Author Spotlight Interview: Amy Craig
Today’s interview is with romance author Amy Craig, who writes stories where everyone gets a happy ending. We were honored to chat with Amy about her self-publishing journey, writing style and exciting upcoming projects.
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
AC: Lots of banter, medium-heat sex, and some research to set the scene.
I’ve written contemporary romances and romantic suspenses, but the main difference is the presence of the “bad guy” vs. circumstantial impediments. In my stories, everyone gets a happy ending. Sometimes, even the villains get a second chance.
HG: What have been the challenges you’ve faced in your publishing career?
AC: Someone published my book, so I’m the luckiest girl in the world!
Realistically, so many people have amazing stories to tell. I wish I was the type of person who slaved over a novel for decades and fine-tuned it, but I’m prolific. Feedback is always welcome, but I love writing stories and living vicariously through my character’s lives.
When I worked in IT, people said, “We need to be agile and lean. We need to fail fast, and fail often.” I’m not trying to fail, but I’ll choose new stories over a quest for perfection (or a Tik Tok account). That sound you hear is the sound of every literary agent deleting my query emails!
HG: Love your outlook. Is there anything you’d do differently? Advice to aspiring authors?
AC: I’m sure a MFA would have honed my writing skills, but an engineering degree let me save money for a residential down payment. In lieu of coursework and helpful professors, find critique circles and beta readers to help you improve your writing.
Also, reach out to writers outside your genre and your life experience, but don’t ask another writer to point-blank read your entire manuscript. Start with five pages, or the first chapter, and see if you click with the person. When you find a good match, make sure you reciprocate the effort and balance your constructive feedback with praise.
HG: That’s excellent, actionable advice. Thank you. Tell us a little bit about your actual writing process. When and where do you write?
AC: I have a ten year old iMac, a cabled keyboard, and a desk. When I’m doing dishes or running carpool, I plot. When my kids go to sleep, I write. My husband objects to this process.
HG: Ha! What inspires your stories and why is that important to you?
AC: I love alpha heros and strong women, but I’m a cathartic crier, so I’m not afraid to let my characters fail. I like to stack the odds against them, put them in a hard spot, and ask them to shine. So far, my heroines have demanding, technical jobs, but art can be brutal, too.
HG: What feeling do you hope readers are left with when they finish one of your novels?
AC: If the novel feels new and satisfying, I’m thrilled.
HG: Awesome. The Devil in the Deep South releases this month. Congrats! What can you tell us about that novel? What can readers expect?
AC: Woah, this book started on a whim, but reader reactions have been so eye-opening. When I wrote The Devil in the Deep South, I wanted to write about the covenant between a small town girl and the town she loves. Stay, be good, and life will shine. Except, a tornado destroys her bookstore. Oops!
Since the book takes place in the storm-prone months before Easter, I included biblical references to old testament covenants. Some advance readers have made it clear they do not like to mix up religion and sex! That’s okay!
Just know this book isn’t meant to be proselytizing. You can skip the Bible verses and still appreciate the tug-of-war between small-town bookstore owner, Taylor, and big-city billionaire, Christopher. She’s the town darling who thinks life’s peachy, and he’s the veteran trying to fill his brother’s shoes. When the tornado comes roaring into town, she’s not giving up on the town or the quirky cast of characters she loves, and he can’t get her out of his mind.
HG: For fun, if The Devil in the Deep South was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
AC: Wouldn’t that be fun? I would go with Jennifer Lawrence for Taylor and Daniel Craig’s younger brother for Christopher.
HG: Nice! Now, what can you tell us about any projects you have in the works?
AC: I have two romantic suspense novels coming out this year: The Peninsula (The Wild Rose Press), and Syndicate Rising (Totally Bound Publishing).
The Peninsula: Hadley lost her sister to cancer, and she devoted her life to research geared toward alleviating pain. When an explosion puts her in the middle of a family squabble, her adviser’s nephew, Johann, asks for a week of discretion to protect his brother. Torn between her research and the loneliness in his gaze, she agrees, but family dynamics upend her understanding of loyalty.
Syndicate Rising: When Nina’s neighbor sets her up on a date with a handsome insurance salesman, she enjoys the hookup, but she writes off Alessio as a one-night stand. After the date ends, she leads Alessio on a wild chase, but she may not be in charge of the itinerary.
Based on reader feedback, both books might develop into three-book series. I’m also working on a Christmas Romance, but it probably won’t shine until 2023.
HG: I can tell that you value reader feedback. That’s awesome. Tell us more about your transition to writing fiction full time.
AC: I’ve read romances since middle school, but I didn’t start writing novels until my oldest daughter arrived, and I stopped working full time. I started with women’s fiction novels, and I thought Kindle Scout would be my big chance… but a week after I submitted my book, the program shut down! I’m still writing, and the kids are growing, so it’s all good.
I live in the “Deep South”, but I grew up in California. Living down here provides wonderful perks for me and for my family, but Christianity prevails. A local lawyer has a gigantic flag with a biblical verse on it flying over the interstate. A mega church erected three crosses so large they cast a shadow on the nearby supercenter. With The Devil in the Deep South, I couldn’t write about mainstream southern characters and ignore religion. As a beta reader told me, “That’s just how it is down here!”
HG: Yep! As a “northerner” who has been living in the “deep south” for the past 8 years, I get it. Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing when not writing?
AC: I play tennis, organize neighborhood parties, and badger my husband into crazy household tasks. This weekend, I asked him to “leg up” a water oak. Those branches looked a lot smaller in the air!
HG: Haha, nice. If you could ask your author idol one question, what would it be?
AC: Which book is your favorite? Why did you keep writing? Will you give me a blurb for my book?
HG: Brilliant. For fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…coffee or tea?
AC: Dark roast coffee with lactose-free half-and-half.
HG: Bonfire or fireplace?
AC: Fire pit? We’ve had a brick one and a “made in the USA” metal one. Let’s be real, it’s the end of a propane tank on a stand, but we’re all pyromaniacs.
HG: Are you a morning bird or night owl?
AC: Night owl
HG: eBook or paperback?
AC: Ebooks are so darn convenient! I love the smell and feel of paper books, but after they’ve been lovingingly read 100 times, I want them to be recyclable.
HG: Tropical beach or rustic mountains?
AC: Mountains. Do you know how long it takes me to dry my hair when it’s long? I love the beach from a balcony. Even from the sand. Water and SPF 50+? <Shudder> Can I bring a boat and a big sun hat? Give me the Sierra Nevadas and a cold mountain lake.
HG: Love it. For readers that want to find out more about your stories and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?
Follow me on social media, but send me a direct message. I’m always up for a chat about my books!
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