A little about Amy...
From ages 0 to 9, I moved every two or three years all over the country, which I like to think made me adaptable and open to new places, people, and ideas. We lived in San Francisco, Virginia Beach, Albuquerque, N.M., Lexington, K.Y., and Dayton, Ohio. The library was one of the first places we found anywhere we arrived. I’ve always found a home in books.
It really never occurred to me that I could be a writer until I was in college. I always thought I’d do something more “practical,” with a guaranteed salary. (Believe me, there are no guarantees in writing.) When I ditched the practical by majoring in Great Books at the University of Notre Dame, I began to think about writing as a sideline.
My first paid writing job was for a health newsletter in Charlottesville, Va., where I was earning my M.A. in English at the University of Virginia. My first published piece of writing was about … uh … constipation. No kidding. I like to think I’ve come a long, long way.
Along that way, I’ve taught English literature and writing to middle and high school students and won a teacher of the year award. I’ve written lots of articles – mainly for The Washington Post – about fun things to do in the greater Washington area. I’ve also written a lot of essays about things I care about, such as my faith, reading aloud to children, and protecting the environment.
Now I live with my husband and three kids and Jessie the wonder dog near some woods and a stream in Arlington, Virginia, which is the inspiration for my second novel tentatively titled, String Theories.
Forget Her Nots
When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door,Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn’t so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don’t always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she’s soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.
How has your husband helped you through your writing career? -Kayla (7th grade)
Mostly by just being there and believing in me. I think that's what writers need more than anything -- someone who believes they can do it, even when they're being turned down by agents and editors. It's a tough business. FYI, Forget-Her-Nots is also dedicated to him. :-)
When you were in school, did you know that one day you would be an author? -Brian (7th grade)
I started to dream about being an author when I was in college, but I never knew for sure that I'd be one, at least not a published one. (Most writers have at least one "practice" novel in a drawer somewhere.) It's pretty difficult to make a living as a writer. Most writers also teach, which I did for awhile, too. I also wrote for newspapers and magazines, which really improved my skillsl.
Does writing help you relieve stress? -Micah (8th grade)
Interesting question. I would say that writing helps relieve stress if I'm just writing personal stuff in a journal. If I'm really stressed about something or someone, sometimes I'll write it all out in a letter, but not send it. That helps me calm down and deal with the situation better. Writing fiction can be stressful if it's not going well, though. I have three kids, so I don't have a lot of time for writer's block. I usually keep a list of things I need to research or want to read, so I can shift my focus and be productive until I'm inspired to write again.
Did the way you fell in love contribute to your story? -Janike (8th grade)
Yes, I definitely drew on my own emotions and experiences of falling in love to make what Laurel feels come to life. I fell in love with my husband when we were both 19 and in college together. We got married when I was 24. That said, I do believe that we can all fall in love many times in our lives. I was in love several times in high school. :-) There's a big difference between falling in love and loving someone with a deep and lasting commitment.
Who was your favorite character to write about in your book? -Crystal (8th grade)
It was fun to write about all of them, because they're so different. If I had to pick one, it would be Rose. She's smart and sarcastic and not afraid to say what she's thinking. It's refreshing to have someone like that around.
Thanks so much for hosting me!