Hello today to Amy Reade, who writes women’s contemporary and gothic fiction. Her books have been compared to authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. Amy’s novels feature vivid descriptions of exotic and fascinating locations, such as the Thousand Islands region of New York State, Charleston, South Carolina, and the Big Island of Hawaii.
1. You grew up in the Thousand Islands region of upstate New York, but moved to southern New Jersey. Which one feels more like home?
I would say they both feel like home. When people ask me where I’m from, I tell them I grew up in northern New York and I now live in New Jersey. We try to take our kids to visit family in New York as often as possible, and when we’re up there we all like to spend time on the St. Lawrence River. I like my kids to have some of the same experiences I had growing up in that area of the country. But that being said, they are growing up in southern New Jersey, which will always be home to them.
2. You are a qualified lawyer. Do you think you will ever go back to the law when your children are grown?
I can’t see myself going back to the practice of law no matter how old my kids are. I love writing too much, and I don’t think I could ever feel that way about the legal field.
3. How long did it take you to acquire your law degree? Were you fixed on becoming a lawyer throughout your teenage years?
I was not fixed on becoming a lawyer when I was a teenager. I really wanted to be a veterinarian. After my first few years in college, though, it became clear that I just didn’t have a passion for science and that veterinary school wasn’t for me. So after I graduated I spent the next three years in law school.
4. When did you first realise that you wanted to write?
When I practiced law I wrote all the time, every day. The ability to write is an essential skill for a lawyer, but much of that writing is dull and uninspiring, at least in my opinion. It was several years after I stopped practicing when I first realized I wanted to write fiction. I attended a three-night writing workshop at a local library and I was hooked from the first class.
5. You’ve set your new series of books (as yet untitled) in Edinburgh. What is it that attracts you to Scotland? Have you ever visited there?
There are so many things I love about Scotland- its history and lore, its legends, its customs, its rugged and majestic beauty, the people, the food, you name it. And I have visited- in fact, just last week I returned from a trip to the Highlands, where I was immersed in some of the most beautiful vistas I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing.
6. Your three standalone books are of the women’s fiction genre with added suspense, just like mine. Do you ever read or write out of this genre, e.g fantasy?
I read outside my genre quite often (especially biographies, cookbooks, and historical), but I must say I almost never write outside the genre. I have written a few essays and I have a book of historical fiction tucked away on my computer, but I’m not ready to work on that just yet.
7. What is your all-time favourite book?
A tough question! I would have to say it’s Pride and Prejudice, although my favorite changes from time to time. I also love anything by Ernest Hemingway, M.C. Beaton, and James Herriot.
8. Have you ever entered your stories into any writing competitions?
I have not. Most competitions I hear about are for short stories, and I am dreadful at writing short stories. Too long-winded, I guess! I recently wrote something to enter in a magazine contest, but I didn’t find out about the contest until the weekend before the submission was due and I just ran out of time to revise my essay.
9. What do you find is the best way of promoting your books?
One of the best ways for me to promote books is to make personal appearances at book signings, etc. Unfortunately, that’s also the most time-consuming and expensive way to promote books. But I love to meet readers and to talk with them, so I like to schedule appearances whenever I can. The other best way, of course, is by word-of-mouth. It’s how many of my readers have been introduced to my books and the reason they’ve reached out to me on social media. I’m very grateful for anyone who passes along the word about my books.
10. How do you find inspiration for your stories?
Inspiration comes from different places. The inspiration for my new release, House of the Hanging Jade, for example, came from a home I toured in Hawaii a few years ago. The inspiration for my first novel, Secrets of Hallstead House, came from the beauty of the place where I grew up.
11. One of your books is entitled ‘The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor’. Have you ever seen a ghost, and so wrote the book from personal experience?
I have never seen a ghost, so I didn’t write that aspect of the book from personal experience. In The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, only one person, maybe two, can actually see the ghost, so there is some question as to whether she really exists. I wanted to leave that question hanging so readers could answer it for themselves.
12. How do you find time to write with three children, a dog and two cats to look after?
My kids and my husband are all great about leaving me alone when I’m writing. And I try to write as much as I can when the kids are at school, so if they need me for something when they’re home, I can put the work aside and help them with whatever they need. My dog is not demanding at all, so as long as I give her some attention every now and then, she’s perfectly content. And as for the cats, they pretty much ignore me unless they’re hungry.
13. Are any of your children interested in creative writing?
They have quite a bit of writing to do for school, so most of their writing is for assignments at this point. I think the last thing they want to do at the end of a long day is sit down to do more writing.
14. You prefer not to be too far from a river, stream, or the sea. Why is this?
I’m a product of where I grew up, near the St. Lawrence River, the Black River, and Lake Ontario in New York State. And now I live just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean. The only time I haven’t lived close to water was in law school, and I felt its absence keenly. Water is peaceful, calming, and mesmerizing, no matter what its mood, and I love the sound it makes.
15. You love to cook. What is the most unusual dish you have made?
I don’t know how unusual it is, but I do make a bouillabaisse with different kinds of fish and seafood. I serve it with a homemade rouille and it’s wonderful. I learned to make it in a cookery class in Ireland.
16. I find that most wines spoil the taste of good food due to their overpowering flavour. Do you agree?
When I’m at home I generally do not drink wine with dinner. I prefer water or milk. I like wine with cheese before dinner, and I think it does pair well with cheese. One of my favorite combinations is port and Stilton, but that’s an evening indulgence, not a before-dinner treat.
17. Were you terrified or serene and laid back during your television interview? Were you aware of the questions you were going to be asked?
I felt laid-back, but when I watched the interview I some signs of nervousness I didn’t feel. I knew basically the direction the questions would take, but I didn’t know the questions specifically.
18. Did you find an increase in book sales after the interview?
To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t understand most of the metrics and analytics, as hard as I’ve tried to learn them.
19. The playlists for your books given on your website are eclectic. What is your favourite type of music?
It depends on what I’m doing. If I’m writing, I prefer unfamiliar classical music or instrumental music from the place where my story is set. If I’m cleaning or using the spin bike, it has to be fast-paced. If I’m driving, I actually prefer listening to the BBC.
20. Can you play a musical instrument?
I played both the oboe and the clarinet for years, but it’s been a long time since I played either one. I also play in a handbell choir, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself proficient. And I can play exactly one Christmas carol on the piano.
Thanks Amy for agreeing to be interviewed. If any other authors or publishers reading this would like to be interviewed, then please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk
Here’s a list of places to find Amy: