Hello dear Reader. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I also hope that you are having fun on this Scavenger Hunt! If you’re just starting, have no worries, you can follow the hunt from here and find your way back around to the beginning still!
Welcome to the 13th stop on the Author Scavenger Hunt. I hope you enjoy this interview with author Amy Green. Be sure to write down the clue (found at the end of this post) and continue to the next stop. If you’ve missed a stop or if you are ready to enter the full phrase for your chance to win an iPad Mini and 32 books, head on over HERE. Otherwise enjoy the interview and find the next clue on the scavenger hunt!
1: Why don’t you introduce yourself?
I’m the author of four books, the Amarias Adventures, and the type of person who you can distract from writing in about two seconds if you need help baking something or want to play a board game with me. (Or both at once—highly recommended.) I’m currently working in the marketing department of a publishing company, trying to keep the US Postal service alive by writing a lot of letters, and dreaming of the day when my closet will actually lead to Narnia (no luck so far). Also, I’m 22 years old.
2: Um…isn’t that a little…young?
Yep. I wrote Quest for the Scorpion’s Jewel when I was 17 and got a contract for the first two books when I was 19. The bad part about being published so young is that, in a lot of ways, I feel like I’m still learning and developing my voice as a writer. The good part is that I have the rest of my life to keep getting better. That, and the fact that I got a call from the editors at Warner Press saying they’d like to publish my book while I was doing American Literature homework. On a beanbag chair. In a two-story blanket fort that took up our whole suite. (You can see me constructing it in the photo below.) Who has a publishing story like that? It just screams “college student.”
3: Please tell us a little bit about your books.
The first book, Quest for the Scorpion’s Jewel, was a present for my twin sister’s eighteenth birthday, although it went through lots of revisions before publication. The series goes in order (although it wouldn’t be terribly confusing to start in the middle). The books follow the adventures of four Youth Guard members—Jesse, Silas, Rae, and Parvel—who are fighting a corrupt government in a highly personal way…by going on a mission to save some of their friends who have been condemned to die.
My favorite thing to do is stack the odds ridiculously against them. They’ve faced assassins and a cave-in, been sold into slavery, solved a series of ancient riddles, and survived poisonous snakes, a sandstorm, a wild boar, and a really spoiled, flirtatious noblewoman. Sometimes even I don’t know how they’re going to get out of whatever perilous situation I put them in.
4: What inspired you to be a writer?
My parents and elementary teachers encouraged my love of writing from an early age. And by “encouraged,” I mean they told me to get to work and practice writing. The practice is what makes the difference. I wrote about seven chapter-book length works before the two that got published, and most of them were terrible. Well, actually, all of them were pretty terrible.
I remember in about fifth or sixth grade going to our school’s library and finding the shelf with all the authors whose last name started with “G.” I traced the spines until I got to “GRE,” and I said to myself, “Someday, my books are going to be there.” And now they are.
(This picture is of Amy’s books on the shelf at the Focus on the Family bookstore in Colorado. She did an internship there in 2011, which is where she met Brock Eastman, the “man behind the curtain,” as it were, of this scavenger hunt!)
5: Do you have a favorite character?
Actually, yes. Captain Demetri, who you meet in the very first chapter of Book One. He’s…um…the villain. Which means he really shouldn’t be my favorite character. It’s mainly his backstory, I think. When I wrote a flashback scene from when he used to be in the Youth Guard and had to watch the rest of his squad die, I actually cried, which rarely happens.
6: What are the steps you went through to write the books?
Everyone has a different method, but mine is kind of like my approach to the rest of life: I plan out a vague outline, then make up the rest as I go. For these books, I started with Jesse moping around and wanting something interesting to happen. Then I decided what that interesting thing would be. The poor kid didn’t realize what he was getting into—I tend to put my characters in peril of their lives about every other chapter. After I got the rough draft done, I edited it like crazy and had several other people make corrections too: my mom, my twin sister, my roommate, my suitemate, and the fifth graders in the small group I led. After that, I edited some more, fixing the bigger things like plot flaws and smaller things like fine-tuning dialogue.
Then I edited again. And again. Contrary to myth, lots of boring, old-fashioned hard work goes into writing.
7: In what ways does your faith impact how you approach writing?
I think a lot of people associate Christian fiction with a moral tacked on the end of a story, which is not how it’s supposed to be at all. If your faith is really important to you, it’s going to come out in your writing, whatever that looks like. For me, fiction is a great way to think through what I believe and why. Jesse’s a lot like me in the sense that he asks a lot of hard questions about God and faith, especially how a good God could allow suffering.
8: Which book in the series so far is your favorite?
The fourth one, Secret of the Giants’ Staircase. Hands down. I love the setting—a crumbling ruins in the middle of a swamp. I love the new characters we meet, especially Owen, who is a hilarious kid and a lot of fun to write. But, I’ve got to be honest…most of all, I love the fact that the plot is basically a treasure hunt. And I didn’t know how Jesse and friends were going to find the treasure (without dying) as I wrote it, so it was an adventure for me too.
9: What’s some advice you’d give to aspiring writers?
I don’t know that it’s advice so much as a statement: if you are doing things right, you will write terrible stories. Lots of them. There will be whole scenes that are pointless, dialogue that makes you groan when you read it later, and plots that traipse off into nowhere that you can’t even salvage. And you will think that you’ll never be a writer. But guess what? If you’re writing, you are a writer. And you’re ahead of about 99% of the population who talk about writing but don’t actually do any. Really, the reason a particular project is hard for you is probably because you’re taking a risk, trying something new. Writing is hard work, and you are not a failure for recognizing that. The more you plunk yourself down, get rid of distractions, and write, the better you’ll get.
Find out more about Amy and her books:
Book website: amygreenbooks.com
Blog on writing: Just the Fiction Ma’am
Facebook: Amy Green
I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview and will take a moment to check out Amy’s great books, I know I will! Before you go though, you’ll want to write down this part of the clue: “for the gift” and you might want to enter the extra giveaway I’m hosting below. Now head on over to Amy’s website for Stop #14!
And now for the extra giveaway that I’m hosting on this stop. We have THREE awesome prizes from Stormcave Studios (my publishing house) that you could win just in time for Christmas!