Amy, thanks so much for being here with me today. Congratulations on the release of HIDDEN DEEP! It’s the first in a trilogy. Tell us about the evolution of this story. How did the idea come about?
Thank you Vanessa! I’m so excited. This book is my passion, and it’s been thrilling to work on it and book two, which is now in the editing process. The evolution was a loooong process. HIDDEN DEEP was actually the first novel I ever completed (five few years ago) but because I was so new to novel writing, it wasn’t ready for publication. It took me a couple of years of really studying writing, going to workshops, reading craft books, and working with critique partners to get that original nugget of a story to the point where it was in good enough shape to go out into the world. I was thrilled when HIDDEN DEEP was selected as a Golden Heart finalist in 2013, but I put it aside for a little while as I wrote other books and continued to learn. Then last year I picked it up again and completely revised it, using all my new ninja writing skills. Now it’s something I’m proud to share with readers.
As far as where the idea came from, I am a huge sci-fi/fantasy fan, and in middle school was THE biggest Lord of the Rings fangirl. I read the trilogy 17 times back-to-back! When I discovered that J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired by Norse mythology, I looked into it myself, and the idea for this story was born. It’s inspired by a mix of those Norse legends and Celtic Fae mythology.
Wow, 17 back-to-back readings of LOTR?! Now, that is one quest that deserves a medal. Or a ring. And that’s so interesting about the amount of work you’ve put into perfecting your craft, particularly with this book. It’s obviously paid off. I’m intrigued about your hero Lad’s hidden world. How does his world compare to ours?
Unlike LOTR or Game of Thrones, my book isn’t high fantasy—it’s more along the lines of urban fantasy and paranormals in that it takes place in a version of our current world. In HIDDEN DEEP, Lad’s people are careful to stay separate from humans, living in hiding and very close to nature. There’s also another faction of his race that live among humans in plain sight, but use glamour enhanced by modern technology to hide their true identities and basically get whatever they want. As the series progresses, we’ll see a widening of the gap between those two factions of this mysterious, secret race.
You’ve put together a gorgeous book trailer for HIDDEN DEEP. Let’s all have a good look and listen now!
Is that trailer beautiful or is that beautiful? Congrats, Amy! You are known for writing fast and writing well! Take us into your hidden world as a writer. How do you make the magic happen?
Thank you! I started off as a total pantser, but now I plot my stories out very thoroughly before actually beginning the drafting phase, determining the inner and outer journey for each character and the major plot points, then writing a few words about each scene (in pencil). I think it’s the ultimate prevention for writer’s block, and it definitely speeds things up for me—when I know where the road leads, I can drive fast!
I do make room for things to change along the way, though, and sometimes unexpected pieces will just fall from the ether and click into place within the overall master story plan. I write almost every day for 3 to 5 hours, going to the library and sitting in the same chair in the same corner in the very back, where there’s nothing to look at but a wall of old reference books. Can you tell I’m easily distracted? I have a tough time writing at home, but sometimes can pull it off when I do a writing sprint with friends—they keep me focused, at least for 20 to 30 minute bursts.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
First drafts are allowed to suck! That was really freeing to me, that I could just let the story flow during the first draft and not worry about making every word perfect. That’s what revisions are for, and this approach to drafting has allowed me to write a lot of books quickly.
Which YA books are on your “keeper” shelf and why do they resonate with you?
I’m crazy about the Sweet Evil trilogy by Wendy Higgins—they’re paranormals (which I usually gravitate toward) and have the perfect blend of romantic tension and sweetness and an ultra-hot book boyfriend for me to love. I was crazy about the Hunger Games and Twilight series and still re-read them from time to time. On a non-fantasy-paranormal note, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher is another enduring favorite—so poignant and haunting and brilliantly written. And there’s this debut author who wrote the coolest YA ghost story… This Is Your Afterlife… *loved* that one. 😉
Aw, you are very sweet and generous for mentioning that ghost book! Now for something completely different… You’re also well known as a singer. I’m dying to hear your voice! Be careful — I may drag you into a karaoke bar in New York come July. What are your top three karaoke songs?
Oh my goodness- how funny! We are *totally* going to do karaoke in NYC this summer—I smell a duet. Okay, let’s see. Anything by Bonnie Rait is right in my vocal range—I’m an alto. That’s a bit old school, but I’m going to go even older for the next one—Hopelessly Devoted To You- Olivia Newton John—the ultimate karaoke ballad. And for something a little more up to date, I’m in love with “Try” by Colbie Callait. I’m a fan of all Maroon 5’s songs, but I’m not sure I can sing as high as Adam Levine!
Thank you for having me here today, Vanessa! It’s such an honor (and I really do love THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE).
Amy, it’s always a pleasure to have you on the blog. I look forward to our duet in New York! I will bring earplugs for you. I guarantee you’ll need them when I start singing. 😉 Congratulations again. Many happy sales to you!
When she’s not singing in karaoke bars or busy writing her YA and New Adult books, you’ll find Amy at these places:
About HIDDEN DEEP…
Give in to the Glamour…Sixteen-year-old Ryann Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she’d be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She’s a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping) and he’s not supposed to exist.
After her father’s affair, all Ryann wants is to escape the family implosion fallout and find a little peace. She also wouldn’t mind a first date that didn’t suck, but she’s determined not to end up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryann’s recently moved back to her childhood home in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died.She’s still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He’s still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she’s with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryann’s strict policy– never want someone more than he wants you.Seventeen-year-old Lad knows the law of his people all too well: Don’t get careless and Don’t get caught. It’s allowed his race to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore…Lad’s never been able to forget about Ryann since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He’s not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one.And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark is widening, and mysterious celebrity fan pods are becoming more and more widespread and influential. Lad may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryann, blissfully unaware and safe.
Tell us, readers — what are your signature karaoke songs?