Stepping into the spotlight, Amy Knupp...and she's brought a giveaway with her!
Amy Knupp lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, two sons, five cats and a turtle. She graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in Journalism and French and feels lucky to use very little of either in her writing. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, Mad City Romance Writers and Wisconsin Romance Writers. Her ninth book, Because of the List, is available now from Harlequin Superromance.
Amy, thank you so much for joining us today. Can you tell us a little about your latest story? What inspired it?
My latest story, Because of the List, is about an Army helicopter pilot and his best friend's younger sister, who is an insecure brainiac/computer geek. Not my usual types of characters (lately I've been writing firefighters for heroes, and I tend to write confident, strong heroines.) I love romances with military heroes, so I guess in a sense, all the awesome mil rom authors I've read inspired me to finally try my hand at it. :)
BECAUSE OF THE LIST
Taylor McCabe likes equations. They make sense. But one buttoned-up computer whiz plus an injured army pilot simply does not add up. It's time to get over her childish crush on Alex Worth, her brother's best friend, and find a husband. Enter The List – Taylor's ten must-have traits for a viable suitor.
But her plan goes awry when Alex insists on vetting each contender. The way he dismisses them feels like the actions of a protective boyfriend. Strangely, his attitude makes her even more attracted to him. Too bad he doesn't meet even one of her requirements….
To read an excerpt, visit
BECAUSE OF THE LIST sounds wonderful! So, in addition to military romance, what are your favorite genres? Least favorites?
Of course I like reading all kinds of romance, especially contemporary (both single title and category) and paranormal. I also love young adult lit and wish I could do nothing but curl up and read all the amazing YA books out there. So much good stuff! When I need a break from fiction, my favorite is military non-fiction.
What’s in your TBR pile and why?
My TBR pile is kind of large, especially considering I'm a slow-ish reader. I have lots of YA, women's fiction, contemporary romance, category ( especially Supers, Desires and Blazes), and paranormal. I have a little bit of fantasy and urban fantasy, a few general fiction books and lots of non-fiction, from military to stuff I use for research (currently books by paramedics and firefighters.) I've cut down hugely on buying print books but my digital library is starting to get out of control now. In a good way. :)
What’s your favorite flavor of romance? (Sweet? Spicy?) Do your tastes vary when it comes to reading versus writing?
I like to read a range. I don't really choose my books based on sensuality level, I just want a good story whether there are love scenes or not. As far as my writing, I wouldn't classify it as sweet, but it's not up there with erotic romance either. So middle of the road, really, for both reading and writing.
How do you pick your story settings?
In ten books, I've really only written 4 settings because I love to create a contemporary, fictional world that becomes real for me and that I can reuse for more books. Places I visit can definitely inspire my settings. San Amaro Island, which is the setting for all of my Texas Firefighter books, is loosely based on South Padre Island. Lone Oak, Kansas, the setting for my Salinger Sister books, came to me after visiting Atchison, KS, which is my mother's home town. I have several other settings in mind to use for future books. No stories for those settings yet, but I'll get there. :)
How long have you been writing and what prompted you to begin?
I was friends with Maya Banks back before she was Maya Banks. When my younger son was 2 months old, she challenged me to write a story with the intention of becoming published. We started together and critiqued each other's dreck and got better and researched the market, me with my baby boy nursing every hour while I typed. :) That was 10 years ago. It took me 4 years to sell my first book, and Maya sold hers shortly after that (and has since written circles around me!)
When pursuing that first sale, what line did you target?
I've always targeted Superromance. When I decided to start writing for publication, I read up on all the lines at that time and quickly narrowed it down to a couple that resonated for my own writing style. Supers seemed like a natural fit because of the realism of the stories and characters. I also loved the variety of plots, hooks and characters in the line.
Plot or Pants?
A combination of the two. I tried hard to be a detailed plotter. It would make me very happy to be able to plan out a story so I know what's going to happen and all I have to do is just…write. (My favorite part!) But no matter how detailed I got, I always had to scrap about 75% of the plot when I actually wrote the story. So I stopped plotting so much. Now I have to turn in a long synopsis to my editor, which like any sane writer (does such a thing exist?) I detest, but it helps me grasp the big picture of the book. Then when I write, I don't follow the synopsis much. When I actually get into the writing, the characters dictate things differently than I planned, even if the plan is vague. I'm learning to accept that and trust my instincts, but it hasn't been easy.
What’s the best piece of advice you have to offer to an aspiring author?
I would say, especially if you're targeting a category line, learn to revise. Not just edit and band-aid, but learn to rip the heart out of your story if there's a problem with it, and reconstruct it into something stronger. I know for a fact my ability to do this was why/how I sold my first book. Revisions are ugly and can be a drag, but when you have good editorial or critique partner input, incorporating it into your story can make it into a stronger story. How to learn this? Practice, I guess. I use a spread sheet ONLY for revisions, (I'm not much of a chart or spread sheet kind of girl, otherwise) and that helps me keep the old version and the new version straight in my head. Sometimes they're two very different beasts. If you can make a story evolve in the revisions stage, you'll be much better prepared to write for Harlequin, in my opinion.
What has been the biggest obstacle in your writing career?
Chaos. I have 2 young children and actually started writing when the younger one was 2 months old. So my time is not really my own for most of the day. I've been lucky enough to stay home with my kids, but having two boys running around with Nerf guns isn't exactly conducive to writing a love scene! It gets better as they get older, but I spent a year home schooling my older child and getting up at 4am to get my writing time in. I'm the kind of person who thrives on routine, and it's been tough to have a consistent one from one year to the next. But that's just the way life is for all of us, I think, so we just have to adjust. I'm still trying to master that!
Thanks for having me on The Pink Heart Society! I'd like to give away a copy of Because of the List to one commenter.
To be entered into the random drawing for a signed copy of Because of the List, just tell me what your favorite romance novel hooks/themes are. (Mine are best friends to lovers, reunions, and military characters.) Thanks for reading my interview!
And Amy, thanks so much for joining us! Amy will be back tomorrow to select a winner, so be sure to check back through the comments to see if it's you!
For more about Amy Knupp:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Knupp/253309601369486
Twitter name: @amyknupp