Q&A with Novelist, Amy Lane
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ABOUT AMY LANE
Amy Lane lives in a crumbling crapmansion with a couple of growing children, a passel of furbabies, and a bemused spouse. Two of her books have received a RITA nomination, she’s won honorable mention for an Indiefab, and has a couple of Rainbow Awards to her name. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action-adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance — and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
On to our interview!
Q: Tell us who you are and what inspires you to write.
A: I’m an English major — a mother, a wife, a crafter — and someone with a brain that is rarely quiet. I am inspired — always — by the story. There are stories everywhere, thunderous stories in the quietest of people, and that’s what captures my imagination.
Words and literature are where I see the divine.
Q: How did you get to this place in your life? Share your story!
A: I always wanted to write, but I got a teaching credential instead — it taught me more about kindness, about giving back to my community, and about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes than I can ever articulate. Along the way I got married and had four children — which kept me pretty busy for a while — but I continued to write for my own enjoyment. That writing took off, but because it was lgbtq romance, my school district thought it was best that my job and I parted ways. I’ve been helping to support my family with writing ever since.
Q: What are you most passionate about?
A: I am passionate about…
Treating others as you would like to be treated
Not jumping on the bandwagon just because it gives you an excuse to hate
Wool — knitting and crocheting
My idiot dogs
The amazing capacity of my children to inspire joy
The written word
That romance is the language of hope
Doing no harm
Living to let live
Helping others if they’re in need
My fat lazy cat
My gentle, kind husband
Choosing your battles
Fighting to the death once chosen
Using a pen instead of a sword
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?
A: I write a little during the day, but mostly daytime is for taking care of business — correspondence, newsletters, that sort of thing. Other than that, I have a boring life — get up, walk the dogs, do some work at my computer, get my kids from school, nap, make dinner — but the whole time whenever I’m doing anything mindless, like showering or doing the dishes, I’m thinking about my book, and where I left off, and what these characters are going to need to do next. Then, around ten o’clock at night, I make my husband turn off the television, and I get the dogs treats (and then extra treats to keep at my desk) and I sit down, play a math based game for ten minutes, and write. I get between 1,500-3,000 words done a day like this, and produce around six-eight books a year.
Q: What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them.
A: Overcoming my own self-deprecation was a rough one. Let’s just say I’d had enough people telling me I wasn’t smart or creative or interesting enough to actually write something anyone else would read, selling it to other people — whether book blogging or renting ad space — seemed like a huge imposition to the people I was working with. Once I overcame that self-erasure, it got a little easier to celebrate my own work in such a way that other people would want to celebrate it with me.
Also, I can’t organize for crap. Talking things out with my publisher and editor helps immensely.
Q: What do you wish you had known before you started writing fiction?
A: That my real life and my fictional life share the same DNA. Word choice, organization, theme, thesis — all of these stem from the same place in my brain and they all have their place. Just because I write fiction doesn’t mean I don’t have to be adept at personal, expository, and narrative writing as well.
Q: What’s next for you in your creative work?
A: I JUST finished a heist book — and I loved it so much I hope to write five more. I’m about to start the fifth of my Fish Out of Water romantic suspense books — and I love this series soooooo much. And I just started a category length paranormal romance series that tickles me no end.
I always have something going on in my mind. Always. A rich fantasy life used to be the thing I was told would hurt my life the most — finding a way to make that work for me is one of my greatest joys. I don’t ever want to stop writing.
Q: Is there anything else you wished I’d asked? Please share!
A: Oh! I’ve got something — where else will I be teaching? I have started teaching classes through Kaleidoscope, Sierra College Adult Education, so please look for me there!!
Also, if you’re new to Amy Lane and looking for somewhere to start, start with the Manny series, if you like it adorable; Fish Out of Water, if you like angsty suspense; and Beneath the Stain, if you like your heart ripped out of your chest!
And the Little Goddess series and Vulnerable, if you like urban fantasy that probably broke every rule in the book.
Crafting Category Romance
Category romance is a precise art. With such a small word count, writing the perfect category romance is a little like writing a haiku. But how do you write a book in seventeen syllables? How can you cram compelling conflict, satisfying character development, and toe-curling romantic tension into less than sixty thousand words?
In Crafting Category Romance, two-time RITA™-nominated author of nearly one hundred books Amy Lane describes the rules of engagement, traps to watch out for, and how to leverage common tropes to create conflict, craft a character, develop a plot, and leave readers with a happy ever after that’s different every time — all in a tidy package. With practical exercises in plot, conflict, and character development, Crafting Category Romance will teach you how to use the rigid rules and expectations of the genre to your advantage and win a loyal readership following for life.