It’s time for a new interview series… like NOW. No really, actually it’s called NOW (Newly Omniscient Authors). This blog has been publishing since 2011, and some of the earlier posts feel dated. To honor the relaunch of the site, I thought I’d invite some of my past guests to read and ruminate on their answers to questions from oh-so-long-ago to see what’s changed between then and now.
Today’s guest is Amy Reed. Her new novel, The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World (July 9, 2019/Simon Pulse) is about two teens from the wrong side of the tracks whose lives crash into each other and start a surreal series of events that may lead to the apocalypse. Amy is a feminist, mother, and Virgo who enjoys running, making lists, and wandering around the mountains of western North Carolina where she lives. You can find her online at amyreedfiction.com.
Has how you think (and talk) about writing and publishing changed, further into your career?
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I have very little control over what happens once my manuscript is out of my hands and turns into a real book, like how much marketing support it will get, how much it will sell, and what kind of praise or criticism it will receive. Writing and publishing is just a long bumpy process of letting go. The less I depend on external validation, the more at peace I am on this crazy ride.
Let’s talk about the balance between the creative versus the business side of the industry. Do you think of yourself as an artiste or are you analyzing every aspect of your story for marketability? Has that changed from your early perspective?
My first couple of books (Beautiful and Clean) felt very authentic to me as an artist (or artiste, I suppose—I was still very much living in the wake of my MFA preciousness), but unfortunately my response to the success of those books was to become a lot more focused on writing what I thought I was supposed to write, what was “on brand,” and writing lost some of its magic. Then my daughter was born and I moved across the country, and something shifted for me.
The Nowhere Girls was about me reclaiming my passion for storytelling, my own voice, and my love for the lives of my characters and readers. My new book The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World (July 9, Simon Pulse) was the most fun I’ve ever had writing because I allowed myself to really play with fantasy and surrealism for the first time. And my next book--which will remain mysterious for now since it hasn’t officially been announced yet—is the weirdest (and maybe best) thing I’ve ever written.
The bloom is off the rose… what’s faded for you, this far out from debut?
Planning my own book tours. I don’t do that anymore. I pretty much just do one release event at my local indie, and I’ll do local events with friends when invited, and of course whatever my publisher plans for me, but I’d rather put my energy into my writing.
Likewise, is there anything you’ve grown to love (or at least accept) that you never thought you would?
That my books are not for everybody. I write about dark stuff because those are the stories that resonate with me, and they are the ones I needed to read as a teen. But not everybody wants to read those stories, and that’s okay. I have never been a conventional person, and my books are not conventional. And as we evolve, we are both getting even more unconventional.
And lastly, what did getting published mean for you and how has it changed (or not changed!) your life?
For the last six years, I’ve (mostly) been able to write full time, which is a great privilege and gift that I really try to not take for granted. I’ve also made some incredible friends along the way, which has been a lifesaver in this often very solitary profession.