Hi Amy! I'm so pleased to have you visit today and I'm excited to find out more about you and your book. Thanks so much for agreeing to let me badger you with my questions.
How did you start your writing career?
I have always wanted to be a writer and even submitted a few manuscripts (truly terrible fantasy stories) while I was in college. However, I knew it would be a difficult road, so I got a “real job” as a technical writer and then as a computer specialist. I sporadically tried to write over the next few years, but never got published.
About 15 years ago, I was doing a lot of traveling and while I was sitting in my hotel room reading emails for work, I realized that I could be doing something I wanted to do for a change and I started writing, this time seriously. I wrote about five manuscripts before I had the confidence to join some writing groups and eventually in 2005, I got my first book published: a traditional Regency romance called Smuggled Rose. The rest, as they say, is history.
Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
Both my husband and I are “birders” and I’ve always wanted to travel to Antarctica to see penguins and other birds native to the southern hemisphere. My ideal trip to Antarctica would be aboard a sailing craft, because I love sailing. It’s not just the penguins, though, that attract me to that area, it’s the cold. Yes, the cold. You see I can’t handle heat at all and dream of living in a place that really never gets hot.
Which also means that I need to clean up my act because I don’t think I would do well if I ended up in that really hot place after death.
Tell us about your current release.
My current release is a paranormal romance, A Fall of Silver. While it follows my book, Vampire Protector, the two have different characters and stories, so they do not need to be read in any particular order. A Fall of Silver was very challenging to write as the heroine is very strong and didn’t always want to be a nice person. As a writer, I prefer characters who are temperamental and difficult, if not downright mean at times, because I find them more interesting. So I persevered and hope readers find Allison Bankes (aka Quicksilver) as interesting as I found her.
As far as the calendar goes, my next release will probably be a Regency romance novella. One of my editors asked me to write a sweet Regency for an anthology they are putting together, and I’m doing my darnedest to get it written (in fact, I should be writing it now). After that, I have a mystery I need to revise and send to another editor, a Regency romantic mystery to revise and get published, and then I need to write the next paranormal romance. The third paranormal romance will feature Theresa Blackstone, who has one or two scenes in the first two books. She’s a lot quieter than my previous characters, but she’s kind of a bad-ass, as well. She just isn’t as vocal about it. LOL. She’s going to come up against a hero with a really different kind of problem and the book will be a kind of paranormal thriller romance. I can’t wait to finish my other projects so I can dive into writing it.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
This is going to sound dumb, but two things constantly amaze and irritate me: how hard it is to master the craft of writing; and how much research you have to do even for the simplest, silliest story. I wrote seven complete novels before I got a grip on story arc and characterization, and even so, I always seem to want to write about characters and plots that are complex and difficult to pull off. I am always learning something new and working to hone my craft, even for “light” stories like the Regency novella I’m writing at the moment.
And research…well, don’t get me started on that topic. It’s unbelievable how much reading and “looking up” I do when I write. It seems like I can only write about one page before I need to verify something or other.
However, those challenges are also the most rewarding aspect of writing. If it wasn’t difficult, I probably would have abandoned it years ago and moved on to something else. I’m a sucker for challenges and can’t give up. I’ll probably be gasping, “Wait! I can do this, I know I can, just give me another minute!” when I’m lying on my deathbed.
What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I read this book every year, sometimes twice a year, and I have the movie (the black & white version with Julie Harris, which is very close to the book) and watch that several times a year, too.
I’ve been trying to understand why this book resonates with me, and in part, I think it’s because I grew up at a time when self-sacrifice and setting aside your desires to help someone else were considered to be positive qualities. Parents regularly stay married for the sake of the children (which is nearly unheard of, today) and daughters often stayed at home to take care of aging parents, regardless of their own hopes and dreams. The main character, Eleanor, spent “the best years of her life” caring for her mother and the horrors at Hill House are attuned to this scent of quiet desperation in Eleanor and her willingness to sacrifice her happiness for the sake of others, whether you consider this quality to be a flaw or a good quality.
Building a horror story so beautifully constructed around the character of Eleanor is amazing and compelling to me. I’ve read a lot of horror stories before and after and none seem to have that quality. They are all either gore-fests (which I don’t like) or the horror is done to/around the main character without it being dependent upon that character’s internal truths. I’m not explaining it very well, but one day, I’d like to have the skill to write characters as compelling to readers as Eleanor is to me.
Of course, there is also that masterful first paragraph and last paragraph which give me goose bumps every time I read them.
What is it that you like to do when you’re not reading/writing?
I have a lot of interests, far too many in fact. My husband and I are birders (bird watchers) and I garden as well. In fact, I grow some Old Garden Roses (roses hybridized before the mid-19th century) and have been interested in heirloom vegetables. I also love to cook, particularly to bake bread, and we have an entire menagerie of animals. We recently adopted a Parson Russell terrier (previously call a Jack Russell terrier) and I’ve been working on training that dog. She’s now housebroken (thank goodness) and fetches like a dream. I’ve been taking her out in a little rowboat to get her used to that as I’d like to be able to take her out on the kayak without her jumping out. I already have a life jacket for her, so it’s just a matter of getting her used to the procedure. I sew, knit and do other “crafty” things and I’m working on a big gray sweater for myself to wear around the house.
Really, I need a couple of lifetimes to do everything I’d like to do.
Amy Corwin is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and recently joined Mystery Writers of America. She has been writing for the last ten years and recently left a career as an enterprise computer systems administrator to write full time. She writes paranormal romances, mysteries, and Regencies/historicals. To be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she discovered that killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones toe the plot line.
Amy’s books include: paranormal romances, Vampire Protector and A Fall of Silver; Regency romantic mysteries, The Necklace, I Bid One America, The Bricklayer’s Helper, and Escaping Notice; Regency mysteries, The Vital Principle and A Rose Before Dying; and the cozy mystery, Whacked!.
Join her and discover that every good romance has a touch of mystery.
Their secrets are about to catch up with them.
The only good vampire is a dead vampire: that’s Quicksilver’s philosophy and she sees no reason to change it. In fact, she’s about to kill one of the undead when Kethan Hilliard confronts her, promising peace and redemption for both vampires and humans in exchange for an end to the slaughter.
But Quicksilver knows that’s not going to happen.
Someone is killing humans and vampires, and sweet words aren’t going to end the nightmare.
The events awaken terrible secrets from Quicksilver’s past, and she’s not about to repeat her previous mistakes. This time, she’s going to end the madness and silence the horror, forever.
A Fall of Silver is available at the following links: