Blazing her own path to adventure: Amy Lignor

INTERVIEW FOR THE CLAN ELVES OF THE BITTERROOT SITE
 
Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?
Hey there. Thanks for having me.
 
Now…J I was born in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut in a town that was about as big as your dining room J . My mother was the town librarian, which is what made my sister and I avid readers, and my wonderful father was a caretaker, so my family lived in the ‘caretaker’s cottage.’
 
To be honest, I was not big on ‘school.’ I had (still do) one of those adventurous spirits, and all I ever wanted to do was jump into a car and see the country. School was a bit boring for me. I have one of those ‘memories’ where I remember everything I read, so I basically would just read the textbook the first week of school and then ‘know’ it. So, I sat in my classes bored quite a bit. I did LOVE my writing class. I asked for extra assignments in that one. My mind was always thinking up things that I had to put down on paper, so writing and the literary world was a huge part of my childhood.
 
The second I was told I should be a writer was when I was in senior year of high school and we had to do a paper on the Russian Revolution. All the girls picked Alexandra, and the boys picked Nicholas (big shock), to do their papers on. And I picked Rasputin. I loved going through history and finding out all the information that surrounded the ‘bad guy.’ I received an A on the paper and a note from the teacher that said writing would be my career.
 
I am a huge coffee drinker and need that before I can get to writing. BUT, I am a Dunkin Donuts coffee fiend, and I’m now living in the Southwest where there isn’t one…I’ve lived everywhere and ended up in New Mexico about six years ago, where I wrote my novel about Billy the Kid and Paulita Maxwell called The Heart of a Legend. And my biggest fan? Reuben. My one hundred pound dog who is an absolute sweetheart and truly believes he weighs ten pounds. He always sits with me when I type and goes over my ideas with me. LOL.
School is your decision. I never knock education for others. But, no, writing comes from the heart, soul and life experiences. Not from a classroom. Therefore, it’s fine to get a degree but that doesn’t give you anything to write about. Readers know if they are listening to the “heart” of a writer.
 
Tell us about your most recent publication/whichever book you’d like to talk about today? (Please include a jpeg of the cover to run with the story).
I LOVE history. And for the last five years, I have been working on a historical adventure series titled, Tallent & Lowery. I am so excited because the very first book out of seven was just published yesterday! Tallent & Lowery – 13. I did a great deal of research for this book, which is a true adventure set in the present, based on a legend of the past that hardly anyone has even heard of before. My main character is the Head Research Librarian at the New York Public Library (my favorite building!) and she gets ‘hooked up’ with a man on a literal quest that leads them both to the Winchester House (a ghostly mansion in San Jose, California); to Whitechapel, and a legend of The Ripper; to the site of the Last Supper in the Upper Room; to TOR in Glastonbury; to Loch Ness, and an old house (that is still very much there) steeped in history that very little people know about. After this full journey, the two characters get to a location where the ‘keys’ they have found are brought together and seriously surprise the readers!

(Check out the book trailer here!)
 
What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?
I love the NYPL, and my character is based on the amazing librarians who are a part of our world. It is disheartening to see so many kids growing up and not caring one iota about books. All they want are their cell phones and MP3 players. And it’s sad. That was the real inspiration as far as the character was concerned – to try and make reading a blast again, instead of dealing with title after title of drugs, vampires, alcohol, divorce, abuse – I am so tired of always reviewing books about the sad and depressing. I think it’s time to have fun again! And to respect our librarians who are doing a seriously difficult job – keeping the written word alive!
 
I learned SO much during the creation of this book. The story and background of Sarah Winchester and the Winchester Mansion that people tour, was amazing to find out about. Especially her obsession with the number 13, and the ‘odd’ reason why she kept building her house until the day she died. Then, learning about the past with Jack the Ripper and his ‘hook’ to the number 13, as well as The Last Supper, and the reason there was a chair at the bottom of the stairs in the Upper Room (which was linked to the 13 theory), and the legend behind TOR in Glastonbury and how it mixed in with St. Michael and the Archangels at the same time as it did with the legend of King Arthur and his Knights – it was astounding when I started on this path! And then…to learn about Andrew Carnegie and his “odd group” of men (also documented) who were told to hide 13 ‘keys’ to something a long time ago, and then he laid the cornerstone for the NYPL – all of this information was able to be ‘joined’ together to create one of the most amazing puzzles I have ever seen!
 
How would you best describe your books?
Sheer adventure. They are so fast-paced that there have been people – already – who have read the book and want the next one right now! And his one has only been out for 2 days. LOL. I was also told this morning by a bestselling author that 13 is “The DaVinci Code with Heart!” Which made me so proud!
 
What is your favorite genre to write? To read?
Action/Adventure, and History. I love to do research and put pieces of “puzzles” together that no one has ever thought of before. And it is also helpful to put that “spark” of romance into the novel. I also LOVE reading any historical fiction – especially by Pam Jenoff!
 
What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?
God, I would LOVE to go back in time and interview some seriously amazing characters and write their biographies. I would love to know what Lincoln was thinking about in Ford’s Theatre that night. I would love to sit down with, even the bad guys, and find out who The Ripper was…and why? And, I would LOVE to talk to the angels. I am currently working on a YA series called The Angel Chronicles about a partnership – angel and warrior – who are in their teens and come down in different centuries to change history. I think it would be great to be able to sit down with Michael and Gabriel (the original team) and get to know them.
 
What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
The ability to create and give readers sheer enjoyment! Spell Checking is what I least like. You would think they would’ve created a program by now that just corrects as you go!  High school is when I was first told to be a writer. I wanted to be one when we went on this horrible family vacation when I was 13, and wrote in the car: My Life: A Comedy & A Tragedy. LOL
 
Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?
I am a part of SheWrites.com, RubyForWomen.com, HumorOutcasts, Book Marketing Network, Precious Gems Publishing – and a bunch more, actually. I write and contribute to so many of these sites, and I have a humor blog called A Yankee State of Mind which has been doing really, really well.
 
Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?
It actually depends on the day. I LOVE the music and movie themes that the incredible John Williams wrote and conducted. If you are in an adventurous mood, there is nothing that inspires you more than the Indiana Jones theme, the Star Wars theme, or Harry Potter. And when you’re doing a deadly scene in your novel – nothing works better than that bass from Jaws.
 
Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?
I am actually a reviewer, interviewer, and do critiques for authors at Authorlink, The Feathered Quill, Bookpleasures.com, the Romantic Times (RT) Magazine, Once Upon a Romance, and others. I love reading, and I love helping authors out when they need a suggestion or words of encouragement. My company, The Write Companion has been very successful thus far, and I have been able to help many authors polish their manuscripts and get them published, which is a real honor for me! I hate it when manuscripts end up in drawers because people get rejection letters from the ‘big houses’ and simply give up. In this economy, the big houses will stick to their Stephen King’s for right now, and I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if even he, the Master of Horror, had listened to the rejection letters. In his own memoir, he said he got thousands of them and wall-papered his room with them. If HE had listened, we never would’ve had Carrie, Christine, The Shining…and the literary world would’ve been the poorer for it.

 
Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?
My first book was a fantasy novel titled, Mind Made, which I learned a great deal from. With that, I was very young and I believed that you should pay an editor 1,000 dollars. Of course, he read the book, put a couple of red lines in the text, and sent it back to me eight MONTHS later. Big mistake! Then, I went with a self-publisher who charged thousands of dollars, and then not only didn’t advertise or publicize my book, but made me buy a certain number of copies as well. I had to really learn what were, and were not scams. Which is why I made sure that the first moment I was able to I opened The Write Companion, and a new publishing company called Precious Gems Publishing so that authors wouldn’t be scammed out of their money anymore!
 
The Heart of a Legend was my romance/adventure about Billy the Kid and was published, as well. This was a much better experience! And I have been working on the Tallent & Lowery series and the angel series for the past ten years.
 
How did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?
I did all the query letters, so I know how everyone feels…believe me. I finally got the call from a NYC agent who was very nice, but ended up wanting me to add a bit of “sex” to my Tallent & Lowery series, in essence changing this into a ‘bodice ripper’ which I refused to do. So, I didn’t get the 100,000 contract because I refused, but I did keep my vision and a very good book. Then I was called by a publishing company who loved the series and wanted it as is - so that was how it went. The “dream” is a lovely thing to have, but never give up YOUR vision simply for the money, or to allow the ‘big guys’ out there to do what they want to do.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?
Every single moment of this series, thus far, has been a dream come true. I have been able to get lost in the ruins of Greece, delve into the history of Nuremburg during WWII. I‘ve been able to walk the floors at Knossos…I’ve been able to walk into the Winchester House and see the “spirits” – all the history is STILL present today and it was amazing to see it all!

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?
I have finished the first five out of seven Tallent & Lowery books, so I am now working on the Sixth. I am also working on the Angel Chronicles and doing the final edit on Book I – Until Next Time. And I am putting together a ‘fun’ dark YA about the Grim Reaper who lays down his scythe because he’s just sick of his job and wants a vacation. A young girl picks up his “mantle” and life goes a bit haywire. I’m looking forward to having fun with that. I have also written a one-book adventure as well, The Devil’s Marquee, which I hope will be out next year.
I will be doing a radio show next Tuesday night (Oddly enough the 13th of September, I see a trend here. LOL) at 7:30 MT. (http://wisdom–radio.com/). And readers can always find me at www.thewritecompanion.com with all the updates, reviews, and blogs they need; as well as if they need any help or suggestions to help them in their literary quest. If you are looking for a publisher, just write to me at amy@preciousgemspublishing.com. Or, any general questions, I can be written to at amylignor@hotmail.com.

What would you like to tell readers?
I just want to say that I hope Tallent & Lowery begins a true adventure for each and every one of you. And that you run, like I did, to Google to see these places up close and personal, and really have fun following Leah Tallent & Gareth Lowery into their next adventure. And, for all you authors out there, it is so silly to say BUT, Never Give Up!!! With this new digital world that is even now being accepted by The New York Times as being absolutely valid, your book CAN become a bestseller – and you do NOT need Random House to do it! If you have something to say…say it! The world NEEDS Great Books!
 
(And, a special note: For all readers out there who have not yet read the amazing ‘Clan Elves’ you are SO missing out on something fantastic!)       See Amy’s review of The Elf Child here.
 

2 Comments

  1. Wow, what a plethora of different directions and achievements! And I love your spirited approach to writing–but I guess that’s the only way to get there.. I’m looking forward to reading all your stuff (I’ve often read YA books–maybe I’m immature (haha)) but I’ll need to buy me an i-phone or something before I can purchase 13. Good luck and keep’em comin’…

  2. It was an awesome interview and great to learn a bit more about such an brilliant writer.

    I’ve read the book and can honestly say there is no adventure out there that will satify you more than Tallent and Lowery – 13.

    What an amazing lady to know ;)

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

*
* (Your email address will not be shown with your post.)
*