Author Interview and Giveaway: Amy Lignor
At last, I have posted another interview and giveaway. I’ve been meaning to post this for almost a week already but I got too busy but let’s cut the talk. Here is Amy Lignor’s interview! *clap clap clap*
A little info about our featured author:
I began to write at a young age when I truly believed that my sister was an evil queen and I was the slayer who would save the realm.:) Now that we are grown…I suppose she’s okay,and I have moved on to adventure fiction which I absolutely love.
Being the daughter of a Research Librarian, books and reading were always a ‘gift,’ and there is nothing I like more. In fact, if the NYPL would let me live in their basement, that’s where I would be. I am very proud of 13, being able to ‘link’ historical locales together in a puzzle that bestselling authors have called, “The DaVinci Code With Heart.” The Tallent & Lowery series is the ultimate adventure and I truly hope you all enjoy the ride! I review for many; I am the Owner of The Write Companion; and Editor-in-Chief of Precious Gems Pubishing, which was opened for debut novelists who were being overlooked.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I’m boring…(LOL). I am a true reader; if I’m not writing I have my face plastered in a book. My Mom is a career librarian so I may have been reading books in the womb, because the biggest memory I have from my childhood is spending time in Mom’s library J. I have a stunning daughter, who is twenty (which is NOT possible, so I’m going to stick with the fact that she’s ten). But I spend a lot of time with her when she’s not busy, and I have a huge dog named Reuben who is the perfect companion. He sits by me when I write and I bounce ideas off him. If he likes it, he barks; if not, he rolls his eyes and goes to sleep (so I have a built-in-critic right in the house) J
Do you have a day job as well?
Yes, I actually run my own company – The Write Companion - and it’s become bigger and bigger, which makes me proud. I help authors with editing, query letters, ghostwriting, reviews, etc. (and they don’t have to break the bank to work with me J. ) I really love it, because I was in the publishing industry for twenty years and I got tired of debut authors not getting a shot. I become their ‘partner’ instead of just their ‘editor.’ In other words, with me, they don’t get a robot that says: I’ll get it back to you in six to eight weeks, and send me a thousand bucks. I don’t believe in that. I think an editor and author should be a true team – that’s the way to get the book published. And we’ve had a great deal of success getting our author’s books into those publisher’s hands – which makes me extremely happy.
I also write for a variety of magazines and newspapers. And I am a reviewer for many.
When did you first start writing, and when did you finish your first book?
I started at 13, writing a slightly sarcastic story when we were on a horrific family vacation. But it was in high school when I did a paper that it really sunk in that writing was the only thing I wanted to do. My history teacher told me being a writer was what I had to be; she turned the paper into a contest, it won, and from then on out I was absolutely hooked on telling stories.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
Actually, I write action/adventure stories (think, a cooler, hipper DaVinci Code meets Mission Impossible meets romance) for adults, called Tallent & Lowery. This is a series, with the first book titled, 13. The main character is the Head of Research for the NYPL (my favorite place). When it came to YA, I just had Matt and Emily in my mind and was writing about them. All of a sudden angels became ‘acceptable’ when – by the way – ten years ago, they weren’t. When I said ‘angel’ back then, editors and publishers thought ‘religion’ and turned it down immediately. So I’m happy times have changed. But if it’s a good story, I write it, I never really think about a ‘specific’ genre – I just love writing the tale.
Where do you get your ideas?
Gosh, all over. People I see on the street; things I see on the news – but most of all it comes from dreams. (I know, boring, right?) I have a very overactive imagination (I even used to sleepwalk as a kid). My dreams are four-color and I always remember them (sometimes this isn’t a good thing if the dream is more of a nightmare) but I always keep a pen and paper by the bed so I don’t forget anything that I think would be part of a great story.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Oh, yes. I think we all do. That’s the time when I step away – clean the house, walk the dog – an forget about the computer. I think it’s just the brain saying, “Give me a break. I want a day off!”
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I usually have a thought in my head of where my characters will go and how it will be all wrapped up, but I never use an outline. When I sit in front of the computer it’s like an adventure. Twists and turns will come up that I wasn’t expecting and I just let them happen; it’s like the characters are choosing what’s next and that becomes fun – an adventure – and writing should always be fun! If it’s not, the reader will know.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
My interests were so scattered. As a kid, I loved Judy Blume. I thought she made the wise choices and offered great stories for teens and preteens who were confused. Even though, at the time, some of the things she wrote were controversial, I thought she told the truth, which was extremely amazing in ‘fiction.’ Throughout high school I loved Poe. I loved “The Raven” (very excited about the movie), but my favorite of his was the “Masque of the Red Death,” which I used in one of my Tallent & Lowery novels. I LOVE history – historical sites, places – I think history is so exciting. And, for romance, no one could and still can’t, touch Jane Austen.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Talk about trial and error. I think when you first start out you feel so inflated. “I have a book! I wrote a book!” And then you can deflate fast when you realize, so have thousands of others. Agents can crush you quickly if that query letter is not absolutely right, or if the first three chapters are not ‘up to snuff.” And the hard part is there’s no feedback – it’s a form letter 99% of the time that simply says: “Thank you. After consideration this isn’t the right title for us. Good luck.” So you begin to get confused, thinking the family and friends who read your book were just being nice when they said it was good. You have to have a strong spine for this, and be able to take the rejections and walk away from them. If you let them get to you, you’re done.
Editors are hard because I got caught up with one that said send me the cash (a whole lot of it) and I’ll edit your book. SIX MONTHS later I received the book back with two, maybe three changes in it. So I learned to research! And publishers…well, they have one and only one thing on their minds – they want what they want and don’t have the time to give you a chance. So, again, you have to have ‘hang time.’ It’s a blessing, really, for all writers that we now have Indie publishers and small publishing houses who really WANT to help and really fall in love with the story.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
The editor I chose. I was very young, I made a mistake…I did learn that everything does have to be edited. No writer is perfect and there are things that do need to be changed or ‘cleaned up.’ And, with publishing, READ that contract. You are completely excited that they’ve picked yours and want to publish it, BUT make sure that you understand all the ins-and-outs that they’re saying. Also – if you can – make sure that the cover artist you get is great. I’m telling you, we are a visual society – the cover is what grabs readers and gets them to read the story!
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
This is THE generation of computers. The World Wide Web has to be used, and a new author has to brand themselves. Facebook pages, Goodreads, websites, blogs, get your work into newspapers, online magazines, review books for magazines (this will be all grunt work and you won’t get paid a dime for it, BUT you WILL get your name out there and that’s what you have to do.) Branding is the key! This is the first blog tour I’ve ever done though, and the publisher was great. I have gotten to meet so many people, I’ve gotten tons of reviews on the book, and it’s brought my name ‘out there’ which – again – has to happen, so I would recommend finding a great publisher who WANTS to help the author. Having a great relationship is at the core of the advertising. (And expect a lot of sleepless nights.)
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
God, yes. I wrote a historical that begins at Stonehenge and leads to the Library of Alexandria, Petra – all these completely cool places. It is a romance, adventure, paranormal – I love it. But I had to set it aside when everything else came about and when I was opening the company, etc. It got lost in the shuffle and I hope to get back to it one of these days. I love the story. It’s really beautiful.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Hard question, because some people still look at angels as only ‘religious entities.’ I actually saw Matt in dreams when I was younger and going through some rough situations – losing my grandfather, then later losing my father – and he came from that. As I grew older I wanted everyone to know about him, and what I saw or “thought” heaven looked like, etc. But for the historical books, I do a great deal of research with UNESCO and others, because I place my characters in actual places like The Winchester House, so it’s a bit of both with me.
How did you come up with the title?
Funnily enough, Until Next Time has been my ‘sign-off’ for many years now. At the end of reviews, articles, etc., those words are always there. And I realized that they completely ‘fit’ where Matt and Emily are concerned, because there’s always a next time.
What project are you working on now?
Book II of The Angel Chronicles is complete and being edited right now. Then I will move on to Book III. Five out of the seven Tallent & Lowery books are complete, so number six is up next; and then I have “Precious Stones” – the book I talked about earlier – to get back to. And I have a YA called “Meet the Reaper,” which is almost complete and has won a few contests on Goodreads, so I’ll continue with that one (while working on those editing jobs). LOL. See? No sleep. Thank goodness for caffeine.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Book II of the angels will be the end of the year. Tallent & Lowery, 13, should make its print debut by the end of the year…and, well, you never know about the rest…LOL.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Actually, I can’t ‘pre-think’ genres or themes; something just strikes me and I head down that path full-tilt. But the characters I love, I stick with until the very end. Although, when I have to let Emily and Matt go, I will be incredibly sad.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Critics are always there. With books – readers either like it or they hate it. I mean, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, so I don’t take criticism to heart. I willingly take ‘suggestions’ to heart, about what could be improved for the next book to help readers out, but criticism is just someone’s ‘dais for the day.’ You just have to take it and move on.
Compliments are lovely. I was actually overwhelmed by the reviews I’ve gotten for Until Next Time. 90% of them have said they love my writing, they want to see more writing, they love the characters – and the really fun part is that they’re all different. Some love Matt and want to see more, whereas others are in love with Emily and love her strength. While still others like the ‘earthly’ characters of Jason and Charles the best and want to see more of them. So I love the fact that all the characters appealed and not just one of them. To me, it’s a success because it means that I wrote ALL of their back stories well, and brought ALL of the characters an audience – which is a difficult feat, so I’m amazed and thrilled by that.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Do NOT stop. Really. I know this is hard, and I know that the doors that close make you extremely angry, but keep going. If you love to write, if you have something to say, then say it! Your passion and your hard work does shine through if you really, truly want to be an author. Readers will feel that and so will at least one publisher out there. Remember…it only takes one! So even if you have to go through a hundred, that ‘one’ is out there.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I want to say, thank you. I want to say your words, notes, blogs, everything has been so incredible about Emily and Matt, and you make me want to do better and better each and every time I sit down in front of that keyboard. I would also love to see you all at the Twitter Party! Yup. It’s because of blogs like these and readers like you that the publisher has put together a huge party for Matt and Emily and is giving away books, cash prizes, everything. It’s gonna’ be a whole lot of fun!!! And, again, I am truly humbled and grateful for the fans out there! You have all been overly nice and I can’t wait to get out there and meet you all in person J
This is an international giveaway
Starts on April 30 and ends on May 4.
A little info about the book:
How does a girl choose between the one who steals her heart and the one who owns her soul?
Matt and Emily were created for a specific job. Raised and trained as the ultimate angel/warrior team, they are sent down to save, defend, judge and forgive, depending on the ‘life’ they’ve been assigned. What they don’t realize is that the power of human emotions, such as love, anger, passion and fear can take over even the best of souls, causing them to make mistakes and follow paths that lead to confusion and heartache.
When the reason for their training is finally revealed, the angel/warrior team find themselves thrust into a world they know nothing about. Matt takes over the life of Daniel, a young man with a great deal of baggage. Emily becomes Liz, a girl living in a remote village who relies on nothing more than her own strength to survive. A violent storm erupts one night, and framed in the window of Liz’s establishment is a frightening face. Let in by the soul of a Good Samaritan, the two visitors bring with them a past full of secrets that could literally change an angel’s path and a warrior’s plans.
From murder to redemption, this angel/warrior team must find a way to keep the faith they have in each other in a world that’s ripping them apart.
Interested and would like to have a copy of Until Next Time? Here’s how you can get one:
1st: Follow my blog. Quid Habes Quod Scripsi
2nd: Follow me on twitter and tweet about the giveaway
3rd: Like our Goodreads Facebook Page and spread the word!
If you are following both, you just have to spread the word about this giveaway. It’s so simple, yes? I’d be giving away the books to the first two (2) people to comment on the box below that they’ve followed my blog and have tweeted about the giveaway. Please don’t forget to include your email address and preferred book format on the comment. Now go, enter the giveaway fun and enjoy the book!
ATTENTION LOVELY FOLLOWERS/READERS!
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
8 p.m. Eastern
Follow hashtag #UntilNextTime as author Amy Lignor answers your questions for 90 minutes live on Twitter. A $50 cash prize will be given to the person who has a receipt confirming an ebook purchase of Until Next Time and tweets at least once during the Twitter Party. We’ll also be giving away a variety of ebooks and print books throughout the event. Let us know if you are planning to attend by tweeting @TributeBooks or @HelloWritersAmy to RSVP.