Author Q&A With Amy Engel
Amy was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansa, California, Missouri, Washington, DC), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri where she lives with her husband and two kids. Before devoting herself full time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV. When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping.
Can you give us a brief story about your writing career? (From abookwithbea on Instagram)
AE : Sure, I'll try and keep it short! I always wanted to be a writer, but I have a strong practical streak and that part of me won out for many years. It wasn't until I decided to quit my job as a lawyer and stay home with my kids that I decided to make a serious effort to get published. I wrote a YA novel and ended up trunking it after querying agents and not getting an offer of representation. The next book I wrote was IVY and I got more agent interest, but everyone seemed nervous about trying to sell a dystopian novel to publishers. I wasn't ready to give up on IVY , though, so I researched mid-size publishers who accepted unsolicited submissions and discovered Entangled Teen. I sent them IVY and within a couple of months they contacted me to let me know they loved the book and wanted to publish it. After IVY was published, I wrote an adult novel and went back into the query trenches and emerged with Jodi Reamer as my agent. She sold the adult novel to an imprint of Random House earlier this year. Hopefully that wasn't too long-winded!
Do you consider reading and writing similar? (From abookwithbea on Instagram)
AE : This is a really interesting question. For me they are similar in that I get lost in my own head when I'm both reading and writing. But in a general sense I wouldn't say that I consider them to be similar so much as I think reading is absolutely fundamental to the skill of writing and the first critical step to becoming a writer. I've never met a writer who didn't love to read. When people ask me about becoming a writer, I always tell them to start with reading, even in genres they aren't sure they'll like. Sometimes reading a book you hate teaches you as much about writing as reading one you love.
As a reader, what type of books do you like to read? (From book_maniacc on Instagram)
AE : A shorter list might be what type of books I DON'T like to read. I love YA novels that include some type of romance element. The romance doesn't have to be the main feature of the story, but there's something about YA love that I never get tired of reading. In adult books, my favourites are dark, character-driven books with a mystery, or suspense element. I'm a huge fan of Gillian Flynn, Tana French, Stephen King, and Dennis Lehane. I also enjoy narrative non-fiction.
What was your inspiration for the character of Ivy?
AE : With Ivy, I wanted to write a character who was flawed, but capable of recognising her short-comings and learning and growing throughout the course of the series. I wanted to make sure Ivy came across as human. She doesn't always make the best decisions, but she's only 16, still feeling her way through the world and emerging from this very unhealthy cocoon her family has kept her trapped in. It was important to me that I try and make her decisions and feelings understandable, even if the reader doesn't always agree with them.
If you hadn't become an author, what would you have done instead?
AE : Well, I was a criminal defense attorney before I started writing full-time and I suppose I would go back to law if I wasn't successful as a writer. But I wouldn't be happy about it!
What is your favourite genre to write about and why?
AE : I really don't have a single favourite. I loved writing the IVY series. There's something really fun about writing YA, even the more serious parts of the book. But I also enjoyed writing my adult novel, which is very dark and suspenseful.
Do you have a writing routine, if yes then what is it?
AE : Sort of? I don't have a hard and fast routine, such as writing at the same time every day or for a specified amount of time. But I do write in the same spot (a comfy lather chair in the corner of my living room). I pop in my earbuds, get my cat settled on my legs, open up the MacBook and get to work. I'm able to write even if there are kids playing the xbox right next to me or other major chaos going on. If I waited for the perfect, quiet moment, I'd never get any writing done!
That was my Q&A with Amy Engel! I hope you guys enjoyed it and that you pick up Amy's books as they really are amazing!
I just want to thank Amy for agreeing to do the Q&A with me and thanks to Entangled Teen for forwarding my details to her - I'm really grateful!
Buy : The Book of Ivy - http://www.bookdepository.com/Book-Ivy-Amy-Engel/9781622664658
Pre - Order : The Revolution of Ivy - http://www.bookdepository.com/Revolution-Ivy-Amy-Engel/9781473629349
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