Wednesday, December 07, 2011

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Amy Knupp interview and giveaway

Stepping into the spotlight, Amy Knupp...and she's brought a giveaway with her!

Bio:

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
http://www.amyknupp.com/botl.php

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
Website: http://www.amyknupp.com

21 comments:

  1. From Marcie (who is too lazy to log into Blogger)

    Hi Amy!!

    I love friends to lovers stories the best.

    No need to put me in for a copy to win - have it, read it, and enjoyed it. Love the family dynamic with Alex and his brother and sister. Very real. Will they get their own stories??

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  2. I mostly just don't want to read something that's too similar to what I last read.

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  3. Great interview!
    I love friends to lovers and reunions best. I love the extra dimension of a shared past.
    =)

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  4. Dear Amy,
    Thanks for sharing so much about your writing process. I'm so pleased to learn that you write a synopsis but don't then feel the need to follow it and also that your characters dictate some of their movements. Clearly your method works brilliantly as you write fantastic books. (I am also impressed that you managed to combine home schooling with writing - wow!)
    Cheers, Louise

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  5. Hey Amy--Just dropping by to say hello! Great interview. Personally, I've always enjoyed writing love scenes during nerf gun battles...;-)

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  6. Hi Marcie! So glad you liked Because of the List! Thank you for picking it up. :)

    Chey, I'm the same way. That's why I'm not good at reading series consecutively...I need to mix it up, and then I'll get to the next one in the series.

    Bec, that's what I love about those themes as well. :)

    Hi Louise, thanks for the compliment! It's taken me a while to learn to trust myself when the characters want to veer. Accepting that it's okay and probably for the best lessens the anxiety. A little. ;)

    Hey Jeannie! I'll send my boys out for a little stay for your next book! HA!

    Thanks to all of you for commenting!

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  7. I like reading romance stories with strong independent women who fall in love despite all the barriers they put up for themselves.

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  8. My contact email is christinabee@hotmail.com.

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  9. I love the romance story that has the heroine and hero together then something tears them apart. They find each other again years later and rediscover their love.

    Email is patti1075@gmail.com

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  10. Great interview! I can relate to the writing in chaos. It's funny, when I was younger I could shut out the world and write but now, I find I need a certain environment, which is a pain because my house — with two teenage sons and a 6-year-old daughter — is never quiet. Arrgh. But somehow I manage. Barely!
    My favorite hooks...hmmm, I love women in danger stories and secret babies! Funny though, I've not written many secret babies stories. Maybe I should rectify...

    Kim

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  11. Best friends falling in love are always a favorite of mine, and also, ones like your book, where the little sister has a crush on her brother's friend.

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  12. I just finished Because of the List las night so no need to enter me into the contest. Another winner from Amy :) Miss you on the ehar supper blog :)

    I like friends to lovers stories. They are one of my favorites. I also like suspense and characters that grow. But basically as long as there's a believeable HEA and a good storyline, I'm good with a book. :)

    Hey you should do you next setting in Hawaii then you can come back and do a research trip!

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  13. I like alpha men and women. I think that a woman can be the best in her field but still retain the ideas of true love. Strong, intelligent women waiting for true love.

    Friends to lovers is another great theme as well.

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  14. Hi Amy ~ I really like a lot of different hooks but babies or kids in a story usually get my attention.

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  15. Hi Amy,
    I like smart, but slightly flawed men or women that can overcome immense odds. My favorite genres are romantic suspense and paranormal romance.
    Leeann

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  16. Christina, I like those too!

    Patricia, me too...I think I've written at least a couple of reunion stories. Love that theme.

    Kim, get on that secret baby story!

    Summer, thanks! I forgot to say brother's best friend as one of my favorites as well. (Honestly, there aren't a ton of hooks I don't like. lol)

    Snookie! Thank you! I miss the Super board but it won't let me post! Grrr. Love your idea for my next setting...hmmm, how to make that work. (The trip, I mean.)

    Hi Toni, I love alphas too, although I don't write them very often for some reason!

    Hi Kaelee, you know, I never set out to find kids/baby stories but whenever I read them, I usually end up liking them.

    Leeann, I agree...characters have to have that flaw or they can get boring!

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  17. Amy, "Because of the List" sounds like a wonderful story! I love the idea of your matching up a geeky gal with a yummy Army pilot. I can't wait to read it! And I hear you on the mammoth TBR pile--there just aren't enough hours in the day! :-)

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  18. Hi Connie, I missed your comment last night. I haven't read a lot of psychic stories but I'm not opposed to them! :)

    Hey Kathy! Thanks! Sometimes I tell myself I'll take a week off and just READ...but I never manage it.

    I'll be back with a winner in a few!

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  19. The winner is....

    PATRICIA!

    Congrats! :)

    Patricia, please email me your mailing address to alknupp AT gmail DOT com. I need to go to the PO yet this week so if you send it quickly, I'll get your book out when I go.

    Thank you to everyone who read and commented, and thanks to the ladies of the Pink Heart Society for having me!

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  20. Hi Amy ~ Just thought I'd drop in and tell you how much I enjoyed Because of the List.

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