied? I just love that!!
My favorite scenes to write are love scenes. Truly. I bragged to my son Paul after writing the scene where Tag and Millie make love - and I said, " I just wrote a love scene without mentioning body parts" He just laughed at me.
I don't do it because I'm a prude. I do it to focus on what's important when people love each other. What's important is not the body parts or the mechanics. It's the feelings. The sensations, the act itself. So, I enjoy creating the mood with my words and making people feel what I want them to feel without resorting to the usual methods. It's a challenge that I enjoy.
There is a time and place, though, for more graphic scenes. I refuse to leave stuff out just for the tender sensibilities of some. I want to be respectful, but I also want to be realistic. If I can be both, great. If I can't, authenticity will always win.
Reader: You said that each book gets harder. What do you mean?
Expectations for myself grow. Expectations from my audience increase. The desire to write quality, be original. That all increases. And I think the knowledge of how hard it truly is, is always daunting. Starting a new book is scary.
Reader: Were you a teacher Amy? What grade/subject level etc.?
I taught English and history to sixth and seventh graders at a little Christian school.
Reader: What is next?
I’m not sure what’s next. I feel like I want to step away from everything I know and write about an older heroine. Maybe I’ll write my story (wink wink) and make my character thin. That’s almost as good as being thin myself. No, seriously. I’m not sure. I want to give myself a chance in the next 90 days to just write without the pressure of publishing. I’m sure I WILL publish again, but I don’t know when that will be.
These 10 questions originally came from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture" hosted by Bernard Pivot. And were asked on the TV talk show, "The Actor's Studio".
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Goodness. Selflessness. Music, art in all its forms.
4. What turns you off?
Bullies and bitches. Can't stand 'em.
5. What is your favorite curse word?
I love the F word. I never say it. But I love it. It's just so descriptive and filthy.
6. What sound or noise do you love?
I like the sound of running water. I love silence. I love hearing my kids sing and I love laughter.
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Anything that squeaks. When my son pushes chairs across the floor. Ish. That makes my skin crawl.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would love to be a talk show host or a news anchor.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Gynecologist. No thank you.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
The obvious thing would be, "Come on in." And I hope he knows my name.