Amy Sue Nathan lives and writes near Chicago where she hosts the popular blog, Women’s Fiction Writers. She has published articles in Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, and New York Times Online among many others. Amy is the proud mom of a son and a daughter in college, and a willing servant to two rambunctious rescued dogs.
Time to chat with Amy!
Tell us about your new novel!
The Glass Wives is about Evie Glass, a divorced mom, who invites her ex-husband’s young widow and baby to move in after he dies in a car accident. The story focuses on the problems, and hopefulness, that comes from creating a brand new kind of family against all odds.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
More often that you’d think! I have a habit of closing my eyes and typing away when I’m really involved in a scene that I’m writing. When that happens I’m really not in control of where the story goes. I have learned to let my characters be themselves and go back to edit or revise their words and actions later. I learn more about the story I’m writing when I let my characters do most of the work! In The Glass Wives I never intended for one character to befriend another, yet she did, no matter how much I protested. In the end there were very good reasons for this alliance, but I didn’t know about them at first either!
What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?
What I like the least is not being able to get the ideas out as quickly as I’d like. I can know the entire story in my head, but know it’s vital to get it written, and as I write, things change, but I just want to GET IT OUT! I think what I enjoy the most is the actual deliberate, laborious writing where every word is chosen carefully and every nuance of a scene is intentional.
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
Yes! I always know the end, or I think I do. Strangely, what was the end of The Glass Wives for a long time is now a scene in the middle of the book. The ending after that one no longer exists, and the ending as you can read it, was once about page 100. But—I did know the ending when I started. But the ending changed!
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I try to find a happy-median between the two. If I don’t edit at all, I might not remember things that pop to mind. If I edit too much, I have a polished chapter or two or three, but that’s all. I make a lot of notes as I write so I can remember to go back to certain spots. Then I can move on because I know I won’t forget.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
My advice would be to be proud of yourself without being boastful. Enjoy yourself while being responsible. And keep writing. Book #2 won’t write itself. (I tried. Nope, it doesn’t.)
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
Absolutely! I spent a few years learning all about publishing as I was writing. I figured out the best route for me was to find an agent and publish traditionally. I queried agents for months while still revising based on some feedback. After I signed with my agent, his feedback meant more revisions! After a year of revising the book and freelancing writing and editing and raising two kids, my book was ready to go out on submission to editors, and it sold to St. Martin’s Press.
Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?
I have one or two critique partners who read everything from my ideas to my first draft to my polished pages. For me, these are published writers who know me and my writing very well, who understand what I need when I ask them for specific feedback, and who are honest. I think the most important thing is that I respect what they say 100%, whether or not I agree with it.
Have you ever wished that you could bring a character to life? If so, which one and why?
What a fun question and I assume you mean my characters! I’d bring Evie to life because she bakes and I don’t. I’d love to get my hands on some of the cookies she is famous for in the novel. Other than that, I’d like to meet Sandy who’s a minor character because in my mind he’s a cross between George Clooney and…well, no, just a Jewish George Clooney. That’s reason enough, don’t you think?
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
I live in the suburbs of Chicago. In a dream world I’d live in Montana, near a lake and a mountain, in a big log cabin. In my real world, if I ever move, I’ll probably head back East. I’m originally from Philadelphia.
Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?
Trains. I don’t have to drive but we get to stay on land.
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