Author Interview with Amy Rolland

SURPRISE! This month I bring you TWO author interviews! That shows you just how AWESOME writer are!

As I’ve stated before, one of the best things about doing these interviews is the fact I get to talk to authors from all different career paths, genre’s, and categories. I feel there is so much we can learn from each other, no matter what we write.

My second interview for the month is with YA author and fellow #goatsis-tah Amy Rolland.

So let’s begin…

 

author_pic1.Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?

I’m a born and raised Marylander, so I’ve grown up on a hearty diet of blue crabs, Old Bay, and rockfish. My little hometown is sheltered by the Chesapeake Bay, the Magothy River, and the Severn River, so much of my childhood was spent on sailboats, docks, and marinas. Maryland usually provides at least part of the setting for my stories.

I write young adult fiction. I’m a former high school English teacher, and kids always ask me why I choose to write YA. (Usually, they also cringe while asking.) Writers are looking for stories. Good ones. There’s a reason why adults shake their heads nostalgically and tell teens to enjoy their high school and college years. I remember rolling my eyes every time someone placed a hand on my shoulder and said, “Enjoy it. They’re the best years of your life.” I’d like to think I have some good years ahead of me, but when kids are learning who and what they want to be in life, there’s always going to be drama, and love, and hate, and ultimately… good stories.

 

2.With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?

I had no clue what I was getting into! I didn’t begin writing with the intent to publish! My skin isn’t thick enough.

I always loved writing. As a child, I carried notebooks and documented everything. It’s funny to revisit what I then called a “journal” because the elaborations and exaggerations were a figment of my drama even then. Writing has always been therapeutic for me. I don’t handle emotions very well, but I’ve found that if I can give those emotions to someone else, a character who is perhaps a lot stronger than I am, they don’t affect me so much. But life gets in the way, and my love affair with writing was replaced by my love for teaching, and then my husband, and then my children.

When my oldest son was born, I took a leave of absence and focused on being a new mother. I spent a great deal of time rocking my sleep-hating son back and forth and staring at the wall. Just me, my baby, and my imagination. Finally, when he began to sleep in stretches longer than six hours, I wrote down the story of the characters who had kept me company during those periods of idleness. That was when writing came back to me.

 

3. Let’s talk a little about your latest project. What is the title and what is it about?

I’m working on two different projects right now. The first is the sequel to Of Breakable Things, my debut novel coming out on April 8th! Of Breakable Things is about a girl who discovers the fragility of perspective, life, and love after her death. Here’s the link to the blurb on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16050312-of-breakable-things. The sequel delves into the idea that in an existence dependent upon the mind, there is so much that can be manipulated, and the world isn’t as perfect as it seems.

My second project is Color Me Blue, which is (STILL) currently on submission. *fingers crossed* Color Me Blue is about a small town that produces big people. Politicians, CEO’s, Olympians, and inventors among others have called this area their hometown. Secretly, there is an underground battle system through which children can shine, find sponsors, prove themselves, and eventually enter the big leagues.

 

4.What was the inspiration (if any) behind this story? 

It’s based on good old high school rivalry, the idea that if you cross over into “enemy territory” aka another school district, you better watch your back. I condensed the rivalry into one small town, but there are three different groups that recruit new members to fight for them. Children fight for territory, bragging rights, “trophies” from rival group members, and most importantly society charms. If someone’s society charm is taken away, they are a ‘hostage,’ and they have to be negotiated back into the game. It’s kind of a like a huge game of war.

 

5. Color Me Blue sounds like an aggressive storyline. Perhaps maybe controversial in some ways?

I like controversial J I don’t think heavy topics are too much for the everyday teenager. It wasn’t too long ago that I was in high school. I taught high school English, and I continue to tutor high school students. They deal with these issues every day, whether people want to believe it or not.

I think readers will find it easier to throw the controversial card at Of Breakable Things. The book is about death and the afterworld. This is controversial no matter the age of the reader. I visited a creative writing class the other week, and one student asked if the novel was religious. It’s not. And I did my best to write it that way. However, I told the student that I did want readers to keep an open mind. The idea behind Of Breakable Things is that the intelligence and emotions we feel when we are alive might be left behind in the form of a projection. That gives the mind a pulse after the heart stops beating. They can take from this what they want. The main character sees a bright door, but I never say what’s behind it. They can fill in those blanks. It isn’t necessary for my story.

 

6. What do you think of plots in YA or MG that delve into controversial issues?

The world is subjective. That’s the simple answer, I suppose. No two people see things the same way, and it would make for a very boring world if they did. Heavy issues lead to controversy, and usually where there’s an issue… there’s a good story. And writers are just looking for good stories. This is true in any genre.

 

7. What do you hope readers will find interesting about this story?

The reason I had to get Of Breakable Things out of my head was because of the relationship between Alex and Chase. It was too much for my mind to hold in, the idea that two people could attach themselves to one another from the day they were born, take care of one another and grow together, and ultimately endure tragedy together. I love them.

Possibility. Have I seen a ghost? No. Do I believe in the possibility of them? Sure. I think about all we gather in our minds when we’re alive: intelligence, emotions, opinions. Think about how much you love something and how much you hate something. I can’t fathom that when we die that just disintegrates into the air. I think maybe sometimes it’s strong enough to project an image of a person, and that’s what people see when they see the ‘ghost’ of someone. And really, in life, aren’t we haunted sometimes by our own emotions, too?

I want people to keep an open mind and have fun with a world that the mind can manipulate. Alex can walk down a street and see two buildings one day … and then the next day she might see ten buildings, a fountain, three sets of stairs leading to nothing, and a door in the clouds – just because she wasn’t open to seeing it before; she wasn’t looking for it before.

 

8. What do you feel is the biggest drawback in YA?

The idea that teenagers can’t handle adult issues.

 

9. What advice would you give to a new author who wants to write YA? 

Just find the story. Usually where there’s drama, there’s a story, and we all know how dramatic those teenage years can be.

 

10. Is there a genre that you would like to write? Something you would find a challenge?

Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I love research. Historical fiction would be fun, and there’s so many eras in history that fascinate me.

 

Where to find Amy on the web;

16050312Website: https://www.ALyndenRolland.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALyndenRolland

Twitter: @AmyRolland

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of Breakable Things on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16050312-of-breakable-things

NEW book trailer! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6fyvnZyu4I

 

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About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

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