Let's get to know Amy Rivers
1. What was the inspiration for your novel?
I’m an incurable romantic and prone to falling in love. When I started writing Wallflower Blooming, I intended to write a story about two people – Val and John – who fell in love with each other but couldn’t figure out how to make it work. Well, several chapters in, John didn’t love the idea of breaking up with Val. In fact, he was ready for some serious commitment. And surprisingly, so was Val – my sweet avoider who was so comfortable in her rut that it was completely out of character for her to embrace love. My inspiration for novel came from people and places and experiences I’ve had in life but the characters took over and made their own way in the world.
2. When did you take up writing?
Until a few years ago, my writing was mostly academic or business-oriented. I was a marketing consultant and wrote copy for websites and PR campaigns. And I wrote papers about social justice and violence prevention. Then my family moved to Colorado and I was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to write for a living. As with most things in my life, I jumped in with both feet. I enjoy writing fiction. I’m also especially fond of personal essays.
3. How important is setting/place in your writing?
Setting/place is becoming more important in my writing. Many of the pieces I’ve written have been personal essays that revolve more around the characters than any particular setting. But I love to travel and I’ve been making a point of experiencing new places that I can incorporate into my writing.
4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?
My main character, Val, is definitely my favourite. She’s smart and capable, but suffers from a mountain of doubt, which I think we can all relate to. I know I do. Val has spent most of her adult life afraid to really live. But she learns (sometimes painfully) that she doesn’t have to settle for the status quo. She can mix things up and even when it’s uncomfortable, she’ll survive.
5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
Write! It’s so easy to get bogged down by the business of writing, rejection, and all the non-writing things that happen in the daily life of a writer. Those things do deserve attention, but the bottom line is that I need to write, every day.
6. Do you have a schedule for writing?
I have to balance writing time with all the administrative stuff on my to-do list each day, so I have to schedule time to write, especially when I’m on deadline. I don’t always do my writing at the same time, but I make sure I put aside time every day.
7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?
For the most part, I wing it. When I come up with an idea, I do a little bit of written brainstorming, but then I let my imagination run wild. I’m the queen of “talking it out.” I like to talk about my characters as if they are real people in my life. The more I talk about them, the more they come to life in my mind.
8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?
I’m a voracious reader so this is a really hard question. I love chick-lit and thrillers, horror and memoir. I will read anything that has interesting and relatable characters. Some of my favourite authors are Isabel Allende, John Sanford, and Ishiguro Kazuo. Recently, I enjoyed reading Stephen King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams and Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train. In nonfiction, I loved Notorious R.B.G. and We Should All Be Feminists (a must read).
9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?
I’m an ongoing contributor to Novelty Bride Magazine and ESME.com. I’ve also got two book projects in the works. One is a follow-up to Wallflower Blooming and the other is a novel about unlikely friends. I can’t wait to introduce readers to new characters. And there’s a lot in store for Val, John and Gwen.
10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?
Write! You can’t be a writer if you’re not writing. Make time. Develop habits. Create a routine. And find fellowship. No matter where you are in your writing career, there are groups of writers out there who will help you along with advice, support and encouragement.
Amy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado. She had an idyllic childhood despite a severe visual impairment and, perhaps because of her disability, she learned a lot about compassion and empathy from a young age. Her keen interest in social issues and violence prevention led to a Master's degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics. She was the director of a sexual assault response program and remains an advocate for social justice. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, ESME.com and Splice Today. Wallflower Blooming is her first novel.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/amyrivers.writer/
Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/WritingRivers
Goodreads Book Page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28668820-wallflower-blooming