Hello everyone! Today I’m happy to present an exclusive Q&A interview with Amy Engel, the author of The Book of Ivy and its sequel, The Revolution of Ivy! (You can check out my review on The Book of Ivy here.) Thank you Amy for accepting to participate in this interview!
Q: What was your inspiration for The Book of Ivy?
A: Honestly, I’m not really sure. I just had an idea about a girl forced to marry a boy she was coached to kill and the rest of the story flowed from there. I’ve always been really interested in family dynamics and the ways in which our families influence us, so that definitely had a big impact on the story.
Q: The Book of Ivy is a YA dystopian duology. Are there any other genres you think you’d be interested in writing?
A: I think I’d like to try a YA contemporary at some point. And I love dark, suspenseful books as well.
Q: What was the biggest challenge for you when writing The Book of Ivy and/or its sequel?
A: The biggest challenge was just the pressure that came with writing a sequel. I wanted to make sure I was true to the characters and their journey, and I didn’t want to disappoint fans of the first book. There’s a lot more expectation with a sequel.
Q: Do you have any other novels (or ideas) you’re currently working on or planning to work on?
A: I wrote an adult novel, The Roanoke Girls, which is being published in early 2017. It’s a gothic suspense novel and I’m working on edits for it right now. Once those are done, I plan to start something new, but I haven’t nailed down exactly what yet.
Q: What advice would you offer an aspiring author?
A: Read as much as you can. Write even when you don’t feel like it or aren’t inspired. In order to write, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices with your time because there are only so many hours in a day. Grow a thick skin. Learn to take criticism well. Work hard to develop your “voice” as a writer. Believe that good things can happen.
Q: Did you have any specific people (yourself included) in mind when you were creating your characters?
A: No. I rarely base characters, even loosely, off people I know in real life. Ivy, for example, isn’t based off anyone I know and is actually very different from me in a lot of ways. When I was writing her there would be times I would stop and think, really, that’s what you’re going to do, Ivy? Because her choices were so different from the ones I would’ve made. But that’s a lot of the fun of creating characters. It’s like you get to live a dozen different lives instead of just your own.
Q: What has your journey to being an author been like? Did any part of being a published author take you by surprise?
A: My journey to being an author feels like it took a long time, but I know in the grand scheme of things it really didn’t. I wrote my first YA novel a few years ago and tried to get an agent, to no avail. So I trunked that book and then had the idea for Ivy. Again, I tried to get an agent and I got more interest, but many of the agents who read the book didn’t think they could sell another dystopian novel to publishers. That’s when I found Entangled Teen and sent them the manuscript. I waited a couple of months while they read the book, and then they made an offer of publication. I was thrilled and they’ve been amazing to work with! For my adult novel, I went back into the query trenches and was lucky enough to have multiple offer of representation. I signed with Jodi Reamer of Writers House and she sold the book to the Crown imprint of Random House in May. I think the thing that’s surprised me the most about being a published author is the amount of waiting involved at every step of the process. I’d heard that publishing was slow, but it’s REALLY slow. It definitely teaches you patience. But it’s worth it all at the end when you hold your book in your hands!
So there we have it! Thank you so much Amy for answering my questions! I loved The Book of Ivy duology and it was a pleasure to have you on my blog today.
Now, you readers tell me: Have you read The Book of Ivy duology? Do you want to? (Of course you do! RIGHT?!) Tell me whatever thoughts you may have below!
Note: *Credit for the featured image goes to the owner, I did not make it myself.